Stephen Pearcy – RAG Interview


Mickey RATT ♦ Garage Tape Dayz ♦ In Your Direction ♦ Rattus Erectus ♦ RATT ♦ RATT EP ♦ Out Of The Cellar ♦ Invasion Of Your Privacy ♦ Dancing Undercover ♦ Reach For The Sky ♦ Detonator ♦ RATT & ROLL 8191 ♦ CollageRATT ♦ Arcade ♦ A/2 ♦ A/3 Live & Unreleased ♦ A/4 Calm Before The Storm ♦ Nitronic ♦ D.O.A. Live 2000 ♦ Vertex Vertex ♦ Vicious Delite Vicious Delite ♦ STD 

Solo Projects

Social Intercourse ♦ Before And Laughter ♦ Before And Laughter II ♦ Trash ♦ Rat Attack ♦ Fueler ♦ Various Tribute Projects

Stephen Pearcy is not only the founding member of one of the premiere hard rock bands RATT…he is also a businessman that is constantly moving forward. The man is all about development…no doubt about it! He is the president and ceo of his own company Top Fuel Entertainment that has five divisions making up the company: Top Fuel Records, Top Fuel Racing, Top Fuel Vision, Top Fuel Wear and Top Fuel Tours. A native of San Diego, he had a vision of a band that he wanted to create and following that vision moved to Los Angeles in the early eighties. By constantly developing and refining his band Mickey RATT, the band evolved into RATT taking the L.A. music scene by storm. RATT was a major player on MTV (that included Milton Berle in their videos) and scoring multi platinum albums and successful world tours.
But all things must end. Stephen left RATT and went on to form bands like Arcade, Vertex, Social Delite and Nitronic…all very successful. In 1999 fate had Pearcy becoming one of his own lyrics “What goes around…comes around” and rejoined RATT for another album and tour…only to leave again with a legal battle for the rights to the name RATT.
As I mentioned before, Stephen is about development and moving forward. He has just released a new cd “Fueler” is in the process of writing his autobiography “RATTails” and just returned from being invited to play on the U.S.S. Nimitz nuclear battleship, for the troops on board.
Stephen, while only doing two interviews a year, made an exception and spoke to R.A.G., often speaking candidly and at times ”off the record.” He gave us an inside look at what he’s done, what he does now and why he does it.

RAG – How’s the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­“Fueler” Album coming along?

SP – It’s done and put away.  We’re just trying to lock in distribution.  It’s available.  I made a few available on my website and as far as distribution, I’ll let everybody know.  Long story short … it’ll be out and I’ll let everybody know.  It’s taken a long time.

RAG – It will be worth it.

SP – Oh yeah … it’s very well worth it.  I had a great time.  I really wanted the same people involved…studio, producer.  I was very fortunate to have Ken Lewis come in and mix the single “Drive With Me” for the video.  We are shooting this weekend actually with the director and producer who did “St. Anger” for Metallica actually. I’ve been happy about that.  We’re getting’ goin’ … a little late … better late than never.

RAG – Tell us about being the founder of Top Fuel Records.

SP – I pretty much started Top Fuel in ’95 knowin’ the business.  Now it’s a full media business.  I knew I wanted to be involved in changes and wanted to release my records when I wanted.  I wanted to say and do and release when I wanted to … and not be dependent on “the majors” or any label sayin’ well “you’re not in right now” or “this isn’t in and that’s not in”.  To me, it’s all bullshit!  Music is music and if it twists an ear and it gets it, the labels will get the sale. I got to get off on the music first.  I’ve been there and done it … ya know?  If I don’t try other things and avenues … not fads, but I like to not necessarily experiment but to grow.  So the label gives me that opportunity, and I sign, I’m very careful about signing bands.  I don’t release 20 bands a year.  We really take our time.

RAG – You’re also into drag racing?

SP – Oh yeah!  I have been for years.  I guess its part of the plan.  I was involved in racing when I was a kid.  I got in an accident and ended up playing guitar … hence music and now I’m back into the racing.  Hopefully I step in and try to drive next year, probably fuel cars.

RAG-  Do you ever go to the Spring Nationals here in Ohio?

SP – I’ve never been there.  I would be happy to show up there.  I might have something set up, but it’s too soon to talk about, that would take me through IHRA and NHRA tracks doing some things, but it’s still in the works.  We will let everybody know.  I love the media aspect as well.  There’s so much more to incorporate music and media and that’s where T.F.E. comes in.  We’ve done media for the “ESPN2 Drag Racing” series.  We’re getting ready to hook up with them again for next year.  I think I was one of the first guys who started the rock and drag racing connection back in ’89 with the funny car.  After I did that, all of a sudden everybody’s a motor head.

RAG-  Now you have WWE and everyone!

SP – Yeah (laughs) that’s good, though.

RAG – Tell us about the “Bastards Of Metal” tour you’re putting together.

SP – Yeah…The BOM was an idea I had that was thrown around the road.  I’ve always called my guys “The Ratt Bastards”.  Even Kid Rock came out and jammed with me in Detroit.  The first thing he said was “You Ratt Bastard”, so I’m like “we’ve got something here, right?”  As a matter of fact, we did “Sweet  Home Alabama”.  I thought he wanted to do maybe “Round And Round” or something, but he was like “Sweet Home Alabama”.  So we fire it up … that guy can fuckin’ sing.  Let me tell ya.  I sat back and just did the “whoo, whoo, whoo”.  I just did the “hoots and hollers”.  I go “You’re fuckin’ good, dude”.  I had to coax him down, this kids smokes man!  It was cool.
So the BOM came from this idea of constantly hearing “Ratt Bastard”.  So I developed this tour of lead singers from prominent gold and platinum bands and there’s a mess of these bastards out there.  You know, you’ve got the (David Lee) Roth, (Sammy) Hagar you have (Rob) Halford. That’s who I initially wanted to present on the BOM tour.  I’m just the director and owner, ya know?  I’m just one of the guys in there.  It’s irrelevant to me what spot I would take.  It’s all business, but we’re willing to sit down with it and not necessarily take our time.  We have a few “Bastards” shows coming up with Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, Jason McMaster,(Dangerous Toys, see August 2004 issue) and a couple people.  So we’re gonna do a couple shows. It got off to a little late start. The weather destroyed us out there on the east coast.  We were planning to start in New York, outside, and got caught up with that weather. I changed agencies and then I presented the proposal to some other agency ready to go with other “Bastards”, and the guy swiped the idea.  But, it fell apart because he didn’t have me as the director, obviously. It was to do a lot more with getting these guys out there with a backup band and going “Alright, just go out there and sing”. It’s not about that.  It’s about every “Bastard” having his own band and having developed an alternative to Ozzfest.  You know … race cars and big guitars and my buddy’s world champ in the Army dragster (Tony Schumacher) and I’d like to incorporate all these booths.  You’d have Army booths, racing booths…just like the Ozzfest, but a little different.  And there’s plenty of “Bastards” as far as guitar players and drummers. There is a mess of them. So we’ll kick it off next year when we’ll have a lot more time and for right now … everything is “Fueler”.  I hit the road in about 3-4 weeks and we’re gonna stay out all year long.

RAG-  Are you gonna come through Ohio?

SP – Oh, of course!  We’re locking in dates right now … it’s too soon to start posting, but some are out in Indy, some in Colorado with the “Bastards” already set now that I’ve got the other agent locked in.  You know … we’re ready to go!

RAG – So, Ron Keel (Iron Horse, see Dec. 2003 & Jan. 2004, and on- going “Thinking Outside The Vox” column in R.A.G.) is going to be touring with you?

SP – Yeah … Ronnie’s been a friend of mine forever!  Way, way back in the day in the early (L.A.) strip days.  I want people involved who are into something new, and different.  I have talked to “Bastards” and they pull away and commit and then at the end when you start getting things on paper… “Oh, we need more funds.  We need more this”.  It’s like this… we’ve got to weed out the pros and the cons and let people understand that it’s not to go out there and make a penny.  It’s to go out there and do some decent shows year after year. You know, I’ve talked to Sebastian (Bach), Vince (Neil) and everybody else. It’s just a matter of riding and getting the concept around so people can understand what it is.  We have patience and time and we know it’s gonna work, so it’s cool.  We are gonna be taking it to race tracks around the country.  We’ve got a mobile stage that’s pretty “Tit-Jobbed”.  It’s got a spoiler, the chrome flame grill … it’s an amazing moving stage so we’re all set to do quite a lot of things. The dragster, we’re actually gonna try to debut here at the “World Finals” in November in Pamona, Ca. “The Right Rock/Revolver Magazine”…“The World’s Loudest Rock Magazine” and Top Fuel.  We’ll get out there and shake it up playin’ and put the car around it.  I want to play “Round And Round” back to back with “Fueler”. That’s my thing there.

RAG – How did you get Ronnie (Keel) involved?

SP – He’s been a buddy of mine forever. I think I did a show with him about 2 years ago.  I did 90 plus shows last year.  He opened up for one of them and I go “ya know…I have this idea, man, I’m gonna throw it by ya.  I’ve always dug you, you know. Because you’re not a commercially acceptable, you know? “The Korns” or the “(Limp) Bizcuits” or the whatever. It doesn’t mean that you’re out of the loop, it means that you have a different kind of music.  Everybody wants to hear music. It’s not just all a floor set. I introduce whatever, ya know?  It’s like whoever wants to step up.  You’ve got to weed out the mice and the men. It’s like the RATT guys.  I made a proposal to them, “Here…sh*t or get off the pot. You’ve got one last opportunity with me. The founder, original lead singer, to do something good.” It’s just terrible businessmen…the two left over there, (RATT) they’re over there watching and I’m like “next”. I’ve got no time. I’ve got no patience. I’m into business whether it be big or small. Any form of business. I’m not strayed by any interruptions.

RAG – Ronnie guest writes for us from time to time.

SP – That’s great!  Like I said, we go way back to the “Steeler” days…Keel, Steeler.  I’m writing this book. It’s been in the works for a couple of years, and I finally have closure on some subjects, so now I can literally complete this thing and when it comes out … it’s gonna be intense.  It’s not just about the rises and the falls of my band RATT, it’s about life experiences of the big … everything.  You’ve got this “platinum debauchery card” and it’s like “Let’s go spend”. I wanted the 24th floor, facing west … I want a really hot chick, a bunch of babes …I want everything.  It’s about a lot of things: people, places, business, the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s gonna be a good thing. In the book I literally chronicle my move to Los Angeles instigating the music scene in 1980 and moving up. It’s a good read because it’s not “The Dirt”. (Motley Crues’ book)  It’s not just dirt because I’ve got stories of Motley and me and stuff that would make people shit! Stuff Nikki (Sixx) didn’t bring up in “The Dirt”.  We toured along the strip for a long time.  We were called “The Gladiators”.  Vince (Neil) was “Field Marshal”.  Robin(Crosby) was “The King”, Nikki (Sixx) was “The Leader 6.”

RAG – RATT Mansion West was the name of your apartment where you all stayed.

SP – Oh God … don’t even go there!  I’ve got some great stories.  I’ve had the pleasure of living out a lot of dreams that I didn’t even think were possible in this rock n roll arena. I took advantage of it.

RAG – Who do you consider to be your major influences?

SP – When I first started my major influences were Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult, totally (Led) Zepplin, Aerosmith. Later…(Judas)Priest…(Black) Sabbath.  It’s crazy for me because I still get star struck whether I meet Charleton Heston at a liquor store at 7 in the morning. I met Robert Plant (Led Zepplin) at Castle Donnington and played a trick on his guitar player.  It’s great that I’m able to put some of this stuff down and share it. It’s like when I’m out and somebody will come up to me when I go get a rag or something and go “Can I have your autograph?” I’ll tell you a story. This guy in Europe came up to me and says “Oh man, you’re my idol. There are only two guys that I really love:  you and Robert Plant”, and I’m like “Oh, that’s cool. I’m a big fan of Robert too”.  Then he goes “Yeah, and he’s right there” and I’m, like, “What?”  I’ve never met him so I go “Oh, shit” So, I do my thing and I go over and introduce myself and his nickname is “Pearcy”.  So I go “Hey Pearcy” and he goes “I know who you are, come here.  I want you to play a trick on my guitar player.”  He says “Go up to him and tell him that you’re looking for a guitar player and I’m gonna hide right here behind this post.”  And he did. I went up to the guy and go “Hey, man, my band is playin’ the Donnington Festival and I’m pretty fed up and looking for a guitar player.” Then he’s like “Oh, yeah … okay, let’s exchange this and that” and then Robert comes out from behind that post. “Hey, hey, you fuckin’ on and on”. I was like this is great!  And in all of that commotion, I forgot to get his autograph.  But, I’ve met him, you know, and it’s a beautiful thing … one of those instances but there’s many more.  I mean there’s so much good stuff, bad and ugly and you’ve got to appreciate all these because I’ve survived. I just want to put some good things down and give some advice and share some of this, ya know?  I’ve never thought it would be possible to this day, that twenty years later the anniversary of “Out Of The Cellar”.  I’m still “Ratt n’ Rollin”. Unfortunately it’s not what the people I hired ages ago had success with, but, you know what?  It’s my music and I’ve re-recorded it with some great players.  Some George Lynch (Dokken), Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns, Brides Of Destruction), I’ve had Frank Bannali (Quiet Riot) on drums.  We’ve done things over at Top Fuel, introducing new things and we don’t follow anybody.  We are getting into everything, anything possible that has to do with racecars and guitars.

RAG – Let’s talk about back in the L.A. club days.

SP –Yeah!

RAG – Wasn’t there a “pay to play” environment?

SP – Yeah, for awhile I think it was pretty much at the Troubadour and some other places that we were house bands. You know what?  The bottom line is that we didn’t give a shit.  We went in there to play.  We go “Pay to play?  What are you, fuckin’ nuts?” We really didn’t care as long as we could get in there and play and get out. You only made about 100 bucks back then anyway if you were lucky.

RAG – Was that unique to L.A., or did other cities do that?

SP – Other cities tried it but it doesn’t float. The premise of that was you’re going in there, you’re popular, you’re gonna sell all of their drinks and bring in the people and you’ve gotta buy your ticket.  So whatever you don’t sell, you’ve gotta pay them back. It was a concept that actually didn’t work. Nobody really went for it, but some people would sell 50 or 100 tickets or whatever. We didn’t give a shit. We were right behind Motley on that rage in L.A.  We knew we were gonna peak, stayin’ there so much. I did a lot of homework with Mickey RATT and early RATT, so we really never got stuck paying to play. A lot of it was all b.s. anyway.  We didn’t care, we did what we wanted to anyway. (laughs)  Pay to play …stupid idea. They’re gonna pay you to play!  Put it this way.  When I was house band at Gazzarri’s and until we were even house band at The Whiskey in my early RATT in ’83.  You’d play these places and everybody would go. The strip at that time…it was crazy!  Like Mardi Gras or something.  People literally walking up and down the strip. You’d go to Gazzarri’s and see us, go to the Roxy or Whiskey and see Motley (Crue), go down to the Troubadour and there’s Quiet Riot. This was all within a 3 mile radius. There would be Great White playing over here. I mean this is in one weekend.  People just strollin’ down the street getting’ high, f**kin’ behind Gazzarri’s, getting’ blow jobs on the lawns. The book is gonna be crazy! Not too many people dwell on the specifics.  I got photos, too!  It just ain’t an “Ozzy ate an alligator” type book.  I got the pictures. We got some good stuff.  It’s not all about the rise and the falls, it’s everything in between.  Because it’s not all pretty.  I lost a soldier…
Robin (Crosby).
Ed. note: Crosby died from A.I.D.S. in 2002

RAG-  What is your fondest memory of him?

SP- He was “The King”, man.  He was my right-hand man.  He’s the one who kept shit in motion as I was movin’ through the ocean. Until there was a mutiny. (laughs) You know these last few years … you know … we’ll get into that later.  There’s no need.  It’s all Rock n Roll … it’s all fun … it’s all “Fueler” and it’s all here.

RAG – I had a chance to talk to Robbie Crane last year (Aug. 2004 issue), and we talked about how you asked him to play in your band Vertex.

SP – Yeah, I asked him to play.  We didn’t have a bass player and I go “Well,
fuck this” and me and Al (Pitrelli) wanted a real bass player and we found him.  We worked and I brought him into RATT and he stayed. So, to each his own. I think he’s off doin’ the real deal now. You can only play in a cover band so long. As far as I’m concerned, unfortunately RATT as people see it now is literally a cover band. If you want to hear the real guy sing the real songs, I’m out there singin’… I’m out there playin’ fuckin’ RATT n Roll man!  Accept no imitations.

RAG – The way he talked, he still likes you.

SP – Robbie’s a good guy.  He goes where the cash is. I tend to go where there is development.  I just move on. I don’t think about who, when, where, why. I just go “Okay, that was good.  It got the job done”. At least he’s respectful!  that’s about all I can say about that situation. Some people that I’ve brought into situations are very disrespectful, and you know what?  Paybacks are a bitch!  Hey, what comes around goes around, right?  I’ll tell you why.  I’m gonna answer that question too. (laughs)

RAG – Okay…go ahead.

SP – In the book I’ll answer it. (laughs)  But anyway, I’ve got my “RATT Bastards” here, and we’re goin’ out and do a tour. We’re happy because we have a lot more and we’re not willing to throw it out there. We’re gonna be careful. We’re gonna develop. That word doesn’t exist any more in the entertainment business.

RAG-  Develop?

SP – Development. I still use that trait every now and then. At least it ensures that you’re doin’ something on the right track.  Like I said, somebody stole my idea and turned it into “The Bad Boys of Metal” and if fell to shit…and deservingly so. They didn’t have me as the director, the guy who created the thing.  Stop stealin’ ideas, people.  Be original.

RAG-  Can we talk about RATT for a little bit?

SP – For a little bit, yeah.

RAG- Back in the early days, RATT had various members in and out of the band.  Do you think that RATT was a proving ground for some local musicians?

SP – Possibly in the beginning, but my main thing was when I moved to L.A. with Mickey RATT in 1982, I said “I’m goin there!” I was hanging out seein’ Van Halen all the time and nobody would be at their gigs except me and six other people, and they would play like they were at a fuckin’ stadium. So here I go back sayin’ “Hey, guys, I’m goin’!” I planned on doin’ it, and we did. A lot of people did come and go … spent their time.  The Rough Cutt members, Jake E. Lee (Ozzy, Badlands) had a stint in Mickey RATT/early RATT for a while, then he went to audition for Dio. I had the door open and I was gonna do it one way or another. I didn’t give a shit who was in the band or how long they stayed in the band.  If they were in it, they were in it.  The minute they thought “Well, I’m too good for this, I’m gonna start my own thing” I was, like, “Well, I wish you luck”.  I know what I’m doin!  So that’s pretty much what happened.  I did open doors for some people.  But I had a direction, and I stayed through to it.  When I moved to L.A. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and play original music even though I was asked to play covers at some places like Gazzarri’s.

RAG-  It was kind of like a “rate of passage” of sorts. 

SP – Oh year…Gazzarri’s had their infamous rock wall.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but (Bill) Garrarri, the guys that he really liked, would put a picture of them on the side of the wall. I think he had my mug, Van Halen, the Guns N’ Rose’s… the Motleys.  It was pretty cool.  You did your time.  It was a good thing.  You had to work your way to the main stage.  Work your way from 50 to 100 to 200 people.  I don’t know.  I was just there for the fun, man.

RAG – The fun and the girls…

SP – Right … the three “P’s”… Pussy, Party, Paycheck.  In some of my other interviews I’ve said I still live by that motto.  I’ve just eliminated one of the “P’s”.  Go figure …it ain’t the pussy or the paycheck (laughs).  If I didn’t plan on being a label guy, etc., I would …I love the media.  I love this medium.  It’s competitive.  I do things my way.  I had to because I saw what happened with the last RATT record.  On a formidable label … the directions somebody else wanted us to take and I knew it was not going to work from day one.  Nobody else wrote our hits … we did.  Then the minute you get 20 or 30 people into write, granted they can be the best writers on the planet … it was the best experience of my life.  I’ve written with the best people on the planet: Diane Warren, Desmond Child, Jim Valens, Marty Fredrickson, Mark Hudson … you learn a lot!  I took that experience and worked with it.  I want to do things my way.  I’ve got to get off.  I’ve been there and done it.  If I have another platinum album … that’s great! There are so many good bands that need development and a chance and that’s where I come in.  Once I get the muscle, we’re working towards at TFE.  We’re gonna be a great force in about a year or so.  Independence is good.  I get tired of people telling me what to do.

RAG – Back in the RATT days, was there any pressure from Atlantic to modify your music?

SP – No.  Do you know why?  Because we were original, we had our formula, it worked and they didn’t give a shit. They stopped developing us after the third record.  They were like “Whatever… they just keep spittin’ out these platinum plus albums, we’ll leave them alone”.  And then towards the end it got to be like “Well”… what happens, I think I’ll explain it in the book. Long story short , some people in the successful system decide they are more important than others.  We started getting people who didn’t write in RATT sayin’ they wrote.  And so here you have to work with “Well, wait a minute.  We go to where the mechanical is… the formidable writers … the real guys”.  That’s what happened to the last record … too many cooks ruined it.  That was the bottom line.  You can’t pretend to be.  You have to be a proven.  It wasn’t and that’s where it went wrong on that last record.  I’ll tell you what, the demos that we did in my studio for that last RATT record in ’99 was much better than the album.

RAG – Really?

SP – 100%.  There were songs that never made it that I’m gonna be releasing.  There’s a song called “Lost Dog”. There’s a couple songs that didn’t make it that are incredible.  As corny as the band may have thought of them…I mean, ya know…anything different or anything new is always gonna be, you know, “We can’t do that”.  You can do anything you want!  Anything goes these days.  Anything! (laughs).  I mean look you got these Simpsons.(Jessica & Ashlee) You’ve got this formula.  Shit, wait until I unleash “Gash Inc.”.  People are gonna shit their pants!  I’ve been working on this band, an all female group for, like, three or four years.  I’m not about to shove it out there.  It took me years to find the singer “Jailbate Kate”.  She’s, like, this full blown, tattooed, petite, kinda cute, patched one-eyed gal that sings the fuck…she is like … I’ll tell ya she makes Wendy O. Williams cry.  It’ll be out next year.  It’s incredible things like that.  I listen to these Jessica Simpson and this chick would stomp Jessica Simpson in the face.  What’s that other one that lip-synced the other night?

RAG – Ashlee?

SP – Oh God…Jailbate Kate would stomp on her.

RAG- Did you happen to see Ashlee on Saturday Night Live?

SP – I saw it, man.  She looked like one of those stringed marionettes.  I was, like, “What the fuck … marionette shit?”  I don’t know. I’m not confused about it.  I think the labels have proven themselves. Pretty soon they’re gonna start chokin’ on their own shit!  The major labels obviously didn’t learn their lesson … I don’t know. I do know, but … I don’t know (laughs). I don’t think I would present that shit. It’s for a quick dollar. Music is music, and the labels say it works, but you’ve got to let it work.  People are gonna get tired of this shit.  There are only so many little girls.  I mean, I have a daughter who’s nine, and she lets me know what’s hip.  And, believe me, I listen.  It’s an interesting business, so to speak. I like it, though…it’s very, very mind-working.

RAG-  How has the music industry changed over the years?

SP – Oh God…the industry has changed extremely.  I saw it coming in the ‘90’s… early ’95.  It has changed to where, like I said, there’s no development, there’s no real interest, there’s no real concern.  It’s like “We want all the money that we gave all you knuckle-heads in the ‘80’s and early ‘90’s that we wasted.”  Thank God they fired all these people who ran around and spent money on shit.  I think a lot of them have learned, but then again, it’s just tightened up and turned into the monster heads … the “3 majors”!  Yeah, it’s changed a lot, and I’d rather get into that in the book.

RAG – What’s your opinion on Naspter and file sharing?

SP – I love that shit!  I could give a shit.  You know, if you listen to RATT, there are so many bootlegs and things being released out there, and I’m the only one in the partnership that is actually out there trying to protect and retrieve.  I really don’t care, because if it’s there, I’ll find it, and it’s mine. I love it when people film and record at my show. I could give a shit. It’s my music.  If somebody likes it, let them listen to it. Then maybe they’ll buy your record.  I have nothing against Metallica, they’re a great band, but I think what they started years ago kinda twisted things. You don’t own the media. There is not one rock band that owns certain chords. There’s not one rock band that owns the media.  It’s always gonna change.  Believe me, it’s changing extremely now with the Sirrus and XM (radio) and that stuff.  We’re headed toward a bigger change.  I think what’s gonna happen is … well, I’ll save my opinion for the book.  I only do so many interviews, and I pretty much did them and this is probably the last one for the year.

RAG – That’s cool!

SP – I only do two a year, and I’ve done them and then you.  I’m like “I gotta talk to him like right now!”

RAG – ‘Cause we’ve been talkin’ about it for 6 months.

SP – This is good, though … I appreciate it.  I just get so flogged.  I’ve been doing so much … so many things right now.  It’s all good.

RAG – We were gonna do this when you were gonna play in Lancaster, Ohio.  But that fell through.

SP – I know (laughts).  I tell you what … we did it!  Just make it good.  Make it good.  This is press junket time, so there isn’t gonna be too many of these.  You know, it’s all- good.  Unfortunately, my proposal with the old RATT was …I mean, there’s really not much to say.  It’s all “Fueler” … all year … all the time.  Things are going great.  We’ve got a lot of good things to introduce to people.  Stay tuned to the website (, and you’ll know what’s goin’ down.  We want to introduce a lot of new things, and it takes time, and we’re not about to stumble just to prove we have some new ideas.  We’re having a good time.  We’re getting ready to get out there … have little falters with agents and whatever, but we don’t give a shit.  It’s all music, man … all “RATT ‘n Roll” and “Fueler” all the time.

RAG – How much of an impact do you think RATT had on the L.A. music scene?

SP- I hope we did something.  I don’t take responsibility for any kind of scene.  I think Kevin Dubrow (Quiet Riot) said “We (Q.R.) were responsible for everything in the L.A. music scene years ago.”  I think we (RATT) did what we did, and I don’t really look at it as “Oh, these guys paved the way”. We were great at what we did.  Robin and I really started lockin’ in and got the members and we really knew what we wanted to do.  We wanted to be “Cement Pirates”.  We wanted to be different.  We didn’t want to be just the “Metal Guys”.  We wanted to appeal to everybody.  It was all-new.  Put it this way …”Round and Round” was just a song we had.  We didn’t know what the hell was goin’ on with it until we got in the studio with a staff producer from Atlantic.  Then the next thing you know we got a huge record.  I mean, nobody knows … anybody, anytime, anywhere.  I mean, you could probably fart a hit and not even know it (laughing). That’s probably gonna be the next big thing!

 RAG – How much of an influence do you think MTV had on your career?

SP – Oh … everybody’s … extremely!  MTV had a big, big impact for everybody. It started in ’81.  We were fortunate enough to be in there.  Fortunate enough to have a personality like Milton Berle involved.  A lot of things were just timed right.  The “Year of the Rat” was 1984.  I tried to present the “Year of the Rat” for 2004 and found a couple people in that partnership who aren’t capable of that kind of big business nowadays, obviously.  They would rather sit in the trenches and steal than go earn the big bucks.  I mean…if it’s all a matter of money, they’ve kind of kicked themselves in the ass.  Me, I just move on … move ahead.  I don’t stop for nobody.

RAG – The “Round And Round” video also helped MTV didn’t it?

SP – “Round And Round”.  It’s a good thing because I thought “Round And Round” was played to wake up that label (Atlantic).  I started instigating new things. “Wait a minute, that other agreement with Atlantic was for the world, not the universe.”  We were lucky.  It takes one song.  It doesn’t matter who from … you never know.  It’s in the cards.  You can’t force a hit on people.  It has to be a feeling.  It was to be something.  Everything’s been done.  Everybody’s stolen from each other already.  There’s nothin’ to steal.

RAG-  That’s why you’re into development!

SP – Yeah, that’s what it’s about.  What is there different to do?  I don’t have all of the surprises or answers, but I sure have a lot of different questions.  It’s like, “No, it doesn’t have to be done that way.”  People are stuck.  It’s like those two in that RATT band over there.  They’re suckin’ out every bit of marquee value left instead of redeveloping.  It’s an interesting situation.  They’re destroying if they think they’re progressing.  It’s actually really getting bad.  All I can do is reintroduce “RATT N’ Roll” with the original singer and founder of RATT.  And that’s all I’m out here to do…end of story.

RAG-  How did Milton Berle get involved with RATT?

SP- Our manager was his nephew, Marshall Berle.  I tell you what.  I’ve got some great stories about “Ol’ Milty” too.

RAG-  For the book?

SP – Oh yeah! (laughs)  People are gonna shit because I’m not afraid.  I’ll tell ya the truth.  I’ve got nothin’ to hide. I wasn’t married.  I remained single and had plenty of girlfriends for that reason.  I was gonna enjoy that “Platinum Card of Debauchery”.  And I did.  I saw how relationships were played.  The “Yoko Onos” of the band reared their ugly heads. I saw it all. I know it still exists.  So I back out of it and take a different road…a quicker road. 

RAG-  I’ve got a lot of your post RATT projects and the music varies so much.  Just like the “Vertex”.  That was kind of an industrial outing.  How would you define your style of music.

SP- I’ve always liked harder music.  The thing that worked with RATT was Robin and I were the “Heavy Metal” dudes.  When we wrote those things, we kind of put our ideas together and, hence, you’ve got this really hard … I don’t know.  I wouldn’t call it “pop” for nothin’!  It is what it was.  So, when I was able to step outside, I did the same things.  I wanted to step outside and look and try to see if this is all that there is.  I’ve had a success with this, it’s all “fine and dandy”, but I’ve got other things I wanna try.  See, that’s what gives me an opportunity with Top Fuel Records.  I have the ability whether it sells a million or a thousand.  I have to get off on it.  It so happens that I can introduce any kind of music that I really, really want to address.  It’s not proving a point … it’s what I like … this is me.  I like the harder shit.  I can write ballads, I can write anything.  If it works…if it sticks… well ”whoop-de-do.”  If it doesn’t, well, I get off and some of the people will too.  I write the different s..t, ya know?  I can get into the weird shit like “Vertex”, or “Arcade” was an amazing thing to step out of. “Vicious Delite” was way heavy.  That was way heavy, and with “Fueler”, I kinda wanted to get aggressive, but…commercially aggressive.  I didn’t go “Well, you’ve got to be commercial, you’ve got to get a radio hit, you gotta think this”.  There is no radio anymore.  I am happy, though, that when I go to radio and they are accepting me whether it be you’re a “classic guy” now, or “you’re this guy” now, I’ve accepted all of the above.  So, I’m not intimidated or oppressed or bummed out that they don’t need the “RATT interview dude” today.  I’m like “Okay … that was great.  Next!”  I don’t sit around going “Oh, whatever doesn’t play whatever because eventually they’re going to because they can only play that other crap for so long”.  So, what comes around goes around.  Thank you.

RAG-  Synthetic Flash is my favorite song off of the “Vertex” cd.

SP – Oh, yeah? … That’s the good stuff.  “Vertex”…  Al Pitrelli.  We wrote half of that record in one day.

RAG – No way!

SP- One day.  That’s how me and Al click.  It’s incredible.

RAG – I was used to the RATT, and then Arcade seemed like a progressive step from RATT.  Then, I listened to “Vertex”, and I was blown away.

SP – Thanks, man!  I appreciate it.  I looked at my catalog the other day and I didn’t even realize I had 26 records (laughs).  I’ve got 8 records to release within the next year, and I worked hard on getting those things prepared whether they’re “Best of” compilations, re-recordings, new records.  I mean, we’re always doin’ somethin’ to keep the “Metal Force” alive over here.

RAG – Tell us something disturbing about yourself.

SP- Disturbing about me?  I don’t know…

RAG-  I asked Blackie Lawless this question and it stumped him, too.

SP- I don’t know what would be disturbing to the fans.  They think I’ve had a sock in my crotch forever (laughs).  That’s on that spectrum.  As far as what’s disturbing in the music industry…that’s it right there.  Or, “The Wannabe” musicians in the industry.  There you go.  Thank you very much!

RAG-  Thank you.

SP-     I appreciate it

TROY- I want to thank Stephen for taking time for this interview and for continuing contact regularly.

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