INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN PEARCY
Date: January 11, 2017
THE NAME STEPHEN PEARCY SHOULD NEED NO INTRODUCTION TO SLEAZE ROXX READERS OR ANY LOVER OF ’80S HARD ROCK AND HEAVY METAL. STEPHEN PEARCY IS THE VOICE OF RATT AND NOW IS BACK FRONTING THE MULTI-PLATINUM ALBUM SELLING BAND ONCE AGAIN ALONG WITH BANDMATES WARREN DEMARTINI AND JUAN CROUCIER. PEARCY’S MUCH ANTICIPATED FOURTH SOLO ALBUM ‘SMASH’ IS ABOUT TO BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 27, 2017. THIS INTERVIEW IS EXTRA SPECIAL FOR ME AS THE THIRD ALBUM (IN CASSETTE FORMAT) THAT I EVER BOUGHT WAS RATT’S ‘OUT OF THE CELLAR’ ALBUM, WHICH IS LIKELY THE ALBUM THAT I HAVE PLAYED THE MOST. THIS INTERVIEW TOUCHES ON MANY THINGS INCLUDING PEARCY’S NEW SOLO ALBUM, THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ARCADE REUNION AND PEARCY’S VIEWS ON A CERTAIN DRUMMER’S CONTRIBUTIONS AND FUTURE PLANS.
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on your new solo album ‘Smash.’ It seems to have taken a long time to come out or that you have been working on it. Has that been the case?
Stephen Pearcy: Yes. It’s taken quite a bit of time between shows and until we finally decided that we were going to put a few months to the side to finish it, you know? And that’s what we did. We really wanted to concentrate on actually walking down — it’s quite a chore.
Sleaze Roxx: In terms of your new solo album when I listen to it, I hear some Ratt elements on it but at the same time, it sounds different than the Ratt stuff. Was that a conscious decision to do something different from Ratt?
Stephen Pearcy: Umm, yes. It tends to be anything I write, especially if I am writing the music, it’s going to sound like Ratt since I wrote a lot of the stuff from the early days on my own. But I don’t go into it thinking that I want to sound like Ratt. I think it’s just my voice that kinds of throws it in that category except maybe one song off ‘Smash’ where I think my guitar player [Erik Ferentinos] was channeling Robbin [Crosby]. And that’s “Ten Miles Wide” which sounds like early Ratt like the EP but everything else, we really went outside, tried to get outside the park so to speak, and make it different. We wanted it to have a beginning, middle and an end, and not necessarily tell a story but just to be cohesive you know?
Stephen Pearcy‘s “Jamie” track from new solo album ‘Smash’:
Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers From the album SMASH.
Sleaze Roxx: When you’re writing a song, do you think, “Oh, this is going to be for my solo album” or “This could be for Ratt” or do you just write and decide afterwards?
Stephen Pearcy: You know, I just write. I don’t put anything in place. If I write something really heavy, it might not be the right song for a solo record. If it’s Ratt, it’s a different kind of system that we write in. We have three writers and we can come in with our own songs and they’ll be shaken up, or we will write together. So we have our own schematic over there. If it’s my solo stuff, I have the authority with my co-writer Erik [Ferentinos] on guitars — we can go anywhere we want. If the song is heavy or it’s a lighter song, and it’s something that Ratt wouldn’t do, we just write. We don’t think about where it’s going or who it’s for. We just write it and make it the best song possible. And sometimes, we don’t even use it. We just go on to something else you know?
Sleaze Roxx: Yes, and switching off to something else, there were rumours that there could be an Arcade reunion but that got sort of squashed or pushed aside because of the Ratt reunion. Was that ever the case?
Stephen Pearcy: No. There won’t be an Arcade reunion. I think that people are just liking the fact that there could be. It was a great band. it was a good, a great first record. But no, everybody, the original members of the band are off doing other things. Freddie [Coury] you know is writing for television and stuff, and I am doing my thing — solo and Ratt. I don’t know where the bass player [Michael Andrews] is or what he’s doing now. The other guitar player is in fact in my solo band from Arcade — Frankie [Wilsey]. So, no. It’s going to be about my solo project and now Ratt. My solo band is touring up until February to July . And then, we are going to try to get Ratt on the table to do a tour or some special plans. We already got a couple of shows lined up. And then we’ll see what happens. We’d like to see a Ratt record eventually started at the end of the year, which is OK and which has been a long time coming. And then we’ll see what happens after that.
Arcade‘s “Nothin’ To Lose” video:
Music video by Arcade performing Nothin’ To Lose. (C) 1993 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Sleaze Roxx: You’ve been in the spotlight quite a bit because of the Ratt stuff. Do you think that’s been a good omen for your solo album?
Stephen Pearcy: Oh, you mean the nonsense?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Well, I know that there’s nonsense but the thing is, you’re in the spotlight because of it but at the same time, you have your solo album.
Stephen Pearcy: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying. Well, unwillingly. I am not one to — if there’s a problem, it’s going to be dealt with and it has been dealt with legally in a positive way towards Warren, myself and Juan. But I will say you just can’t have one person step outside of a group that he did not write music for and try to recreate history. Our audience is very smart. Our audience is not stupid. They have been with us for 30 something years. They know when somebody is bullshitting somebody and they, you know, called him out. You know, the worst thing that you can do is turn your audience against you and lie to them and say “Hey, the original band is going to be here and they are not there,” just so they can go make a buck. So that’s all said and done, and we’re dealing with that, cleaning house so to speak, and we’ll move on to a positive environment.
Sleaze Roxx: Yes, and I want to pick up on something you said. Bobby Blotzer really did not write any of the major Ratt songs. If you look at the first three Ratt albums, he has no writing credits. On ‘Dancing Undercover’, he has one writing credit. Nothing for ‘Reach For The Sky’ so what role did he really play in Ratt aside from playing the drums?
Stephen Pearcy: Played drums and a pain in the ass.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Stephen Pearcy: The songs that he did get credit [for], we just threw him a bone. He had nothing to do with writing those songs. It’s just to stop the complaining. It’s like you calm the mad dog. Throw him a bone.And even on those later albums, those songs that he was able to do were not Ratt songs. They were not up to par. There were other people involved and you don’t find out until after the fact so you know, you live and learn. It’s one thing to make a living. It’s another to make it on somebody else’s music. Just because you were in this band doesn’t mean you have control over every aspect of this band [music] you didn’t write. Eventually, you’re going to have to pay up.
Sleaze Roxx: What is surprising about Bobby as well is that he indicated at one point that he was considering doing a Ratt album himself [with his band line-up] and it’s hard to believe given that I believe all the songs you have co-written.
Stephen Pearcy: I think that’s — I don’t even think — that’s just a bunch of bullshit.
Sleaze Roxx: I see that Ratt has been announced on a bunch of big festivals. You’re headlining M3. I think there’s another one as well.
Stephen Pearcy: Rocklahoma.
Sleaze Roxx: Yes, Rocklahoma. Are you guys trying to get on more festivals for the summer?
Stephen Pearcy: That’s the plan, you know. I have to finish up this ‘Smash’ stuff and shows, which is important because I am headlining my own shows. And once you know Ratt scales down a bit, I still might be doing solo shows even after or between the Ratt shows. Because they are not going out there — neither band is going out there on full blown tours. That just isn’t how it works. With something like Ratt, we are trying to be very careful out there. We are trying to pick and choose what benefits and goes in the long run; not just go out there and say “Hey, thanks for the cheque. Thanks for the cheque.” That isn’t happening. We have a lot more integrity than somebody else who has been out there you know using the name. So no, we are taking it very carefully. We want it done properly and to give our audience the respect, you know?
Sleaze Roxx: Cool! And for your solo album dates, what areas are you planning on covering?
Stephen Pearcy: Whomever wants me out there can pay for it, I’ll play for it. The shows are on my website stephen-pearcy.com. There’s a bunch of shows lined up and I’m sure that I will be adding more soon enough. I am just trying to find this crossroad between what Ratt is doing and my solo stuff. I only do like four shows, if that, a month with my solo stuff anyways. I don’t go out there and overextend myself. There’s no reason.
Sleaze Roxx: I saw you when you played at Rock N Skull back in October , which was a fantastic show. One thing that you mentioned while Juan was trying to get the sound right with his bass or something like that; you had mentioned [paraphrasing] “Hey, there are some delays.” And then you had mentioned that you were guilty of having put some delays for the band in the past. Do you remember that and what did you mean by that?
Stephen Pearcy: Oh, that I have been guilty onstage you mean?
Sleaze Roxx: I am not sure if you meant onstage but you had mentioned that you had been guilty of delaying things and stuff like that so there was no big deal.
Stephen Pearcy: Oh, of course. Yeah, sure. Of course. C’mon! I have a much more sobering system and machine now whether it is solo or Ratt. But yeah, of course, I mean you know everybody is to blame for something. Nothing is without perfection or fault, especially in a rock n’ roll band. And when you have success, you have excess and then you know [laughs], you’ve got to figure it out if you want to stay into the game.
Sleaze Roxx: Yes. And I understand that you are clean and sober now. Is that true?
Stephen Pearcy: I am in a better place. Let’s just put it that way. I don’t go out there and preach any of this to anybody. Yeah, I am in a better place. That’s what I call it and it’s all good. It’s good for me and personally, that’s almost what matters.
Stephen Pearcy‘s “Want Too Much” song from new solo album ‘Smash’:
Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers From the album SMASH.