Ratt Drummer Discusses Band’s ‘Control’ Issues
“Things are never a cakewalk in this band,” Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer tells Noisecreep via telephone. The sentence is flat and there’s no arguing the point. “I never know from one day to the next that this band’s going to be together because of certain people in this band. You can depend on me, I will be there for every show. I won’t pull some of the shenanigans and stuff that people do in this band.
“And it makes it hard. It makes the creative tension-wise I guess on how that frustration comes in and goes into the music and comes out sounding like kick ass Ratt music. But it’s just hard. It’s between me, Warren [DeMartini] and Stephen [Pearcy] trying to perpetuate our way of doing business. You got three chiefs and no Indians.”
In fact, when pressed on what the members of Ratt fight about the most, Blotzer provides a simple, one word answer: “Control.” Blotzer is brutally honest. His new book, ‘Tales of a Ratt: Things You Shouldn’t Know’ tells the Ratt story from beginning to today from Blotzer’s perspective. The autobiography was written by Blotzer with some help from writer friend Jim Clayton.
The writing style is conversational — as if Blotzer is talking directly to you. In fact, Blotzer dictated all his stories to Clayton in chronological order, and the two collaborated back and forth. Blotzer began working on the book in January 2008 and waited until the release of Ratt’s new album, ‘Infestation,’ to completely finish the book. He self-published the autobiography, and it began shipping in April 2010.
Like all music biographies, the book spends some time on Blotzer’s childhood, his love affair with music and his desire to be in a band. Then there are the chance meetings of future Ratt members and the rise to fame. Along the way there are hilarious stories of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem and painful realities of everyday life.
Toward the middle of the book, Blotzer addresses the ’90s when glam metal was no longer the favorite type of music and it was hard for bands like his to get work. Then there was the fact that his lead singer quit. Times were lean and bills had to be paid and Blotzer became an entrepreneur in order to keep his family afloat. Among others, Blotzer owned a steam cleaning business. While he was earning good money, Blotzer admits writing about the steam cleaning business was “painful.”
“The irony was that I still lived in my beach house,” explains Blotzer. “[I was] still getting royalties or whatever but it’s not enough. And I didn’t have any other experience in any field other than selling cars — I didn’t want to do that. And I had to do something. And that was something that I knew that I could fire up immediately. It’s definitely not a glamorous job, but it’s something that does make good money for the guys that do it.” Some of Blotzer’s other businesses include a flower shop, vending machines, mortgages and music production.
Now that Ratt have released a new album and is touring this summer, Blotzer’s attention once again is drumming. Make no mistake: for Blotzer, music is work and something he takes quite seriously. “For me, [music] is strictly business. And my business is to kick ass as good as I can for the people that are buying the product and buying the tickets to the show. And I love performing for the fans, but it’s definitely — it’s a business to me, and I treat it as such.”
Despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews for ‘Infestation’ and the renewed interest in seeing Ratt live, Blotzer says there are some issues inside the band that will never fade away. Sometimes it’s the little things like song choices that get members riled up. Blotzer wants to throw in some deeper cuts while not steering away from favorites like ‘Round and Round.’
“I want to do something deeper,” Blotzer admits. “And I’ve been playing the same exact set every year, and Warren refuses to play new stuff. Not new stuff off the new record but stuff that we don’t usually play from old records. And that frustrates me and it makes me distraught. His rebuttal is, ‘Every band does that. Every band plays [the same songs].’ Oh, not really. Some have quite a huge mixture in their tours that they do: Aerosmith and such. I mean, there are bands that play the same stuff. But we have such a large body of work and there’s more stuff to play.
“I mean, I give it my all no matter what I’m playing. But I can totally do without playing ‘Wanted Man’ for a few years. Not that I don’t love that song, but there’s so much other stuff that I dig from our old records that I would love to play and people would love to hear. And I think there’s just not enough open mindedness in this band to do that.”
In case you’re wondering, Blotzer says some of the most requested songs not usually performed live are ‘Givin’ Yourself Away,’ ‘One Step Away’ and ‘Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds.’
Ratt have many festival shows booked in Europe this summer. The band will start an American tour in July. ‘Tales of a Ratt: Things You Shouldn’t Know’ is available via Amazon or Bobby Blotzer’s official website.