Exclusive Interview: Stephen Pearcy from Ratt
Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy spent most of last year writing new material, hoping for a quick return to the Ratt game. Delays in the Ratt camp set in so he decided to instead focus on what would turn out to be a new solo album, Sucker Punch. After posting a few “in-progress” songs onto iTunes for fan feedback and releasing a new video for “Don’t Want To Talk About,” the magic was in the air once again and Pearcy began writing new material with guitarist Warren DeMartini for the new Ratt record, due later this year.
We talked with Stephen a few days ago to check in on the progress of Sucker Punch, how things are going during the songwriting process for the new Ratt record and ultimately find out about an exciting new video project in the works for Ratt fans everywhere!
I know you’ve been working on your new solo album Sucker Punch and a few other projects but it almost seems like 2011 was a year to kinda chill out a little.
When I started recording Sucker Punch I decided I was going to take my time and not gonna push to get it out at any particular time. I didn’t want any pressure when it came to when it would be released. I did release three sample singles and did a video but the real deal is going to be finished soon enough. I still have yet to record a few songs and solos but all of a sudden we moved into writing the new Ratt record. It’s interesting because some of the songs I wanted on my solo record were actually written for the new Ratt record. Warren and I are actually in writing mode for the new Ratt record right now. It’s coming along amazing actually. We’ve got some great stuff on the table right now. This new Ratt record is gonna be strong. I’m glad I waited with these songs. Sucker Punch will be out way before the Ratt record as not to interfere.
Did you ever have doubts there would be a new Ratt record this year?
I’m always writing anyway but some of those songs were going to be presented for the Ratt record. I thought we were gonna get into it sooner so I thought ‘Fuck it, I’ll just start a solo record’ to keep busy. It’s been a few years since the last solo record. I just like to keep up on the writing. Some of the songs I had ready for the solo record will end up for the new Ratt, which is great. That’s what I was writing them for in the first place. There’s this feeling when Ratt gets rolling. We know when it’s time. I’m glad we started writing when we did. A few days ago Warren had this idea. He started playing a riff right outta the box. What the hell is that!? He said it was something he quickly recorded before he really woke up. He had a thought for this riff and had to put it down. I grabbed it and we started building a song around it and it’s amazing. It made the hair stand up on the back of my arms. Holy shit!
Has the entire band got together for a writing session yet or how do you guys do that?
We just decided that Warren and I would set the foundation for what we want to present. We literally went back to basics. We found a small room, got the acoustic guitars and the cassette decks. It’s the same format we wrote Out Of The Cellar with. We don’t need ProTools and drum machines. We don’t need the big studio yet, although it’s right next door. You never know when it’s the final lap, ya know? We really want this thing to stand up on it’s own. Infestation was great but we didn’t quite hit it. This time we want to make sure we hit it right on the mark.
What do you think held you back on Infestation?
There were just so many ideas coming from all over the place, from everybody in the group, right away. Then we went into pre-production almost immediately. Songs were just comin’ at us. Some songs didn’t get recorded that should have and some songs didn’t get developed the way they should’ve been. This time we’re making sure the ‘t’s are crossed and the ‘i’s are dotted.
Ratt fans everywhere were absolutely ready for Infestation. Then you finally got to hit the road. How do you remember that tour? Things seemed to be really strained towards the end of that run.
Yeah, it did. (laughs) I literally had that hernia on stage. I’m actually three-quarters of the way through my book that’s taken years to write. It’s all in there, what went down. We didn’t want to be out doing some of those shows. Some of those shows were amazing. The tour was amazing. Thank God we were sobering up towards the end of the run. When I had my hernia on stage it was like something was telling us to put the brakes on. We went out prematurely. There was some business that didn’t get tied up when it should have, so … I have a tendency to see it coming so it was like, ‘Woah. Stop right here.’ Getting off the road was a godsend because things weren’t moving the way they should’ve, and I’m not talking about record sales. The band could’ve self-imploded again. But you know what? With Infestation it was the first time that we were on a ballot for a Grammy, as weird as that is. By taking ourselves out of the loop, other opportunities have presented themselves to us. They’ll be very beneficial to what we’re trying to achieve with 2012 and the new record.
What kind of opportunities are you talking about?
I want to present the first live DVD history compilation from the band Ratt. I have so many formats of video from day one, Europe, Japan, shows with Ozzy. Forget the stuff on YouTube. I have the shit with real cameras that never saw the light of day. I told the guys I have this stuff and will be putting it out. Of course we’ll work on it together but we’ll be releasing a live compilation from the history of Ratt. It will have everybody’s blessing. Even Juan’s. He used to film all the time back in the day. Maybe he has something. We’ll make sure it doesn’t interfere with the new record. People have been asking for something like this. Timing is everything.
Will this encompass every lineup of the band or focus on the classic lineup?
I want to focus on the original band – what people aren’t seeing, what people missed, what excited people. The era that’s so important to so many people to this day. I want that out there. I want what people miss. This will be a release for those who miss it and those who missed it. That’s what I want to capture. That was the real shit. We’ll also be including footage from the current era of the band.
2012 will be the year Ratt sets itself apart from the rest and celebrate what got us here and kept us here in the first place. Ratt ‘n roll!