What comes around goes around

Stephen Pearcy delivers the RATT ‘n’ ROLL



Photo By Tom Angel

In advance of his recent gig, Stephen Pearcy made it clear to local media and LaSalles management that he should be referred to as the “former original lead singer of RATT.” I thought, “Of course! He doesn’t want to be confused with the other Stephen Pearcy, who has garnered national attention for hanging a figure of an American soldier from his Sacramento home with a sign saying, ‘Bush Lied, I Died.'”

OK, that’s probably a stretch. It’s more likely some clause in his contract, since the actual band RATT still tours with some new guy named Jizzy Pearl.

Me, I’m the former original lead sing-alonger of RATT. I admit, I have the band’s older catalog on CD, and I still own a faded, black RATT T-shirt that’s tucked in the bottom drawer of my dresser. And if that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right. RATT was just as much a part of my adolescence as zits and body odor.

The band emerged from L.A.'s Sunset Strip glam scene, which also saw bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison finding mainstream success. RATT’s 1984 album, Out of the Cellar, rode the Billboard Top 10 off the strength of the single, “Round and Round” and the band kicked around through the ‘80s with its Spandexed brethren until a little trio from Aberdeen, Wash., called Nirvana pulled the flannel over glam rock’s eyes.

So what could be expected 20 years later at a former original lead singer’s Friday-night show in Chico? The scene was exactly what you’d imagine—a sparse crowd of 40, a few mullets, black rock-shirts and a handful of frosted-blond-haired women with silicone-inflated breasts. Yikes.

Pearcy and his band arrived at around 11 p.m. I was invited to the backstage area to meet them. I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. Where were the towering mounds of blow? Where were the countless scantily clad groupies and copious amounts of alcohol? I had to settle for the band, a few dudes and a bottle of Jose Cuervo. But all I had to do was look at Pearcy’s weathered features to know the real action went down back in his prime.

The band members hit the stage minutes later. A couple dozen people glued themselves to the front of the stage and cheered when Pearcy removed his black jacket before the second song to reveal an extra-small RATT shirt with the words “RATT ‘n’ ROLL, TOUR 1987.”

They sounded tight, and Pearcy’s vocals seemed to have held up over the years as he raced through RATT classics like “Wanted Man” and “Slip of the Lip.” With the exception a few new songs, the band didn’t veer far from the RATT standards.

After playing for about an hour, Pearcy pulled the secret weapon from his arsenal, closing the night with "Round and Round." After the final chords rang, the band members immediately scurried from the stage and disappeared back to the cellar. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself.