Just a couple of weeks before he was expelled from the RATT partnership by three members of the band's classic lineup — singer Stephen Pearcy, bassist Juan Croucier and guitarist Warren DeMartini — drummer Bobby Blotzer said that his former bandmates would not be able to reunite as RATT without him.
On November 12, HRH TV conducted an interview with Blotzer backstage at the Hard Rock Hell festival at Camp HRH, Pwllheli, North Wales, Gwynedd. The drummer played at the event with his version of RATT, which includes singer Josh Alan alongside guitarists Mitch Perry (TALAS, HEAVEN, STEELER, MSG, LITA FORD) and Stacey Blades (L.A. GUNS) and bassist Brad Lang (Y&T).
Speaking about his lineup of RATT, Blotzer said: "We've been out all year. I wanna say this is [show] number 66 tonight, and it's just been incredible — it's been unbelievable. Huge, huge audiences and venues. I can't explain it. It's almost like '84 again'
Asked if he ever thought back when RATT first started if he would still be doing it more than three decades later, Bobby said: "I don't even know how to answer that at this point. Uhm… No, I didn't, because in the days when RATT started… Most bands from the '70s and that sort of the thing, and the '60s — not that RATT's from the '70s — but nobody stayed together, you know what I mean? Everybody broke up after seven years, eight years — that was the way it was. So now you just see so much work being done by the guys from the bands…"
He continued: "Other guys aren't on the planet anymore. Some guys don't wanna go. I wanna keep going. I'm able to do so. By putting this band together, of these guys — they're not the original bunch, but I'll tell you, they play RATT music with such great integrity. And it sounds like the record, with the live enthusiasm about it. I'm very, very happy to play with these guys."
Blotzer also addressed the legal battle he has been involved in with DeMartini over the rights to the RATT name, with the guitarist filing a lawsuit in September 2015 claiming that the drummer was falsely advertising his "tribute band" as the real thing.
"Well, there's no hiding what's going on here," he said. "We've been doing this for a year and a half. I mean, we could get into the story as to why this is like it is. In a nutshell, basically, you have two guys that own the name — myself and Warren DeMartini — one of which wants to work: me. I wanna go play RATT music live. I'm 35 years in this band. Warren was, like, 'Well, maybe give drum lessons.' I was, like, [punches air with his first]. I didn't do that, but I wanted to; I thought about it in my mind. You know what I'm saying — as a joke. But, you know, we were on a five-year strike from Stephen, and late-to-come-back-in-the-fold Juan Croucier. Those guys, they wanted to own the name. Warren didn't wanna give up rights. I don't care. I just wanna play. So, finally, I said, 'I own 50 percent of this. I'm taking it out. Warren, you can join along, or you can sit at home and cut your fucking flowers. I don't know. But I'm going out to play.' So now we have some litigious situations going on. But we're far ahead in the game. And the audience just loves this band so much. Our lead singer, Josh Alan, he sings like the records sound, which never live used to happen with RATT. And I'm not here to sling mud, but I'm just telling you straight up."
Despite the fact that he is embroiled in a bitter legal conflict with his former bandmates, Blotzer insists that he harbors no ill will toward DeMartini, Pearcy and Croucier.
"Listen, man, I love the guys in RATT," he said. "We made history together. We have a fabulous discography, catalog of music. We make a lot of money in malbox money, I call it, from writing such great tunes together. Most of the time it was pretty hard to get it all together, but at the end, it all came together, and that being so many memorable songs. So I don't wanna be hating on anybody; I just wanna work."
He added: "So now I'm hearing these guys [Warren, Stephen and Juan] are sort of banding together, but they're not gonna be RATT."
Blotzer also once again defended his decision to go out on tour as RATT without any other original members of the band, explaining that fans just want to hear the music performed the way it was recorded on the group's albums.
"In that time off, that five years — this would have been the sixth year; '16 would have been six years… I'm 58 — I just turned 58 — and I wanna finish the game out while I've still got my back and my elbows and my fucking drive and my power," he said. "So I'm doing the best job I think I've ever done up there, frankly. And it's fun. I'm having a really good time with the band. The audiences love it. Nobody's ever gone away and not said good things, as far as I know — not to my face anyway."
At the end of November, a California judge ruled against Blotzer with respect to whether Croucier had committed trademark infringement by using the RATT name and logo to advertise his band RATT'S JUAN CROUCIER back in the fall 2015. The judge furthermore decided that the corporation WBS, Inc., of which Blotzer and DeMartini were thought to be the sole shareholders, and which Blotzer had claimed owns the RATT name and brand, did not have ownership interest in the RATT marks and that the name and brand was still owned by the members who were part of the original RATT partnership agreement: Pearcy, Croucier, DeMartini and Blotzer.
Under a 1985 written Ratt Partnership Agreement, the name/trademarks are the property of the partnership and can only be transferred with the unanimous approval of all partners. Thus, the judge ruled that in 1997 when Blotzer, DeMartini and Pearcy purported to transfer the trademarks to WBS, the transfer was invalid since Croucier, who was still a partner, was never advised of, and therefore did not consent to, the transfer. Therefore, the judge said, the partnership still owned the RATT name.
In addition to claiming to have expelled Blotzer from the partnership following the latest court ruling, Pearcy, DeMartini and Croucier said that Blotzer could now only refer to himself as a "former member of RATT," as per the partnership agreement.
Blotzer's attorney, Drew Sherman, said last month: "It's a long time before this is done. We're not even at the appeals part yet."
RATT's current lineup includes Pearcy, DeMartini and Croucier alongside former QUIET RIOT guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who played on RATT's last studio album, 2010's "Infestation".
RATT will embark on the "Back For More" tour later this year, with the first confirmed date being the previously announced appearance at the M3 Rock Festival, set to take place on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.