Tidigare opublicerad intervju med Stephen Pearcy i Ratt.
2006 gjorde jag en telefonintervju med Pearcy. Anledningen till den vet jag faktiskt inte. Jag hade länge hoppats på att en dag få ta ett snack med denne gamle hjälte, men hur det kom sig att det blev av har jag glömt. Det kan ha haft att göra med en planerad europaturné med hans soloband, men jag vet inte om den ens blev av.
Hur som helst, jag ringde upp Pearcy och möttes av en ganska pratglad gammal rocker, som föreföll att ha både en och två drinkar innanför västen, trots att klockan bara var runt lunch i Kalifornien.
Att jag sedan inte skrev ut intervjun vet jag inte anledningen till. Det här var ju ändå ett snack jag sett fram emot. Kanske hade jag mycket annat att göra och glömde helt enkelt bort den?
När Pearcy nu författat sin självbiografi, "Sex, drugs and ratt & roll", tyckte jag att det kunde vara på sin plats att publicera intervjun, trots att den är något inaktuell.
When was the last time you played Europe?
Stephen: I think the last time I was there was in ´91 with my band Ratt. I believe that was Robbin´s last tour there and before that it was with Ozzy.
Your album “Fueler” is out in the US, right?
Stephen: Yeah, it´s out on Top Fuel Records and we refueled it with four new tunes and we´re good to go. I´m very happy with that record. It´s pretty cohesive and fast, colorful, exciting and dangerous.
Is it kinda like the stuff you´ve done before?
Stephen: Well, you see, with my solo stuff… back in ´85 when I created Top Fuel Records, I knew I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to record when I wanted and take as long as I want. I didn´t wanna get told who to write with and I wanted 100%. (laughs) The bottom line is that I started working with Viscous Delite, this other band, and I like the heavier stuff. A lot of people don´t know that Robbin and I were like the real true heavy metal guys, Maiden, Priest, Saxon and the heavier the better. When we would bring our ideas into Ratt, they would be real heavy songs. Like the EP! I wrote all those songs on the Ratt EP and those are from the Mickey Ratt days and those are all my compositions, so that´ll give you an idea. I like that heavy hard rock and totally support it and whenever me and Robbin would bring in songs, they would be fuckin´ ass kicking. It would be these heavy metal tunes and those guys would just round off the edges. (laughs) And then you´d have Ratt music. With my solo stuff I´m able to do whatever the fuck I want.
What is it you´ve got going with Top Fuel Entertainment? Is it just music?
Stephen: Well, I did a little acting thing, but it´s mostly incorporating and marketing metal music. First it was racing, like drag racing, and I bought a few top fuel dragsters and I will again this year. We do songs for movies and stuff. I just did a song for NASCAR this year. A lot of people come to us and sometimes in the last minute; “We need a tune!” and I just go “Here we go! We´ve got that shit.”. I´m rerecording the Ratt catalog, like the “Ratt Attack” that was just released. I rerecorded it with George Lynch, Tracii Guns and my Rat Bastards. I really love that record! I´ve got like three Ratt albums rerecorded so far and they´re for commercial, media and entertainment. Different avenues besides just playing live.
Do you drag race yourself?
Stephen: I don´t drive, I sponsor. We´re way into marketing and sponsoring and hooking up sponsors for these million dollar machines to go 340 mph in 4,4 seconds. It´s all fun. We´ve been establishing for years and that´s to bring the concert and the excitement to the track literally and opening up a whole new medium for drag racing and NASCAR. That medium is so fast, colorful and exciting and dangerous and that´s what
I´m all about.
NASCAR and rock and roll seem to go together.
I just read that Gene Simmons is getting involved with Indy Car.
Stephen: Oh God, KISS will get involved with anything! I see Gene at the fuckin´ bowling alley with our kids. He´s tip top and I´ve seen Paul there occasionally. We go to the same joint with our kids. But it´s a smart medium. The world champ in top fuel dragster, Tommy Schumacher, who´s a great friend of mine, they´re all rock fans. Zakk Wylde sponsors funny cars. These guys love rock and roll and they´re fans. Mötley Crüe sponsored a funny car for a race and Ratt did it for a race. I opened that door for rock and roll and drag racing back in 1986 with my funny cars.
You also had an acoustic album released?
Stephen: Yeah, that was that Metal Mania acoustic thing part 2 and I did that with a shitload of guys, Dokken, Firehouse and so on. There´s tons of people on there and we went out and toured that and it was way different and I loved every minute of it. It was so different and it was stripped and it really gets in your face. There´s no fooling. When you throw down an acoustic and fuck up, you fuck up! People just didn´t know what to expect at first, but then they got it. We treated our acoustics like fuckin´ exgirlfriends or electric guitars.
What kinda stuff did you play?
Stephen: I played the hits and then I threw down like Zeppelin. Even in Arcade we played different stuff. On this tour now, the Metal in America that I´m doing, we started with the Bastards of Metal and that got a little lifted from us, so I created MIA and I actually hired a couple of new guys. I´ve got a new rhythm section, Chuck Wright from Quiet Riot and Scott Coogan. The three or four rehearsals we´ve had has just been intense. We´ll be doing whatever it takes, man! I have a different approach. I go out there and it´s not like “Oh, I gotta do my moves and I gotta sing my song!”, it´s like “Fuck that!”. We´re going out to fuckin´ party and have a good time. I gotta get off. (laughs) I´ve been doing this long enough and if I don´t have a good time doing it, there´s no real reason for doing it. Then I´d rather just work with my label, which is inevitably going to start releasing more new things and bands. We go out there and we shake it up. We´ll play whatever. You wanna get rowdy? I´ll get rowdy! It´s a fuckin´ party! 100 people or 1000 people or 10.000 people, it´s always been the same to me. It´s a party and here I am!
You´re touring with Bang Tango and pretty Boy Floyd.
Stephen: Yeah, it´s gotten a good response and they know me out there. Those Rat Bastards like to have a fuckin´good time. We´ll work the States and then we´ll head out for Europe.
I loved that LA scene back in the day. I was a teenager back then and I tried to do my hair like yours…
Stephen: (laughs) I´ll tell you what. I´m doing a book and it´s been in the process for a couple of years. It´s called “Ratt tales”. I finally have closure on it and the best thing about it because we just finished the VH-1 “Ratt – Behind the music” and that´ll set up the book for me. It´s the rise and the fall of my band Ratt. You create something and you don´t know what goes down. We constantly had platinum albums and toured our asses off and played every fuckin´arena on the planet. That doesn´t happen too much. We´re very fortunate and the VH-1 thing will set up the book and there are a lot of things that are good, bad and ugly and I´m proud of all of it. You gotta experience it and I share that with the new bands that I deal with.
Are you writing it by yourself or is somebody helping out writing it?
Stephen: I do. I finally found a writer to help me out and as we speak we´re actually getting ready to gear up when I get back, so we can get it out. It´ll be shock full of photos you´ve never seen with Billy Squier, Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy, Cheap Trick, everybody we´ve been in touch with. It´ll be a good read and it´s not your typical “Hey, fuck this, fuck that!”. I mean, I literally don´t remember two years out there, you know, because it´s groundhog day every day. You´ve gotta change it up and make it what it is and I think when things started going awry with the band, I moved on and some people stayed in the 80´s. (laughs) Now days it´s not the music business, it´s the entertainment business. You live and learn and you get ripped off. You learn your lessons. Me, I´m a road dog and we have a lot of friends. It´s a good read and it´s gonna be real interesting. It´s not your norm. I had to have closure on some Ratt stuff that happened last year. There is no bad talks. I proposed a tour with the original bass player and DeMartini shot if down and I guess they´re comfortable in their situation, but I´m talking big business. I was pretty much the director of my band and one of the main writers or co-writers and I just couldn´t deal with the “You gotta step back to move forward!”. They didn´t go for it and I move ahead. That´s all I do.
Have you stayed in touch with Juan (Coucier)?
Stephen: I talk to Juan quite a bit. I hope to do some kind of album with him when I have time. We´ll call it PCP, Pearcy Croucier Project and fuck with everybody. People will go “What the fuck are these guys on?”. (laughs)
I recently read a book called “Metal, mayhem and madness”, where it´s mentioned that in the early days of Mötley Crüe, you tried out for them. True?
Stephen: What happened was… this will be in the book and a lot of people don´t know this and I´m surprised they didn´t record it, because I record everything. I´m getting to release a record with Jake E Lee when he was in Mickey Ratt and I´ve been holding on to it for a real long time. The bass player from Rough Cutt is on there too. Jake was in Ratt the first year right after Mickey Ratt and you should hear him play “U got it”, Sweet cheater” and “You think you´re tough”. It kicks ass! But that whole thing is that at one time, Nikki, Tommy, Robbin and I… after Mickey Ratt fell apart and I was putting the new Ratt together and Robbin´s band fell apart so he pulled in and he started jamming with Mickey Ratt towards the end, together with Jake E Lee. I have photos of it and this is the stuff I´m talking about that is cool, having pictures of young Robbin with his Flying V just fuckin´straight up and you´ve got Jake E Lee on the other side just fuckin´ busting loose! After Jake pulled out, we actually rehearsed for two days at, not Ratt Mansion West, but this other cellar I had when I moved to LA. Nikki, me, Tommy and Robbin rehearsed for two days and nothing became of it, but it was almost, almost… (laughs) It would´ve been crazy! It wasn´t a Mötley and it wasn´t a Ratt, it was just us getting together going “Fuck it! Let´s do something, man!”. We were trolling the Strip back then for the drink and the girls and the food.
With the sun constantly shining in LA, it just seemed like an endless party in the 80´s.
Stephen: Well, around ´89 it started getting a little silly because it just got over saturated and there was such excess in every element of the business, hence firing thousands of people and no labels anymore. Top Fuel Records I think, is in a very good independent state. Did you ever see that movie “The Doors”? Well, it was just like that. At any given night I´d see the drummer from the Letterman band and I´d be lifting this dude off the lawn at some party at 3 in the morning. It was some crazy shit that happened. You´d see four bands in one night, Mötley, Ratt, Quiet Riot and Great White and it was something that will never happen again. The streets were just full and they were alive and it was intense. Now it´s like lock down on Sunset Strip. The coppers come out and say “Get your asses out of here!”. (laughs) Not like before where we´d be pissing and fucking on lawns at 2.30 in the morning.
Is it harder getting your music across today?
Stephen: I think it is. Nobody goes into the bowls anymore looking for talent, but I do. I´m about the best A&R guy you can have. There´s so much stuff out there that is really good, but these majors now, they´re such cookie cutters. I call it Malcolm in the middle rock. No disrespect, they film that across the street from my house, but seriously, it´s just bubblegum cotton candy fuckin´ crap! There´s no development and we even saw that in the last Ratt record. They didn´t want us to put out a video and then they wanted us to tour a record that didn´t go down. It´s totally different in that respect, but as all the majors are finding out, they didn´t really care about development and they still don´t. They pick something or they create something and I can do that. It´s just common sense and a good business etiquette.
Do you ever get nostalgic about the good old days?
Stephen: Of course, man! The best days for me in the scene is the Mickey Ratt days, because I worked that band from ´76 to ´82. I moved to LA in 1980 and that´s what´s great about this “Behind the music”, because a lot of people don´t know too many things. Those were the best days because the whole band lived in a fuckin´cellar garage and we rehearsed. It was exciting, new and it was Hollywood. I was good friends with the Van Halens before they were signed. It was history and it´s totally irrelevant except for guys like me. We were fortunate enough to sell millions and millions of albums and the most important records to me, are my first gold and platinum records. The rest are just like “Thanks a lot!” and I´ll give them away. I never claimed to be a professional singer, I´m a professional screamer. I love development; I love writing and I´m getting ready to release a new solo record when I get back.
Has there ever been talk about remastering the Ratt catalog?
Stephen: Oh shit, man! Atlantic Records… a lot of the labels aren´t into doing much, you know. They´re behind and they got caught up too late to the internet thing. My only alternative was to rerecord and that´s exactly what I´m doing now. That´s what I do because I know it´s not gonna get done. I have a good time doing it because it´s updated and it´s 20 years later. I´ve got better equipment in the studio and I´ve got players who can fuckin´play anything. There´s some very talented people out there.
Do you have any unreleased stuff from the years in Ratt?
Stephen: Yeah, 100%! I´m getting ready to release “Before and laughter”, which is a compilation of stuff from the beginning of Mickey Ratt until now and it´s coming out now. The first one I did back in 2000, had a version of “Round and round” with a different bass player, Joey Chris, who co-wrote “Wanted man”. I don´t know who´s playing what because back then Fred Coury would show up in the studio and he´d lay down something. But there´s a version of “Round and round” without the pre chorus and different stuff. I wrote a lot of those songs way before “Out of the cellar”.
Speaking of “Out of the cellar”. How did you end up using Tawny Kitaen on the cover?
Stephen: Actually she was on the EP too. That´s her legs on it. It was me, Neil Zlozower and Robbin and they brought in some rats and neil was like “1, 2, 3 throw them on her ass!”. Robbin´s on one side and I´m on the other and we threw them on her and she shit her pants and then we got our picture. For “Out of the cellar”, Robbin was still seeing her and I did a lot of art directing on those covers. I´ve got some other photos of covers for “Out of the cellar” and “Invasion of your privacy” that nobody´s ever seen before and those will be in the book too.
I remember looking at that girl on the cover for “Invasion of your privacy”.
Stephen: Yeah, I tried to hit that and it didn´t go down well. She was a mess, but a nice girl. On some of those photos we couldn´t use, I had her posing all over and I had her tits out there, man. It was too much, but it was fun and all good. (laughs)
Sounds like you´ve had a good life so far?
Stephen: Yeah and it ain´t over yet!
Do you have any idea when your book will be out?
Stephen: We´re really hoping for later in the year. I like to wait till things happen. The minute you force things they really don´t come into play properly. I hooked up with a very good journalist and it´s gonna be very different. It´ll be a lot more intense. It´s about the three P´s; Pussy, Party and Paycheck! (laughs) And I enjoyed every minute of it.