Wednesday, February 5, 2014

RATT - A Three Part Series of Sorts

Growing up in the '80's had a profound effect on my little slice of heaven.  Without crawling back down Memory Lane (no seriously I did that once) or "memory lane" the time I could spend talking about sports, politics, world events, hopes, dreams, crushes and school will be reserved to the annals pf the thing I remember the most: Music.  When I was a "wee lad" we didn't have MTV (no I'm not breaking into a "When I was a kid" moment) because the cable company didn't provide it to.  When we would work our way to the town many of my cousins lived I was able to watch it despite the fact that the town in which they lived was smaller.  That was actually very important to me, why you ask?  Well...
When I think back that exposure to MTV was pretty important in my little own music world.  Yes I was able to listen to hard rock on the radio but I liked more than just that format.  MTV gave me an insight to what these performers actually looked like and how they seemingly acted.  I can't remember the first time I heard RATT on the radio or the exact date I saw them first on MTV but I know I did and that was a great thing.

If there was a concert to be seen at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque, Iowa (and it was rock based) three of my cousins and I were probably there.  Thinking back I know that we saw RATT but I remember being amazed seeing them on stage and I thought that was the coolest thing.  The only thing that would have made the concert better was if "Uncle Milty" (Milton Berle) had made an appearance.  In the realm of the Five Flags Center during the '80's and '90's RATT and all of the other bands from the "hair" era their shows were fun and they were always packed.

That really shouldn't be all that surprising, RATT had an enormous draw and they were phenomenal live.  The likes of Pearcy, Blotzer, Crosby, DeMartini, and Croucier were larger than life so being able to see this band was really a great thing.  I'm not really sure what any of the other members of RATT sounded like live (all 27 of them) but the band I saw was the iteration than was as popular as any recording artist of the time.  RATT seemed familiar, almost like I knew the band personally or that I had a vested interest in their success.  Obviously that isn't true but their music seemed genuine.  What makes the band genuine isn't the songs they have written, or their performances.  The label "genuine" comes from their devotion to the music and to their fans.

Devotion to ones trade was fairly non-existent in that era and it really showed at times.  Many bands were about the women, the drugs, the money and their fifteen minutes of fame but RATT never seemed to fallow that path.  Yes the member of the band enjoyed all of those things but they wanted to do something a little different, they wanted to make great music.  RATT really became this larger than life band and at the same time they were really the face of the genre. The genre slipped into relative obscurity in the early '90's and honestly many of the bands just went "poof" right off of the music scene.  There in lies the real shame of music history and the real rub is the fact many assumed RATT was one with the "poof."

Those days at the Five Flags Center are long gone, tragically Robbin Crosby passed away, the band broke apart, the members joined other bands and/or created solo acts and attempts were made to reunite the band began.  When wood splinters the chards that are created cannot be fused together in a fashion that is the perfect state it once was.  No matter the amount of glue, screws and clamps can ever put all of those fibers back in its former place and its eerily similar to a rock band.  As an example RATT can never be brought back to what it was before regardless of how hard they try.

Robbin Crosby, the blonde haired guitar player that made the girls all swoon is lost, Crosby passed away on June 6th, 2002 and with that passing the fibers pulled apart, splintering the band immediately.  When the band began its reformation RATT was forced to find someone that could fill in the slot reserved for Crosby.  Interestingly the band found a performer from another of those '80's hair bands, Quiet Riot legend Carlos Cavazo.  Despite the splinters, the band has come as close to what it once was.

The year we left (2013) has been a good one for me and partly because I was able to see the band with its new addition, three times (Rock USA, Halfway Jam and the i wireless Center) and the shows were ama... I'm going to stop right there me thinks as I have three shows to talk about and I don't want to spoil the suspense.   The first show that is in the queue will be about the Rock USA show and after all of the RATT articles are done I'll begin talking about the acts that I saw in just one day.

First up, Rock USA.

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