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Stephen Pearcy Fueler

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Thursday, December 2, 2004 @ 10:31 PM


(Top Fuel Records)

- advertisement -
Ya know, Ratt was pretty cool.

This ain’t Ratt.

Well, it’s part of a Ratt anyway. You can decide for yourself which part after listening to this record. See, Fueler is former Ratt frontman, Stephen Pearcy’s latest solo offering -- I think it rhymes with “Bueller,” but specific information regarding the pronunciation was unavailable at press time. It’s probably just as well… I’m trying to forget the experience of listening to certain portions of this, and any extraneous details that can be extracted from my cranium are a welcome relief. In retrospect, I’m surprised Stevie even had time to produce this given his ongoing trademark infringement suit. If you go to his website, www.stephen-pearcy.com, you can read this forceful declaration:

- advertisement -
"The real RATT fans will be shaking there (sic) heads when the truth about this whole mess is out and over with come January 2005. And believe me those two over there continue to destroy the integrity of the once mighty RATT band. I will not sit here and let them lead anyone into believing the lies they continue to feed the fans that are left! At least the real RATT in music will be honest, and that's all I can defend."

Boy, now I can hardly wait for the New Year because the intrigue involved in this very important matter is just killing me just as I’m sure it is the other 68 Ratt fans out there in the trailer park. Maybe Court TV will decide to cover this landmark case. We could even have Gretta Van Sustern and Roger Cossack debating the various legal strategies involved on channel 63.

“Gee Gretta—who do you think was primarily responsible for the sound exhibited in “Back For More”?

“I don’t know Roger, but that was one great song. I once got laid by this hot legal assistant one time while listening to it--we did it on the hood of a Camaro. I just hope whoever ends up with the ‘Ratt’ name keeps making great music… even though I’m a lesbian now and everything--it would still be good to hear. I get tired of listening to Enya all the time.” (Kidding--Gretta isn’t a lesbian… is she? Gretta looks sort of hot sometimes… well, kinda.)

Awww, the hell with it. I don’t want to see them fight anymore anyway. It only takes time away from more productive endeavors. So what if we just take up a collection? We could sort of pass the hat around--see, I figure that if we could just raise about five dollars and eighty-five cents, we could probably just buy the damn “Ratt” name and end the bickering of these two factions.

In the meantime, what we have here is a record, Fueler, which although sounding like a fruity bastard child of Ratt, is nevertheless cluttered with elements of all the worst that the last fifteen years of music has had to offer while hanging on to a precious few of the ones that made Pearcy’s former band great in the first place. The opening track, “Overdrive” has a decent sound to it, but the tone is really low end, and the vocals sound like they were filtered through a speaker in a clock radio. Pearcy’s words are muffled and have been altered to sound more than slightly techno. That being said, the chorus is decent and the riffs have potential, but the production is unsatisfying. It sounds like a demo. It’s too bad the first song is a letdown because it is followed up by a song that is sadly entitled “Kill Kitty.” Urggh. Double entendres and putdowns like, “you’re the runt of the litter” and rather unfortunate insult “bullshitter, quitter” make this song damn near impossible to enjoy. The lyrics don’t have to be Tolstoy, but there is no way, I’m rocking out to a song whose repeated lines are:

“You’re the runt of the litter.
I’ve had better in the gutter. Bayybeee!
You’re such a bullshitter, quitter.”

Fuckers who would sing along to this are the same type that made “Unskinny Bop” famous. You don’t believe me? Your assignment for the weekend is to find someone you don’t like, and then let them insult you. Once they have called you a “pustulating fuckstick” or a “hairy vaginal obstruction,” I want you to retort with—“That’s ok, at least I’m not a ‘bullshitter, quitter.’” When they get done laughing at you, simply turn around walk to the corner and commence crying into your Bud Light.

“That Sick Thing” is yet another skeleton of a song that could possibly be more than decent, but the techno sounds of Pearcy only muddies the overall effect and detracts from the quality tempos and beats. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that there are some electronic drum tracks here, so if you happen to possess a total aversion to that type of thing, you’d better stay away. If you don’t mind that type of instrumentation, please feel free to enjoy da tasty beats in da hizzouze, dawg! Unfortunately, in the next song, “Godsmack,” there isn’t much fanciful lyricism or carefree rocking. Nope, see—I know this is gonna come as a total shock, but this tune is really about ddddrrrruuuugggssss. Make sure you whisper that last part. Anyway, this particular selection drones on and might sound like Alice in Chains… if Alice in Chains had sucked really bad and wore mascara. Anyway, uh… don’t take any drugs yourself because when people take drugs, they die and… I dunno, watch lots of pornography and hang out in barnyards.

“Drive With Me” has a good introductory riff and an interesting structure, but the vocals are a bit clunky. The sixth and seventh tracks, “Spy Vs. Spy” and “Young and the Damned,” are more techno sounding than the other offerings, and can be, in truth, downright annoying—just imagine a couple of Nine Inch Nails-type songs composed by someone who drools profusely and has poor motor skills. The final new offering on this is “Dream Machine” which gets back to rock with a more traditional sound that is more exemplary of what this offering could have been—a collection of tunes that would serve as a natural progression from Pearcy’s Ratt days and some of the better material from his two solo records.

The final three offerings are rerecorded/mixed Ratt. “Back For More” and “Lay It Down” now sound like a couple of tunes you could hear in Belgium disco. The vocals are mechanized and the beats are readily danceable which is great if you are Erasure, Depeche Mode or Echo and the Bunnymen, but really, really bad if you are trying do anything other than defiling two truly great songs. About the only thing these two tunes would be good for now would be beckoning a couple dozen silk-shirted mulletheads with disco chains out onto the dance floor. By far, the best of these three remixes is “Round and Round,” and that is only better because it is the closest to the original. In no way is it an improvement over its predecessor though.

Fueler is dedicated to “King Ratt” Robin Crosby, and the saddest part of that is having to view the shambles that this group has become. In Pearcy’s defense though, I will say that there is no Ratt without him--however, this type of output doesn’t suggest that his former bandmates aren’t needed. There is material here that could be worked with and molded into a truly good rock n’ roll record, but this dabbling in industrial/techno is positively horrifying. I mean, this record is sort of like waking up next to Roseanne Barr after a night of drunken debauchery only to find out that she had chronic diarrhea in the bed, which unfortunately has resulted in moist fragments of peanuts and corn becoming stuck to your leg. Now what should happen with this trademark infringement case is that the judge should tell both sides that if they don’t get together that neither side can use the “Ratt” name. Then, the first priority for the new Ratt should be to re-record the new songs on this record and change the lyrics to “Kill Kitty.” If this doesn’t happen and they can’t get it together, then maybe all these guys are just a bunch of “bullshitter, quitters.”

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