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"Ratt and Roll" Returns with a Resounding Blotz: Deb Rao's Chat with Drummer Bobby Blotzer

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, July 20, 2007 @ 10:46 AM


"For the fans, I wanted Juan t

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The 2007 Ratt re-union is well underway featuring Stephen Pearcy on vocals, Warren Demartini on guitar, Bobby Blotzer on drums, John Corabi on rhythm guitar, and Robbie Crane replacing original bassist Juan Croucier.

These days the line-up of Ratt is re-charged and ready to Ratt and Roll to a whole new generation of Ratt fans. Ratt will return to stores with new DVD and CD releases on August 7th: the first-ever DVD release from the band, Ratt: Videos From The Cellar: The Atlantic Years, and the audio collection Tell The World: The Very Best Of Ratt on Rhino Records.

I recently caught up with Bobby Blotzer in Boston when the band performed at the Tweeter Center. The arena was packed with over 8,000 die-hard Ratt fans, which were there to hear classic Ratt tunes such as,"Round and round", "Wanted Man", and "Back For More."

KNAC.COM: The band sounded phenomenal in Boston. The crowd was really into hearing all of the Ratt classic tunes again. Let me tell you, it brought back a lot of memories.

BLOTZER: The shows have been like that every night. All of my family are on the East Coast and have seen the show in several cities. They were blown away. My brother Michael, I can count on him being, the most accurate because he has been around Ratt since we were rehearsing in a garage in Stephen's Mom house. He is like I am critical of our performances and what we do in a good way. Do you know what I mean? So I can bounce things off of him, he can tell me how the sound is. First of all, he is blown away with Pearcy, which I am too. Stephen has been an MVP out here. I am really proud he's working and conducting himself the way he is, in a professional manner that he is doing and the performance level, he is bringing. He has just got me really rejuvenated and pumped up more than I have ever been before up onstage. Plus, I quit smoking six weeks ago. My Mom died of smoking, so I am just throwing that out. It takes so many lives. I have been smoking since thirteen. I have so much stamina on my drums now. It is amazing. I come out completely soaking wet from a fabulous workout. I don't get winded anymore. It is pretty bitchin to be up there. Being out here 26 years in this band and going out and beating the shit out of my kit, and having people come up and having people come up and go you guys are great man. I can tell that they are sincere.

KNAC.COM: I have seen the band many times, and to me it sounds like 1987 all over again.

BLOTZER: I am thinking 1983 because, in 1987 although we put on a good show. I just feel in 1983 we had more hunger. I sense and feel it, and taste it. There is more hunger up there for us. We have more to prove right now. There is no slack attitude going on. I like that. Stephen is really focused on putting on a good show. He is the ring lead out there man. I have always acknowledge and known that. Thanks for the compliment, I appreciate that.

KNAC.COM: Yes, I agree. Stephen is a great performer, and a very visual performer. How does this tour with Poison compare to 1987, when you first toured with Poison?

BLOTZER: Yeah, we broke that band in 87. When they came out, they were just puppy’s man. I had no idea who they were. I knew they were from LA. They knew Stephen or something. I remember those guys at Reunion Arena in Dallas, that was November of 86, when the tour started it was us and Cheap Trick and then, Poison came out a week or two into the tour. I remember these four dudes sitting in the third row center, right next to each other. They were clapping at the end of every song…when we did the sound check. I was like who the hell is that? It was so funny. When we were out with Ozzy, we were doing the same thing, because we were so stoked that we were out with Ozzy, we would be clapping after every song.

KNAC.COM: You hail from Pittsburgh, is that correct?

BLOTZER: Yes, that is where all my family is at.

KNAC.COM: Now the Poison/Ratt tour recently rolled in Pittsburgh. What was it like performing to all of your family friends out that way?

BLOTZER: I like playing the Pittsburgh gig, because I have much family out there but it creates a lot of stress throughout the day. Especially with my wacky family, yeah know? But once I get up on the stage, I shift this thing through second, third and fourth and cruise through this thing. But leading up to it gets a little stressful. We are getting ready to play LA. I am thinking about just turning my phone off and leaving a message.

KNAC.COM: Who initiated Ratt getting back together again?

BLOTZER: I am going to step out and just say on both re-unions, ‘97 and this one, it was I calling everybody. Stephen may have made the claim that he did, but he might be forgetting I spent three years talking to him, talking to Warren, talking to Juan. I knew the moment we step into a room, or get on the phone and everybody hears each other and we start with the pleasantries first, and then we dig into the bullshit that is all it is going to take. Because everybody realizes there is a lot more good times, than there were bad times. The bad times tend to outshine the good shit. Fact of the matter is, we had a lot of good times; we made a huge stamp in history.

KNAC.COM: How hard was it to pick the set list for this tour?

BLOTZER: The set list is probably the number one pain in the ass to deal with in any band. People don't even understand. You get five people with their idea of what songs to play. We of course have changed the set list three times out here so far. The ones that I picked and really wanted to do are out now, which are "Closer to My Heart", and "Drive Me Crazy". It is like if Warren or Stephen don't hear or see people going nuts on every song, they think people aren't getting it. I don't believe in that. Especially with "Close To My Heart.” People haven't heard it in a long time; some people never heard it. They are sitting back and listening. So that kind of bummed me out. We still have some deeper album stuff like "Dangerous But Worth The Risk" And "Sweet Cheater", and "City To City" that is outside of the video singles pool of songs. It is hard to get away from those. Because, buy and large that is what people want to hear. They want to hear the shit they are totally familiar with.

KNAC.COM: I have to comment I noticed the audience was on their feet during "Lay It Down" and throughout the rest of the set. You guys just kept cranking out hit after hit. It was amazing. The momentum just kept building and everyone was so into it.

BLOTZER: Yeah, it usually shifts about the first third of the set. I start seeing things start to turn right when we start,” Slip Of the Lip". That is about the fifth song in, and then it starts to really get going there. You hit the nail on the head, right around that back part of the set, it is fully engulfed. I love it. It has really been amazing to see the crowd tripping out like this. But, I love it.

KNAC.COM: The rhythm section sounds awesome along with bassist Robbie Crane.

BLOTZER: Well, he is a great bass player and one of the greatest human beings you will ever meet. Everybody loves the guy. I wish I had a personality like his. I need him in Ratt. For the fans, I wanted Juan to come back, just so the fans could see the four surviving members. But Juan is unreasonable. Completely unreasonable to deal with. The fact that he axed himself out of the equation was good for me because I love playing with Robbie. We never fight, we never argue, he is not an ego freak. Robbie is a total team player. He is a good buffer between all the people on the tour. Anybody that knows Robbie will understand that quote right there. Corabi is playing rhythm. This Corabi's seventh year with us. Corabi started with us in the summer of 2000. It is like; these guys aren't new really anymore. Except with Stephen in the fold now.

KNAC.COM: Yes, and it feels good to have Stephen back I might add. In the past, Stephen has told me that Robin was the gentle giant. Would you say in a way, that Robbie Crane is the new peacemaker of the band?

BLOTZER: That is a very good question. He is a little more diplomatic. Robin did that a lot of times. But Robin, I am not saying anything bad about Robin, because I loved him, and deeply miss him, but Robin would ride the fence on lot stuff, yeah know? At times, I would be going, “Dude speak up right now what you said to me on the phone last night." Which I would say to anybody in this band if they changed their tune in the middle of having a meeting pertaining to something. Crane is pretty good, it hard to explain and not be long winded on it, but they both equally have that diplomatic flair and it is very welcome. Because, I knew Juan, he created so many problems in the initial phone calls of trying to get this thing together. I was telling these guys, do you not see what I am seeing here? We haven't even stepped into a rehearsal room yet and this cat is making all of all these demands and saying all this junk. I am telling you right now, you can out vote me on it, but I give it a month into the tour and it is going to be unbearable. It is going to be back to the same hyjinks and it is going to be a drag. Unfortunately, Juan and I go back to bands, when we were sixteen years old. I respect him, as a musician and everything. He is making decisions again that is affecting him, he is probably going to definitely regret. He has so much animosity, it is like, ”Dude, let it go." It is not benefiting him by harboring this junk. Get over Ok. He has been out of the band sixteen years. I am onstage every night, and I thank God every night, at least two or three times a night. I am amazed that I ever made it this far. There are so many great bands and musicians in the world. Not everybody gets his or her shot. Thank God, I got the break. I go to Juan, ”You should be on your knees right now thanking the guy upstairs for giving you the opportunity to do this again.” I go to Juan, "Dude, once you get on this stage, you will understand. It has been a long time, since you have been up there and you are a great performer." I don't take it for granted anymore. I still don't like the whole traveling trip. The fans coming out, and spending their hard earned money and giving you the support and backing you, means more than anything.

KNAC.COM: Is it hard being on the road and on the tour bus 24/7 again?

BLOTZER: Well, I am never there 24/7. I get a room everyday. I don't like being on the bus. Anybody out there doesn’t want to go to their house at night with the people they work with, whether you like them or not. We have two tour buses, one for the crew and one for the band. But we have seven guys on the band bus. The whole square footage of the tour bus has to be 200 or 300 square feet. We have big screens in the front and back. I am claustrophobic to a degree. When I am not playing golf, I like to lay by the pool and do my own thing. Then, when I come in, an hour before the show, I start stretching and warming up. We have great dressing rooms every night, but I use the tour bus as my dressing room. I have a stereo and a TV. There is no one on there, just Robbie and me. We crack jokes and crank Deep Purple. He has got friggin’ Pantera and a multitude of tunes and we laugh and stretch out and have a good time. But, when that bus is rolling to a stop in the morning, my bag and my briefcase is in my hand ready to get off. Anybody that travels with me friend and family wise, say to me, "How the fuck do you guys do this everyday?" I go, I just don't know. I look forward and don't look back. You do what you do. It is a lot of moving around, and a lot of unsettling.

KNAC.COM: When you are playing golf to relax and, did you ever play golf with Alice Cooper?

BLOTZER: I have played with Alice, several times. It was a lot of fun. He has got great stories. He is really a good golfer. He is better than me. I would like to play with him again and give him a little bit more competition in the game. He is awesome. He is a little dude. He is kind of frail looking, but when he gets in, gshhhhh, he hits the ball in the fairway, second shot, gshhhhhh on the green; he is always putting for birdie. He is a hell of a nice guy.

KNAC.COM: What were your thoughts on the VH-1 Behind The Music with Ratt? Did you think it portrayed the Ratt legacy really well? Was it hard getting all the footage together for the special presentation?

BLOTZER: That was a touchy thing. They took video clips out of context with myself in general. They took this one shot of me, where I am acting like I am all loaded and I go, ”I was so fucked up last night, I threw up in an ashtray." So it makes it look like I am really doing that. What they left out was right before that. Juan was filming with a camera. We were in Japan and I go, ”Dude, you were loaded last night,” and I go turn the camera on and say, “Let me do an impersonation of you last night.” That is when I did that. My Mom was going, "Bobby why do you got to do that?" I go Mom, first of all, we are pirates not club scouts. We're rock and rollers…number one. Number two; they took this out of context. There were some inaccuracies. I wished they had touched a little more on the fun side. We had a lot of good backstage footage that shows we were having a great time. There was a lot of love. With that show, I knew going in it was a drama series. That is what people thrive on, that is the way we are as humans. I am a big fan of Behind The Music. I appreciate them running that. It is a definite tip of the hat to Ratt to do one of those. We definitely have a lot of interesting stories. We have kept a lot of our shit tight, unlike Motley Crue who likes to go out and blab everything and make up shit. I read their book, interesting book. I just don't know how much of it is true.

KNAC.COM: What about new music? Stephen told me, that you have the mobile studio out on the road on the bus.

BLOTZER: Yes, we do. Right now Stephen and Warren have been writing. I have some stuff in the can that I have written. I talked to Stephen and said I know you are working with Warren right now, but when you have some time if you want to mess with this… So there is talk about a new record here for 2008. We have two new things coming out on Rhino Records, which is a greatest hits called "Tell The World": The Very Best Of Ratt, which is going to have a bunch of the singles stuff again and some other stuff that hasn't been on any best of collection. That is July 27th, it comes out on Rhino. At that same time, we have a DVD, with all of the old videos. That is also available on Rhino. We were going to (include) one (song) that we wrote with Juan. It was his initial writing on the song, and we did the Ratt touch on it. He has prevented it from being on this record, for spiteful reasons, is my guess. It was within our rights to put it on there, but it was this sort of thing, he has this lawyer contact us. We really don't want to go thru this bullshit with the lawyer. So we are like, “Hey Dude, whatever. See ya later.” But it was a good song, and we wanted to put it on. It is sitting there doing nothing. It was recorded for "Reach For The Sky", and it never made it on the record. It was a good song and recorded real well. It is like; he is doing nothing with music, and being he is just being spiteful, it will ultimately cost him money in royalties for not being there in publishing. Good move Juan, thank you. So that is what is going on with the new stuff.

KNAC.COM: Will Ratt remain out on the road, after the Poison tour wraps up?

BLOTZER: There is a bunch of different scenarios being kicked around. We might go to Europe and tour there for 3 weeks and then Japan. Or we might go back here and tour with a “yet to be named” other band and do theatres and stuff like that. I was hoping we do that because it is just a lot of markets we are not hitting. I would like to go to Europe; we haven't been there in a long time. We haven't been to Japan for ten years…nine years actually.

KNAC.COM: Well the time is right now.

BLOTZER: Yeah, huh, you are right.

KNAC.COM: Bobby, you have a lot of projects going on. Are you still working with Jani Lane (ex-Warrant) in your project Saints Of The Underground, which also includes, Kerri Kelli, and Robbie Crane?

BLOTZER: Saints Of The Underground…that record right now is done. It has been done. I finished mixing. There is a couple of working titles; we just haven't put the date into when it is going to come out. Because Kerri is with Alice Cooper, I am out here doing the Ratt thing. We will probably call the record, Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner. It took me a couple of minutes to remember that, it has been so long looking at that. We have a couple of labels that are offering to put it out. We haven't made a decision yet. But it is going to come out, probably some time around January. We were going to do it in October, but Kerri is out through November, as I am. We want it to come out, and then tour. We will probably get to go out and tour, four or five weeks in Februarish. Before the whole summer thing starts. It is a great record. It is the first one; I did done in my recording studio down in Houston. Which my recording studio, by the way, for anyone who is looking to do a record in a great studio is at the website http://www.diamondrecordingstudio.com I am producing records. My business partner engineers, and he produces also. I worked with this band White Trash Cowboys; it is coming out here in a couple of months. Slick Fist is another band, I produced. There is this Judas Priest Tribute thing that I have down half of the record there. I am not sure, what release date is on that. We have done ten records since May of 06. It is a great studio. I am real proud of it.

KNAC.COM: Do you enjoy working with bands and producing?

BLOTZER: I do. I love it a lot, especially when they are easy to work with and open-minded. When I am in the studio I have a million ideas and melodies. I am not looking to rewrite anybody’s stuff. If it needs a section, or something needs to be revamped, I am open for it. Everybody pretty much liked the ideas. We have a great time.

KNAC.COM: Looking back, is there anything that you would change in your career over the past 20 years?

BLOTZER: You know, through my whole life there is things like that. But there is too to many list. I think everybody feels the same way. I wish I had better sense of value of a dollar in 1984-1990, because, you know you get into this lifestyle and think it is never going to end. I wasn't as smart as I am now.

KNAC.COM: Well, now you can make up for it on the current tour.

BLOTZER: I just want to say a great thanks to everybody that has made Ratt what Ratt is. We really do appreciate it. I know I do much more now than I ever did. It is good to see everybody out there smiling and rocking and having a great time. It is just amazing. Ratt has so many catchy tunes. A lot of people that haven’t been to a show in a long time say, “I forgot how many songs you guys have. It is like one after another.” I am just like, “Yup; I kind of feel the same way.”

http://www.myspace.com/bobbyblotzer.
www.therattpack.com


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