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 beyond fall?
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 will prevail.

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 it necessary?
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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