Tag Archives: Ratt

Stephen Pearcy’s Back For More With His New Album Smash And Gives Updates On Ratt

By Andrew Catania

*This is a repost from my January 2017 interview*

An axeman composer, a master musician, a skilled producer, an excellent lyricist, and an experienced record label owner, Stephen Eric Pearcy is a complete music institution on his own. The prominent music figure rose to a stature of global prominence in the decade of 1980s at the platform of his brainchild RATT, a heavy metal band that he co-founded in 1983, with lead guitarist Robbin Crosby. This joint venture turned out to be a rocking feat and eventually became his original identity. Not looking back since the launch in 1983, RATT ruled the following decades through multiple gold, platinum, and multi-platinum record selling releases.

Unlike his contemporaries, Pearcy had no significant interest in music from his childhood, instead favoring automobiles and car racing. He might have become a race driver, but destiny had other things planned for him. Having met a severe car accident, Stephen fought for his life for six whole months lying on the ICU bed. It was then that someone presented him with a basic acoustic guitar, and Pearcy started fiddling with the chords. The magic of the strings did not take much time to bewitch the sporty Pearcy with its melodious charisma, and after recovering from the accident, Pearcy decided to test his mettle in the metal music domain. After a lot of learning, jamming and a couple of side performances, Stephen Pearcy eventually co-founded Mickey Ratt, which was later named as RATT.

The band established a healthy regional following through frequent performances in eminent local clubs. Then, the release of their first EP brought the band into the limelight. This was just the start for the band. The EP’s success fueled Pearcy’s motivations, and the combined efforts of the lineup resulted in the release of their first album titled ‘Out of the Cellar’ in 1984. The multi platinum album broke all previous records, uplifting the music competition of the decade to a whole new level. However, this too was just a start, and Pearcy was determined to bag more success and fame.

At a time when RATT was ruling the music charts with its fiery performances and had already had three gold-selling albums and four multi-platinum-selling albums, Pearcy’s restless nature compelled him to take the high road, and he eventually bid farewell to the band in 1992.

Despite his other associations with Arcade, Vertex, Vicious Delite and special guest appearances, it is still RATT that accounts for his original identity in the domain of music. He has tested his skills in some genres such as rock, industrial and heavy, glam and alternative metal, on a variety of instruments. He has also established a sound solo portfolio and launched his record label in 1995. Stephen Pearcy has also pursued a career in acting and holds some significant appearances in Camp Utopia and Wicked City to his name. Stephen Pearcy is now entirely focused on extending his solo profile. He ran his label called ‘Top Fuel Records’ and published his biography titled “Sex, Drugs and Ratt ‘n’ Roll” in 2014.

We recently had a formal chit chat with the versatile maestro about his past, influences, techniques, his upcoming solo record and personal viewpoint about his association with RATT. Here is the interview, presented with all the intricate details for his fans and music enthusiasts. Read on.

I listened to your album it sounds excellent.  It brings me back to the Sweet Cheater days of RATT.  

Ah, I’m glad you said that!  Thank you.  That was a conscious thing to do.

Ok.  This album, I am reading what you said, the creativity was different from your previous bands.  How was that?

You mean with Ratt?

Yes.  Ratt or Arcade

Yes.  My solo stuff,  especially with my co-writer Erik, my lead guitar player is the stuff we do it could cover something like very Zeppelin like ‘73 to the boldest thing on the planet.  That’s what I like about how we write; it gives me room to move in other directions.  What was a conscious decision with Smash was to make sure this record had a lot of diversity and all songs got the same attention?  It was a beginning and end and some stuff in there you know, Kix is for kids, that kind of thing. It was way different.  It took a while to record this album to write it and everything.  We wrote so much music, and every time we thought we were onto something he would show me something else, and I would go nope that’s number one now.  So this was constantly happening, and the songs just kept getting better and better, and I’m able to do a lot more with my solo music, talk about things.  You know a little more mind expanding per say or just stretch you know the light and the dark and the colors to change to ebb and flow everything. We wanted this record to have everything. It was just like the EP, and that’s where we made sure we were conscious that there was a lot of breathing room in most of this material.  That it just wasn’t cluttered and there was room to breathe like the EP you know or at least other songs that I wrote back in the day.

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This has got Ratt written all over it. I mean I know you’re trying to solo, but you’ve got Beau Hill out there mixing it

Yes, I’ve got to clarify something.  Beau Hill mixed and mastered one song.  We couldn’t get him to the full project, so we pretty much took that schematic from I Can’t Take It, and we just went from there but I still have a song in the can that he mixed and mastered.  We tried everything with this record there was no stone left unturned when it came to this, ideas and just being diverse.  Like Physical Graffiti or something.  I wasn’t trying to accomplish Physical Graffiti. Otherwise,  there would have been 20 songs.  I had the 20 songs.  I get to stretch more with my solo stuff, and a song like Ten Miles Wide is going to be the video single before the record is released.  We start shooting in about a week.  That is Erik my guitar player channeling Robbin Crosby without a doubt.  It is something Robbin would have come up with without a doubt, you know. Right out of the box you know, smack, Ratt! You know what, what can I say, my voice, it doesn’t matter if it’s me doing an industrial record without the Charlie Vortex it’s still my voice and that’s cool but I don’t try to change my voice to suit anything I just try different things and see where it takes me.  It’s like a road trip, and you don’t know where you’re going until you get there. We’re happy with it though we accomplished it.  I’ve only released the lyrics on two records.  One was Detonator which I was reluctant to do and Smash.  On Smash I was thrilled I put the lyrics on there because a lot is going on in that record lyrically that people will open their eye’s to instead of having their eye’s bleeding.  You know a lot is going on in that record inside a distinct tune like Lollipop or something.  I have to have something entertaining in there.  This stuff is interesting,  to say the least you know

Absolutely!  Working with Erik how is that different from working with Warren with songwriting and guitars? 

With Ratt music whether it was Warren or myself or Warren it’s a little more complicated because we know what we have to do and we’re actually kind of demoing stuff now for something later on in the year I hope but with Erik that guy is a writing machine and so am I so if he give’s me something and it hit’s me somewhere I mean it’s done in one day. But with Smash even though we had song’s like that I made sure that the lyrics were as perfect as they could be, said what they had to say and I changed the lyrics so many times on these song’s I mean literally I had lyric’s for song’s and scrapped them and started over but he’s just a writing machine.  He might just come up with a title and say here’s an idea that I have and the next thing you know I’ve got Lyric’s written for this thing already.  It’s crazy! It’s a unique writing situation I have with him I’ve been working with the guy for 15 years now.  He’s been in my solo band so we have this different kind of chemistry to where Warren and the other guy’s in Ratt whether it was Robbin or Juan or collectively all of us or one of us or two of us it’s a little more ‘we’re thinking’ Ratt music you know what I mean?

Right

With the solo stuff,  we’re not thinking anything we just go for it and make sure it’s the best we can do

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Your voice sounds a lot better on this album.  Have you re-done anything or is it just activity-wise you’re just stretching yourself out?

Well you know, it’s a slower record it’s a whole different environment number one, number two there’s not a lot of triple tracks, double tracks per say there’s more melody stuff over the lead tracks than anything you know like early Zeppelin or Judas Priest or something it’s just one guy, me, you know. I think there is only one song where Erik sing’s a bridge part, and that is way uncommon.  I took a different approach you know I didn’t want it to be like the Ratt schematic.  It’s unique in itself with Beau, and that’s how we get our sounds.  I sing a central a low and a high and then we throw the melodies over that.  With this record we took the approach like OK we’re just going to do the lead vocal track and then we’re going to put the melodies or whatever below or above it, so we took a different approach, and it’s evident you know what I mean there’s not a lot of poop going on there’s no auto tuning there’s not a lot of crazy stuff going on

Like I said Sweet Cheater sound, there’s just nothing, there’s just you.

Yes and you know it was a conscious thing, so we did accomplish what we wanted.  We started, we made sure we stayed true to what we were doing and just went for it, and if it weren’t right we’d put it aside and get back to it later, and if we didn’t like it, we’d start on something else.  That’s the way it works when I do solo stuff now, so it worked out for good. We spent a lot of time it was probably three month’s in the studio off and on, but it was more like a year of writing

OK.  You still have your label correct?

Yes! That I started in ‘95 yes. I licensed a record to Frontiers

That was my next question. How did you get involved with Frontiers?  Because I know you have so much going on you’re a producer you’re a label, you’re a director, drag racing you’ve got your hands in all kinds of stuff

Yes,  the last thing I did is I’m trying to get into music with tv and stuff and still do that.  What I had planned was a four song EP release and then when Frontiers got wind of I Can’t Take It and stuff they showed interest in Shulman who’s an old Atlantic relation so I was like OK well sure let me instigate this I usually do my stuff so I pretty much went for it and jumped tracks as I said and the next thing you know it was like alright you’re doing a full record now so let’s get busy, and we did.  We just went at it and gave him the best thing we could give him.

Regarding licensing with Frontiers are you just doing a one album deal or do you have commitments after that with them depending on how this does?

No,  I believe there is an option yes.  I’m sure we’ll do another solo record with them yes.  First I’ve got to get a Ratt record out

erik-5 greg-5

Is all of the legal stuff done between all parties involved with Ratt?

Yes the dust has settled pretty much, and it’s getting cemented, and yes the thing with Ratt is to look,  we have the ability to say look we don’t want to do anything for a year or two or three it’s just pen’s right, so that’s what happens. As we were doing that Warren didn’t want to go out there without all of us ‘the original’ and someone just decided well I’m going out there and I’m going to do my own thing and I’m going to call it this.  Well,  unfortunately, that was a bad move not only for our fans but business and the real integrity of the entity.  So hence this person created all these things going down.  I don’t want to mention names or bad rap or nothing because justice is peace and things are done and taken care of and like I say the dust has pretty much settled and we’re going out and doing our thing.  Ratt’s first show is February 11th, and then we headline M3 you know a lot is going on there, but it’s got to be done right.  There’s a lot of this mess created but one thing you can’t do especially a person who didn’t write music or anything is trying to change a course of history and its four member’s you know, and that was the worst thing I thought possible you know we’re not ones to get out there and chit chat for the sake of doing it.  It’s not like the Hitler approach where you tell the people the same thing enough they’ll believe it.  Our audience isn’t that stupid.  They’re brilliant they’ve been around for thirty years you know.  You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of them hence things took care of themselves pretty much and so we’re moving ahead.  A lot more to go down and like I said Warren, and I have already started dabbling and writing, and we’ll see what happens.  We’d like to get something out sometime this year, but we’ve still got a lot to accomplish and take it slow and easy and make sure it’s done right time and make sure there’s no if and’s or buts and hopefully,  we can have another few years out there for everybody.

Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt! Do you think there is any reconciliation between you and Bobby Blotzer?

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK. No all I know is there are Warren and myself, and Juan and Carlos are back in the game, and we’ll figure out who’s on the fifth when we get there.

Carlos was a great addition to the last album

Yes.  The first two songs Carlos and I wrote for Infestation.  It was crazy. I sunk my teeth into those songs so fast.  Some things just happen the same with writing with Erik or Warren sometimes.  The last thing I just did with Warren him and I he showed me this riff and the next thing you know I’m in there singing and writing lyrics, and we’re looking at each other going this is cool, and this was what, a few weeks ago?  I just like writing.  I don’t stop, but I do have an obligation with Smash, and it’s an excellent record, and it needs to be heard it needs to be out there. We’ll be out there playing a lot of songs from it live.  Some Arcade.  I’ve got Frank back on guitar from Arcade, my solo band

No way did you?

Yes! He’s back in the mix and-and, so we’re ready to go.  We’re going to have a good time and like I say Ratt’s gearing up to do some good things nothing to be able to talk about now really, but it will be a beautiful, fulfilling year, to say the least.

When you look at Arcade, the first one A/2 that came out if the grunge thing did not take that would have been a platinum-selling album.  I still play Arcade in the car to this day.

I love that record

Nothing To Lose your vocals you were spot on. I thought that was one of your best albums vocally
Thank you

I still play it and these kids today say who’s this?  Is it Ratt?  I said no Stephen Pearcy is from Ratt, but this is Arcade you’ve got Fred Coury on drums you guys were just in tune.

You know I’ve got to tell you that was Johnny Angel co-wrote all those songs with Fred and myself and it’s one of those records that just happened you know.  Every song it was just almost handed to us lyrics came easy it just came easy it was a great deal.  We had Epic/Sony behind us, and I didn’t skip a beat you know we were just off and ran.  I wrote again got diversity with Mother Blue Sons And Daughters and then Nothing To Lose I wrote with Jim Vallance.  Never Going Home, Jim Vallance I mean that was an excellent record.  The second was a little more aggressive.  I had Holford solo producer in there, and so that was a bit more aggressive.  I still like that record too but the first one, it’s one of my favorite records.

You have a busy year ahead of you I know you host M3 you guy’s are headlining M3

Yes

Are you going to have your single band with any of the same dates as Ratt or is that going to be a no-no?  

No, they are two different entities.  We plan on doing other stuff with Ratt because we want to get out and start hitting other parts of the planet. We’ll see I mean I’ve been told about some great things that could be happening and tours, and so we’ll see.  Nothing I can say now like I say the dust is still settling and still a lot of things to take care of and once that’s done there’s some good stuff that could be on the horizon there.  You know packaging and getting this out there so.  A year is a long time.  Band’s don’t tour like they used to anymore and I don’t want to you know. I’ll be happy doing two to four solo show’s a month if possible, and with Ratt you never know.  We’re taking it easy, starting carefully you know one step at a time and take it from there

You know the promoters are going to be coming after you guy’s to put you on some festival’s with some big names I am sure because you’ve got pretty much the whole kit and kaboodle of Ratt out there

Yes! It’s going down as we speak, yes!

Your voice sounds great in the past but you seem stronger than ever on this album and I can envision you singing with Ratt and Warren DiMartini I’ve always had him in my articles as one of the top ten greatest guitarist’s of all time and Juan is phenomenal with his bass flipping upside down and everything else we’re going to hear some fantastic song’s that’s why I can imagine we’re going to see you guy’s doing something with some big band’s. 

Yes,  there’s some good stuff in the works.  That’s about all I can say.  We’re very excited first with Smash, and the dust has settled or is settling here with Ratt, and we can put things back into perspective, and the real entity is the people who come out and like what we do.  It’s already 33 years old this month, 33 or 34.  As long as we’re around, I think making the right moves is the only way to go about doing it.  I don’t want to go out year after year after year for the sake of doing it.  It should be special you know, and that’s what it’s going to be
Excellent! Well,  Stephen,  I wish you good luck on your solo album.  It sounds great.  Your voice sounds better than ever.  You sound like I’m 11 years old again popping my Sweet Cheater in and telling my big brother about you guys.  

 

I appreciate that man.  I’ve done so many interviews today, and that’s the first one that hit the nail on the head! That was the approach I wanted to take with these songs to go back to that basic breathing.  You don’t have to think much.  It’s right there in your face, so I’m happy to hear that! Thank you!

Just out of curiosity do you think Detonator was a good album for you guys?

You know you believe in every record you do and you know there’s some record’s like the Yellow record we did it after the fact, and it’s not one of my favorites although there are some moment’s and that’s all you can do. It’s all timing you know.  It’s all everything has to be lined up to get that.  With Detonator we weren’t in a good place you know.  We had been on the road non-stop doing these arena tours for years, record after record and we were pretty crispy, pretty abused and pretty addicted.

(Laughter)

We were a fucking mess and so going into Detonator Robbin wasn’t all there with us so that was the beginning of you know I see the end right there but we had a new start after that probably blessed by him and people who still want to hear us but Detonator to me it was a good record.  You can only do with what you’ve got when you’re given only four colored pencils, and you’re told to create the universe.  You’re given a black pencil, and that’s all you’ve got well you’ve got to make do with it.  That’s about it,  you know. So we did what we could.  I like the record.  There are some great songs on there.  I think Way Cool is on there correct?

 

Way Cool Jr was on Reach For The Sky.  Oh OK, Shame, there are some good songs on there and Child Beyond scratch my head

Yes, Dirty Job

 

Thank you very much for keeping that flame alive with Ratt & Roll and your solo projects.  You’re out there it sounds like you’re on the ball.  That first song that Beau Hall did I said we’re right back to the Sweet Cheater days!

Right on brother, I appreciate it!  Yes, we’re pleased with the record

Alright! Congratulations and I’m sure we’ll be talking soon!

Thank you very much, I appreciate it!!

Charvel Unveils New Jake E Lee And Warren Demartini Signature Model Guitars

Charvel continues its long-held partnerships with Warren DeMartini and Jake E Lee with the upcoming release of brand-new signature models. The Warren DeMartini USA Signature Frenchie and the Jake E Lee USA Signature Blue Burst will be unveiled this week at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville, Tenn., and available to consumers in October 2017.

Warren DeMartini USA Signature Frenchie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fans have long clamored for a replica of Warren DeMartini’s famed and beloved “Frenchie” guitar, as seen live on tour and on a slew of magazine covers throughout Ratt’s reign in the 1980s. Charvel has responded with the Warren DeMartini USA Signature Frenchie, available in a Snow White and a Gloss Black finish. Both are detailed with cross decals and a tribute quote to James Dean in French that translates “too fast to live, too young to die.”

The Frenchie also offers premium features such as a Dinky™ alder body, one-piece bolt-on quartersawn maple neck and a 12″- 16″ compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo stainless steel frets and black dot inlays.

Custom-made for the legendary lead guitarist, the Seymour Duncan® Warren DeMartini RTM (“Rattus Tonus Maximus”) bridge pickup is a powerful high-output humbucker that naturally compresses for a well-balanced and even tone, perfect for complex chording and precision soloing. The RTM is boosted by an SSL-4 Quarter Pound neck pickup, adding fat, supercharged punch, and extra sustain.

The Frenchie also features a single volume control knob, three-way toggle switching, a Floyd Rose Original locking bridge and Gotoh® tuning machines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake E Lee USA Signature Blue Burst

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake E Lee’s original Blue Burst guitar gained notoriety during his stint with Ozzy Osbourne, as he recorded and performed live with the famous instrument throughout the band’s pivotal Bark at the Moon and Ultimate Sin years. Charvel® has recreated an unmistakable replica of Lee’s original model down to the very last detail.

The Jake E Lee USA Signature Blue Burst features a poplar body, one-piece bolt-on quartersawn maple neck and a 12” radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and white dot inlays.

Equipped with a versatile customized Seymour Duncan® JB Alnico II humbucking bridge pickup, this model can handle a diverse range of tones from sweet and warm to aggressive and distorted. It’s also supercharged with two powerful single-coil DiMarzio® SDS-1 pickups in the middle and neck for extra gain with a deeper, darker tone. The pickups are controlled with a five-way blade switch and single volume knob.

Available in a mesmerizing Blue Burst, this signature axe also features a brass Charvel hardtail bridge and output jack plate, and black Gotoh® tuning machines.

Ex Steve Stevens Vocalist Forms Radiation Romeos

Radiation Romeos is a new band formed by the amazing singer Parramore McCarty, best known for being the frontman of such legendary US Metal acts Warrior and famed Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens’ solo project, Atomic Playboys (in fact, the inspiration for the name Radiation Romeos came from a line in the song “Atomic Playboys“).   Their self-titled debut record will be released on June 2, 2017, via Frontiers Records.

Musically, the band moves in a melodic hard rock direction with solid, metallic edges thanks to the production of Michael Voss (Phantom 5, Casanova, Michael Schenker), who also contributed to the songwriting. In the studio, Parramore sang all vocals with Dag Heyne handling guitars, Jogi Spittka on bass, and Gereon Homann laying down the drum work with gusto!

Parramore McCarty’s career in music started when Robbin Crosby of Ratt gave him his start singing in cover bands. His first major label album was “Fighting For the Earth” on Virgin Records in 1985 for the legendary heavy metal band Warrior. Steve Stevens’ Atomic Playboys followed in 1989 on Warner Bros. Records. Then he returned to Warrior and also started gigging in the LA area with Metal Freqs and Monster Traxx.

Radiation Romeos will take no prisoners with their exciting mixture of muscular hard rock anthems and killer melodic songs!

Jackson Soloist SLX Electric Guitar (Black)Charvel Pro Mod So Cal Style 1 2H FR Electric Guitar (Metallic Black)

Save Up to $800.00 on Gibson USA 2016 Guitars!

Former Ratt Guitarist Robbin Crosby’s Last Two Years Of Life Documented

This is a Journal of the last two years of the late Robbin Crosby’s life.  Curt Dudley was nice enough to share it.  It’s rather long so buckle in for a great read!

Copyright Curt Dudley used with permission

By Curt Dudley

July 2002

I have been waiting for the right time to let some of this out. I have struggled with it since the day Robbin died. I wanted to express some of it publicly June 14th 2002, at Robbin’s memorial service, but the pain was still too much to bear…I felt I would fall apart in front of the 200 odd people (mostly strangers to me) there…so I just stood frozen on the beach & didn’t say anything.

I met Robbin through Photographer Neil Zlozower. I had gone to Neil in search of some professional photos of Robbin in action with his cherished Jackson Guitars. I am a guitar collector and had acquired a few of Robbin’s guitars and I REALLY wanted some good shots of ‘The King’ from the glory days of RATT with the guitars I now own….just makes having them that much more personal & special.

In talking with Neil he mentioned ‘Hey, Robbin is in the hospital just a few miles from here…I bet he’d sign these prints for you and in any case I know he would appreciate the company, just take him a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps if you go’. Hmmm….I took down the address & went the next day. Armed with a few prints, a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps and a silver pen, I went to see Robbin.

 

Meeting a King

‘Do I know you….????’ Is the first thing he said to me. He had that characteristic ‘King’ tone in his voice. After explaining why I was there, we got to talking. Just some small talk & some superficial talk of the ’80’s & RATT. I was there about an hour and something happened to me that day…I left there with a new appreciation for life. Here was this giant of a man lying there unable to walk or even to sit up (he had just had major back surgery) and obviously in a lot of pain and very lonely…yet he was willing to talk with someone he didn’t even know.  When I got up to leave he says …’Hey, nice to meet you, would you mind visiting me every once in awhile’. I promised I would. I left there without any autographs…I just didn’t have the heart to ask.

 

I was not prepared for the wild ride of emotions I would experience over the next 2 years. I learned a LOT about what is important in life from this gentle giant. I’ll put them in sort of Diary form & only quote Robbin where I remember EXACTLY what he said. They are just snapshots of things I remember and only meant to offer some insight into the last years of his extraordinary life…

Copyright Curt Dudley used with permission

Robbin on Spirituality:

One day we started talking about Religion and Spirituality & he gave me his thoughts. “I wouldn’t consider myself religious, per se, I would say I’m more spiritual’. He explained it more in terms of ‘Karma’ and a ‘natural flow’ of things in the universe. I asked him ‘So do you believe in god …or not?’ He said ‘I don’t know, but one thing is for sure…You & I ain’t drivin’ the boat!’ …Classic King.

 

Robbin on RATT:

We talked often, naturally, about RATT & his thoughts about success, his bandmates & life the road. He had a lot to say about his bandmates…not all of it good . He would say ‘Listen to the EP…that’s the real RATT…we just got too polished after that’. He loved Warren, ‘ He’s like my little brother’ but he felt that Warren didn’t respect his playing after RATT had attained some success. As for Bobby, I asked him one day ‘If you could have ANY drummer play with you on your new project…who would it be? His answer: ‘Blotz….he’s the best there is ‘. What did he think of Pearcy? ‘Pearcy is a punk and only cares for himself….he can’t even sing in key live…we had a lot of problems with that on tour’. Juan was his favorite bass player and a very close & dear friend….although they did have their differences.

 

El Paso ’96 and War Party

In 1996 Robbin was living in El Paso Texas with his girlfriend, Jolie Gregory’s, family. He had left LA to, in his words, ‘go & get well’. He was using Heroin heavily and things had not gone well for him, as a result, since he had left RATT. He accepted an invitation to go there and spend some time with Jolie’s family and just get away from LA for awhile. While living in El Paso he started playing again…In a COUNTRY band!!! An all original ‘up-tempo’ country rock band  It was called ‘Bill & Kev and War Party’ . I’ve never seen anything funnier or cool at the same time. I have the video from a Sept. ’96 gig. The King onstage with War Party at a local joint. Robbin seems rather subdued at first but then after he warms up a bit, he proceeds to just RIP the most killer lead guitar through these country songs!! Picture Jimi Hendrix playing lead through a Travis Tritt song and you have the idea. Also in the video can be seen his beloved black labrador ‘Rosie’ mingling with the crowd. At one point during a song the singer can be heard saying ‘Ladies & gentlemen, Mr. Robbin Crosby’ as Robbin begins a BLISTERING lead!! The crowd is just dumbstruck and looks as if they’ve NEVER heard anything like that before …at least not in a country song! Robbin was very proud of this band…not because of the quality of music or talent…but because it allowed him to regain some lost dignity & start playing live again. He said he was forever indebted to Jolie’s family for helping him get back on his feet & getting him in contact with the local El Paso music scene.

 

The Ill fated 1996 Reunion

At some point in late 1996 he got a call from either ( I can’t remember which) Warren or Stephen…’Get your ass back here, we’re putting RATT back together’ . Robbin was extrememly excited about the prospect of getting back to LA & putting the band back together. He sold most of his belongings in order to travel light and start fresh in LA. He boarded a plane for LA carrying only the clothes he had and a few carry on items. The night he arrived he met Stephen at a club to talk and immediately got a strange vibe from him. They talked but Stephen seemed distant and cold. He spent the night at a friends house & met Warren the next day for lunch…he got the same vibe from Warren. Frustrated, he finally asked “What is going on …we’re gonna do this , right?” He said Warren said something about ” Well… maybe we’ll let you play on a few songs on the record” Robbin said ‘What the FUCK??? LET ME play on a few songs??? I just sold all my shit to move back here to do this!!” Needless to say the reunion didn’t happen. I asked Robbin ‘Well Why? What happened?’ He started to tear up and said that they thought he was ‘too fat and was still using drugs’. He was devastated and felt betrayed BUT…in typical Robbin fashion… he was realistic about it. He said ‘Well I WAS overweight & still using…so I could understand it’.

 

Part II

 

Peppermint Schnapps and ‘Gasoline’

It became a habit when visiting him at Hancock Park Hospital to bring a bottle of 90 proof (HAD to be 90 proof!)Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps. One of the first things I asked Robbin was ‘Why Peppermint Schnapps? SURELY you don’t actually LIKE it!’ He said ‘Hell NO!…but it’s the only thing I can get away with drinking in here…the nurses

can’t tell I’ve been drinking because it smells like I just brushed my teeth!’ The nurses at Hancock Park were pretty strict about alcohol in the building so we had to be careful. When talking about it around anyone Robbin would say ‘Hey, can you bring me some gasoline?’ His code word for booze.

Copyright Curt Dudley used with permission

Isolation & Frustration

I HATE hospitals, as most people do, but from the beginning, I realized that he was extremely lonely & depressed. He told me ‘Virtually no one comes to visit me….’ He told me that the first day and I vowed to make sure that he had company at least once or twice a week. If I couldn’t get away from work for a few days, I would ask a friend or family member to drop by if they could and just talk to him….that’s all Robbin wanted…someone to talk to. He was too proud to ask for help or charity.

 

He was in this place, confined to bed,  24 hours a day 7 days a week for over 2 years. Realistically the place was just a dumping ground for elderly people who were too sick or incapacitated for family to care for. I must say, they did take good care of the people there but it was a very depressing place to be…Robbin had at least 20 different roommates while I knew him…..I would show up one week & see an empty bed next to his and ask ‘what happened to Don?’ RC would say ‘Oh him…he died yesterday’. This went on week after week & after a while I stopped asking. I could see it in his face the effect it had on him but he wouldn’t really express it.

 

One thing that really shocked me at first…totally SHOCKED ME….was that his family  rarely visited. Robbin talked on the phone to ‘Momma‘ or ‘Daddy‘ almost daily, but they live in La Jolla CA (about 100 miles south of LA near San Diego) and are ‘getting up there in age’ & didn’t travel to LA much. I sensed a lot from what Robbin DIDN’T say about his family, that he had put them thru a lot over the years and had ‘burned a few bridges’. He was….as usual…pragmatic about it & understood. His attitude was ‘Oh, its just too far for them to drive…’ He didn’t ever say much about his family. One of the few things I know is, he was VERY fond of his father and ‘missed the vacations in Mexico with dad when I was a kid.’

 

Another thing that hit him really hard was that the guys in RATT would rarely come to see him…despite the fact that they all lived within a 1/2 hours drive. He would talk with them on the phone, sometimes Warren, sometimes Bobby, sometimes Juan, and he would hint around that ‘maybe if you are in the area you could swing by’. They didn’t…

 

I’m not passing judgement on any of them. I’m sure they all have their reasons. He said to me one day ‘WHERE ARE all of my friends? No offense, but isn’t it sad that YOU are my best friend? I’ve only known you a year’. He had a way of cutting to the chase….

 

The only one of his old friends that did stop by often was his old friend ‘Zloz’ …Neil Zlozower.

 

Nicknames and Mexican Food:

Robbin LOVED Mexican food and Sushi….those were his 2 favorites. A couple of his favorite places in town were the famous ‘El Compadre’ Restaurant on Sunset Blvd and ‘Casa Vega’ on Ventura Blvd.  in the San Fernando Valley. I would often call him before stopping by to ask if he wanted lunch. He would say ‘Mmmm…Ropa Vieja from El Compadre would do nicely…’ or ‘Yeah, Get me some Toro & handrolls (sushi) from Yamakasa on Highland’ He really was a connoiseur of food and the only thing he really DIDN’T like to eat was…PIZZA!! I couldn’t believe it! He said ‘Nah…Pizza just plugs me up…for days!’

 

He was big on nicknames. It seemed EVERYONE had a nickname. Mine was ‘Schmengie’ or ‘Schmeckel’…I had NO IDEA what they meant until weeks later. It seems they are yiddish terms for the male organ!! We would be joking around & he would say ‘You’re such a Schmengie’ One of the nurses at the hospital was ‘Speedy’ or the next week it was ‘Rompopie’ or ‘Lima Bean’. Another friend was ‘Bloomer’. All of them were meant

as terms of endearment and he had a million of them. A friend told me once that he sort of felt left out he didn’t have one!!

 

History Lesson:

One day he was talking about the ancient Inca Indians from South America and I was fascinated listening to him tell me all about them…their culture, what they ate, how they lived etc. Now I know he was well-traveled…but the Incas!? !!!  I must have been staring intently at him because he stopped suddenly and said ‘Are you OK?….or am I boring you?’ I said ‘No I’m just surprised  that you know so much about them.’ He said ‘Ahhh….you think I’m just some big dumb rocker who doesn’t know how to read!! Actually you know, I’m fairly intelligent for my size. I’m smarter than the average bear!!’

 

The Time of Day….

Looking back on my 2 short years knowing him, Robbin never ceased to amaze me with his  intelligence, realistic outlook and pure honesty. He was definitely not the sort to ‘sugar coat’ anything….he would always tell you EXACTLY what was on his mind!! We were talking about RATT’s heyday and what it was like to tour the world & meet new people every day in different countries and I said to him, jokingly,  ‘I bet that if I had approached you back then, as opposed to now, you wouldn’t have given me the time of day’ He stopped for a second and said VERY SINCERELY…’You know man…all kidding aside… you’re probably right…. but you have to understand… back then, I didn’t HAVE the time of day!!’

 

Rather than patronize me & tell me what he would suppose I would want to hear…he was honest, forthright and directly to the point. Thinking back on that, I realized just how rare that kind of answer is….

 

Tawny Kitaen & the ‘Rumpleminze Incident’.

I stopped by one afternoon to bring Robbin one of his 3 new guitars, A bright turquoise Epiphone ‘Wildcat’. I had them because there was no room at the hospital to store them. I walked in & froze in place… There was a pretty redhead sitting next to his bed. I said ‘You look really familiar…’ Robbin without missing a beat says ‘Duh…it’s Tawny, you idiot!’ WOW! I have to admit having had a MAJOR crush on her back in the ’80’s (Remember the ‘Back for More’ video?) and there she was!!

 

We talked for awhile and she showed a genuine concern for his condition, she hadn’t seen him in almost 10 years!! Whatever personal problems she may be having, I’m here to say she is a sweet & caring person. Robbin called her his ‘high school sweetheart’ and ‘first and only true love’.

 

After she left ( Robbin had fallen asleep) one of the nurses found a bottle of ‘Rumpleminze Peppermint Schnapps’, A gift from Tawny, in a drawer and went ballistic…So I told her I would take it away.

 

I had, some weeks before, stopped bringing ‘gasoline’ because I realized I wasn’t helping him get any better by providing him with it. In fact, we argued about it. I told him ‘I’m not bringing you anymore gasoline…it’s not helping you’ He said ‘Oh…so you don’t drink eh?

Gimme a break!’ in a very sarcastic & nasty ‘King’ tone.

 

When Robbin inevitably went to look for the bottle HE went ballistic because it wasn’t there. He exploded at the nurse for taking his gift. She didn’t tell him that I had actually taken it. Robbin mentioned it to me one day and I felt like crap… I told him ‘She didn’t take it…I did’ He said ‘Dude…that was a GIFT from a very special person…you had NO right to take my shit, and another thing, I’ll do WHAT the fuck I want, WHEN the fuck I want to!!’. Indeed.  Naturally, I still had the bottle and returned it to him.

 

Here’s the kicker.

 

Robbin called me that night and apologized TO ME as if HE had done something wrong!! ‘Dude I’m sorry I shouldn’t have been so harsh’. That’s just the way he was…I learned from him again, another important life lesson on compassion.

 

Sweet Rosie

Robbin was a true animal lover. He once said ‘I probably love animals more than I love people, they love you without conditions’.   He was one of those people who just came totally unglued and would get all mushy when around animals…you know ‘Awwww…..look at that beautiful dog’. In the late 1980’s shortly before he was married to Playboy Playmate Laurie Carr he got ‘Rosie’, a sweet natured black labrador, as a pup. Rosie remained his constant companion throughout most of the ’90’s and he talked about her often.

 

On one of our outings one day he saw a black dog sitting in front of a store and perked up ‘Oh my god…Is that ROSIE???….Rosie, here girl.’ It turns out it wasn’t her,  but I asked him ‘What ever happened to Rosie?’ He got real quiet & after a couple of minutes of silence he said ‘I don’t really know…I left her with a friend to take care of when I went into the hospital the first time….When I got out of the hospital, he said she had run away & I never saw her again, she was my best friend’. I could tell he was getting emotional and his eyes were moist with tears. He really missed her.

 

Part III

 

Getting up & Around…

After his back surgery,  it took Robbin quite awhile just be able to sit up in bed. He had been in bed so long, immobile, that all of his muscles had atrophied and he had put on quite a bit of weight also. He joked about it a lot. I would walk in & half the time he would have nothing on but his hospital gown…hiked up around his waist! He would say ‘Hold on let Jabba put the ‘magic mushroom’ away!’ You can guess what he was talking about! He had a well known reputation as a nudist as I found out from stories I heard later at his memorial service. He constantly joked around & laughed about it…his spirit was unbroken.

 

3 or 4 times a week he had physical rehab at the hospital. The 2 rehab guys were known as ‘The Alpha Males’ by Robbin. They would come in & literally have to muscle him into a sitting position and then, with the help of a special board, slide him off the bed & into his wheelchair. Those guys loved Robbin & didn’t even blink an eye when Robbin was frustrated and started spewing TORRENTS of expletives in all directions!

 

The rehab room was down the hall on the other side of the building. I would sometimes show up when he was in the middle of his session. I would stand back out of the way & out of his view & just watch. It was amazing to see him working HARD just to lift his legs off the ground in a sitting position. The pain & effort on his face were intense. At this point he wasn’t even close to walking yet or strong enough to stand.

 

I would encourage him to do more. “the more you do, the faster you’ll get out of here’. He would say ‘Yeah, Yeah..I know I’m trying as hard as I can’. One day I overstepped my ‘encouragement’ & suggested that maybe he wasn’t trying hard enough. He let me have it immediately. “Don’t fucking preach to me! I’m doing the best I can!’  I was only trying to motivate him but I guess I hit a nerve with my comments. The King still was ‘The King’!! I took it as a good sign….

 

One day in November of 2001, I got a call from him ‘Dude, I walked today!! I took about 20 steps on my own!’. That was a MAJOR accomplishment for him. ‘Will you come down tomorrow? I want you to see for yourself’. The next day at 12:00 noon I went & watched as The King took about 20 more steps…with the help of a parallel bar setup. He was so overjoyed, tears were streaming down his cheeks. He said ‘I am getting OUT of here man…. SOON!’ .

 

‘ Panda Claus’ and Christmas 2001

Early in December 2001 he started answering the phone ‘Panda Claus…Ho HO HO Ho’ in a very low ‘Jabba the Hut’ like voice! It was hilarious to hear….he did it EVERY time he answered in December.  I thought he was just in good spirits and looking forward to the

holidays….I found out differently. He told me ‘I don’t care about Christmas..it doesn’t really matter to me, It’ll be just like last year…alone in the hospital…big fun’. Despite his obvious depression, he was putting on the happy face when answering the phone…just so that he wouldn’t bring people down during the holidays. Typical unselfish King. ‘This Christmas will be different’….I thought to myself.

 

He asked me one day around December 20th. ‘Hey, I hate to ask but do you have a VCR I could borrow? I want to rent some movies, I’m sick of TV’.  All he had in the room was a 9″ (!) TV that got only 3.5 channels. Invariably he was stuck watching ‘Oprah’ or ‘Judge Judy’ type shows all day. It was funny cause he would sometimes be totally engrossed in Judge Judy when I stopped by. He would say ‘Sshh….wait a minute this is almost over, Let me see what happens here.’ Totally comical & very un-King-like!!

 

I told him ‘Well no…I really don’t have a spare VCR…besides your TV doesn’t even have an input for one’. He said ‘Ok it was just a thought…I  thought you might have an old one lying around’. I was lying to him…I had already bought him a 19″ TV/VCR combo for

Christmas. and I had put out the word to my family & Guitar collector friends. He started to get ALL KINDS of stuff in the mail, Movies, CD’s, Xmas Cards/letters, A small Xmas tree, flowers….even some frozen chocolate dipped Strawberries shipped from New York! All from people he didn’t know.

 

He would say ‘WHERE is all of this stuff coming from??? WHY are these people sending me gifts?? This is so wonderful…Do YOU know anything about it?’ I would just look at him deadpan and say ‘Nope…It must be your fans out there that love you’. He said ‘But HOW do they know where I am??’ The look on his face was priceless when opening these gifts…just like a little kid. He made me keep a list of names of everyone who sent something, no matter how small, so that he could send out thank you cards.

 

My wife & I visited on December 23 and surprised him with the home cooked Steak & Baked Potato dinner he had said he was craving…my wife Tracy cooked it all up fresh & we left immediately so that it would still be hot when we got there. We took our 2 children, Erich 5 & Kayleigh 7 and they sang ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ for him. He was in tears…as they were singing.

 

I talked with him late Christmas eve on the phone & he was soooo happy….just on cloud 9. Bobby Blotzer & his girlfriend (Misty I think?) had been there that evening to visit and had brought some awesome framed candid photos from the RATT days…you know those

intimate/private shots of them just clowning around on tour!. Warren had also been by & they had had a WONDERFUL visit just laughing & joking around. Those 2 guys coming to see him at Xmas meant the world to him….more than any gift ever could. Just the fact that they cared enough to come & see him. I wanted to tell them that at Robbin’s memorial service but i just didn’t want to intrude on their privacy that day…It was tough enough for them.

 

This was my most meaningful/special Christmas EVER. A Christmas I’ll NEVER EVER forget. I never realized fully…giving is definitely a lot more rewarding & fun than receiving. I got my best gift ever just seeing him happy…happy like I’d not seen him since I met him.

 

Another life lesson from ‘THE KING’….

 

 

 

Part IV

 

‘King for a day’

December 2001 was a month full of hope & progress for Robbin. He was finally feeling better and his physical rehab was going very well. By new years day he was sitting up on his own and much more alert & peppy largely because the doctors had backed off on his medication. On New Year’s day he said to me ‘This year is gonna be the year of ‘The King’….the year the King comes back…I’m gonna show people I can still do it!’. I fully believed him…he was so full of confidence and energy all of the sudden. He had even written 2 new songs….

 

If December 2001 was positive for him….January 2002 was a month of contradiction, confusion and sorrow for me.

 

From January 4th -7th I had a friend in town from Chicago…of course a RATT/Robbin fan! He was looking forward to seeing the King after speaking on the phone with him a few times and sharing Christmas gifts/cheer with him. Robbin liked him already….just talking to him on the phone….and was looking forward to meeting him. He asked me

New Years’ day ‘When’s Sully Comin?’ I picked him up at the airport the night of Friday January 4th and LITERALLY while we were leaving LAX my cell phone rings….It’s King…’Are you guys comin’ tonight?’ I said ‘Well, it’s late, we’ll come tomorrow so you can get some rest‘. He said ‘NO!…I want you guys to come tonight and watch a movie with me’

 

The first thing he says to Sully is ‘Hey man, glad you could make it….You don’t own any of my guitars do you?’ Sully, bewildered says…’Uhh… no’. King says….’Good. I like YOU then!’ …while shooting me a mock scowl!!  We talked & joked for about an hour until Robbin fell asleep in mid sentence around 12:00 am….we quietly left.

 

The next day was supposed to be a fun day….a memorable day. Robbin & I had gotten permission from his doctor to go out on pass!!!! We got a 5 hour pass. We had it all planned out: we were going to ‘El Compadre’ for lunch and then to the movies to see “Lord of the Rings’. He was soooo looking forward to seeing that movie on the big screen…he had read all of the books and was a HUGE fan of that series. He was also looking forward to getting outside that hospital for the first time in almost 2 years.

 

I asked another friend, Brad Kelley, to come with me & Sully just to make sure we had enough help getting Robbin and the wheelchair in & out of my vehicle safely. I was in a great mood because I recognized that this day was a big step in his recovery. He was going to get a taste of the outside world again. I was not ready for the 180 degree

turn the day was about to take…

 

We arrived at 11:00 am and something is definitely wrong….Robbin was incoherent and sweating PROFUSELY. He wasn’t making any sense and kept asking for his father. I had left the room to talk with a nurse & Sully comes running out of the room saying ‘Get somebody QUICK…he’s passed out & turning blue!!’ Within 15 minutes the nursing staff had administered CPR, pumped his stomach & called 911. The paramedics were there immediately….They rushed him away to Cedars Sinai Hospital as the 3 of us were standing there in total shock. We stuck around to see if we could find out anything about his condition but they wouldn’t tell us anything. We 3 decided to go to ‘El Compadre’ anyway & have a few beers for Robbin….but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was just not right. What just happened??  He was fine last night….

 

Robbin was at Cedars for a week….He was not eating at all in the hospital and looked pale, withdrawn & groggy. He lost 20 lbs. That week. He told me that someone at Hancock had ‘accidentally doubled up’ his medication and that is what caused his problems. I was skeptical, I suspected something far more sinister had caused the meltdown…but I kept it to myself. I went to see him on tuesday and brought with me his 3 new Epiphone guitars that had arrived that monday. I thought they would cheer him up & maybe he could play them a little to pass the time.

 

He seemed uninterested, apathetic and very down. ”All I want to do is sleep. But I keep having horrible dreams so I can’t even do that’ . His nurse there was WONDERFUL…I wish I remembered her name. She was so concerned about him and was physically beautiful on top of that!! I think she was 25 or so and had absolutely no clue who RATT was!! As always…He had a nickname for her ….’Florence‘….as in ‘Nightingale’.

 

After getting back to Hancock Park he seemed energized & started in again on his physical rehab with a passion….sometimes. For the rest of January, visiting him was ‘like a box of chocolates’…I never knew which Robbin I would be getting. The determined energetic, hopeful Robbin, or the groggy, sleepy, grouchy Robbin. He had started drinking again but even that couldn’t account for the sometimes dreamlike state he seemed to be in. Then I found out that a few of his old ‘friends’ had started visiting him again. People from his past that should have stayed in his past…. for his sake.

 

Later that month, we had planned to order Chinese food in & watch the Superbowl together at Hancock Park. That morning just as I was getting ready to leave home, he calls….’Dude, I’m sorry…I’m at Cedars again.’ Basically it was a repeat of what had happened on January 5th. Something was definitely going on….

 

February/March and Light at the End of the Tunnel:.

During these 2 months he made solid progress, physically, and was getting stronger & stronger. One day in February we finally got to go out on our Pass. I was amazed when I walked in…he sat up and got into his wheelchair by himself…effortlessly. He was dressed in streetclothes, shaved, hair pulled back into a ponytail & ready to go!! We had a GREAT day, we went for lunch at ‘El Compadre’ and when we got there he had another surprise for me….he said. ‘I’m going in there on my own 2 feet…get the crutches’ I thought there was NO WAY he was ready for that.. ‘Are you…sure???’ It was 60 long feet from the back parking lot to the tiny table…but he made it!! Immediately the 2 guys ‘Flaco’ & ‘Chiquito’ that had served Robbin since the RATT days came over ‘Robbin…you look soo good, you look clean, It’s good to see you’. He said ‘Gracias me amigos, Dos Cervezas…por favor!’

 

After we had ordered Robbin told me a story about those two guys…’You know, when I was really down & out and didn’t even have the money to eat McDonalds…me & Rosie (his black labrador) would show up at the back door & beg for a taco or something….they never refused me. I love those guys.’ Now I understood why he was so in Love with that place. We ate a fantastic meal & had a few more ‘Cervezas’ and even a few shots of Tequila….At one point I said ‘No, no…no more…I have to drive’. He ordered them anyway and ended up drinking them both! He insisted on paying the check…$20 food bill & $40 alcohol!! He left a crisp $100 bill and we left quickly. We had just cashed his Royalty check from ‘Wicken Music Publishing’ and he had a few bucks in his pocket…He was on top of the world. He didn’t have a lot of money but his generosity ruled over all….It almost seemed like a tonic for him to be able to give.

 

In March he started talking about getting an Apartment and began looking thru the papers & literature from some local places. He said ‘What I really want is one of these quaint local ‘cottage’ type houses…just a 2 bedroom…but I just can’t swing it without a room mate, do you know anybody??’ He ended up settling on a 1 bedroom Apt. in a local landmark of sorts…the mid-Wilshire district ‘Park La Brea’ complex…He said ‘Reasonably priced & reasonably fashionable, fit for a King!’ He made several more attempts at getting a roommate, including a friend from Seattle, but it just didn’t work out. He would say ‘I’ve got to find a roommate…I can’t live alone’.

 

We started going out on pass regularly, looking for new furniture and furnishings for the place. We bought a set of beautiful black leather couches and put them on hold…waiting for the day he moved in. They were ‘Just like the ones I had in my house’. He had me on the hunt for some small oriental rugs to use on the hardwood floor in the living room area. He was scheduled to move in on April 1st…my birthday!!

 

Part V

 

A Day at the DMV

On March 22nd we went to the DMV to get him a California ID card. He had not had an ID or Driver’s License in almost 10 years!!! He was very nervous & uptight about going …but he had to get an ID in order to rent his Apartment. On the way there he told me why he was so freaked out about it…’Man I had a Ton of tickets that I never paid…they might not let me get an ID until I pay them, let alone a Driver’s license.’ He said he was prepared to pay all of them if necessary. We started talking about cars too..he says ‘I’d like to get a new car….I’ve been the seeing the TV ads for the new Daewoo ‘Leganza’…that would be perfect, only $139 a month.’ I burst out laughing and he gives me the furrowed brow and a ”WHAT?????” I said…’Oh man…the KING stuffed into a Daewoo…too funny! I can’t picture it!’

 

We get there, fill out all of the paperwork and go up to the window. The lady says ‘That’ll be $10 for your ID’….He looks at me in disbelief & I ask her. ‘Are their any restrictions on him getting a license?’ At that moment I say ‘license’ he gives me a TREMENDOUS kick in the shin!!! She looks it up in the computer and says ‘No…would you like a book to study for the test?’ He says sheepishly….’Uhhh….yeah’. I never saw a bigger smile on his face when we left there with his temporary ID…

 

We leave the DMV and he says ‘Lets go to Casa Vega & celebrate!!’. He explains that ‘Casa Vega’ is a place he & his wife, Laurie, used to frequent back in 1991-1992. They would fly down windy Laurel Canyon Blvd. in his Ferrari into the San Fernando Valley from his home in the Hollywood Hills…about a 20 minute drive.

 

I’ll never forget this as long as I live…we are on the way and we see a 7-11 convenience store. He says…’Pull in there I want a Snapple.’ …’OK, what kind?’ he says ‘Any kind’. He takes 1 big drink and then pours the rest (about 80%) on the ground!! I ask ‘What….are….you…..doing????’ He says ‘Last time we went out to lunch they made me give a urine sample so that they could see if was using drugs out on my pass….they gave me an assfull over the alcohol in my urine….this time we’re gonna take precautions’.

I still didn’t know what he meant. Duh….!

 

We pull into the ‘Casa Vega’ parking lot which is kinda secluded behind the restaurant. He sits on the tailgate of my 4Runner and says ‘Gimme the bottle’. He proceeds to pull down his shorts right there & starts peeing in the bottle, in broad daylight!! I turned my back in horror/ embarassment and try to shield him from the pedestrians walking down the sidewalk!! I hear over my shoulder…’Oh shit…here take this and empty some’ I take it and run around the side of the car to empty it…I look at him & he’s sitting there holding himself trying to stop the flow and….there’s urine squirting in all directions!!!!! He’s cursing & sputtering ‘Hurry up!!!!’ I get back to him & he’s apparently done….just one problem…THE BOTTLE IS NOW EMPTY!!!! He looks at me and at the bottle & says….’YOU SCHMENGIE!!!…you didn’t save ANY!!???!!!!’  He was sooooo irritated with me the rest of the day. He never let me live that one down….

 

A Tough Day

On April 1st he called to wish me happy birthday but I could tell immediately something was up.  We talked a little…. but he seemed really depressed and VERY emotional. He had been drinking and I asked him “Is everything OK?’ he says ‘No….I know it’s your birthday but can you come…I need to talk to you’.. It’s a 60 mile drive for me to Hancock Park, but I went.

 

When I get there he is laying in the dark…sobbing quietly. I ask ‘What’s wrong??’ he says to me through the sobs ‘I need you to promise me one thing….I don’t know how much longer I have and when I’m gone, PLEASE don’t let people forget about me…. I’ve screwed everything up, my marriage, my career, my cars, my house, my guitars… EVERYTHING!!….I don’t want people to think of me as a junkie loser…please let them know I’m sorry’. It’s my turn to start crying and the 2 of us are sitting there in the dark in tears. I stayed there about 3 hours & tried to cheer him up without success. He fell asleep around 12:00am & I left for home. I did make him the promise….

 

Fade to Black….

He finally moved into his Apartment around April 8th (I forget the exact day) and he began to settle in. It became apparent that he was not going to be able to care for himself 24/7 so a nurse was scheduled to visit 2 times a week. His medications were another problem…some of them the nurse could bring & others he would have to go to a clinic across town to see a doctor for them….the wait was usually 3 hours!

 

He seemed happy but a bit frustrated by his lack of mobility…still he was able to get around the Apartment in the wheelchair and even cook a little for himself. He caught a severe cold the first few nights there & also fell and banged up his feet pretty badly. I would call to see if he needed anything & he would always say ‘No….You don’t need to keep helping me…you’ve done enough’ I told him ‘That’s nonsense….that’s what friends are for’.

 

In early May I found out that his old friend Patrick had moved in with him…sounds great right? WRONG! Patrick was his old roommate & Heroin buddy. I  tried to convince him that Patrick was no good for him & would only tempt him again. He wouldn’t listen…he told me ‘I Love him like a brother and we’ve been thru a lot together….besides, he has nowhere else to go’.

 

I knew right then that this was the beginning of the end….He would call once in awhile just to say hello but it wasn’t like before. He did everything he could to discourage me from visiting him…’Oh I don’t feel good’ or ‘The place is a mess’. I could tell he was using again…his speech was slurred & he just didn’t sound good.

 

Late in May he started calling me asking me if he could borrow some money…Now, I knew that he had around $9k in cash when he moved into the apartment only a month before. ‘Robbin….where did all your money go?’.  He made some vague references about his ‘medication‘ and ‘groceries’. I would lie to him & say “I’m broke….now is a bad time, I’m sorry’. It just about killed me to put him off…but I was not about to HELP him destroy himself.

 

On the night of Sunday June 2nd he called & finally cornered me. “Hey, I need you to do me a favor…I need money for my medication….what I want you to do is take my Breedlove (Acoustic Guitar) and pawn it….bring the others to me here. I need at least $300 and I need it tomorrow morning’. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted. So I did as he asked….

 

I showed up at the apartment at 11:00 am with the $$$ and his guitars….

 

Oh my god, Please NO!! Please don’t let it be as bad as I imagined.

 

It was….even WORSE than I imagined. Robbin ‘King’ Crosby was sitting in the middle of the room, nude from the waist down in a filthy T-shirt, unshaven, unwashed and barely able to sit upright. He had gained even more weight and had grown a full beard. There were several LARGE open sores on his legs as well. He was white as a sheet & clammy with sweat.

 

He says ‘Awwww, come here & give me a hug….I’ve missed you’. The room was a mess, everything you would expect from a typical bad R rated movie drug den scene. Bottles of piss, cigarette butts, dirty ashtrays & clothes, beer cans….just about every inch of the floor was covered in trash. The heat & stench in the room were overpowering. His beautiful apartment was a shambles…

 

He could see the horror on my face. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I asked him just one question….’WHY?????’ He was trembling and turned away. He said, stuttering ‘Please… don’t hate me…please’. I told him that I loved him and could never hate him….There were no words left….nothing else I could say would change anything…I thought about trying to reason with him but I knew that he wouldn’t listen

 

I couldn’t stay…I just couldn’t bear to see him this way. I left quickly & in shock, knowing full well I probably would not see him again. I was frustrated & wanted to do something but deep down I knew that he could not stop. He would not stop….His Demons were just too strong.

 

The afternoon of Thursday June 6th I got the call from my wife (I was at work) She was crying & just said ‘Robbin’s……..Gone’. Even though I knew it was coming, it still hit me like a ton of bricks…I almost passed out. All of his hopes & aspirations for the future were now meaningless…all of the hard won progress he had made in the last 6 months was meaningless….I just felt so empty. I still feel that empty spot.

 

Epilogue

On June 14th, Along with 200 or 300 other folks, I made the journey down to Windansea beach in La Jolla to say goodbye to ‘Robb’ as his childhood friends knew him. It was a beautiful San Diego California day, One like I’m sure Robb saw many, many of in his youth. The service started around 6:00pm, Robbin’s father starting things off with a moving 20 minute tribute to special people in Robbin’s life. 10 or 12 friends got up & said a few words…some told stories. It was rather strange to see the 4 surviving members of RATT copiously avoiding each other…they didn’t even LOOK at each other!! BUT they were ALL there and I give them credit for at least saying goodbye. Warren was definitely emotional as he spoke about his friend. It looked to me like he wished he had done some things differently…but that’s just my opinion.

 

The sun was setting at the end of the service…A bright red ball of fire melting into the sea….The sun was setting on Robbin’s life too. He once told me ‘Don’t feel sorry for me…I lived enough for ten men…I did everything I wanted to do’. I’d like to believe that…I do believe that.

 

One thing I took away with me that day was the pleasant revelation that there had been SO MANY other people that had stepped into his life over his last 10 years to lend him a hand when he needed it. It almost seems like we were all part of a predestined ‘Team’ that passed along the reins silently so that King could be more comfortable…I felt more at ease knowing that so many people HAD cared…people that recognized a free & loving spirit…despite his flaws, we took him as he was…Warts & all.

 

I wish things could have been different but I know that I am a better person for knowing him, As is anyone who had spent any amount of time with him. He just had a way of putting out that vibe…of Love.

 

Love ya King, I miss you…I’ll see you again.

 

Journal Outtake:

 

Originally when I wrote the ‘Journal’, it was more than twice as long and after finishing it there were a lot of things that I felt at the time, were either too personal or not really worth including …also it was so long, I wasn’t even sure people would want to read the damn thing! Some of the sections were rambling and VERY long winded….Here’s a sample chapter that was removed.

 

 This one was really the first section written, the section before ‘Meeting a King’ but after the intro, at the Very beginning of the journal. It seemed rather irrelevant and kinda silly because of my extreme ignorance, so I cut it out…the first of many chapters to go…looking at it now I guess it lends some perspective to the overall story.

 

Like a Dream

After leaving Neil’s I started getting excited, thinking about all of the things I wanted to ask Robbin. I might not get a second chance to talk with him and I wanted to make it count so I actually wrote a long list of questions so I wouldn’t forget anything.

 

They were mostly things related to the guitars I had, but also some questions about that magical time between 1984-1987 when RATT was on top of the hard rock world…one of the biggest bands from my home turf of Los Angeles.

 

I felt sort of special because I had what I considered to be a ‘special ticket’ to go & see him. His close friend Neil Zlozower (whom I was also rather awestruck at meeting!) had just given me ‘permission’ to go & see him…Neil said it would be alright, so surely Robbin would take a few minutes to talk with me. Hopefully I wouldn’t stick my damn foot in my mouth!

 

I had a plan, I would shamelessly drop Neil’s name. You know, ‘Hey Robbin, how are you? I talked to Neil & he said it would be OK to come & visit’

 

Even though I had been vaguely informed of his current situation, In my excitement, I pictured him just as he appeared on the cover of all those magazines back then, the larger than life presence and the leader of RATT. I figured he would look much the same….surely a little worse for wear because he had been ill….but still largely unchanged.

 

It was August and a typically warm day in Los Angeles somewhere in the mid 90 degree range…bright & clear with some scattered billowy white clouds and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, what a great day to go & see Robbin, to finally meet one of my favorite guitarists of the ’80’s’.

 

Driving over, I checked & re-checked the address of the place ‘Hancock Park Convalescent Hospital’. The Hancock Park area of LA is considered kinda upscale and ‘riche’ so my mind conjured an idyllic setting with well manicured grounds and lots of security. I initially drove right by the place, mainly because the area didn’t match my mind’s image of what it should look like!!

 

I doubled back and found parking on the street in front of the hospital…I was surprised to say the least. It faced a busy, noisy street and there were no ‘grounds’, just a plain looking entrance in a somewhat dingy looking building. This couldn’t be the right place. Could it?

 

I went inside and a young, attractive Asian receptionist smiled and said ‘How may I help you?’ As I looked around the rather bare & plain lobby, I said ‘I’m here to visit a patient, Robbin Crosby’, half expecting her to tell me there was no one here by that name. Instead, she looked a little surprised and, handing me a clipboard to sign in, said quietly ‘I’m so glad you’re here, he hasn’t had many visitors. Are you a friend or family?’

 

At this, I felt my eyes shift slightly as I fought to comprehend what she had just said….I finally blurted out ‘Uh, No I’ve never met him, he doesn’t know me’. She said ‘Oh, well OK the elevator is there and he’s on the second floor, room 203’.

 

On my way up I thought to myself. ‘Something isn’t right, am I in the right place?’, then the elevator door opened and I stepped out. I looked left & right and immediately felt disoriented because there were elderly patients everywhere I looked, crowding the narrow hallway. I had never been in such a hospital so I was completely unprepared.

 

I walked toward a nurses station and I felt I was in a surreal movie….elderly ladies were grabbing at me from wheelchairs and old men were leaning up against walls seemingly catatonic or mumbling to themselves.

 

A nurse, without saying a word, pointed to a door near the end of the hallway when I asked where Robbin was. I walked over and with my heart jumping out of my chest, silently entered the room.

 

There were two beds, one was occupied by an elderly man with sunken cheeks who merely looked at me blankly…I looked to my left at the bed closest to the door and my knees went weak. My throat felt like it had suddenly closed & dried up.

 

I saw a man whom I didn’t really recognize, a large man with long greasy, lank hair who was sound asleep and snoring gently. I stood transfixed slowly taking in the details.

 

The darker hair, the sweaty bloated face, the dirty stained hospital gown, the enormous body, the messy small table cluttered with all sorts of stuff, the two get well cards taped to the dingy wall, the faint odor of human waste, antiseptic and sweat.

 

It WAS Robbin Crosby but my mind could not process the reality…

 

Without realizing it, I had dropped the paper I had brought with my questions on it….I stood for what seemed like forever trying to figure out what I should do….should I leave? Should I cough? Should I wake him? Should I ask a nurse for help?

 

In the end, I just stood there… looking from the quizzical look on the face of the man in the next bed, back to Robbin sleeping peacefully.

 

Robbin…… Is that really Robbin? How can it be?? This is not what I expected…I suddenly felt very foolish and utterly stupid at my naive notions of this man and his very real state. This was not what I expected…this is not what I expected!!

 

After a minute I silently placed the brown bag containing the bottle of Peppermint Schnapps on the table and left the room. I don’t really remember leaving the hospital…I just remember the tears I felt on my cheeks and the helpless feeling that I had somehow intruded, seen something too private…yet he never knew I was there.

 

To me it was like a dream. Did it really happen?

 

It took me a week to gather enough courage to go back…to try again.

Robbin Crosby: A Journal Reflecting the Last Two Years of The Guitarists Life.

I’ve been a huge Ratt fan since I first heard them in 1984.  Ratt had some of the best music out.  Their last album, Infestation was phenomenal.  One person that’s often overlooked in Ratt’s history is the late Robbin Crosby.  I read this journal by Curt Dudley.  Curt spent a lot of time with Robbin in his last two years of living.  This is a long post and gives insight to Robbin and his thoughts and feelings.  It’s a great read about a gentle giant I met when Ratt was touring with Poison in 1986.  This journal doesn’t represent the opinions or views of All That Shreds. –Andrew Catania

 

Robbin Crosby Journal 2000-2002 Written by Curt Dudley, July 2002

I have been waiting for the right time to let some of this out. I have struggled with it since the day Robbin died. I wanted to express some of it publicly June 14th, 2002, at Robbin’s memorial service, but the pain was still too much to bear…I felt I would fall apart in front of the 200 odd people (mostly strangers to me) there…so I just stood frozen on the beach & didn’t say anything.

I met Robbin through Photographer Neil Zlozower. I had gone to Neil in search of some professional photos of Robbin in action with his cherished Jackson Guitars. I am a guitar collector and had acquired a few of Robbin’s guitars, and I wanted some good shots of ‘The King’ from the glory days of RATT with the guitars I now own….just makes having them that much more personal & unique.

In talking with Neil, he mentioned ‘Hey, Robbin is in the hospital just a few miles from here…I bet he’d sign these prints for you and in any case I know he would appreciate the company, just take him a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps if you go’. Hmmm….I took down the address & went the next day. Armed with a few prints, a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps and a silver paint pen, I went to see Robbin.

Meeting a King
‘Do I know you….????’ Is the first thing he said to me. He had that characteristic “King” tone in his voice. After explaining why I was there, we got to talking. Just some small talk & some superficial talk of the ’80’s & RATT. I was there about an hour and something happened to me that day…I left there with a new appreciation for life. Here was this giant of a man lying there unable to walk or even to sit up (he had just had major back surgery) and obviously in a lot of pain and very lonely…yet he was willing to talk with someone he didn’t even know. When I got up to leave he says …’Hey, pleased to meet you, would you mind visiting me every once in awhile’. I promised I would. I left there without any autographs…I just didn’t have the heart to ask.

I was not prepared for the wild ride of emotions I would experience over the next two years. I learned a LOT about what is important in life from this gentle giant. I’ll put them in sort of Diary form & only quote Robbin where I remember EXACTLY what he said. They are just snapshots of things I remember and only meant to offer some insight into the last years of his extraordinary life…

Robbin on Spirituality:
One day we started talking about Religion and Spirituality & he gave me his thoughts. “I wouldn’t consider myself religious, per se, I would say I’m more spiritual.” He explained it more in terms of ‘Karma’ and a ‘natural flow’ of things in the universe. I asked him ‘So do you believe in god …or not?’ He said “I don’t know, but one thing is for sure…You & I ain’t drivin’ the boat!’ …Classic King.

Robbin on RATT:
We often talked, naturally, about RATT & his thoughts about success, his bandmates & life the road. He had a lot to say about his bandmates…not all of it good. He would say ‘Listen to the EP…that’s the real RATT…we just got too polished after that.” He loved Warren, “He’s like my little brother” but he felt that Warren didn’t respect his playing after RATT had attained some success. As for Bobby, I asked him one day “If you could have ANY drummer play with you on your new project…who would it be?” His answer: “Blotz….he’s the best there is.” What did he think of Pearcy? “Pearcy is a punk and only cares for himself….he can’t even sing in the major live…we had a lot of problems with that on tour.” Juan was his favorite bass player and a very close & dear friend….although they did have their differences.

El Paso ’96 and War Party:
In 1996 Robbin was living in El Paso Texas with his girlfriend, Jolie Gregory’s, family. He had left LA to, in his words, “go & get well.” He was using heroin heavily, and things had not gone well for him, as a result, since he had left RATT. He accepted an invitation to go there and spend some time with Jolie’s family and just get away from LA for awhile. While living in El Paso, he started playing again…In a COUNTRY band!!! An all original ‘up-tempo’ country rock band It was called ‘Bill & Kev and War Party.’ I’ve never seen anything funnier or cold at the same time. I have the video from a Sept. ’96 gig. The King onstage with War Party at a local joint. Robbin seems rather subdued at first, but then after he warms up a bit, he proceeds to just RIP the most killer lead guitar through these country songs!! Picture Jimi Hendrix is playing lead through a Travis Tritt song, and you have the idea. Also in the video can be seen his beloved black labrador ‘Rosie’ mingling with the crowd. At one point during a song, the singer can be heard saying ‘Ladies & gentlemen, Mr. Robbin Crosby’ as Robbin begins a BLISTERING lead!! The crowd is just dumbstruck and looks as if they’ve NEVER heard anything like that before …at least not in a country song! Robbin was very proud of this band…not because of the quality of music or talent…but because it allowed him to regain some lost dignity & start playing live again. He said he was forever indebted to Jolie’s family for helping him get back on his feet & getting him in contact with the local El Paso music scene.

The Ill-fated 1996 Reunion:
At some point in late 1996, he got a call from either ( I can’t remember which) Warren or Stephen…”Get your ass back here, we’re putting RATT back together.” Robbin was extremely excited about the prospect of getting back to LA & putting the band back together. He sold most of his belongings to travel light and start fresh in LA. He boarded a plane for LA carrying only the clothes he had and a few carry on items. The night he arrived he met Stephen at a club to talk and immediately got a strange vibe from him. They talked, but Stephen seemed distant and cold. He spent the night at a friends house & met Warren the next day for lunch…he got the same vibe from Warren. Frustrated, he finally asked “What is going on …we’re gonna do this, right?” He said Warren said something about “Well… maybe we’ll let you play a few songs on the record.” Robbin said ‘What the FUCK??? LET ME play on a few songs??? I just sold all my shit to move back here to do this!!” Needless to say, the reunion didn’t happen. I asked Robbin “Well Why? What happened?” He started to tear up and stated that they thought he was “too fat and was still using drugs.” He was devastated and felt betrayed BUT…in typical Robbin fashion… he was realistic about it. He said, “Well I WAS overweight & still using…so I could understand it.”

Part II

Peppermint Schnapps and “Gasoline”:
It became a habit when visiting him at Hancock Park Hospital to bring a bottle of 90 proof (HAD to be 90 proof!) Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps. One of the first things I asked Robbin was ‘Why Peppermint Schnapps? SURELY you don’t LIKE it!’ He said, “Hell NO!…but it’s the only thing I can get away with drinking in here…the nurses can’t tell I’ve been drinking because it smells like I just brushed my teeth!” The nurses at Hancock Park were pretty strict about alcohol in the building, so we had to be careful. When talking about it around anyone Robbin would say “Hey, can you bring me some gasoline?” His code word for booze.

Isolation & Frustration:
I HATE hospitals, as most people do, but from the beginning, I realized that he was extremely lonely & depressed. He told me ‘Virtually no one comes to visit me….’ He told me that the first day and I vowed to make sure that he had company at least once or twice a week. If I couldn’t get away from work for a few days, I would ask a friend or family member to drop by if they could and just talk to him….that’s all Robbin wanted…someone to talk to. He was too proud to ask for help or charity.

He was in this place, confined to bed, 24 hours a day seven days a week for over two years. Realistically the place was just a dumping ground for seniors who were too sick or incapacitated for the family to care for. I must say, they did take good care of the people there, but it was a very depressing place to be…Robbin had at least 20 different roommates while I knew him…..I would show up one week & see an empty bed next to his and ask “what happened to Don?” RC would say “Oh him…he died yesterday.” This went on week after week & after a while, I stopped asking. I could see it in his face the effect it had on him, but he wouldn’t express it.

One thing that shocked me at first…totally SHOCKED ME….was that his family rarely visited. Robbin talked on the phone to “Momma” or “Daddy” almost daily, but they live in La Jolla CA (about 100 miles south of LA near San Diego) and are “getting up there in age” & didn’t travel to LA much. I sensed a lot from what Robbin DIDN’T say about his family, that he had put them thru a lot over the years and had “burned a few bridges.” He was….as usual…pragmatic about it & understood. His attitude was “Oh, its just too far for them to drive…” He didn’t ever say much about his family. One of the few things I know is, he was VERY fond of his father and “missed the vacations in Mexico with dad when I was a kid.”

Another thing that hit him hard was that the guys in RATT would rarely come to see him…despite the fact that they all lived within a 1/2 hours drive. He would talk to them on the phone, sometimes Warren, at times Bobby, at times Juan, and he would hint around that “maybe if you are in the area you could swing by.” They didn’t…

I’m not passing judgment on any of them. I’m sure they all have their reasons. He said to me one day “WHERE ARE all of my friends? No offense, but isn’t it sad that YOU are my best friend? I’ve only known you a year.” He had a way of cutting to the chase…. The only one of his old friends that did stop by often was his old friend “Zloz” …Neil Zlozower.

Nicknames and Mexican Food:
Robbin LOVED Mexican food and Sushi….those were his two favorites. A couple of his favorite places in town were the famous El Compadre Restaurant on Sunset Blvd and Casa Vega on Ventura Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. I would often call him before stopping by to ask if he wanted lunch. He would say “Mmmm…Ropa Vieja from El Compadre would do nicely…” or “Yeah, Get me some Toro & handrolls (sushi) from Yamakasa on Highland.” He was a connoisseur of food, and the only thing he DIDN’T like to eat was…PIZZA!! I couldn’t believe it! He said “Nah…Pizza just plugs me up…for days!”

He was big on nicknames. It seemed EVERYONE had a nickname. Mine was “Schmengie” or “Schmeckel”…I had NO IDEA what they meant until weeks later. It seems they are Yiddish terms for the male organ!! We would be joking around & he would say “You’re such a Schmengie” One of the nurses at the hospital was “Speedy” or the next week it was “Rompopie” or “Lima Bean.” Another friend was “Bloomer.” All of them were meant as terms of endearment, and he had a million of them. A friend told me once that he sort of felt left out he didn’t have one!!

History Lesson:
One day he was talking about the ancient Inca Indians from South America, and I was fascinated listening to him tell me all about them…their culture, what they ate, how they lived, etc. Now I know he was well-traveled…but the Incas!?!!! I must have been staring intently at him because he stopped suddenly and said: “Are you OK?….or am I boring you?” I said, “No I’m just surprised that you know so much about them.” He said “Ahhh….you think I’m just some big dumb rocker who doesn’t know how to read!! You know, I’m reasonably intelligent for my size. I’m smarter than the average bear!!”

The Time of Day.
Looking back on my two short years knowing him, Robbin never ceased to amaze me with his intelligence, realistic outlook and pure honesty. He was not the sort to sugar coat anything….he would always tell you EXACTLY what was on his mind!! We were talking about RATT’s heyday and what it was like to tour the world & meet new people every day in different countries and I said to him, jokingly, “I bet that if I had approached you back then, as opposed to now, you wouldn’t have given me the time of day.” He stopped for a second and said VERY SINCERELY…”You know man…all kidding aside… you’re probably right…. but you have to understand… back then, I didn’t HAVE the time of day!!”

Rather than patronize me & tell me what he would suppose I would want to hear…he was honest, forthright and directly to the point. Thinking back on that, I realized just how rare that kind of answer is….

Tawny Kitaen & the Rumpleminze Incident: I stopped by one afternoon to bring Robbin one of his three new guitars, A bright turquoise Epiphone Wildcat. I had them because there was no room at the hospital to store them. I walked in & froze in place… A beautiful redhead was sitting next to his bed. I said, “You look familiar…” Robbin without missing a beat says “Duh…it’s Tawny, you idiot!” WOW! I have to admit having had a MAJOR crush on her back in the ’80’s (Remember the ‘Back for More’ video?) and there she was!!

We talked for awhile and she showed a genuine concern for his condition, she hadn’t seen him in almost ten years!! Whatever personal problems she may be having, I’m here to say she is a sweet & caring person. Robbin called her his “high school sweetheart” and “first and only true love.”

After she had left (Robbin had fallen asleep) one of the nurses found a bottle of Rumpleminze Peppermint Schnapps (a gift from Tawny) in a drawer and went ballistic.  So I told her I would take it away.

I had, some weeks before stopped bringing ‘gasoline’ because I realized I wasn’t helping him get any better by providing him with it. In fact, we argued about it. I told him “I’m not bringing you any more gasoline…it’s not helping you.” He said “Oh…so you don’t drink eh? Gimme a break!” in a very sarcastic & nasty ‘King’ tone.

When Robbin inevitably went to look for the bottle HE went ballistic because it wasn’t there. He exploded at the nurse for taking his gift. She didn’t tell him that I had actually taken it. Robbin mentioned it to me one day and I felt like crap… I said “She didn’t take it…I did.” He said, “Dude…that was a GIFT from a very special person…you had NO right to take my shit, and another thing, I’ll do WHAT the fuck I want WHEN the fuck I want to!!” Indeed. Naturally, I still had the bottle and returned it to him.

Here’s the kicker.

Robbin called me that night and apologized TO ME as if HE had done something wrong!! “Dude I’m sorry I shouldn’t have been so harsh.” That’s just the way he was.  I learned from him again, another valuable life lesson on compassion.

Sweet Rosie:
Robbin was a real animal lover. He once said, “I probably love animals more than I love people, they love you without conditions.” He was one of those people who just came totally unglued and would get all mushy when around animals…you know ‘Awwww…..look at that beautiful dog”. In the late 1980’s shortly before he was married to Playboy Playmate Laurie Carr, he got “Rosie,” a sweet-natured black Labrador, as a pup. Rosie remained his constant companion throughout most of the ’90’s and he talked about her often.

On one of our outings one day he saw a black dog sitting in front of a store and perked up “Oh my god…Is that ROSIE???….Rosie, here girl.” It turns out it wasn’t her, but I asked him “Whatever happened to Rosie?” He got real quiet & after a couple of minutes of silence, he said “I don’t know…I left her with a friend to take care of when I went into the hospital the first time….When I got out of the hospital, he said she had run away & I never saw her again, she was my best friend.” I could tell he was getting emotional and his eyes were moist with tears.

Part III

Getting up & Around…:
After his back surgery, it took Robbin quite awhile just be able to sit up in bed. He had been in bed so long, immobile, that all of his muscles had atrophied and he had put on quite a bit of weight also. He joked about it a lot. I would walk in & half the time he would have nothing on but his hospital gown…hiked up around his waist! He would say ‘Hold on let Jabba put the ‘magic mushroom’ away!’ You can guess what he was talking about! He had a well-known reputation as a nudist as I found out from stories I heard later at his memorial service. He constantly joked around & laughed about it…his spirit was unbroken.

3 or 4 times a week he had physical rehab at the hospital. The two rehab guys were known as ‘The Alpha Males’ by Robbin. They would come in & have to muscle him into a sitting position and then, with the help of a particular board, slide him off the bed & into his wheelchair. Those guys loved Robbin & didn’t even blink an eye when Robbin was frustrated and started spewing TORRENTS of expletives in all directions!

The rehab room was down the hall on the other side of the building. I would sometimes show up when he was in the middle of his session. I would stand back out of the way & out of his view & just watch. That was incredible to see him working HARD just to lift his legs off the ground in a sitting position. The pain & effort on his face were intense. At this point, he wasn’t even close to walking yet or robust enough to stand.

I would encourage him to do more. “the more you do, the faster you’ll get out of here’. He would say ‘Yeah, Yeah.I know I’m trying as hard as I can’. One day I overstepped my ‘encouragement’ & suggested that maybe he wasn’t trying hard enough. He let me have it immediately. “Don’t fucking preach to me! I’m doing the best I can!’ I was only trying to motivate him but I guess I hit a nerve with my comments. The King still was ‘The King’!! I took it as a good sign….

One day in November of 2001, I got a call from him ‘Dude, I walked today!! I took about 20 steps on my own!’. That was a MAJOR accomplishment for him. ‘Will you come down tomorrow? I want you to see for yourself’. The next day at 12:00 noon I went & watched as The King took about 20 more steps…with the help of a parallel bar setup. He was so overjoyed, tears were streaming down his cheeks. He said ‘I am getting OUT of here man…. SOON!’ .

‘Panda Claus’ and Christmas 2001′:
Early in December 2001, he started answering the phone ‘Panda Claus…Ho HO HO Ho’ in a very low ‘Jabba the Hut’ like voice! It was hilarious to hear….he did it EVERY time he answered in December. I thought he was just in good spirits and looking forward to the holidays….I found out differently. He told me ‘I don’t care about Christmas..it doesn’t really matter to me, It’ll be just like last year…alone in the hospital…big fun’. Despite his apparent depression, he was putting on the happy face when answering the phone…just so that he wouldn’t bring people down during the holidays. Typical unselfish King. ‘This Christmas will be different’….I thought to myself.

He asked me one day around December 20th. ‘Hey, I hate to ask but do you have a VCR I could borrow? I want to rent some movies, I’m sick of TV’. All he had in the room was a 9″ (!) TV that got only 3.5 channels. Invariably he was stuck watching ‘Oprah’ or ‘Judge Judy’ type shows all day. It was funny cause he would sometimes be totally engrossed in Judge Judy when I stopped by. He would say ‘Shh….wait a minute this is almost over, Let me see what happens here.’ Utterly comical & very un-King-like!!

I told him ‘Well no…I really don’t have a spare VCR…besides your TV doesn’t even have an input for one’. He said ‘Ok it was just a thought…I thought you might have an old one lying around’. I was lying to him…I had already bought him a 19” TV/VCR combo for Christmas. and I had put out the word to my family & Guitar collector friends. He started to get ALL KINDS of stuff in the mail, Movies, CD’s, Xmas Cards/letters, A small Xmas tree, flowers….even some frozen chocolate dipped Strawberries shipped from New York! All from people he didn’t know.

He would say ‘WHERE is all of this stuff coming from??? WHY are these people sending me gifts?? This is so wonderful…Do YOU know anything about it?’ I would just look at him deadpan and say ‘Nope…It must be your fans out there that love you’. He said ‘But HOW do they know where I am??’ The look on his face was priceless when opening these gifts…just like a little kid. He made me keep a list of names of everyone who sent something, no matter how small so that he could send out thank you cards.

My wife & I visited on December 23 and surprised him with the home cooked Steak & Baked Potato dinner he had said he was craving…my wife Tracy cooked it all up fresh & we left immediately so that it would still be hot when we got there. We took our 2 children, Erich 5 & Kayleigh 7 and they sang ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ for him. He was in tears…as they were singing.

I talked with him late Christmas Eve on the phone & he was soo happy….just on cloud 9. Bobby Blotzer & his girlfriend (Misty I think?) had been there that evening to visit and had brought some excellent framed candid photos from the RATT days…you know those intimate/private shots of them just clowning around on tour!. Warren had also been by & they had had a WONDERFUL visit just laughing & joking around. Those two guys coming to see him at Xmas meant the world to him….more than any gift ever could. Just the fact that they cared enough to come & see him.

I wanted to tell them that at Robbin’s memorial service but I just didn’t want to intrude on their privacy that day…It was tough enough for them. This was my most meaningful/special Christmas EVER. A Christmas I’ll NEVER EVER forget. I never realized fully…giving is definitely a lot more rewarding & fun than receiving. I got my best gift ever just seeing him happy…happy like I’d not seen him since I met him.

Another life lesson from ‘THE KING’…

Part IV

‘King for a day’
December 2001 was a month full of hope & progress for Robbin. He was finally feeling better and his physical rehab was going very well. By new years day he was sitting up on his own and much more alert & peppy mostly because the doctors had backed off on his medication. On New Year’s day, he said to me ‘This year is gonna be the year of ‘The King’….the year the King comes back…I’m gonna show people I can still do it!’. I fully believed him…he was so full of confidence and energy all of the sudden. He had even written 2 new songs….

If December 2001 was positive for him….January 2002 was a month of contradiction, confusion, and sorrow for me. From January 4th -7th I had a friend in town from Chicago…of course a RATT/Robbin fan! He was looking forward to seeing the King after speaking on the phone with him a few times and sharing Christmas gifts/cheer with him. Robbin liked him already….just talking to him on the phone….and was looking forward to meeting him. He asked me New Years’ day ‘When’s Sully Comin?’ I picked him up at the airport the night of Friday, January 4th and LITERALLY while we were leaving LAX my cell phone rings….It’s King…’Are you guys comin’ tonight?’ I said ‘Well, it’s late, we’ll come tomorrow so you can get some rest’. He said ‘NO!…I want you guys to get tonight and watch a movie with me’

The first thing he says to Sully is ‘Hey man, glad you could make it….You don’t own any of my guitars do you?’ Sully, bewildered says…’Uhh… no’. King says….’Good. I like YOU then!’ …while shooting me a mock scowl!! We talked & joked for about an hour until Robbin fell asleep in mid-sentence around 12:00 am….we quietly left.

The next day was supposed to be a fun day….a memorable day. Robbin & I had gotten permission from his doctor to go out on pass!!!! We got a 5-hour pass. We had it all planned out: we were going to ‘El Compadre’ for lunch and then to the movies to see “Lord of the Rings’. He was soo looking forward to seeing this film on the big screen…he had read all of the books and was a HUGE fan of that series. He was also looking forward to getting outside that hospital for the first time in almost 2 years.

I asked another friend, Brad Kelley, to come with me & Sully just to make sure we had enough help getting Robbin and the wheelchair in & out of my vehicle safely. I was in a great mood because I recognized that this day was a big step in his recovery. He was going to get a taste of the outside world again. I was not ready for the 180-degree turn the day was about to take…

We arrived at 11:00 am and something is definitely wrong….Robbin was incoherent and sweating PROFUSELY. He wasn’t making any sense and kept asking for his father. I had left the room to talk with a nurse & Sully comes running out of the room saying ‘Get somebody QUICK…he’s passed out & turning blue!!’ Within 15 minutes the nursing staff had administered CPR, pumped his stomach & called 911. The paramedics were there immediately….They rushed him away to Cedars Sinai Hospital as the 3 of us were standing there in total shock. We stuck around to see if we could find out anything about his condition but they wouldn’t tell us anything. We 3 decided to go to ‘El Compadre’ anyway & have a few beers for Robbin….but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was just not right. What just happened?? He was fine last night….

Robbin was at Cedars for a week….He was not eating at all in the hospital and looked pale, withdrawn & groggy. He lost 20 lbs. That week. He told me that someone at Hancock had ‘accidentally doubled up’ his medication and that is what caused his problems. I was skeptical, I suspected something far more sinister had caused the meltdown…but I kept it to myself. I went to see him on Tuesday and brought with me his three new Epiphone guitars that had arrived that Monday. I thought they would cheer him up & maybe he could play them a little to pass the time.

He seemed uninterested, apathetic and very down. ”All I want to do is sleep. But I keep having horrible dreams so I can’t even do that’. His nurse there was WONDERFUL…I wish I remembered her name. She was so concerned about him and was physically beautiful on top of that!! I think she was 25 or so and had no clue who RATT was!! As always…He had a nickname for her ….’Florence’….as in ‘Nightingale.’

After getting back to Hancock Park, he seemed energized & started in again on his physical rehab with a passion….sometimes. For the rest of January, visiting him was ‘like a box of chocolates’…I never knew which Robbin I would be getting. The determined, energetic, hopeful Robbin, or the tired, sleepy, grouchy Robbin. He had started drinking again, but even that couldn’t account for the sometimes dreamlike state he seemed to be in. Then I found out that a few of his old ‘friends’ had started visiting him again. People from his past that should have stayed in his past…. for his sake.

Later that month, we had planned to order Chinese food in & watch the Superbowl together at Hancock Park. That morning just as I was getting ready to leave home, he calls….’Dude, I’m sorry…I’m at Cedars again.’ It was a repeat of what had happened on January 5th. Something was going on….

February/March 2002 and Light at the End of the Tunnel:
During these 2 months, he made solid progress, physically, and was getting stronger & stronger. One day in February we finally got to go out on our Pass. I was amazed when I walked in…he sat up and got into his wheelchair by himself…effortlessly. He was dressed in street clothes, shaved, hair pulled back into a ponytail & ready to go!! We had a beautiful day, we went for lunch at ‘El Compadre’ and when we got there he had another surprise for me….he said. ‘I’m going in there on my own 2 feet…get the crutches’ I thought there was NO WAY he was ready for that.. ‘Are you…sure???’ It was 60 long feet from the back parking lot to the tiny table…but he made it!! Immediately the 2 guys ‘Flaco’ & ‘Chiquito’ that had served Robbin since the RATT days came over…’Chiquito’ says ‘Robbin…you look soo good, you look clean, It’s good to see you’. He said ‘Gracias me Amigos, Dos Cervezas…por favor!’

After we had ordered Robbin told me a story about those two guys…’You know, when I was really down & out and didn’t even have the money to eat McDonald’s…me & Rosie (his black labrador) would show up at the back door & beg for a taco or something….they never refused me. I love those guys.’ Now I understood why he was so in Love with that place. We ate a fantastic meal & had a few more ‘Cervezas’ and even a few shots of Tequila….At one point I said ‘No, no…no more…I have to drive’. He ordered them anyway and ended up drinking them both! He insisted on paying the check…$20 food bill & $40 alcohol!! He left a crisp $100 bill and we left quickly. We had just cashed his Royalty check from ‘Wicken Music Publishing’ and he had a few bucks in his pocket…He was on top of the world. He didn’t have a lot of money but his generosity ruled over all….It almost seemed like a tonic for him to be able to give.

In March he started talking about getting an Apartment and began looking thru the papers & literature from some local places. He said ‘What I really want is one of these quaint local ‘cottage’ type houses…just a 2 bedroom…but I just can’t swing it without a roommate, do you know anybody??’ He ended up settling on a 1 bedroom Apt. in a local landmark of sorts…the mid-Wilshire district ‘Park La Brea’ involved…He said ‘Reasonably priced & reasonably fashionable, fit for a King!’ He made several more attempts at getting a roommate, including a friend from Seattle, but it just didn’t work out. He would say ‘I’ve got to find a companion…I can’t live alone’.

We started going out on pass regularly, looking for new furniture and furnishings for the place. We bought a set of beautiful black leather couches and put them on hold…waiting for the day he moved in. They were ‘Just like the ones I had in my house’. He had me on the hunt for some small oriental rugs to use on the hardwood floor in the living room area. He was scheduled to move in on April 1st…my birthday!!

Part V

A Day at the DMV
On March 22nd we went to the DMV in the San Fernando Valley to get him a California ID card. He had not had an ID or Driver’s License in almost 10 years!!! He was very nervous & uptight about going …but he had to get an ID in order to rent his Apartment. On the way there he told me why he was so freaked out about it…’Man I had a Ton of tickets that I never paid…they might not let me get an ID until I pay them, let alone a Driver’s license.’ He said he was prepared to pay all of them if necessary. We started talking about cars too..he says ‘I’d like to get a new car….I’ve been the seeing the TV ads for the new Daewoo ‘Leganza’…that would be perfect, only $139 a month.’ I burst out laughing and he gives me the furrowed brow and a ”WHAT?????” I said…’Oh man…the KING stuffed into a Daewoo…too funny! I can’t picture it!’

We get there, fill out all of the paperwork and go up to the window. The lady says ‘That’ll be $10 for your ID’….He looks at me in disbelief & I ask her. ‘Are there any restrictions on him getting a license?’ At that moment I say ‘license’ he gives me a TREMENDOUS kick in the shin!!! She looks it up on the computer and says ‘No…would you like a book to study for the test?’ He says sheepishly….’Uhhh….yeah’. I never saw a bigger smile on his face when we left there with his temporary ID…

We leave the DMV and he says ‘Let’s go to Casa Vega & celebrate!!’. He explains that Casa Vega is a Mexican restaurant he & his wife, Laurie, used to frequent back in 1991-1992. They would fly down windy Laurel Canyon Blvd. in his Ferrari into the San Fernando Valley from his home in the Hollywood Hills…about a 20-minute drive.

I’ll never forget this as long as I live…we are on the way and we see a 7-11 convenience store. He says…’Pull in there I want a Snapple.’ …’OK, what kind?’ he says ‘Any kind’. He takes 1 big drink and then pours the rest (about 80%) on the ground!! I ask ‘What….are….you…..doing????’ He says ‘Last time we went out to lunch they made me give a urine sample so that they could see if was using drugs out on my pass….they gave me an ass full of the alcohol in my urine….this time we’re gonna take precautions’. I still didn’t know what he meant. Duh….!

We pull into the Casa Vega parking lot which is kinda secluded behind the restaurant. He sits on the tailgate of my 4Runner and says ‘Gimme the bottle’. He proceeds to pull down his shorts right there & starts peeing in the bottle, in broad daylight!! I turned my back in horror/ embarrassment and try to shield him from the pedestrians walking down the sidewalk!! I hear over my shoulder…’Oh shit…here take this and empty some’ I take it and run around the side of the car to drain it…I look at him & he’s sitting there holding himself trying to stop the flow and….there’s urine squirting in all directions!!!!! He’s cursing & sputtering ‘Hurry up!!!!’ I get back to him & he’s apparently done….just one problem…THE BOTTLE IS NOW EMPTY!!!! He looks at me and at the bottle & says….’YOU SCHMENGIE!!!…you didn’t save ANY!!???!!!!’ He was ooooh irritated with me the rest of the day. He never let me live that one down….

The Envelope:
Robbin got an ‘allowance’ of sorts sent to him every month from his dad, Something around $400. Just some spending money….Robbin was vague about the reason for it…something about an old investment that was in his father’s name. In his last year, Robbin finally was eligible and approved for Social Security and he began receiving checks in the amount of $1050….the only problem was….he was bedridden with no bank account and no way to cash them, so he just held onto them.

One day in October of 2001 when he was finally able to go out on pass semi-regularly he called & said “Hey fuzznuts, can you come over & get me? We gotta take a ride” I was never much of a pushover, but he knew I would do anything for him soon….I said, “Sounds like we’re gonna rob somebody, do you need a getaway driver?” He chuckled his small, scratchy chuckle & said: “Yeah, actually I do!”

I wheeled him downstairs to the 4Runner, and he says “Awww shit, the ‘shoebox’ again???” He didn’t like the 4Runner because it was too hard for him to get up into it and once inside it was rather small for him. I told him “Hey, beggars can’t be choosers!” He said “OK, Open the back, I’m gonna lay in there like cargo” …and so he did, and he was much more comfortable!

“Where to?” and the answer from the back “Head for North Hollywood, 101 to the 170, get off on Victory” We arrived about 30 minutes later at a strip mall check cashing store. I started to get the wheelchair out, and he says “NO WAY….I want the crutches.” Not a good idea but I had learned that you didn’t argue with him when he had his mind made up.

We go in, and some Armenian dude behind bullet proof glass looks up says “KEENG, you BEEG muthafucka, where you been!!!” The next thing he’s out the door and hugging Robbin. King introduces me to ‘Koko’ by saying “KK meet my new chauffeur, Curt.”

Koko has been cashing checks for Robbin for ten years….because Robbin has no bank account and no ID….Koko was the only one he could turn to because he knew him. “So where the fuck you been??” Robbin says only “I’ve been all over…you know” and then he whips out a small stack of checks….7 months worth of Social Security and two small royalty checks totaling over $8,500!

We get them cashed, and we leave. About half way back while were on the 101 freeway in Universal City Robbin says from the back “Hey, you got the envelope, RIGHT??”. I said, “NO, I do NOT!” …a long pause. “You bastard, tell me you’re kidding…you got it RIGHT??”

“NO, Robbin I never had it, you took it from Koko.” He starts cursing and yelling at me, so I pulled over into the emergency lane on the right shoulder and opened the back. Right away I see a corner of the envelope peeking out from under him…he’s laying on the damn thing!!

I let him go on cursing and bitching with a smile on my face. Finally, he says “This isn’t funny, what the fuck are you laughing at!?!” I snatch up the envelope and wave it in his face like a dead fish, smiling.

His response was priceless. Deadpan he says…

“OK, that’s the last fucking time I take you to do a job with me!”

A Tough Day:
On April 1st he called to wish me a happy birthday, but I could tell something was up. We talked a little…. but he seemed depressed and VERY emotional. He had been drinking, and I asked him “Is everything OK?’ he says ‘NO!….I know it’s your birthday but can you come…I need to talk to you’. It’s a 60-mile drive for me to Hancock Park, but I went.

When I get there he is laying in the dark…sobbing quietly. I ask ‘What’s wrong??’ he says to me through the sobs ‘I need you to promise me one thing….I don’t know how much longer I have and when I’m gone, PLEASE don’t let people forget about me…. I’ve screwed everything up, my marriage, my career, my cars, my house, my guitars… EVERYTHING!!….I don’t want people to think of me as a junkie loser…please let them know I’m sorry’. It’s my turn to start crying and the 2 of us are sitting there in the dark in tears. I stayed there about 3 hours & tried to cheer him up without success. He fell asleep around 12:00 am & I left for home. I did make him the promise….

Fade to Black….
He finally moved into his Apartment around April 8th (I forget the exact day), and he began to settle in. It became apparent that he was not going to be able to care for himself 24/7, so a nurse was scheduled to visit two times a week. His medications were another problem…some of them the nurse could bring & others he would have to go to a clinic across town to see a doctor for them….the wait was usually 3 hours!

He seemed happy but a bit frustrated by his lack of mobility…still he was able to get around the Apartment in the wheelchair and even cook a little for himself. He caught a severe cold the first few nights there & also fell and banged up his feet pretty badly. I would call to see if he needed anything & he would always say ‘No….You don’t need to keep helping me…you’ve done enough’ I told him ‘That’s nonsense….that’s what friends are for’.

In early May I found out that his old friend Patrick had moved in with him…sounds great right? WRONG! Patrick was his former roommate & Heroin buddy. I tried to convince him that Patrick was no good for him & would only tempt him again. He wouldn’t listen…he told me ‘I Love him like a brother, and we’ve been thru a lot of together….besides, he has nowhere else to go.’

I knew right then that this was the beginning of the end….He would call once in awhile just to say hello, but it wasn’t like before. He did everything he could to discourage me from visiting him…’Oh not today, I don’t feel good’ or ‘The place is a mess.’ I could tell he was using again…his speech was slurred & he just didn’t sound good.

Late in May, he started calling me asking me if he could borrow some money…Now, I knew that he had around $9k in cash when he moved into the apartment only a month before. ‘Robbin….where did all your money go?’. He made some vague references about his ‘medication’ and ‘groceries.’ I would lie to him & say “I’m broke….now is a bad time, I’m sorry’. It just about killed me to put him off…but I was not about to HELP him destroy himself.

On the night of Sunday, June 2nd, he called & finally cornered me. “Hey, I need you to do me a favor…I need money for my medication….what I want you to do is take my Breedlove (Acoustic Guitar) and pawn it….bring the others to me here. I need at least $300, and I need it tomorrow morning’. I tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted. So I did as he asked….

I showed up at the apartment at 11:00 am with the $$$ and his guitars….

Oh my God, Please NO!! Please don’t let it be as bad as I imagined.

It was….even WORSE than I imagined. Robbin ‘King’ Crosby was sitting in the middle of the room, nude from the waist down in a dirty T-shirt, unshaven, unwashed and barely able to sit upright. He had gained even more weight and had grown a full beard. There were several LARGE open sores on his legs as well. He was white as a sheet & clammy with sweat.

He says ‘Awwww, come here & give me a hug….I’ve missed you.’ The room was a mess, everything you would expect from a typical bad R rated movie drug den scene. Bottles of piss, cigarette butts, dirty ashtrays & clothes, beer cans….just about every inch of the floor were covered in trash. The heat & stench in the room were overpowering. His beautiful apartment was a shambles…

He could see the horror on my face. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I asked him just one question….’WHY?????’ He was trembling and turned away. He said, stuttering ‘Please… don’t hate me…please’. I told him that I loved him and could never hate him….There were no words left….nothing else I could say would change anything…I thought about trying to reason with him, but I knew that he wouldn’t listen.

I couldn’t stay…I just couldn’t bear to see him this way. I left quickly & in shock, knowing full well I probably would not see him again. I was frustrated & wanted to do something, but deep down I knew that he could not stop. He would not stop….His Demons were just too high.

The afternoon of Thursday, June 6th I got the call from my wife (I was at work) She was crying & just said ‘Robbin’s……..Gone.’ Even though I knew it was coming, it still hit me like a ton of bricks…I almost passed out. All of his hopes & aspirations for the future were now meaningless…all of the hard-won progress he had made in the last six months was meaningless….I just felt so empty. I still feel that empty spot.

Epilogue:
On June 14th, Along with 200 or 300 other folks, I made the journey down to Windansea beach in La Jolla to say goodbye to ‘Robb’ as his childhood friends knew him. It was a beautiful San Diego California day, One like I’m sure Robb saw many, many of in his youth. The service started around 6:00 pm, Robbin’s father starting things off with a moving 20-minute tribute to special people in Robbin’s life. 10 or 12 friends got up & said a few words…some told stories. It was rather strange to see the 4 surviving members of RATT copiously avoiding each other…they didn’t even LOOK at each other!! BUT they were ALL there and I give them credit for at least saying goodbye. Warren was definitely emotional as he spoke about his friend. It looked to me like he wished he had done some things differently…but that’s just my opinion.

The sun was setting at the end of the service…A bright red ball of fire melting into the sea….The sun was setting on Robbin’s life too. He once told me ‘Don’t feel sorry for me…I lived enough for ten men…I did everything I wanted to do’. I’d like to believe that…I do believe that.

One thing I took away with me that day was the pleasant revelation that there had been SO MANY other people that had stepped into his life over his last 10 years to lend him a hand when he needed it. It almost seems like we were all part of a predestined ‘Team’ that passed along the reins silently so that King could be more comfortable…I felt more at ease knowing that so many people HAD cared…people that recognized a free & loving spirit…despite his flaws, we took him as he was…Warts & all.

I wish things could have been different, but I know that I am a better person for knowing him, As is anyone who had spent any amount of time with him. He just had a way of putting out that vibe…of Love.

Love you, King, I miss you…I’ll see you again.

Journal Outtakes-

Originally when I wrote the ‘Journal’, it was more than twice as long and after finishing it there were a lot of things that I felt at the time, were either too personal or not really worth including …also it was so damn long and I wasn’t even sure people would want to read the damn thing! Some of the sections were rambling and VERY long winded….Here’s a sample chapter that was removed.

The Envelope
Robbin got an ‘allowance’ of sorts sent to him every month from his dad, Something around $400. Just some spending money….Robbin was vague about the reason for it…something about an old investment that was in his father’s name. In his last year, Robbin finally was eligible and approved for Social Security and he began receiving checks in the amount of $1050….the only problem was….he was bedridden with no bank account and no way to cash them, so he just held onto them.

One day in October of 2001 when he was finally able to go out on pass semi-regularly he called & said “Hey fuzznuts, can you come over & get me? We gotta take a ride” I was never much of a pushover, but he knew I would do anything for him sooo….I said, “Sounds like we’re gonna rob somebody, do you need a getaway driver?” He chuckled his small, scratchy chuckle & said: “Yeah, actually I do!”

I wheeled him downstairs to the 4Runner, and he says “Awww shit, the ‘shoebox’ again???” He didn’t like the 4Runner because it was too hard for him to get up into it and once inside it was rather small for him. I told him “Hey, beggars can’t be choosers!” He said “OK, Open the back, I’m gonna lay in there like cargo” …and so he did, and he was much more comfortable!

“Where to?” and the answer from the back “Head for North Hollywood, 101 to the 170, get off on Victory” We arrived about 30 minutes later at a strip mall check cashing store. I started to get the wheelchair out, and he says “NO WAY….I want the crutches.” Not a good idea but I had learned that you didn’t argue with him when he had his mind made up.

We go in, and some Armenian dude behind bullet proof glass looks up says “KEENG, you BEEG muthafucka, where you been!!!” The next thing he’s out the door and hugging Robbin. King introduces me to ‘Koko’ by saying “KK meet my new chauffeur, Curt.”

Koko has been cashing checks for Robbin for ten years….because Robbin has no bank account and no ID….Koko was the only one he could turn to because he knew him. “So where the fuck you been??” Robbin says only “I’ve been all over…you know” and then he whips out a small stack of checks….7 months worth of Social Security and two small royalty checks totaling over $8,500!

We get them cashed, and we leave. About half way back while were on the 101 freeway in Universal City Robbin says from the back “Hey, you got the envelope, RIGHT??”. I said, “NO, I do NOT!” …a long pause. “You bastard, tell me you’re kidding…you got it RIGHT??”

“NO, Robbin I never had it, you took it from Koko.” He starts cursing and yelling at me, so I pulled over into the emergency lane on the right shoulder and opened the back. Right away I see a corner of the envelope peeking out from under him…he’s laying on the damn thing!!

I let him go on cursing and bitching with a smile on my face. Finally, he says “This isn’t funny, what the fuck are you laughing at!?!” I snatch up the envelope and wave it in his face like a dead fish, smiling.

His response was priceless. Deadpan he says…

“OK, that’s the last fucking time I take you to do a job with me!”
————————————————————————————–

Here’s another deleted entry. This one was the first section written, the section before ‘Meeting a King’ but after the intro, at the Very beginning of the journal. It seemed rather irrelevant and rather silly because of my extreme ignorance, so I cut it out…the first of many chapters to go…looking at it now I guess it lends some perspective to the overall story.

Like a Dream
After leaving Neil’s, I started getting excited, thinking about all of the things I wanted to ask Robbin. I might not get a second chance to talk with him, and I wanted to make it count so I wrote a long list of questions so I wouldn’t forget anything.

They were mostly things related to the guitars I had, but also some questions about that magical time between 1984-1987 when RATT was on top of the hard rock world…one of the biggest bands from my home turf of Los Angeles.

I felt special because I had what I considered to be a ‘special ticket’ to go & see him. His close friend Neil Zlozower (whom I was also rather awestruck at the meeting!) had just given me ‘permission’ to go & see him…Neil said it would be alright, so surely Robbin would take a few minutes to talk with me. Hopefully, I wouldn’t stick my damn foot in my mouth!

I had a plan; I would shamelessly drop Neil’s name. You know, ‘Hey Robbin, how are you? I talked to Neil & he said it would be OK to come & visit.’

Even though I had been vaguely informed of his current situation, In my excitement, I pictured him just as he appeared on the cover of all those magazines back then, the larger than life presence and the leader of RATT. I figured he would look much the same….surely a little worse for wear because he had been ill….but still virtually unchanged.

It was August and a typically warm day in Los Angeles somewhere in the mid 90-degree range…bright & clear with some scattered billowy white clouds and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, what a great day to go & see Robbin, to finally meet one of my favorite guitarists of the ’80’s’.

Driving over, I checked & re-checked the address of the place ‘Hancock Park Convalescent Hospital.’ The Hancock Park area of LA is considered kinda upscale and ‘gorgeous’ so my mind conjured an idyllic setting with well-manicured grounds and lots of security. I initially drove right by the place, mainly because the area didn’t match my mind’s image of what it should look like!!

I doubled back and found parking on the street in front of the hospital…I was surprised, to say the least. It faced a busy, noisy street and there were no ‘grounds,’ just a plain looking entrance in a somewhat dingy looking building. This couldn’t be the right place. Could it?

I went inside, and a young, attractive Asian receptionist smiled and said ‘How may I help you?’ As I looked around the rather open & ugly lobby, I said ‘I’m here to visit a patient, Robbin Crosby’, half expecting her to tell me there was no one here by that name. Instead, she looked a little surprised and, handing me a clipboard to sign in, whispered ‘I’m so glad you’re here, he hasn’t had many visitors. Are you a friend or family?’

At this, I felt my eyes shift slightly as I fought to comprehend what she had just said….I finally blurted out ‘Uh, No I’ve never met him, he doesn’t know me.’ She said ‘Oh, well OK the elevator is there and he’s on the second floor, room 203’.

On my way up I thought to myself. ‘Something isn’t right, am I in the right place?’, Then the elevator door opened and I stepped out. I looked left & right and immediately felt disoriented because there were elderly patients everywhere I looked, crowding the narrow hallway. I had never been in such a hospital, so I was completely unprepared.

I walked toward a nurses station, and I felt I was in a surreal movie….elderly ladies were grabbing at me from wheelchairs, and old men were leaning up against walls seemingly catatonic or mumbling to themselves.

A nurse, without saying a word, pointed to a door near the end of the hallway when I asked where Robbin was. I walked over and with my heart jumping out of my chest, silently entered the room.

There were two beds; one was occupied by a senior man with sunken cheeks who merely looked at me blankly…I looked to my left at the bed closest to the door, and my knees went weak. My throat felt like it had suddenly closed & dried up.

I saw a man whom I didn’t recognize, a large man with long greasy, lank hair who was sound asleep and snoring gently. I stood transfixed slowly taking in the details.

The darker hair, the sweaty bloated face, the dirty stained hospital gown, the enormous body, the messy small table cluttered with all sorts of stuff, the two get well cards taped to the dingy wall, the faint odor of human waste, antiseptic and sweat.

It WAS Robbin Crosby, but my mind could not process the reality…

Without realizing it, I had dropped the paper I had brought with my questions on it….I stood for what seemed like forever trying to figure out what I should do….should I leave? Should I cough? Should I wake him? Should I ask a nurse for help?

In the end, I just stood there… looking from the quizzical look on the face of the man in the next bed, back to Robbin sleeping peacefully.

Robbin…… Is that Robbin? How can it be?? This is not what I expected…I suddenly felt very foolish and utterly stupid at my naive notions of this man and his very real state. This was not what I expected…this is not what I expected!!

After a minute I silently placed the brown bag containing the bottle of Peppermint Schnapps on the table and left the room. I don’t remember leaving the hospital…I just remember the tears I felt on my cheeks and the helpless feeling that I had somehow intruded, seen something too private…yet he never knew I was there.

To me, it was like a dream. Did it happen?

It took me a week to gather enough courage to go back…to try again.

Warren Demartini – Ratt’s Axe Master Still Shredding!

By Andrew Catania

Acclaimed for his astoundingly fast minor scaling, wide vibratos and rated among the best metal guitarists of the world –  Warren Justin DeMartini aka Torch is an acclaimed musician who ruled in the limelight in the music sphere for the entire decade of the 1980s.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on 10th April 1963, and the youngest of the five brothers, Warren DeMartini’s family moved to settle in San Diego during his early childhood. Two of his elder brothers Bernard and James held a strong affinity towards rock and later ventured into forming their band. His grandmother too was a professional musician and used to play piano for background score for silent movies in her time. So, music was kind of an old legacy that transcended into Warren DeMartini and his brothers.

Warren Demartini

DeMartini’s first exposure to guitar was when his mother bought him one, at seven years of age. It was a small guitar that went out of tune after a couple of jams. Angrier than aggrieved, little DeMartini demolished the instrument, and it was not until he turned 14 that his fingers came back in touch with the chords. This time it was a Cimar Les Paul copy of an electric guitar.

It was right since his childhood that DeMartini what he wanted to do in life. Music was his lifeline, and rock and metal had become his passion. With a proper instrument in hand, DeMartini delved headlong into the pursuit of his dreams and started to strengthen his grip and refine his skills over the tact and intricacies of heavy metal, glam metal, and hard rock.

DeMartini staged his first concert at the age of 15, with ‘The Plague‘ in an event held at La Jolla High School. Although it was not a huge feat, the concert sure brought DeMartini the exposure that he needed. DeMartini’s name started creating waves in the local music industry and was declared as the ‘Best Emerging Guitar Player in San Diego.’ After graduating in 1981, DeMartini enrolled himself at a local college. Until then, his name had started resonating in the music sphere and eventually landed him an invitation to join Mickey Ratt. He accepted the offer and moved to Los Angeles where he joined the band’s lineup as the lead guitarist, replacing Jake E. Lee.

DeMartini’s role as the lead guitarist paved new ways to success for the band. Aside from rendering his playing skills in the leading capacity, DeMartini also started experimenting on his musical penmanship. He has contributed great lyrics for some albums released by Ratt. Ratt was releasing successive hit records, including for platinum albums. The band ruled the entire decade of the 1980s and disbanded after DeMartini parted ways in 1992.

After bidding farewell to Ratt, DeMartini played for a short while for Dokken and later for Whitesnake. He also set up his solo profile, with an EP ‘Surf’s Up!‘ and a full-fledged album ‘Crazy Enough to Sing to You, and two more albums titled ‘Collage’ and ‘DeMartini. He also played for Dio for some time. In 1997, Ratt was revived, and DeMartini is an integral part of it til this day.

https://www.therattpack.com/

Interview: Stephen Pearcy – His New Solo Album and Ratt plans

By Andrew Catania

An axeman composer, a master musician, a skilled producer, an excellent lyricist, and an experienced record label owner, Stephen Eric Pearcy is a complete music institution on his own. The prominent music figure rose to a stature of global prominence in the decade of 1980s at the platform of his brainchild RATT, a heavy metal band that he co-founded in 1983, with lead guitarist Robbin Crosby. This joint venture turned out to be a rocking feat and eventually became his original identity. Not looking back since the launch in 1983, RATT ruled the following decades through multiple gold, platinum, and multi-platinum record selling releases.

Unlike his contemporaries, Pearcy had no significant interest in music from his childhood, instead favoring automobiles and car racing. He might have become a race driver, but destiny had other things planned for him. Having met a severe car accident, Stephen fought for his life for six whole months lying on the ICU bed. It was then that someone presented him with a basic acoustic guitar, and Pearcy started fiddling with the chords. The magic of the strings did not take much time to bewitch the sporty Pearcy with its melodious charisma, and after recovering from the accident, Pearcy decided to test his mettle in the metal music domain. After a lot of learning, jamming and a couple of side performances, Stephen Pearcy eventually co-founded Mickey Ratt, which was later named as RATT.

The band established a healthy regional following through frequent performances in eminent local clubs. Then, the release of their first EP brought the band into the limelight. This was just the start for the band. The EP’s success fueled Pearcy’s motivations, and the combined efforts of the lineup resulted in the release of their first album titled ‘Out of the Cellar’ in 1984. The multi platinum album broke all previous records, uplifting the music competition of the decade to a whole new level. However, this too was just a start, and Pearcy was determined to bag more success and fame.

At a time when RATT was ruling the music charts with its fiery performances and had already had three gold-selling albums and four multiplatinum-selling albums, Pearcy’s restless nature compelled him to take the high road, and he eventually bid farewell to the band in 1992.

Despite his other associations with Arcade, Vertex, Vicious Delite and special guest appearances, it is still RATT that accounts for his original identity in the domain of music. He has tested his skills in some genres such as rock, industrial and heavy, glam and alternative metal, on a variety of instruments. He has also established a sound solo portfolio and launched his record label in 1995. Stephen Pearcy has also pursued a career in acting and holds some significant appearances in Camp Utopia and Wicked City to his name. Stephen Pearcy is now entirely focused on extending his solo profile. He ran his label called ‘Top Fuel Records’ and published his biography titled “Sex, Drugs and Ratt ‘n’ Roll” in 2014.

We recently had a formal chit chat with the versatile maestro about his past, influences, techniques, his upcoming solo record and personal viewpoint about his association with RATT. Here is the interview, presented with all the intricate details for his fans and music enthusiasts. Read on.

I listened to your album it sounds excellent.  It brings me back to the Sweet Cheater days of RATT.  

Ah, I’m glad you said that!  Thank you.  That was a conscious thing to do.

Ok.  This album, I am reading what you said, the creativity was different from your previous bands.  How was that?

You mean with Ratt?

Yes.  Ratt or Arcade

Yes.  My solo stuff,  especially with my co-writer Erik, my lead guitar player is the stuff we do it could cover something like very Zeppelin like ‘73 to the boldest thing on the planet.  That’s what I like about how we write; it gives me room to move in other directions.  What was a conscious decision with Smash was to make sure this record had a lot of diversity and all songs got the same attention?  It was a beginning and end and some stuff in there you know, Kix is for kids, that kind of thing. It was way different.  It took a while to record this album to write it and everything.  We wrote so much music, and every time we thought we were onto something he would show me something else, and I would go nope that’s number one now.  So this was constantly happening, and the songs just kept getting better and better, and I’m able to do a lot more with my solo music, talk about things.  You know a little more mind expanding per say or just stretch you know the light and the dark and the colors to change to ebb and flow everything. We wanted this record to have everything. It was just like the EP, and that’s where we made sure we were conscious that there was a lot of breathing room in most of this material.  That it just wasn’t cluttered and there was room to breathe like the EP you know or at least other songs that I wrote back in the day.

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This has got Ratt written all over it. I mean I know you’re trying to solo, but you’ve got Beau Hill out there mixing it

Yes, I’ve got to clarify something.  Beau Hill mixed and mastered one song.  We couldn’t get him to the full project, so we pretty much took that schematic from I Can’t Take It, and we just went from there but I still have a song in the can that he mixed and mastered.  We tried everything with this record there was no stone left unturned when it came to this, ideas and just being diverse.  Like Physical Graffiti or something.  I wasn’t trying to accomplish Physical Graffiti. Otherwise,  there would have been 20 songs.  I had the 20 songs.  I get to stretch more with my solo stuff, and a song like Ten Miles Wide is going to be the video single before the record is released.  We start shooting in about a week.  That is Erik my guitar player channeling Robbin Crosby without a doubt.  It is something Robbin would have come up with without a doubt, you know. Right out of the box you know, smack, Ratt! You know what, what can I say, my voice, it doesn’t matter if it’s me doing an industrial record without the Charlie Vortex it’s still my voice and that’s cool but I don’t try to change my voice to suit anything I just try different things and see where it takes me.  It’s like a road trip, and you don’t know where you’re going until you get there. We’re happy with it though we accomplished it.  I’ve only released the lyrics on two records.  One was Detonator which I was reluctant to do and Smash.  On Smash I was thrilled I put the lyrics on there because a lot is going on in that record lyrically that people will open their eye’s to instead of having their eye’s bleeding.  You know a lot is going on in that record inside a distinct tune like Lollipop or something.  I have to have something entertaining in there.  This stuff is interesting,  to say the least you know

Absolutely!  Working with Erik how is that different from working with Warren with songwriting and guitars? 

With Ratt music whether it was Warren or myself or Warren it’s a little more complicated because we know what we have to do and we’re actually kind of demoing stuff now for something later on in the year I hope but with Erik that guy is a writing machine and so am I so if he give’s me something and it hit’s me somewhere I mean it’s done in one day. But with Smash even though we had song’s like that I made sure that the lyrics were as perfect as they could be, said what they had to say and I changed the lyrics so many times on these song’s I mean literally I had lyric’s for song’s and scrapped them and started over but he’s just a writing machine.  He might just come up with a title and say here’s an idea that I have and the next thing you know I’ve got Lyric’s written for this thing already.  It’s crazy! It’s a unique writing situation I have with him I’ve been working with the guy for 15 years now.  He’s been in my solo band so we have this different kind of chemistry to where Warren and the other guy’s in Ratt whether it was Robbin or Juan or collectively all of us or one of us or two of us it’s a little more ‘we’re thinking’ Ratt music you know what I mean?

Right

With the solo stuff,  we’re not thinking anything we just go for it and make sure it’s the best we can do

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Your voice sounds a lot better on this album.  Have you re-done anything or is it just activity-wise you’re just stretching yourself out?

Well you know, it’s a slower record it’s a whole different environment number one, number two there’s not a lot of triple tracks, double tracks per say there’s more melody stuff over the lead tracks than anything you know like early Zeppelin or Judas Priest or something it’s just one guy, me, you know. I think there is only one song where Erik sing’s a bridge part, and that is way uncommon.  I took a different approach you know I didn’t want it to be like the Ratt schematic.  It’s unique in itself with Beau, and that’s how we get our sounds.  I sing a central a low and a high and then we throw the melodies over that.  With this record we took the approach like OK we’re just going to do the lead vocal track and then we’re going to put the melodies or whatever below or above it, so we took a different approach, and it’s evident you know what I mean there’s not a lot of poop going on there’s no auto tuning there’s not a lot of crazy stuff going on

Like I said Sweet Cheater sound, there’s just nothing, there’s just you.

Yes and you know it was a conscious thing, so we did accomplish what we wanted.  We started, we made sure we stayed true to what we were doing and just went for it, and if it weren’t right we’d put it aside and get back to it later, and if we didn’t like it, we’d start on something else.  That’s the way it works when I do solo stuff now, so it worked out for good. We spent a lot of time it was probably three month’s in the studio off and on, but it was more like a year of writing

OK.  You still have your label correct?

Yes! That I started in ‘95 yes. I licensed a record to Frontiers

That was my next question. How did you get involved with Frontiers?  Because I know you have so much going on you’re a producer you’re a label, you’re a director, drag racing you’ve got your hands in all kinds of stuff

Yes,  the last thing I did is I’m trying to get into music with tv and stuff and still do that.  What I had planned was a four song EP release and then when Frontiers got wind of I Can’t Take It and stuff they showed interest in Shulman who’s an old Atlantic relation so I was like OK well sure let me instigate this I usually do my stuff so I pretty much went for it and jumped tracks as I said and the next thing you know it was like alright you’re doing a full record now so let’s get busy, and we did.  We just went at it and gave him the best thing we could give him.

Regarding licensing with Frontiers are you just doing a one album deal or do you have commitments after that with them depending on how this does?

No,  I believe there is an option yes.  I’m sure we’ll do another solo record with them yes.  First I’ve got to get a Ratt record out

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Is all of the legal stuff done between all parties involved with Ratt?

Yes the dust has settled pretty much, and it’s getting cemented, and yes the thing with Ratt is to look,  we have the ability to say look we don’t want to do anything for a year or two or three it’s just pen’s right, so that’s what happens. As we were doing that Warren didn’t want to go out there without all of us ‘the original’ and someone just decided well I’m going out there and I’m going to do my own thing and I’m going to call it this.  Well,  unfortunately, that was a bad move not only for our fans but business and the real integrity of the entity.  So hence this person created all these things going down.  I don’t want to mention names or bad rap or nothing because justice is peace and things are done and taken care of and like I say the dust has pretty much settled and we’re going out and doing our thing.  Ratt’s first show is February 11th, and then we headline M3 you know a lot is going on there, but it’s got to be done right.  There’s a lot of this mess created but one thing you can’t do especially a person who didn’t write music or anything is trying to change a course of history and its four member’s you know, and that was the worst thing I thought possible you know we’re not ones to get out there and chit chat for the sake of doing it.  It’s not like the Hitler approach where you tell the people the same thing enough they’ll believe it.  Our audience isn’t that stupid.  They’re brilliant they’ve been around for thirty years you know.  You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of them hence things took care of themselves pretty much and so we’re moving ahead.  A lot more to go down and like I said Warren, and I have already started dabbling and writing, and we’ll see what happens.  We’d like to get something out sometime this year, but we’ve still got a lot to accomplish and take it slow and easy and make sure it’s done right time and make sure there’s no if and’s or buts and hopefully,  we can have another few years out there for everybody.

Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt! Do you think there is any reconciliation between you and Bobby Blotzer?

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK. No all I know is there are Warren and myself, and Juan and Carlos are back in the game, and we’ll figure out who’s on the fifth when we get there.

Carlos was a great addition to the last album

Yes.  The first two songs Carlos and I wrote for Infestation.  It was crazy. I sunk my teeth into those songs so fast.  Some things just happen the same with writing with Erik or Warren sometimes.  The last thing I just did with Warren him and I he showed me this riff and the next thing you know I’m in there singing and writing lyrics, and we’re looking at each other going this is cool, and this was what, a few weeks ago?  I just like writing.  I don’t stop, but I do have an obligation with Smash, and it’s an excellent record, and it needs to be heard it needs to be out there. We’ll be out there playing a lot of songs from it live.  Some Arcade.  I’ve got Frank back on guitar from Arcade, my solo band

No way did you?

Yes! He’s back in the mix and-and, so we’re ready to go.  We’re going to have a good time and like I say Ratt’s gearing up to do some good things nothing to be able to talk about now really, but it will be a beautiful, fulfilling year, to say the least.

When you look at Arcade, the first one A/2 that came out if the grunge thing did not take that would have been a platinum-selling album.  I still play Arcade in the car to this day.

I love that record

Nothing To Lose your vocals you were spot on. I thought that was one of your best albums vocally
Thank you

I still play it and these kids today say who’s this?  Is it Ratt?  I said no Stephen Pearcy is from Ratt, but this is Arcade you’ve got Fred Coury on drums you guys were just in tune.

You know I’ve got to tell you that was Johnny Angel co-wrote all those songs with Fred and myself and it’s one of those records that just happened you know.  Every song it was just almost handed to us lyrics came easy it just came easy it was a great deal.  We had Epic/Sony behind us, and I didn’t skip a beat you know we were just off and ran.  I wrote again got diversity with Mother Blue Sons And Daughters and then Nothing To Lose I wrote with Jim Vallance.  Never Going Home, Jim Vallance I mean that was an excellent record.  The second was a little more aggressive.  I had Holford solo producer in there, and so that was a bit more aggressive.  I still like that record too but the first one, it’s one of my favorite records.

You have a busy year ahead of you I know you host M3 you guy’s are headlining M3

Yes

Are you going to have your single band with any of the same dates as Ratt or is that going to be a no-no?  

No, they are two different entities.  We plan on doing other stuff with Ratt because we want to get out and start hitting other parts of the planet. We’ll see I mean I’ve been told about some great things that could be happening and tours, and so we’ll see.  Nothing I can say now like I say the dust is still settling and still a lot of things to take care of and once that’s done there’s some good stuff that could be on the horizon there.  You know packaging and getting this out there so.  A year is a long time.  Band’s don’t tour like they used to anymore and I don’t want to you know. I’ll be happy doing two to four solo show’s a month if possible, and with Ratt you never know.  We’re taking it easy, starting carefully you know one step at a time and take it from there

You know the promoters are going to be coming after you guy’s to put you on some festival’s with some big names I am sure because you’ve got pretty much the whole kit and kaboodle of Ratt out there

Yes! It’s going down as we speak, yes!

Your voice sounds great in the past but you seem stronger than ever on this album and I can envision you singing with Ratt and Warren DiMartini I’ve always had him in my articles as one of the top ten greatest guitarist’s of all time and Juan is phenomenal with his bass flipping upside down and everything else we’re going to hear some fantastic song’s that’s why I can imagine we’re going to see you guy’s doing something with some big band’s. 

Yes,  there’s some good stuff in the works.  That’s about all I can say.  We’re very excited first with Smash, and the dust has settled or is settling here with Ratt, and we can put things back into perspective, and the real entity is the people who come out and like what we do.  It’s already 33 years old this month, 33 or 34.  As long as we’re around, I think making the right moves is the only way to go about doing it.  I don’t want to go out year after year after year for the sake of doing it.  It should be special you know, and that’s what it’s going to be
Excellent! Well,  Stephen,  I wish you good luck on your solo album.  It sounds great.  Your voice sounds better than ever.  You sound like I’m 11 years old again popping my Sweet Cheater in and telling my big brother about you guys.  

 

I appreciate that man.  I’ve done so many interviews today, and that’s the first one that hit the nail on the head! That was the approach I wanted to take with these songs to go back to that basic breathing.  You don’t have to think much.  It’s right there in your face, so I’m happy to hear that! Thank you!

Just out of curiosity do you think Detonator was a good album for you guys?

You know you believe in every record you do and you know there’s some record’s like the Yellow record we did it after the fact, and it’s not one of my favorites although there are some moment’s and that’s all you can do. It’s all timing you know.  It’s all everything has to be lined up to get that.  With Detonator we weren’t in a good place you know.  We had been on the road non-stop doing these arena tours for years, record after record and we were pretty crispy, pretty abused and pretty addicted.

(Laughter)

We were a fucking mess and so going into Detonator Robbin wasn’t all there with us so that was the beginning of you know I see the end right there but we had a new start after that probably blessed by him and people who still want to hear us but Detonator to me it was a good record.  You can only do with what you’ve got when you’re given only four colored pencils, and you’re told to create the universe.  You’re given a black pencil, and that’s all you’ve got well you’ve got to make do with it.  That’s about it,  you know. So we did what we could.  I like the record.  There are some great songs on there.  I think Way Cool is on there correct?

 

Way Cool Jr was on Reach For The Sky.  Oh OK, Shame, there are some good songs on there and Child Beyond scratch my head

Yes, Dirty Job

 

Thank you very much for keeping that flame alive with Ratt & Roll and your solo projects.  You’re out there it sounds like you’re on the ball.  That first song that Beau Hall did I said we’re right back to the Sweet Cheater days!

Right on brother, I appreciate it!  Yes, we’re pleased with the record

Alright! Congratulations and I’m sure we’ll be talking soon!

Thank you very much, I appreciate it!!

Guitarist John Roth’s New Band Roth/Brock Project Interview

By Andrew Catania 

John Roth has a varied pedigree of guitar playing.  John was the guitarist for the band Giant, who had a successful run during the late eighties.  John has been with Winger since their 1993 record, Pull, complementing Reb Beach.  He’s also the guitarist for Starship.  His current project, Roth/Brock Project,  has a new record out.  I spoke with John and we discussed his new record, his playing, guitars, rigs, and the state of the music industry.

 

How’s your album coming along there?  It sounds very good

Thank you man! Thank you!! We’ve got a decent amount of pre-sales and all the response you know the feed that we’ve gotten so far, it’s been really good

It sounds like the good old days of Giant

Man it’s that 80’s arena rock & roll.  Yes, that’s it man.  I had a few other people say some of the songs had that Giant vibe so yes man it’s fun stuff.  We had a lot of fun making that album

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Yes because Giant still rules on Hair Nation on Sirius.com.  It’s probably once every 3 albums.

That’s cool! Awesome! That’s good to know.  I’ve had some other people say they heard Giant a lot on Sirius.  That was some of the better 80’s rock and that was right around 1990 I believe

Yes it was right before the polyester invasion came in the next year

Exactly! Right when the whole climate changed right their man

How did you get fit together with your partner there?  How did this formation come with Frontiers 

Well Serafino, his label Frontiers had approached me on making a record on my own aside from Winger.  I’ve done 3 with Winger on Frontiers and I did the Giant record with Terry so that’s how I met with Terry was from when I was working on the 2010 Giant Promised Land record.  So, Terry and I hit it off good on that.  We co-wrote a couple of songs I wrote 3 on that record two which I co-wrote with Terry and man we just hit it off song writing wise.  As far as friends it’s always cool when you can find someone to send a song to and they send it back to you and it’s twice as good you know what I mean?  We just had some good chemistry.  Terry and I met back in Giant land and we kept in touch over all these years and we did a moronic rock festival in Chicago.  I was playing with Winger and Terry was playing and he got up and set in with us so we kept in touch over the years and when Serafino approached me about making a record for him Terry was the first guy I thought of

Oh Ok.  Do you guys still have that chemistry when you guys went to record this?

Yes, absolutely! Absolutely man.  Like I said it’s always great when you work with someone who thinks like you do.  Especially when you’re trying to make a record.  He lives in Panama City and I live in Mississippi which is right outside of Memphis so you know when you’re working long distance like that and I tour with Starship and Winger so I’m on the road for 140 days of the year and Terry sings in a band called LeRoux and does another project that he’s on the road with so you know time is of the essence.  So, it’s always great when you have that kind of chemistry and I could make a record with Terry, make a good record with Terry with good songs and us not have to struggle over our schedules and everything.  So, we worked as efficiently as we could and we made it happen

You have a lot of Giant on here, I can hear some Winger on here.  To you what does this record sound like?

 

It’s 80’s kind of style arena rock & roll with a little punchier and drier of a sound you know.  Part of what I didn’t like about the sound of the 80’s to me was a lot of the drums and the plate reverbs you know it seems like they tried to make the record sound like you were in a hall so you know it wasn’t as in your face.  I like raw, a little drier.  To me it’s kind of sounds like an 80’s arena rock record.

 

Going back to your youth, when did you pick up the guitar?  At what age?  

Let’s see I was 10 so that was 1978 and my cousins all played guitar and sang.  I remember hearing them rehearse once in the basement.  It was loud I was probably about 7 – 8 years old and the music it just shook me so you know it was kind of scary and I liked it was in my face, something I liked about it and my parents always listened to a lot of music so it was just kind of in my genes I think.  So, I was 10 and my first real guitar hero was Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, it had to be

Wow! Billy Gibbons OK! There’s one I have not heard said except a couple people. 
What was your first guitar?  Just a cheap acoustic? 

Teisco del rey.  I think I remember reading in an interview with Eddie Van Halen years ago that he said he had one of those things.  Man, it was you know just a cheap guitar bought in like a pawn shop type store.  It was like a Harold’s everything store (laughter) something like that you know.  It was a Strat guitar.

When you were in your teens did you have any bands you played with?

Oh yeah.  I think I started gigging when I was about 12 and opening the guitar and I did the talent show.  I was too young to play in the clubs but I had this band called Warning.  We wanted all our songs to be like Rainbow and Dio and Judas Priest and all that kind of stuff and we had a gig opening for Eric Johnson in Memphis and I was 15 years old

No Way?

Yeah! Yeah! So, that was my first gig in Memphis opening for Eric Johnson and we were playing like Van Halen, Ozzy, Grand Funk Railroad and I remember the club owner was freaking that I was 15 and he said your mother must be here with you or I can get fired and lose my liquor license and it was a great moment for me because of course I got to hear Eric Johnson which is phenomenal experience and I got to meet Shawn Lane.  I don’t know if you know who Shawn Lane is.

Shawn is one of my favorites

Shawn was from another planet.  I love him and I miss Shawn.  I grew up around Shawn Lane and another amazing musician from Memphis Jack Holder who doesn’t get a lot of credit.  He’s another great guitar player. He played in Cobra with Jimi Jamison and Survivor who I spent a lot of time on the road with.  But yes, I did play in bands. I’ve always played in bands and that led to me playing in Black Oak Arkansas which Shawn played in Black Oak.  So, I followed Shawn into Black Oak.  I didn’t even follow Shawn because there were a lot of guitar players with that band but Jim Dandy, the singer is credited with having a huge influence on David Lee Roth.  They were like a southern boogie band so my first bands were always original bands.  I went from that to playing with Black Oak to Jimi Jamison, Survivor and Winger, Starship and all these other 80’s rock bands.  But I was always playing and I couldn’t wait until I graduated so I could go on the road.   That’s what you did, you couldn’t wait to get out of high school so you could go on the road

So, with all these 80’s bands that you’ve been with you’ve been with Winger where you paired up with Reb Beach during your time with them?

Yeah! I’m still in Winger.  I still play with Winger.  I just played with them last week no that was two weeks ago so I played with Starship last weekend.  So, I’m playing in both bands now and yeah I joined Winger in ’93 after the Pull record was recorded and yeah so with Reb, Reb’s an old friend as all the guy’s in Winger we’re growing old together.  When I joined that band, I was 26 and I still get to play with Winger and Reb’s a sweetheart man and a phenomenal player and he’s just a great guy to hang with to play licks with and learn from and to spend time with.  When you’re on the road you hang out a hell of a lot more than you play.  You know it’s all about you’re in the airport, you’re in a shuttle, you’re at the hotel.  So yeah, Reb’s awesome!

That is fantastic. 
Your current guitars, are you endorsed by anybody now?  

You know I don’t have any kind of endorsement deal signed.  I like to play whatever I want to play you know.  Forever I was into Les Pauls then it was Strats and Les Pauls and then it was Tele’s.  You know I haven’t signed any kind of an endorsement deal.  I’ve had some offers from different pickup people it’s just you know I like being able to play what I want when I want.  It’s flattering to be of an endorsement deal I’ve just kind of strayed away from that because I had a thing with Gibson.

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What are you currently playing?

I’m playing a Suhr Standard Pro.  We started doing these gigs probably about 10 years ago Winger and Starship.   A lot of these 80’s bands they fly to all these gigs we don’t tour on a bus like we used to.  Probably the last time I was on a bus was 2008 so your flying Les Paul’s the necks of them end up getting cracked or any kind of guitar whose neck would probably snip. I mean I got back from a run with Winger and one of my favorite Les Paul’s had a crack in the neck and of course I owned a Les Paul where his stock was cracked and they glued it back on. You know how that works with Paul’s a lot so I started playing with guitars so I started playing beefy Strats with humbuckers and a bridge and I picked up Reb’s.  You know Reb’s got a bolt on Strat he’s that guitar plays awesome.  He’s like dude anytime you want one I’ll get you the hook up you’ll get an artist deal at least and they’ll build it for you custom.  So, I’m playing a custom Suhr Standard Pro right now and I still play my Strat some.  On my record that I just put out I played a Charvel, SoCal, a Fender American Strat and this custom Suhr.  They’re all great guitars man.  I love them.  I love the Suhr.  It plays amazing.

They’re nice guitars. What’s your rig consist of? Has it changed over the years or are you pretty much the same?

I’ve always played Marshalls and Boogies.  This record that I made I used a Mesa Roadster.  It’s a mesa dual rectifier roadster and I love that amp.  I love the punch units in the mid-range of that amp.  I got one of the dual rectifiers when I went out on the road with Winger and I’m just kind of a big Boogie fan man and I just like the punch units on the low end and mid-range those amps are amazing. You know I prefer the roadster over all of them and we have back line companies.  I play on a different amp every night since we’ve played at all our gigs.  I’ve played at least 70 fly dates a year somewhere between 55 and 70 fly gigs a year or something like and we don’t carry our heads you know we carry our pedal boards and our guitars of course stuff like that.  So, on the road because they’re so consistent I use Marshalls JCM 2000 DSL

Oh very nice 

Yeah man, I asked for three of them you know their very consistent.  Out of three of them, two of them sound good.   Normally I use one head, two cabs I either stack them or side by side and I use a mic each cabinet.  I think the mic on the other cabinet is a Sennheiser 609.  I also have a radial jdx drive.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with that box.  Have you heard of it?

I’ve heard of it yes

It’s a direct box you know and it’s a cabinet and it sounds so… Bass guys like that because they can poke sounds through the mix without having to turn up the cabs which when you turn up the cabs, you know the mics it starts bringing out the sounds of the drums and everything else, the rumble on the stage and so I’m sending the front house guys three signals 2 mics and a radial jdx box

Nice, nice! Are you endorsed by Marshall or do you just use their products?

No, I’m not endorsed by Marshall.  I just use them and it’s kind of funny how I started playing Marshalls again it’s from going on the road and doing all these fly dates and not being able to get the amp that I dig playing on.  But I’ve really become a really big fan of Marshall again I’ve got a real old Marshall but a ’76 it’s a 76 J&P it’s got two inputs on the front but it’s got a fairly good amount of gain it’s not hot rodded so it kind of sounds like AC/DC and I love my old Marshall man.  I love my old Marshall but it’s a one channel amp.  With Starship, I go clean to dirty kind of a bit.  With Winger, not so much because it’s mainly a dirty crunchy sound.  But it’s important to me on the road to get a good clean sound.  The old Marshall’s they’re one channel basically.  So, that’s why I like the DLS it’s got two channels and they’re damn consistent

Who were some of your influences when you played the guitar?

Man, you know Billy Gibbons was one of the first guys just a huge influence on me, yeah sure Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.  Those are the big 4 to me and then of course Eddie Van Halen as much rhythmically than soloing because I love his style of rhythm playing its phenomenal all the muted 16th sand cool cord voicings.  You know Eddie’s a phenomenal guitar player and we know he’s an amazing lead player not that we don’t know he’s an amazing lead player and rhythm guitar player but big influence on my rhythm playing.  And there’s a few of other guitarists that blow me away.  I think you know when you talk about influences after a while once your ear gets good enough you’ll channel a guitar player that you didn’t listen to a lot just because you may have heard him play something cool or the show or on the radio.  Neal Schon is one of those guys, you know I love Neal Schon but I never sat down and learned all the Journey solo’s.  You know what I mean?  I’ve never been in a band that played Journey and I think a lot the way, a lot of people if you got your ears out there, you get influences by osmosis in a way

Going back to 1989 your Survivor friend there, Jimi Jamison, you recorded on his first solo album?

Yes

And your single which you co-wrote it was featured on Baywatch 

Right

How did that come about? Did they pick it up?  Did they call you?  Did you call them?

Jimi sang the theme song to Baywatch and that was at the time may still be the most television show watched of all time.  But my song that ended up on Baywatch was the first single off that record When Love Comes Down I co-wrote with Jimi and the drummer Scott Trammell.  Scott Trammell is the drummer on my Roth Brock Project Album and he co-wrote one of the songs on it.  So, I think what happened was Jimi was on their radar, the Baywatch camp, because he sang that theme song and so they started looking at songs on his record and they want to put Rock Hard the song that I had co-written with Jimi on Baywatch.  So, that’s how that happened

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You’ve been in the 80’s you’re in the bands that have gone through there.  What do you think of the state of the music industry is today?  I mean do you think it’s hard for guy’s like you and everybody else like you and everybody else that came up through the 80’s to be successful in whatever this current climate is of the music industry?

Well you know with things like that and now it’s great, things are good.  There’s a lot of people that want to hear this music and I think you know maybe when the grunge period came through it stunted everything for a while and it was just time for something different.  The 80’s had a good long run because the 80’s era really started in the late 70’s.  Like my favorite 80’s bands are Aerosmith and Van Halen.  You know bands that made it big in the 80’s they were 70’s bands.  When you look at the span of the 80’s bands it kind of went from the late 70’s to the early 90’s so at that time it was just time for something different you know.  Grunge came in and it kind of took the focal point away from all that music.  And so now it seems you know Foreigner is out touring man yeah Foreigner and REO Speedwagon.  I do bunches of gigs with Winger.  We play with Warrant, Ratt , Skid Row and all these cool 80’s bands. You know I’ve worked with Mike Reno of Loverboy with Starship we every now and then will do a gig we’ll back up a bunch of singers and some of them end of being in the 80’s you know.  Loverboy’s out there doing it there’s bands out there playing so I feel very fortunate to have gotten the gig’s I’ve got and being able to hold on to them.  Now I’m able to play in both Starship and Winger so I feel very blessed to be able to pull it off and it’s tough for the new bands. I mean it’s tough for all musicians it’s a hard business to make it in.  But you know now like you said with the climate of the industry changing, basically everyone has the technology to make a record in their home if they have good ears and could write good songs and the same technology that has allowed everyone else to download for free and not pay for it.  So, things are very different now in a way the playing field is leveled to where everyone else has a lot of the same promotional materials but at the same time it creates a big noise and a big fray you must figure out how to rise above to get yourself noticed.  So, it’s a tough business.  It’s been interesting to watch how things have evolved over the last few years.  So, if you want to be a musician and want to do this for a living you’ve got to have a plan

That is certainly true!  With the bands that are out today are there any that catches your eye?

One of the best guys to come out lately I must say he came out 10 or 12 years ago I must say is John Mayer.  John Mayer is a fine guitar player and he snuck in there with his poppy kind of chick friendly stuff and he slapped everybody in the face with his trio stuff.  I don’t know if you know if you watched a John Mayer trio.  I saw him at he does a gig with the company, it was a while back it was a trio of John Mayer playing with Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan.

He’s a great guitar player but he came out a while back.  Joe Bonamassa he’s amazing! You know what I mean?

Yes, I do!

He’s a great player.  So, when you say bands I don’t know who you’re talking about because I don’t know that there are any bands coming out, a lot of it, I know there are as far as those who have guitar players up front.  I mean if you want to hear a good guitar solo you need to listen to country radio because that’s the only radio you’re going to turn on that you’re going to hear a guitar solo.  A lot of it to me, I know there are a lot of new bands out there but they’re just not breaking above the fray like I said before to where I notice them. I mean who do you hear that’s kicking your ass?

Yeah that is unfortunate because there is a good group of newer players who aren’t just getting any attention or any air play and that because of social media and try to get their name out there and they’ve got to use the Twitter, the Instagram they’ve got to use you know Facebook and it’s working

Social media man!!

There’s that, then they’ve got to sign an electronical music agreement to get their stuff on Spotify and Apple.  You’ve got to be into corporate now it’s an industry that has changed from when I used to tape my penny to a paper and get my 12 cd’s for a penny!  (laughter)

Yeah man! I mean times have changed, haven’t they? When you mentioned what you just said it reminded me of the Darkness, you know.  I must say that Darkness album was a lot of fun, Permission to Land, do you remember them?

Yes

Yeah so like that music, man this is cool, so that rock music the guitar playing was cool and it was memorable and I always liked people that played lyrical lines that I can sing and remember and of course amazing technique is awesome and it’s always good to hear technical players.  It’s the solo’s and the melodies and stuff that kind of grab you and make you remember the song.  Nine times out of ten if a song on a radio it’s not going to have a shredding guitar solo because those kinds of solo’s unfortunately it’s kind of become a lost art.

I agree! You’re right. To kind of perspective things with your new album are we going to see a tour with you guys anytime in 2017 or do you have your plate full with Winger and Starship?  

Man, our plates both Terry’s and mine are both full with touring with the bands.  We’d love to be able to tour and support this record like that.  We jammed together once.  We got Terry up on a Winger gig and I have a local band that I play with and while we were working the record Terry came with us and sang so we’ve only jammed on staged performing other people’s songs.  We would love to be able to do that but finding the time and looking at the calendar and figuring it out, I would have to get subs for both of my Winger and Starship gigs if it landed in a spot where both bands were touring and that’s how I can play in Starship and Winger right now is I’ve got a sub who’s playing for me tonight actually.  I’ve got to be on a plane tomorrow to play a gig with Starship and that’s why I’ve got my sub working with Winger tonight and I’ve got a sub that works for me for Starship when I’m out with Winger so right now that’s my livelihood and that’s keeping me what I’m doing on the road.  Terry’s the same way ideally for us to both get up a spot on the calendar where we can both put out a tour just a couple dates would be tough.  Not that we wouldn’t do it if we could but mainly we’re hoping just to get this music out to enough people where we need people to hear this music.  I think Terry’s a phenomenal singer and one of the reasons I produced this record is I want people to hear Terry sing you know I want people to hear our songs and get off on our music.  I think that there’s still a market for this kind of music and not enough bands are doing it anymore you know

Well it certainly seems like Frontiers has signed just about every band that I grew up with.  You just go to Frontiers and everybody’s there
I’m glad.  Hey Serafino and Mario they’ve done a tremendous job carrying the torch and helping all these 80’s rock bands continue to put out records man because there’s still a market for it out there and a lot of it, the market seems to be more in Europe you know.

Yes!! Do you think that, and I’ve asked plenty of people this question, Europe seems to be more embracing of the old 80’s metal?  Because you go out there you see Wacken you see all these big festivals 100,000 – 150,000 people 

Sure man!

Those bands out there, they come to the US they play in clubs.  I mean I believe Europe is more that’s where a lot of you guys will go, will be more profitable out there because it seems like our European counterparts will embrace this music more than American people where they want to listen to you know the latest Brittney Spears or something 

Yeah, you know what, you would think that.  You would think that but man I’m seeing Winger and Starship and not just us but Warrant and Ratt and all these other bands I’m hearing, I can’t say I’m hearing Warrant and Ratt because I haven’t seen them play and what kind of crowd they draw in Europe but mainly when the bands of this genre go to Europe it’s to play those big festivals but here in the states these bands still draw good at a casino or a theater like with Starship we play a lot of theaters.  We do theaters and casino’s and we do festivals and the same with Winger.  It’s a little bit different venues.  Winger probably does more rock clubs then Starship would and Ratt does the same stuff.  Same kind of gigs man and I haven’t heard anybody say man we had a great three month run in Europe you know because basically the big gigs over there to be played are the big festivals. That’s the draw and I don’t know, I’m sure there’s a market to be tapped over there which is interesting because it’s like these bands are selling more records over there.  But still I think the music is just as alive as far as seeing these bands performing live over here.

Face it man, no one is selling a lot of records right now unless you’re Taylor Swift or Beyoncé you know even some of the country singers that were selling these massive amounts of records, they’re not selling records because people can download them for free you know.

There is hope! When you’ve got music like that is coming out that’s going with that true 80’s sound that it had it’s an era that will never be replaced.  People don’t understand it.  Younger kids are like oh you seem old.  I’m like no, that’s what music was when you had actual musicians you had people that could sing and could sell 2,3,4 million albums and Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Ratt would always be on the MTV top 20

Yeah man with good players.  Guys who worked hard at their instrument you know and guys who could sing a note over a G you know what I mean like when Grunge came through it was like where’d the vocal range go?  Where’d the guitar solos go you know? All that became passé it seems like.  I appreciate your support taking the time to help get our music out their man.  You know where in it for the music.  Terry and I, we’re musicians and we didn’t start doing this because we thought we were going to be famous and make a lot of money you know.  We did this because we love it and we can’t not play music you know and that’s why we made this record man.  We just want people to enjoy our music and we feel like what we do is an ability to give people to get away from their troubles and if you think you can give someone a great record to listen to that reminds them of their past or play a show and take people’s minds off the election and all this other shit you know we’ve done our job so we’re happy to be able to do it

John, thank you for your time, and best of luck with your new record!

 

The Many Talents of Warren DeMartini

By Andrew Catania

If you don’t recognize Warren DeMartini’s name, maybe you know the nickname Torch, or Ratt, one of the most successful metal bands in the 1980’s. Born on 1963, he soon developed a taste for music, in particular for the guitar.

When he was 15, he bought his electric guitar, and this was when he took his first lesson. Clearly, he had a gift because, not much time after that, he formed his first band – The Plague.

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While still in high school he joined different bands, and it was in 1979 that he had his first concert. At only 16 years old, he won the “Best New Guitar Player in San Diego” at Guitar Trader on Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

Despite DeMartini, he always kept his music, and different bands close, he still went to college. However, during his first semester, he had the opportunity to work with Mickey Ratt, in Los Angeles. Music has always been his passion, so he dropped everything and went to Los Angeles. At this point, he had no idea Ratt were about to be formed.

Ratt fans simply loved Warren. The way he led the band and he also co-wrote some of the Ratt’s biggest hits like “Dance,” “Lay It Down,” “Round and Round,” and “Way Cool Jr.”  They were a tremendous hit in the 80’s and people still remember them after almost 40 years.

DeMartini’s and Ratt’s fans were very disappointed when the band broke up, and each member followed its direction. In the case of DeMartini, he passed through a couple of groups just before he decided to go solo. He released his work in 1995 and 1996. In the same year, Ratt got back together and still launched two more albums. However, things were not the same neither for the band or the fans. Ratt’s last album, Infestation, was an incredible record.

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Warren as a great guitarist continues to go from band to band.  He also took the time to design the Charvel Warren DeMartini Signature Snake – Ready to Ratt-n-Roll guitar designed to his exact specifications.

With such a bright future ahead, it’s disappointing how he didn’t have a clear shot in his career. Looking back, the only opportunity he had was when he joined Ratt. However, with all the break-ups and reunifications, Ratt lost their mystic.

Considered by many one of the best guitarists in the world, we truly hope to see more of Warren in the future.