In February 1986 I saw Ozzy for the first time at the might Hammy O. His band that night was Jake E Lee n guitar; Phil Soussan on bass; the late Randy Castillo on drums and John Sinclair on keyboards (who I had previously seen with Uriah Heep). But Ozzy had brought in some Americans to provide support, and I finally got to see Ratt. I remember three things vividly from their show, that guitarist Robbin Crosby didn’t look like he belonged in a rock band, they played my favourite song from ‘Out of the Cellar’, “Round and Round”, and Stephen Pearcy was a bona fide American rock star. Ratt’s history can be checked back as far as 1973 and Firedome, who were formed by Pearcy. This band went through various line-up changes and even name changes before becoming Ratt in 1981, and their debut full-length album going multi-platinum in the States.
Ratt disbanded in 1992, since when there have been a few reunions, legal battles over naming rights, different versions of the band touring, more legal battles, so nothing new. Somewhere along the line Pearcy has been in other bands as well as performing and recording solo (sometimes he calls his band Rat Bastards, you have to laugh), and this is his fifth solo album. Why all the back details on Ratt? Well, even though that band has been through multiple changes, and Pearcy has been in and out at least four times, he is the only person who has appeared on every single Ratt release. He has had a major impact on the songwriting, either in direct contribution or interpretation, and in many ways, this is a Ratt album which could have been released thirty years ago. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that the song which makes the biggest impression is “I’m A Ratt”, which clearly demonstrates why Pearcy has kept rocking like he does. This album is melodic hard rock, dated but still fresh, full of double entendres and dirty humour, just as it used to be back in the day. It may not be filled with radio friendly anthems, but there is still plenty here that will make old fans sit up and pay attention. Solid, powerful, it put a smile on my face.