Bobby Blotzer Interview
Together only two years, L.A. rockers "Ratt" are taking the
world of metal by storm. With their own brand of "Ratt and Roll," Ratt
managed to sell over 50,000 copies of a debut EP. In Southern California,
their name means big business at the box office, as they headline sold out
shows at major venues, like the Santa Monica Civic and the Hollywood Palladium.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to have Milton Berle in your video and his
nephew Marshall (former manager of Van Halen) as your manager.
"Kerrang" Magazine, one of the most influential and respected
magazines in rock, named "Ratt" one of the top ten bands of 1983.
Drummer Bobby Blotzer talked with us about his group.
Q. "Ratt" was the house band for the Whiskey
in L.A. What does that mean for a group?
A. We were the last heavy metal, hard rock band to play there. We closed
it, and the next thing the Plimsouls closed it. We were playing there a
lot and there weren't any other bands around town. Motley Crue was already
too big to play there. We were just following in their footsteps, packing
the place with lines for both shows. We were good friends with the people
who booked the place. It was the best place to play in town. The only other
place was The Troubadour, and that was a dive. Record companies, A and R
guys do go there a lot, ‘cause it's uptown.
Q. So many of the groups playing today will release their own albums,
and then will get picked up by a major label. Do record companies take bands
more seriously when they release their own albums?
A. I think it proves something to them. As for us. we've done 60,000 with
the EP to date. If record companies see us getting 40 A & R stations
on our own, and selling that many records, and getting it in virtually every
store in California, they say there's no reason to shy away from them, these
guys got something to offer.
Q. Having Milton Berle in the video has got to get instant attention for
the group, right?
A. Definitely. Absolutely.
Q. Why isn't Marshall Berle still managing Van Halen?
A. Differences of the way business should be handled. I can't speak for
Marshall, but I know that him and Dave (Roth) had run ins on different ways
to conduct business for Van Halen.
Q. Some record company analysts feel that by fall
the whole Heavy Metal boom will have bottomed out. Will "metal" survive
A. Definitely. The people who are saying that are probably new wave bands
that are jealous as hell. All along hard rock bands have been the only ones
to fill arenas. You never saw techno-pop bands fill arenas. The closest
thing you can get to fill arenas is "Duran Duran," who I like
anyway. This album of ours ("Out of the Cellar" - Atlantic Records)
has been out for 3 ½ months. We're about 2 ½ weeks away from
Gold. In the last 10 days we've sold 96,000 records. You can't say all of
a sudden - whack! It's going to be cut off.
Q. How much bigger can metal get?
A. There's a lot of new bands. I think a lot of these metal devil bands,
and I'm not talking about Motley, will fall by the wayside. These silly
bands out of England like "Venom'' with crosses upside down on their
forehead will definitely fall by the wayside. The bands that have a lot
of sex appeal such as Ratt, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot and bands like that
Q. Alan Lanier of Blue Oyster Cult remarked "Rock 'n roll thrives
on negative energy." Are some groups more negative in their approach
to music and lyrics than others?
A. Some of them are bands like "WASP." Even "Great White," the
reason why "Great White" isn't doing anything from my opinion
is that a lot of their stuff is kind of negative to me. You can't sing "Stick
It" to people. They're a good band, friends of ours. I'd just like
to see them get a good image happening, and write a little more positively.
Q. Rock groups use a fair amount of swearing in their act, some groups
more than others. Keeping in mind the real young kids in attendance, is
A. I don't think so. For a band like Crue it is, because that's their
trip. Believe me, being good friends with all those guys, it's not just
onstage, they're like that all the time. I think bands think they have to
be really crazy up there just to excite the audience, and it does work.
Q. One rock 'n roll manager made the observation
about the rock business, "its
volunteered slavery except the slaves get to ride around in a Mercedes." Have
you ever felt like a slave?
A. The only time 1 felt like a slave was when I was doing Top 40, years
ago, playing five 45-minute sets a night. That is slavery for $250 a week.
It kept me skinny, but it was slave work.
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