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Bobby Blotzer of RATT

March 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Interviews

It’s been ten years since Ratt n’ Rollers could sink their teeth into a new studio album from iconic rockers RATT but never fear, the wait is almost over.  On April 20th, the band, with a re-vamped line-up of original members and new additions (Stephen Pearcy on vocals, Warren DeMartini and Carlos Cavazo on guitars, Bobby Blotzer on drums and Robbie Crane on bass), will release their latest effort titled Infestation.  Already getting rave reviews from rock fans of all ages, Infestation offers up a vintage RATT sound with a modern delivery.

Not without their share of drama throughout the years RATT has, much like the cliché, “been there and done that”. It wasn’t always pretty but hey, that’s rock n roll.  In the end, they persevered, and did what brothers in rock always do, came together to write an album that will please both fans who have followed them from day one and those just hearing them for the first time.  Bridging the gap between the 80s and the current evolution of  rock music they’re bringing back their signature sound in hopes of anointing 2010 the year of the RATT.

With a release party scheduled where it all began, back on the Sunset Strip at The Key Club, the band will kick it all off on April 20th.  Following that they’ll be heading to Europe for festival season and then returning to the States to kick off a tour with The Scorpions in July.

Drummer Bobby Blotzer recently took some time to chat with us about the band, the making of the new album, and his autobiography that drops on the same day.

Interviewed by:  Mary Ouellette

So let’s get right to the new album, Infestation, it’s been described as a rebirth of your original sound and a return to the sound that the band started out with.  Was it your intent to go into the studio and write an album that followed in the footsteps of your earlier releases? 
It was an attempt to get back to a more aggressive, street-level sound.  We were sort of shooting for our EP (released in 1983) kind of vibe.  On our EP there was grit, hunger and anger to it.  Basically we’re still pretty hungry and angry – we’re happy too but we’re still striving to gain ground and keep the name out there. Without blueprinting any particular song we just wanted to make it that way when we were writing it.

Stephen has described the new album as sounding like Out of the Cellar meets Invasion of your Privacy do you agree with that take on it?
I wouldn’t say it sounds like that, when people ask me how this record compares to our other records I would say it fits in between those two.  It would have been a great follow up to Out of the Cellar.  Somewhere between those two albums and the EP it fits right in.  Sonically it sounds new but the attitude and the hooks and the melodies all sound like vintage rock.

This new album puts you in a really unique position because not only will it appeal to fans whom have been following you for decades but it opens up the door to introduce RATT to a whole new generation of fans.  Have you been receiving feedback from new fans about the single?
Absolutely, yes we have and we’ve been seeing a lot of young fans at our shows in general.  It’s been very encouraging, obviously there’s something happening with all the Guitar Hero and Rockstar games.  We have songs on them so I’m sure there’s interest in not only our band but all the other bands from our genre.  Our catalog sales continue to climb every year.  As far as new fans digging this new one, I’m not sure of the demographic just yet.  I know there’s been a really huge amount of downloading going on of the single so that’s good.

It took you about a year to write the album and Stephen said the lyrics were written over and over, was it a difficult writing process overall or were you just taking your time with it?
No, it didn’t take a year.  We started writing April and we were in the studio by June.  Some people might have been writing a little bit before that but I specifically took my guitar and wrote seven songs in a few months period.  I went in and demo’ed them with me playing all the instruments and then brought the songs to the band and we ended up using two of them on the record.  It took a year from writing to rehearsing to recording – so maybe the whole process took a year.

Since it was the first RATT studio album in over ten years, did you face any challenges or did it come pretty easily to you?
Well, nothing comes easily in RATT.  We are a professional bunch but there’s still that creative tension somehow, it’s just the way we work.  We yell our ideas to each other; we’re intense like that – fighting Irish brothers if you will.  The proof’s in the pudding, we always come up with good songs.  It was an easy thing once we got the songs down – then it became easier. 

You mentioned that you demo’ed a few of the songs on your own. What is the general writing process for you guys?  Do you all start out writing on your own and bringing all of your ideas to the table to get everyone else’s feedback?
That’s generally what we do, everybody demo’s their song ideas.  Stephen is the kind of singer that likes to put his own melody and lyrics to each of the tunes.  Some of the songs I write, sometimes I write lyrics and melody to but he usually will do his own thing over them so I give him a version that I have of just music and I give him a version with me singing my melody and lyrical idea.  If he uses them great, if he doesn’t – it’s not worth fighting about.  He’ll come up with his ideas and we’ll have a co-written song.  We don’t know what he’s going to come up with sometimes until the last moment, but he hit the ball out of the park on this one.

I was going to ask you which song on the album you felt most connected to but after hearing you say that you wrote two of the songs I’m going to guess that it’s one of those?
I don’t know if I’d say that.  I’m connected to them as a writer.  “Look Out Below” is a song I wrote and “Don’t Let Go” is my music.  I like those songs but there are other songs on there that I like better and equally and some I don’t like as much.  I’m an equal opportunity liker and disliker.


So then what song do you feel most connected to?
I think “Eat Me Up Alive” came out really good, it’s really reminiscent of the 1982 vibe that was out in the heavy metal world at that time.  “Best of Me” I think has a great pop radio edge, if there even is such a beast in this day and age, I don’t know.  If that song would have been out in ‘84/85 it would have been a success.  “Best of Me” is very radio friendly, “Garden of Eden” is a great song, “A LittleToo Much” is a great pop song by RATT standards –  I like’em all.

Let’s talk about the addition to Carlos Cavazo to the band.  Considering the guys that have held that spot before him, how does he fit and how do you describe the dynamic of his shared duties with Warren?
I was not a proponent of having Carlos in the band.  Not because I didn’t like him, we have been friends for over 27 years.  He’s always been a good friend, Carlos is a pacifist and he’s really easy to work with.  Guys like me Steven and Warren need guys to work with like Carlos and Robbie Crane.  He fit in great but I didn’t want him in the band, I didn’t want two lead guitar players.  Once he joined though we started doing the duo guitar thing again it reminded me how much I miss Robin Crosby and the Robin and Warren dual guitar thing.  That’s what RATT’s roots are and we kind of got back to our grassroots by adding him to the band.

So you’ve announced that the release party for the album is going to be on the Sunset Strip at The Key Club on April 20th, what does it mean for you to go back there and release the album there after so many memories?
I’m not happy about using that venue personally.  I would have rather have done it in another city and another venue but that’s just my personal opinion.  It will be fun, I’m just not crazy about the layout of that venue.  It’s hard to navigate for people that are there to enjoy the show.  I want my fans to be comfortable but we’re going to do it up and it will be a fun night and we’ll all have a great time no matter what.

A couple of years ago, the band celebrated the 25 year mark.  Looking back at the band and its history, what are the things that stand out to you as the most rewarding moments?
By the way, today marks my 28th anniversary of the day I joined RATT.  It’s amazing to be working still.  I guess we’re allowed to work until we die, and what better job is there, we get to go and rock out every night.  I do think it’s going to be hard to play heavy hitting songs like “Sweet Cheater” and “Wanted Man” when I’m 65 – swinging the sticks for two hours is not an easy gig.

I saw you doing it this summer and you didn’t seem to have any problems thus far.
No, no problems yet but I’m just thinking ahead to age 65, they might feel kind of heavy.

The RATT VH1 Behind The Music was one of my favorites, and I think it gave fans some insight into some things that may have been hazy in the past including what happened with Juan.  Do you regret doing that or was it a bit therapeutic to get it all out there?
They edited it to a level where not everything was correct.  I liked it, I knew it was going to be a dramatic thing and I encouraged the band to do it.  It was sad and it showed a lot of dramatics – the thing they did to Robin.  I wish they would have touched on more of the fun things we did.  They didn’t give us any pre-look at it so I wasn’t happy about that but I appreciate it and I’m happy that it was done.  I just wish they would have showed that we have an artistic side and talked about our successful writing and touring – it wasn’t just parties. We partied every day but there was a lot of work involved.

So let’s talk a little bit about your autobiography that’s coming out on the same day as the album –
I started it in 2008 and I’ve been waiting for this record to be done and released so I could release my book at the same time.  It’s called “Tales of a RATT – Things You Shouldn’t Know”.  It’s my autobiography – it talks about my whole life and how I was able to be a kid from Pittsburgh who moves to NJ and then moved to CA when he was 13 and became this person that sold all these records and known globally.  It talks about being in the company of the likes of Keith Richards, having   Bon Jovi opening for us, the money that was made and the time spent buying boats and cars, and having friends from other bands come on my boat and the things we did and the good times we shared.  It’s really my whole life story – the ups and downs.  My friends kept encouraging me to write a book and my theory was, who really gives a shit?  So I had time off and wasn’t doing anything and wrote a couple of chapters and started working with Jim Clayton who helped me put it together and really exploit the time period we were talking about.  It’s a fun read.  The website is and it can be pre-ordered now.  It’s not an Enquirer magazine, slam thing, it’s just my story.  I wanted it to be fun and for people to realize how lucky we are to do what we do, and how thankful we are to our fans. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

You’ve never been one to really have idle hands, you’re always involved in some kind of side project.  Are any of your side projects active or are they all on hold for now?
RATT is it for now. After we tour I might put out a solo record since I have a backlog of work but RATT is my priority. 

So when does the tour start by the way?
We have a bunch of one off shows over the next few months and then we leave June 9th for Europe for a bunch of shows then we return to the States for a tour with The Scorpions in July.  I’m extremely excited about that!


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One Response to “Bobby Blotzer of RATT”
  1. 80schild says:

    This new ratt sounds amazing!! can’t wait

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