It was almost three decades ago when Ratt crawled out of the cellar and into our collective consciousness thanks to a fledging network called MTV. The song “Round and Round” vaulted the group to multi-platinum status, radio and video domination and, along with the likes of Motley Crue, Poison, and W.A.S.P., helped pioneer Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Strip sound of the 1980s.
After a decade of disputes, lineup changes and court battles, the group has put aside its differences and is touring to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their breakout year. Warren DeMartini, Ratt’s affable lead guitarist, spoke to GetOut to ahead of their Jan. 24 concert at Chandler’s Wild Horse Pass Casino.
Q: It’s hard to believe that 30 years has elapsed since Ratt became a household name. What are some career highlights that immediately come to mind?
WD: Let’s start with crashing through the ceiling onto Milton Berle’s dinner table in our video ‘Round and Round.’ That was a big moment for us, and the video launched an adventure that continues to this day. Sharing the bill in 1985 with ZZ Top, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Marillion and Magnum at The Monsters of Rock festival in Donington Park in England was another highlight. Playing in front of 100,000 people only a few months after a club show at The Whisky, which had been our biggest gig at that point, was a great experience.
Q: ‘Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral Biography of Heavy Metal,’ by Jon Wiederhorn, was published last year and points to Ratt in terms of helping to define the heavy metal genre. Does it seem to you with this 30th anniversary tour as if Ratt is finally getting its due?
WD: I don’t know. I think the fans of the genre have the most influence there. I’m proud to be a part of the definition of the ‘80s hard rock/metal genre, no question about it. I get asked all the time, ‘Do you feel that Ratt is an underrated band?’ My answer is always the same — I agree with the people who think Ratt is underrated. I also agree with the people who think Ratt is overrated.
Q: Carlos Cavazo has been recruited on this tour to fulfill guitar duties left behind by the late Robbin Crosby. Obviously no one can replace Crosby, but Cavazo, who played for Quiet Riot, seems to be a logical choice and a great fit.
WD: Carlos was the perfect choice for Ratt. He’s someone we’ve known since we first started playing the L.A. club circuit. He comes from a tumultuous situation with Quiet Riot, which is good because he has the thick skin required to play in Ratt. It also worked out well because it simultaneously sabatoged Juan Croucier’s solo project with Carlos. To me it was obvious — get both in Ratt.
Q: According to your website, Ratt might be recording a new album in 2014.
WD: There’s a lot of enthusiasm for a new record. Personally, I would love to see a new Ratt release in the spring of 2014, but that is still a work in progress. I spoke to [Ratt’s lead singer] Stephen Pearcy about that today and what it will take to make that happen. We have good songs started and lots of ideas, but the process of getting into a room and finishing the material still has to happen. All I can say for sure is no one is waiting on me!
Q: What’s it like to play with the original band members again after 30 years?
WD: There’s chemistry when all of us are in the same room. I can’t explain why, and I really don’t want to know why. All I know is when we get together and play, there’s a certain energy and we’re all of part of it. There are moments on stage when I look at the others and think — ‘Ratt and roll’ is still as fun as when we started. The difference is we appreciate and respect it more now.
If you go
What: Ratt in concert
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24
Where: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
Information: (800) 946-4452 or WinGilaRiver.com
• Read more at PressPassBlog.com, the source for Phoenix metro concert news.