It’s pretty cool to talk to bands you grew up on and learn a thing or two you didn’t know. To me, there were 80s rock bands and then there was RATT. I have no qualms admitting my total fan boy adoration for the rodents back in my school days and I still feel the same way. They were the epitome of sleazy 80s hard rock and so I was pretty surprised to be talking to yet another member of RATT. In the interest of fairness, we talked to drummer Bobby Blotzer about his response to our interview with Juan Croucier, his new wine and sauce business, his relationships with the other RATT guys and more. Read on…
Q: The obvious first question….how did you end up in the food and beverage business Bobby?
A: Well…I found out we were going to be taking a little hiatus from RATT this year because that’s what my bandmates wanted to do. I didn’t think I was really going to have time to join a project musically because RATT is so unpredictable and you never know. They could get ahold of me and say they changed their mind and want to go out on the road and I didn’t want to half commit to another project. I wanted something to do and step forward with something else and start some companies. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do anyway.
Q: Is the hot sauce something you’ve always dabbled with anyway over the years?
A: Yeah, I’ve always made my own salsa for about 35 years. Family and friends have always encouraged me to put it out because it’s pretty delicious, so we have that coming soon, it’s called Blotz Sauce. The first sauce which is out NOW is called PI-RATT and it’s a hot Caribbean rum sauce. The tag line is “If it’s too hot, you’re too old”. It’s the first of five sauces we’re comin out with. It’s really good, I just debuted it down at a convention over the weekend in Orlando and the response has been phenomenal. The wine went over really well too, I sold out of ALL the wine and all the rum sauce. The products are available online through www.artistwine.com and www.bobbyblotzer.com you can have them delivered to your house. I’m proud of it all because it’s all really good stuff and I’ve been personally involved in all of it. I have a series of books coming out called WANTED…Things You NEED to Know. It’s kind of an interesting concept because it’s an interactive book series between the fans and I. Fans submit ideas and questions and I just roll with it. The books are going to focus on all kinds of things, anything about rock, music, publishing, touring, hotels, recording, you name it and it will be covered. The first one focuses on 80s rock and its in the finishing stages.
Q: Are these other projects as fulfilling creatively as they are business wise?
A: Absolutely. The Wine in of itself is a really cool project. I partnered with a true friend and expert Kristian Story to make two signature Out of the Cellar wines, one called “Slip of the Lip” and one called “Body Talk”. It’s a more complicated process than a lot of people would think but it’s definitely fulfilling.
Q: You’re also still promoting your autobiography, Tales of a RATT. I know some of your bandmates have taken swipes at you in the press about it, including Juan and Jizzy here. I’ve just started reading it but it looks pretty straightforward actually. Normal kid from Pennsylvania trying to make his way thru rock stardom….
A: It’s going great John….I think you’ll really like it. It’s been an really revealing and expressive thing for me to do this. It’s been out over a year and it’s still selling well on Amazon and on my website and I have heard nothing but great things about it. Fans are overwhelmingly giving me positive vibes about it. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this and all of these stories of my 52 years on this planet. I wanted to share all of these crazy stories, all of my friends that talk to me wanted me to share them. I’ll have friends out on my boat or on a ski trip and just be bullshitting and talking and they’ve always been like “Blotz…you need to put that stuff out in book form, you need to do it”. So I did. It really means a lot to me that people actually take the time to read it. It’s my book, it’s all done in my words, my co-author really helped with things like timing and context and color. Stephen Pearcy was just on That Metal Show and said it was a work of fiction, it’s not. It’s all me, why would I bluff my own story. How can it be when it’s about my life. Don’t you think I KNOW my life? (laughs). I’d just like to know how that’s even possible. How do you sham or flim flam your own life experiences? Juan told you that he’s not interested in reading it and that’s because he’s scared to read the truth. He already knows the truth. Jizzy is someone who is very intelligent and very well spoken and I have a lot of respect for. I enjoyed working with him. He is also the biggest conspiracy theorist on earth. He is a conspiracy theorist across the board UNLESS it involves himself. He is the only person on the planet who‘s doing the right thing. That‘s not a knock on Jizzy, it‘s just the truth. As far as Jizzy saying in your interview that most rock and roll books are B.S. and in need of spellcheck maybe he’s referring to his own books. He’s sure as hell not speaking of mine. You know what’s funny about all this is that I was absolutely dead set on not writing anything just to be sensational or anything that would embarrass anybody’s children, wives or ex-wives. I really handled stuff that was UNAVOIDABLE to talk about and it’s not even stuff that hasn’t already been spoken about in venues such as Behind The Music. I had to talk about those things and I had to talk about them in more detail. How stupid would I be to not talk about them. You take a poll of anyone who’s finished that book and ask them what they think, everyone has been overwhelmingly positive.
Q: Was it just the fact that you were the first RATT guy to come out with a book and give your take on things?
A: I don’t know. I will tell you I knew when to pull back the reins and what NOT to say so I am pretty surprised that some of the people I’ve played music with are saying these things. Stephen said that on “That Metal Show” and I called him on it. I said “Stephen …..what you said isn’t true….have you even read it?” and he said “No, but people have told me this and that“. I said “Let me tell you something Stephen…there’s no fiction in there. It’s all true and believe me when I say I actually held BACK on some things”. Go get it on Kindle for ten bucks and see for yourself man. (laughs). Fans and people I talk to have told me they love it and it’s the best autobiography they’ve ever read including Motley’s or Ozzy’s. I’m not saying that to be cocky, it’s just that it is a FUN book. It’s not all misery and excess there’s a lot of good times and fun in my book. There are ups and downs, sure, there are the sad parts and peaks and valleys in anyone’s life story but by and large it is a fun book.
Q: Well, you definitely have some stories. The RATT Behind the Music is one of the best in the series. Do you still get a lot of feedback on it?
A: (laughs) Yeah. I remember before my Mom died she was like “Oh Bobby!!!” and I was like “Mom, I’m in a band called RATT not a band called the Boy Scouts okay? This is what we did. It was the way we lived and it’s not just us Mom, all those entertainers whether it was country or whatever they were in the same boat. The road’s a lonely place and the only thing there is to do is party and have a good time to keep from going nutty.”
Q: It was a good episdode but as a Robbin fan it seemed like they really edited it to make it look like he was the only fuckup of the band right down to the style and editing of it. Was it ever a case of Warren or you or Stephen fuckin things up, not having your shit together or causing things to go wrong?
A: Absolutely John. Everybody was guilty of that back in those days okay. So let’s just clear that up right now. Stephen took it to one level, Robbin took it to one level, and so on… there’s different levels. The thing about Behind the Music is that they edit it to dramatize and patronize and they edit things out of context. Take for instance that opening scene of me going “Ohh, I threw up in the ashtray”. That was me hamming it up for the camera in japan doing an IMPERSONATION of Juan from the night before. I was like “Dude, Juan, this was YOU last night….” and we had the camera rolling. I went into my version of Juan being so wasted the night before and was just joking around talking about Juan. Then VH1 gets the footage and number one misses the point that I was joking and number two makes it look like I was talking about myself.
Q: Speaking of Japan, is that something you wanna do again?
A: Every year I wanna be in Japan. I think we should always include Japan in our itinerary. We should be playing over there, I know we can draw people and earn over there. This band touring in general can earn. We should be playing 100 shows a year at least but we’re not.
Q: Since you guys were always one of my favorites and I am a huge Robbin Crosby fan I would be remiss to not ask you. How important was Robbin in the development and signature sound of RATT?
A: Well, he was obviously one of the main architects as far as the sound of the band. He wrote SO many of the original lead melodies and riffs of those classic RATT songs both lead guitar and rythym guitar. He helped out with the lyrics, people loved him, he was a good looking guy. He was really, really good to the fans and everyone in general, band members families. He was just a really good guy. He was very well educated and intelligent which always bothered me that he wasn’t able to physically or mentally resist smack. I didn’t even know for YEARS that he was doing that shit. I’d never seen smack before in my life. It really irked me to visit him and see him in the condition that he was in knowing full well what he was capable of. The way he left this earth is pretty insanely hard to deal with. I would ask him “Why are you doin this?…..It’s one thing to snort blow on the bus back in the day just to keep partying or whatever but even THAT I’ve never been addicted to”. He on the other hand told me “I don’t ever want anyone to even TRY it, once you do it that euphoric feeling that comes over you just CONSUMES you and you always want to have that feeling. It’s unexplainable to you someone who hasn’t done it and it sucks that you can’t stop chasing that feeling”. Some people, somehow are able to stop but of course our buddy Robbin couldn’t find his way, his cure, to get off it. The fact that he is truly gone and the five of us will never be onstage together HAS hit me several times. To be honest it has hit me many, many times over the years and it just sucks. I’m a big Beatles fan…It sucks just like it sucks to know that two of those guys are gone. Life is just weird, it can be great but sometimes it can just be a shitty, down place to be. Life is weird. I miss Robbin for sure.
Q: Given the circumstances do you think Carlos (Cavaso) has done a pretty good job of filling that void? It must be hard for him, first taking over for Randy Rhoads and then taking over for Robbin.
A: I do, I think he does a great job of playing guitar in RATT. I liked having Corabi but he wasn’t really the same style of player as Robbin. Carlos is much closer to that style and vein and everybody seems to pick up on it. He is also super easy to work with as was Robbin, really mellow and likable. I really enjoy having Carlos be a part of RATT. He’s not only a great guy but a great player and he will continue to be a part of RATT, we’ve started writing tunes for this next record.
Q: Speaking of moving forward with RATT. How much of a distraction is it to the business of RATT when Stephen’s off doing solo albums and tours and Warren’s off doing his thing?
A: It’s a JOKE to me the way that these guys handle business. We should have been working this past summer, out there touring or getting ready for the next record. Those two guys took it upon themselves to basically refuse to work or tour, and then incidentally when Stephen finally gave in and decides “Okay, whatever let’s get out there and tour” suddenly Warren decides he’s not going to tour, I guess to teach Stephen a lesson. In my opinion, it’s all just really bad business and really petty. I don’t think coming off a really great record like “INFESTATION” that this was the right move for the band to be making. We did a record that was a true return to form, we had two Grammy considerations, top five album in Japan and Canada, top 30 in the States. We should be STEAMROLLING right now and as far as Stephen doing a solo album, that is something I do not understand. Stephen is a part of RATT and our label Roadrunner picked up our option for the next album, I don’t think Stephen or anyone is able to release ANYTHING. He shouldn’t be putting anything out unless it’s a RATT record.
Q: Sometimes I’ve heard some of his solo projects and thought to myself “Why not release that as RATT?”
A: That’s just it though. He’s put out these records and I don’t think ANY of it compares to RATT. I don’t think I’ve heard anything on his albums over all these years that I would at all consider RATT. Granted, I haven’t heard every song or even every record he’s done but what I have heard of Stephen without us has always been like “Ok, whatever, I’m not too concerned about that”. You know? That goes for a lot of bands’ solo projects. It’s only RATT when you take us and get us all together with each other’s material. Then it becomes RATT music. You will not hear songs like we’ve had on RATT records on anybody else’s solo material.
Q: So how are things between you and Warren at this point?
A: I’d say “lukewarm”. That’s a good term. I talked to him for the first time in about a year. I mean, it WAS a good conversation but honestly I would characterize it as lukewarm. Stephen and I talk frequently and that is what it is, we’re not at all on non-speaking terms. I ran into Juan Croucier actually about a month ago and had a good ten minute talk with him which was….interesting. I’ve actually got the Juan interview with you guys right here in front of me as I’m talking to you, someone sent it to me. Typical bullshit from him.
Q: Wow. That’s interesting. Yeah, he actually said he was holding back and didn’t want to say anything to add fuel to the fire. You took issue with some of what he said?
A: Well, there’s a lot of outright lies. Like I said, typical. The truth in his interview is that we did grow up together, went to school together and definitely had a great time together. Where it starts to bother me is when he’s discussing his coming BACK to RATT. He states that it ISNT true that he wouldn’t come back to us for family reasons. Not true. That WAS one of the reasons he wouldn’t come back, actually one of the first and foremost reasons in 1996 that he gave for not wanting to reuinite. Then in 2007 when Stephen came back we were all on the phone for three months plotting the course. We were setting up the guidelines and plotting the course to the official reunion of the four of us. At the very last moment and at a very inopportune time for the band we get an EMAIL from Juan making all of these demands. He said “Unless I am reimbursed 200,000 dollars in restitution from you guys for the past ten years I will not do this reunion”. Which was pretty shocking since the last time in 1996 he lost his position in RATT because he was hedging and hesitating and preventing us from being able to reunite. His position in 1996 was “If I’m not doing it then NOONE’s doing it” and he tried to prevent the rest of us from going out because HE didn’t want to. I personally begged him to do it. Begged. I begged his brother to talk some sense into him. So of course we just steamrolled over that and went out with Robbie Crane. This is the TRUTH that I am telling you. This is the definition of truth. If Juan wants to talk to LEGENDARY ROCK INTERVIEWS and state otherwise then he is not only lying to you and your audience but he is lying to HIMSELF. The funny thing, or the sad thing is that before he pulled that stunt via email in 2007 the conversations were going well. We were on course to reunite the four of us and do the album and tour. In 2007 I was in Texas producing other records and the RATT guys were all out in California and we just started flinging around the idea of getting the original band back together and doin it. We wanted to give ourselves and the fans EXACTLY what we wanted and he pulls this stunt and made these demands. His reaction was “Oh, They’re blown away” by the fact that he did it. I’ll tell you. I wasn’t blown away. It was just typical Juan. It didn’t work out for a reason and he wasn’t on the record for a reason, it would have never survived. It would have never made it through recording the new record because Juan is just an incredible egomaniac. He has worked hard at perfecting an image and can come across kind and articulate to you in interviews or whatever but the truth is it is an act. He is passing himself off that way, he does come off very well spoken but I don’t even know if he graduated high school, we were so busy playing at that point. I know I did. The other thing he is blatently lying to you about his how busy he has been playing out since RATT. He has done like 5, 10 gigs in the last 20 years. He’s on your page saying all this bullshit about how he didn’t refuse RATT because of family or kids and how he‘s in all these bands. That’s not the truth Juan. I don’t dig it when people don’t tell the truth. If you’re gonna make it a point to put yourself out there and do interviews and everything you shouldn’t LIE. They’re your words, your story, no REASON to lie. But he is.
Q: So you’re saying he should have been on “INFESTATION”?
A: Absolutely. Not just on the record but he also should have been out with us in 2007 before that on the RATT/POISON tour. But he has to shoot himself in the foot. He has to pull out at the last minute or be totally impossible to deal with. When he’s making demands to pay HIM for us not including him the first time around when it was HE who wouldn’t participate??? At that point the official reunion of the four of us was off the table. One other thing about Juan that a LOT of people don’t know. It was HE who chose to break the news about Robbin’s cause of death to Behind The Music in his private interview. Everyone knew that Robbin was suffering from AIDS but nobody knew that Robbin had succumb to a heroin overdose. Nobody, I mean nobody put that out there as public knowledge, not Robbin’s family, not the band, noone. Juan took it upon himself to reveal that on Behind the Music and it was so wrong and unfair to Robbin’s family . It was so hurtful and so wrong moralistically to put that out there without consent. Let me tell you, he infuriated the RATT camp in general with that comment. It wasn’t made public by any news source or anything but Juan took it upon himself to do step over the family and release that information. I have no idea why other than the fact that he is just an egomaniacal and bitter individual. You can see it on his face in those interviews, he may be happy about his life now and his family that he loves but when it comes to this band he is the most bitter individual hands down.
Q: Just wondering….25 years ago, during that era, which band member were you closest with? Who did you confide in or get along best with?
A: Probably Robbin to be honest. He was the most reasonable and sensible. Like I said, he was a really intelligent and likeable guy. The good thing about comin up and making it in a band is usually that everyone’s business sense and decision making is usually pretty straightforward and clear, GOAL FOCUSED. Now, there’s two guys in the band who have all these demands and Warren and I are left owning the name and Stephen, who doesn’t own the name. Up until now that had been fine with him but then recently Stephen started making all these moves and demands and as I said refused to tour. Now that Stephen is seeing eye to eye we have Warren DiMartini refusing to tour. I’m just left here trying to hold it all together. It’s not easy (laughs).
Q: Realize it’s going back a ways but what do you take out of the earliest era of the band? Was it a struggle leading up to making that first self-titled EP?
A: Not really (laughs). It was pretty quick actually. I’m trying to remember, June of 1982. The recording went pretty quick and then it came out in 1983 which led to the deal with Atlantic. It was an exciting time for sure. I go into a LOT of detail about that in my book. It all took off like gangbusters from that point forward.
Q: “Out of the Cellar” was just massive right out the gate. What was it like being launched into instant headliner status on your first full length album?
A: Yeah, obviously it was pretty cool but pretty crazy also. We were out on the road opening for Ozzy. Then it started…. we were headlining theaters and then it just kept building and building. The album went platinum several times and we were all over MTV. It was the first taste and test of fame. Next thing we knew we were huge over in Japan and headlining arenas here. Quite a jump to go from playing in clubs to having three or four semi’s worth of gear.
Q: You then did “Invasion of Your Privacy” and “Dancin Undercover”, both great albums. It got to the point where we could count on there being a Ratt album in a timely fashion but it must have been challenging. Were there times in that era 85-88 where it seemed like you really didn’t even have a chance to breath as a band? Like “ the machine” was just propelling you forward?
A: Definitely. That’s a good way of putting it. We never had enough time to breathe between albums. Never, not ever. That’s exactly what it was, it was a machine, building steam, steamrolling over everything.
Q: Juan mentioned that you toured with Cheap Trick in those days. When was that and what was that like, having an established band tour with you as openers?
A: I think that was 86. It was 86/87. I thought it was pretty cool because I was in Top 40 bands growing up playing Cheap Trick tunes, cover tunes. That was years before that but still it was pretty cool and they were pretty cool guys, nice guys. We got along pretty good and had fun during that time. It was nice being able to play every night and also get to see CHEAP TRICK!
Q: That sort of says a lot about how big RATT got in that time, how high you scaled the heights, doesn’t it? You also had Metallica open up for you during your club days!!
A: When the occasional person who doesn’t know me asks who RATT is, I always ask them “Have you ever heard of Bon Jovi?” and of course they go “Yeah!!!” and I go “Yeah, they were our opening band”. (laughs). They’ll be like “No, you’re serious???” (laughs). At the end of the day it’s cool to look back on everything we’ve done and know that there’s still time to do more. Still more new people to introduce the music to.
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