Beau Hill, Bobby Blotzer, Carolina Hurricanes, Eugene B Sims, Jon Lowder, Juan Croucier, KISS, Mötley Crüe, MTV, PMRC, Quiet Riot, Ratt, Robbin Crosby, Stephen Pearcy, TBS, Twisted Sister, Warren DiMartini, Wheelers Dog
I think I surprised Eugene on the last one. I can’t wait to hear Jon‘s thoughts on this one. I think Eugene and I have talked about this one before. I know we did see Stephen Pearcy’s Ratt after a Hurricanes’ game when the ‘Canes were passing through Greensboro on their way to Raleigh. Anywhat! Let’s get to it.
#2 – Invasion of Your Privacy by RATT.
In 1983-84, when I was transitioning from my unintentionally self-imposed KISS-only solitude to my “what is this other wonderful hard rocking stuff I hear” period, Ratt’s Out of the Cellar, along with Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry, Mötley Crüe’s Shout at the Devil and Quiet Riot’s Metal Health were my vehicles. I didn’t have MTV and my only avenues for this was when HBO played a random video here and there (“Round and Round” and “Wanted Man”) and TBS’ (then still WTBS, I think) Night Tracks and when we would go on unusually placed vacations, USA’s Night Flight. That was a flood of new stuff for me. Hit Parader and Circus were big for me at the time, too. It was really the more polished stuff that I liked the most, and that’s not really changed over the years. I like produced stuff. Beau Hill was pretty good at that. He produced Out of the Cellar and this Ratt album.
Invasion came out in 1985, the summer before I moved to NC. After swearing my non-allegiance to the dark lord, Ma Mère allowed me to buy hard rock albums (well, any albums), after the PMRC poppycock. Like the previous Ratt album, this was fantastic. I’ll admit when I got the tape – yes, on cassette – that I favored the three singles. I didn’t give the proper credit or listen that it deserved. I still don’t own it on CD. The only Ratt I own is Ratt n Roll 81-91. That will have to change. So, I’ve stalled enough, let’s get to the album.
Warren DiMartini, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated hard rock guitarists in rockdom. He’s sporadic but tastefully so. Lots of bends and flash and that’s A-OK with me. He has a style that is pretty noticeable to fans of the genre. He’s fairly young, too. Right now, he’s only 53, which means he was around 20-22 or so when I got into the band.
Robbin Crosby (RIP) was a good guitarist as well, and even with his large stature (6’5″) and big sandy blond hair, he was kind of in the shadows to DiMartini. I can only go by what I read in the rags on that, but I always heard more about Warren than Robbin. But, Robbin did co-write half of the tunes on the album.
Juan Croucier, for a finger-picking bassist, was quick and heavy on that bottom end. He was also a fantastic showman, he played with the bass almost as much as he played the instrument. In listening to this album, though, I hear some plectrum playing as well as finger playing. It’s in tone, really. His playing style though, as was much of the bass players at this time, at least the ones I’m familiar with, was a pure rhythm player, not a lot of flash playing-wise but you can tell when he does run off a riff or two that he knows what he’s doing. And, Bobby Blotzer is a solid drummer. I don’t really have a lot to say about him, but I will say his rhythm in “Lay It Down” is pretty impressive; it wears me out just thinking about trying to play that kick pattern. And if I’m not mistaken, he did that with one foot, not a double kick. Again, impressive.
Stephen Pearcy has a very unique voice, both in tone and texture. His range and mannerisms are distinctly his. You know it is him anytime he’s singing. There’s no getting around that. I’d say that’s the case with Ratt, in general. You know it’s Ratt. Pearcy’s voice was at the same time powerful and subdued. I think that has to do with production more than anything. It’s right there, though, and in your face. I say, great.
I have said and will always maintain that “Lay It Down” has the greatest rock intro, ever. That is the end all, be all of intros, to me. That guitar sound and riff is unforgettable, it sounds so epic. It ranks in the top, I don’t know… 10 of favorite hard rock songs of all time. Again, the slow galloping beat shows Blotzer’s talents off, nicely.
I love, too, how Blotzer uses cymbal crashes to emulate the sound of lightning in “You’re in Love,” the album’s opening track. That song pretty much sets the tone of the album. Which rocks all the way through. One thing that I love about Ratt is that they’re not afraid to use a 12-string acoustic guitar to enhance and fill the songs. It’s not in every song but over the course of their first three albums, the use is prevalent.
All-in-all, this is a top-notch album. Ratt was more than a “hair band” was a hard rock band, through and through. Again, mix that signature sound with Pearcy’s vocals and you’ve got a great sonic collaboration, albeit toxic in nature due to personalities. Doesn’t that always happen to be the case?It’s hard to pick my favorites, but if I had to choose, it would be “You’re In Love,” “Lay It Down,” “Never Use Love,” “What You Give Is What You Get,” “Closer To My Heart.”
I’m glad Eugene included this one, I can’t say I’m surprised by it, either. Thanks Eug! Again, I can’t wait to read his and Jon’s reviews.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I make my moves, I make them right. I don’t refuse, I keep it light. I take command of the scene because for me, there’s no in-betweens.” – “What You Give Is What You Get” (Croucier)