Book Review: Sex, Drugs, RATT & Roll: My Life in Rock by Stephen Pearcy
Stephen Pearcy is a survivor. That best describes his personal life as not only battling through years of substance abuse but also his musical career as a whole. Constantly fighting his inner demons ultimately landed him in rehab in 2009 for a booze/pills/weed and heroin addiction that almost ended his life. Subsequently, his career has had as many twists and turns and ups and downs as any organized car race that Pearcy may have driven in or been a part of since he attended his first race back in his teens.
Stephen’s soon to be published biography Sex, Drugs, RATT & Roll: My Life in Rock (May 7, 2013 through Gallery books) is a tale of the rise of a boy beaten by his dad as a youth, almost killed after being struck by a car riding his bike into heavy San Diego traffic and then turning to music almost by accident while in the hospital after a friend left a guitar with him while recuperating from two broken legs. The book is very funny and loaded with tales of his many sexual conquests, funny stories about his bandmates, other musical contemporaries of his era and some very unusual first encounters with many of them. What it lacks however is any semblance of an explanation of what went into the creation of any of the classic RATT songs, what motivated one or another lyrically, and completely ignoring certain albums and band mates completely. Overall I laughed hard though much of it and was left scratching my head though the rest.
If you want hot juicy sex tales in detail..this book will not disappoint. On the whole Pearcy does a very good job of staying in chronological order throughout his narrative only occasionally will he jump off track to another time period to either reference something or to make a point or make one seem clearer. You will enjoy Stephen explaining how he traded sexual favors with a booking agent in exchange for a gig playing the Whiskey just as RATT was starting out. Smoking joints with David Lee Roth as a teenager when he first arrived in L.A., drinking morning vodkas with neighbor Eddie Van Halen after he bought his first house, watching Ozzy Osbourne defecate in the middle of a hotel hallway while on tour and partying for days straight at the Motley Crue house. You get explicit details of his relationships with the infinite amount of groupies who were willing to do anything to meet RATT. Honestly, after reading this, there is NO way you could make this stuff up. What’s surpring however is that Pearcy has any memory at all considering the brutal honesty displayed about the copious amounts of alcohol and drugs consumed over twenty something years that should have killed him. How he has made it to 56 may be largely due to the birth of his daughter Jewel (now 16 yrs old) and his commitment to trying to be a better father and role model.
My biggest issue with this book is what’s not in it. Although he goes through the Mickey RATT years in great detail he completely skips (for instance) the recording of the 1999 self-titled RATT album or touring during this time. He mentions Robbie Crane only briefly but never how he was chosen to replace Juan Croucier for the first reunion in 1997. He never once mentions members Kerri Kelli, John Corabi or Carlos Cavazo who helped keep the RATT train going in place of the late Robbin Crosby. He talks in great detail about the relationship he had and still has to this day with Bobby Blotzer..let’s just call it a mutual loathing. He speaks very fondly of Robbin “King” Crosby as his partner in crime but then outlines his slow decline into heroin addiction and ultimate death. He never mentions Jizzy Pearl and RATT touring without him using the name and logo he created. How did that make you feel Stephen? Did you ever almost just show up at a gig or watch a gig from the back of the room? Did you ever want to?
I enjoyed the book..I really did. It’s an easy read in just a few hours – comical and very dirty. But his “lack of communication” to his rabid fanbase about the ideas, thoughts, blood sweat and tears that went into each record, each song and what was the motivation behind some of the most classic songs of the 1980’s is “What I’m After”. “Shame, Shame, Shame” on you for Stephen for letting me down.