RATT drummer Bobby Blotzer says that he still hopes he can reunite with other members of the band's classic lineup, more than two years after he announced he was launching his own version of the group.
Starting in late 2015, Blotzer spent about a year and a half playing shows under the name RATT with a lineup in which he was the sole member from the band's '80s heyday. The drummer's efforts were met with legal challenges by singer Stephen Pearcy, guitarist Warren DeMartini and bassist Juan Croucier, who objected to his use of the RATT name, referring to Blotzer's version as a "cover band."
Pearcy, Croucier and DeMartini reunited in October 2016 for a surprise performance on a Monsters Of Rock cruise and have since played a series of RATT shows, including high-profile sets at Maryland's M3 Rock festival and Oklahoma's Rocklahoma. They were joined on stage by former QUIET RIOT guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who played on RATT's last studio album, 2010's "Infestation", and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who previously played with Y&T, WHITE LION and MEGADETH, among others.
Blotzer, who underwent lumbar spine surgery a year ago, spoke to "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" last week and was asked why RATT can't follow the lead of a fellow '80s hard rock band like MÖTLEY CRÜE and tour the world without having to be the best of friends.
"RATT should be doing that, because we had five arena headlining tours [in the 1980s]," Bobby said (hear audio below). "Everybody knows, generally, the history of RATT. And we have the catalogue. So we should be up on the 'A' shelf. I think the main problem, and it's always been, Stephen Pearcy has been impossible to deal with. And not just him, but all of us were chiefs and no Indians. Everybody had their ideas. We had the agreement, like, 'Okay, when this person says this, it's not a voting scenario, we do it, we act on it.' But immediately you get one of the most controlling father figures, in his head, Warren DeMartini, that wanted to control everyone's life at home, on the road, and there was just too much commotion. And at the end of every tour, Stephen was quitting. Warren wouldn't go out unless he got his way and would virtually try to — and this was his words, not mine — smoke me and Stephen out of the cave financially to get his way. And it's a drag, dude, to do business with children like that, that think they're smart businessmen and they're so far from it. And that's about it. There's too many opinions.
"For you to say that we could just go, 'Okay, let's all get along and [each] get our own bus,' the problem with that is we can't get the kind of dough that will do that right now because of the reason that Mr. Pearcy, the whole way, has always, when RATT is not on the road, he's out [with his solo band] playing for three thousand dollars, five thousand dollars, doing crummy shows, and the promoters are not willing to give the high dollars that we command," he continued. "By and large, it's a fight, because he's still out there competing against the mothership, his own band."
According to Blotzer, part of the reason the members of RATT have been unable to agree on anything is the fact that "we don't have a leader. Warren wants to think he's a leader — he definitely can't lead a band. Stephen, obviously, is not a leader. Juan… We all think we're leaders. And all I know is I see the way, and I implemented that on my tour in 2016 and brought that to a seven-figure situation and played a lot of big shows with a lot of the multi-platinum bands from the '80s, our friends and the other bands that were opening for us, because the name RATT and the RATT music stands up like that. So if we were together and had our shit tight within the band, the sky's the limit is the way I always saw it. But Stephen every year would quit. And Warren didn't wanna go out."
Blotzer went on to say that Croucier's return to RATT in 2012 was largely to blame for the band's eventual disintergration. "I didn't [want Juan to come back]; Stephen and Warren forced that on me," Bobby said. "And I told them straight up, 'You do this, he will break the band up. He will send the band into Camp Chaos.' They're no longer the three blind mice, they are Camp Chaos. And he did it."
Calling Pearcy "the most unreasonable person that you can ever deal with" and "his own worst enemy," the drummer said that the singer has "done so much damage to not only himself — physically [and] mentally — [but also] to the band." Despite this, Blotzer insists that Pearcy "has a good side — I've always said that; I appreciate Stephen on a lot of levels," he said.
Even though Blotzer was dealt several legal setbacks in the last year and a half, he says that he is still fighting to hold on to the RATT name, which, he maintains, continues to be owned by the corporation WBS, Inc. — of which Blotzer and DeMartini were previously thought to be the sole shareholders.
"People think that it's over," Blotzer said. "I keep hearing that. I see it occasionally; it comes across my news feed. It's not over, okay? They were given summary judgment — unbelievably so. But I wanna assure people right now, this thing is coming towards the end, but they did not win this thing lock, stock and barrel. And if they do, they do. But right now, we're in a position where none of us could say, 'You know what? Fuck it. I'm out.' You just can't do that. It's just in that legal shithole of it all."
Despite everything that's been said and done in the last couple of years, Blotzer says that he is still hopeful that RATT's classic lineup can one day reunite and perform again.
"I am open-minded, even with all this upheaval and some hatred in the way people are handling things — them at me, me at them," he said. "But you know what? People have gotten over a lot bigger things than that in life — countries and wars, they happen."
He added: "I'm not the complete savior of this, but I am the first one in line going, 'Let's do it right and let's go.' That's all I can say."
The most recent version of Blotzer's RATT consisted of Bobby, Stacey Blades (L.A. GUNS) on guitar, Seann Nicols (a.k.a. Sheldon Tarsha, QUIET RIOT) on vocals, Mitch Perry (TALAS, HEAVEN, STEELER, MSG, LITA FORD) on guitar and Brad Lang (Y&T) on bass.
Last month, it was reported by the Metal Sludge web site that DeMartini was fired by Pearcy and Croucier, with undisclosed sources telling the site that "serious issues" existed between the three members of RATT's classic lineup. Cavazo apparently confirmed the report a few days later, telling the site that he couldn't see himself continuing with the band without DeMartini.
RATT is scheduled to return to the road later this year, with several shows already confirmed, including an appearance at this year's Heavy Montréal festival.