Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy on the Late Robbin Crosby and the Band’s Hiatus
Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby passed away nine years ago this month from a heroin overdose. Prior to his death, the 42-year old had battled addiction for many years, contracting HIV and eventually full-blown AIDS as a result of his drug use. During Ratt’s episode of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music,’ Crosby talked candidly about his addiction. “It’s cost me my career, my fortune, basically, my sex life when I found out I was HIV positive,” he said during the taping.
Noisecreep is on the phone with Ratt vocalist Stephen Pearcy, talking about his upcoming Metal in America tour, when the subject of his late bandmate comes up. “I miss him so much and think about him every day,” Pearcy says.
Although he was often overshadowed in the press by Ratt lead guitarist Warren DeMartini, Crosby co-wrote hard rock classics like ‘Round and Round’ and ‘Lay it Down.’ Noisecreep asked Pearcy how he first met his former Ratt partner. “I knew Robbin from our teenage years in San Diego. When the band was still called Mickey Ratt,” Pearcy says. “We still had Jake E. Lee [later of Ozzy Osbourne‘s band and Badlands] on guitar, and Robbin would come in and jam with us from time to time. Once Jake left the band, I brought Robbin into the lineup. Together we laid down the foundation for what everyone knows as the Ratt sound. In those early years, Robbin was pretty much the main guy, but Warren was progressing so phenomenally that it was hard to ignore. You see, Robbin didn’t have an ego about it and was actually brave enough to say, ‘I think we should showcase this kid.’ Not a lot of guitar players would have done that,” Pearcy fondly remembers.
Crosby and DeMartini made for a deadly twin-guitar duo. “Robbin had his own style, but he was definitely influenced by Billy Gibbons [ZZ Top] and Jimi Hendrix. He played with great feel. Warren was more of a noodler, a guitar hero type of player. They complimented each other so well,” says Pearcy.
In addition to his musical style, Robbin Crosby also knew how to dress. If there was a look that captured the essence of an international rock star, Crosby nailed it. “He looked so cool standing on stage with his guitar,” says Pearcy. “The guy was 6′ 5″ [laughs]. They loved Robbin in Japan. He would walk around the streets there looking like some kind of heavy metal god [laughs]. He was a great-looking dude and the ladies loved him.”
Besides his Metal in America tour and upcoming ‘Sucker Punch’ solo album, Pearcy will also be releasing his very own hot sauce line. “I can’t sit around waiting for stuff to happen. I like to keep busy. While Ratt is on hiatus, I figured I would do all of these other cool projects. Ratt has another album on our Roadrunner Records contract so I’m excited to do that at some point. I just hope it doesn’t take another 10 years to get the s— out,” he laughs.
Ratt’s latest album, 2010’s ‘Infestation,’ was one of the group’s finest efforts. Unfortunately, the band went through some internal issues within their ranks and never got to fully support the record. Around the time of the album’s release, Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer released a book called ‘Tales of a Ratt,’ which contained some harsh words about his bandmates. “It’s a shame that things happened the way they did,” Pearcy says. “I love what we did on that album. It sold well, doing somewhere in the 150K range. It charted great here and abroad. I was very happy about the album.
“It’s too bad Bobby had to say what he said in his book. I think of Ratt as our baby and treat it with love. It’s sad when you have someone from within the band beating you down, it makes no sense whatsoever. But that’s why we’re on hiatus and taking care of some business stuff. Once that’s done, we could move ahead.”
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