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Warren DeMartini Talks About 20 Years of Ratt N’ Roll

By David Carr, Contributor
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 @ 6:39 PM

"...the toughest memories I will always have from that time period is losing Robbin"

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If you were in Los Angeles in the 80’s, specifically Hollywood, you had to have witnessed the "hair metal" scene that swept Sunset Blvd. There was big hair, big power chords and enough eyeliner on the scene to fill several women’s department stores. One of the bands to yield major success was Ratt. Ratt combined a blistering twin guitar assault with infectious melodies and choruses. Songs like "Back for More", "I Want a Woman" and "Round and Round" had just enough guitar power to floor any hard rock fan but also had the hooks and melodies to keep the girls coming to the shows. It was pop metal for the masses and their fans ate it up. Ratt went from the clubs of the Sunset Strip to filling Arenas with their brand of "Fashion Rock" (They themselves coined that phrase). As the 80’s came to a close, and musical tastes shifted, Ratt saw a decline in sales and also saw one of its founding members lose himself to substance abuse. In 1994 Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby was diagnosed as being HIV positive and by 2001 he had contracted full blown AIDS. He died of an overdose on June 6th 2002.

The band has reformed with former Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo. They are recording a new disc and are going out on the road with Extreme this summer. The tour begins July 10th at the mother of all hard rock revivals, Rocklahoma. I had the opportunity to chat with guitarist Warren DeMartini about the reuniting of Ratt and how the band is gearing up to go "Round and Round" with their fans once again.

KNAC.COM: How are things going with the recording of the new disc? When will fans get a chance to hear the new stuff?

DEMARTINI: Recording is really going great!! This is our first disc in ten years…it really is going well. We wanted to try something different with this disc. Every album we have done, we have recorded in LA. With this one we decided to try something new so the band and our new producer went to Virginia Beach to record…so far it has been an excellent experience. We are done with the basic tracks. Our recording has overlapped with our tour starting up so as far as a release date goes, we will probably have to release the disc in either January or February.

KNAC.COM: What’s it like working on a new Ratt record with a new guitar player? How’s recording been with Carlos Cavazo?

DEMARTINI: It’s been fantastic! Carlos and I have been good friends since the early days…stylistically we make a good combination. We have gotten back to the two guitar, twin lead thing with Carlos in the band…our styles really mesh together and I know Robbin would approve.

KNAC.COM: The music business has gone through several changes over the years. How do you think the band will be able to compete/connect with an audience? Are you ready to use things like My Space, Facebook and ITunes?

DEMARTINI: Hmm…well the business has changed a lot. To be honest there are many more things bands can do now on their own…in some cases they don’t need a record label. For us I think the formula remains the same. We will let our record company handle promotion and we will concentrate on the music and putting on a great live show when we tour. I mean, it’s a long process…doing this is a serious process and you basically have to set a goal and work towards it everyday. It’s an exciting process to be a part of right now!

KNAC.COM: At this point many of your fans have seen the VH-1 Behind the Music that featured the group. Do you think that was a fair and accurate portrayal of the band? Is it safe to say that the break up of the band was caused by over indulgence and some serious band tension?

DEMARTINI: When you put five guys on a bus for months at a time things are just going to get tense no matter what you do. I mean you can try and dissect it if you want but at the end of the day we as a band went beyond our wildest expectations. We tried to pace ourselves and navigate through a lot of stuff that was thrown at us and it just became too much to handle. For now, one of goals we have is the idea of trying to not make the same mistakes this time around.

KNAC.COM: Think back to the bands early success with your first two albums. What are some of your fondest memories from that period? What are the highlights?

DEMARTINI: We went from barely filling a small club in Hollywood to selling out The Forum in LA, Madison Square Garden in New York and playing the Castle Donnington Festival! We were fulfilling our dream!

KNAC.COM: What are some of the rougher memories from that time period?

DEMARTINI: I think the toughest memories I will always have from that time period is losing Robbin...watching him slip away from us and not knowing what to do about it…not knowing how to help him…I miss playing music with Robbin. I miss surfing with him. I have learned to cope with it but I don’t think I will ever get over his death.

KNAC.COM: Warren with so many bands on tour this summer especially bands from your era why should rock fans check out RATT this summer?

DEMARTINI: If you have never seen us before then that’s why you should come check us out…if you have already seen us then you already know why you should come!!

See Ratt on tour with Extreme. confirmed dates are as follows:

  • Jul. 10 - Pryor, OK - Rocklahoma **
  • Jul. 12 - Amarillo, TX - Midnight Rodeo
  • Jul. 13 - San Antonio, TX - Scout Bar
  • Jul. 14 - Odessa, TX - Dos Amigos
  • Jul. 16 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theater
  • Jul. 17 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theater
  • Jul. 18 - Las Vegas , NV - Hard Rock
  • Jul. 19 - Anaheim, CA - Grove
  • Jul. 22 - Denver, CO - Ogdon Theater
  • Jul. 23 - Kansas City - Crossroads
  • Jul. 24 - Chicago, IL - House Of Blues
  • Jul. 25 - Toledo OH - Harley Davidson-LOT **
  • Jul. 26 - Cheswick, PA - Ches-a-rena
  • Jul. 28 - New York, NY - Nokia Theater
  • Jul. 30 - Westbury, NY - Westbury Theater
  • Aug. 02 - Allentown, PA - Crock Rock Festival
  • Aug. 05 - Springfield, VA - Jaxx ***
  • Aug. 06 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom
  • Aug. 07 - Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino
  • Aug. 08 - Clearfield, PA - ClearfieldCountyFairgrounds **
  • Aug. 15 - Sky City, NM - Sky City Casino **
  • Aug. 29 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Casino **
** RATT only
*** EXTREME only

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