Bobby Blotzer has 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.
The drummer has been touring the U.S. for the last few months with his own version of RATT, featuring several new members alongside bassist Robbie Crane, who previously played bass for RATT from 1996 to 2012 and appeared on the band's 1999 self-titled album and "Infestation".
"No matter what, this band plays so good and does such great integrity to the music of RATT," Blotzer told ClassX Radio in a new interview (hear audio below). "That's why everybody's been hired. It's been uncanny. Especially for the age of some of these guys. The lead guitar player, he just turned 22 about, I don't know, a half year ago or something, and he's amazing. He cops Warren's [DeMartini's] stuff amazingly. The singer just blows Stephen Pearcy out of the water at this day and age. And frankly, [he sounds better than Stephen did] even when we started out."
Blotzer also addressed the legal battle that is playing out between him and DeMartini over the rights to the RATT name, with the guitarist filing a lawsuit last fall claiming that the drummer was falsely advertising his "tribute band" as the real thing. That dispute is still pending in California state court.
"God bless Stephen and my other RATT cohorts," Blotzer said. "I mean, we made history; I recognize that, I appreciate it. We all wrote it together, wrote the music, rode the waves. But now, it's, like, okay, guys. There's three rafts left here. You're in or you're out. And it's been going on for five years. And I wanna finish the race. So that's where I'm at."
He continued: "I do not wanna insult anybody in the old-school RATT camp — I call it the class of '84 — but, you know, these guys were our own worst enemies. They're on a five-year strike thing that was going on between Juan Croucier [bass], who came back in after twenty years gone, and got Stephen riled up. And here we sat… last year was five years [that we were away from the road], [and] this would have been number six, and I was not willing to sit, as one of the owners of the name; DeMartini and myself own the name. And I'm, like, 'I've got a great band, Warren. Do you wanna come out and play with this band?' It'll be our band, obviously, but these are great. And he just didn't wanna have any part of it. So I said, 'I'm going out. I'm taking it out.'"
According to Blotzer, it is not unusual for other rock bands with long histories to still be on the road in incarnations that bear little resemblance to the formations that recorded the original albums.
"In this day and age, there's so much of that going on," Bobby said. "We actually made a list at one point. There was thirty-three bands that have one or two [original] members that are still out touring."
He continued: "FOREIGNER, for me, they're friends of mine; Jeff Pilson is a good friend of mine and a neighbor of mine. FOREIGNER has one [original member] and they go out and they deliver a great show and they make the songs sound like the records. And people don't deal with the crap. They wanna hear the songs sounding like the record, they wanna drink their beer and get out of their house on the weekend or whatever, and that's what we do in RATT. And we deliver a great show. We do a lot more stuff than [the classic lineup of] RATT was willing to do. [They would] not move around and not change the songs up in any way. We go the extra distance."
For all his praise for his version of RATT, Blotzer hinted at some disagreements behind the scenes, apparently stemming from the problems RATT encountered while performing at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma last weekend.
"We are a great band, that's all I can say," he said. "I'm so proud of us, you know. But I also wanna see people having their act together on every level. That includes me, too. Nobody's immune from the… from what we've gotta do out there.
"I'm doing all the work behind the scenes, and these cats, all they've gotta do is show up and do their part," he added.
"They'd better grow up real quick here, because there's a lot of sailors out there that would give their leg to go out on this ship."
Despite the fact that he has not yet reached an agreement with DeMartini over his use of the RATT name, Blotzer predicted that the new version of the band would stay on the road for the foreseeable future. "I think this week we're gonna do four or five dates. That'll top the forty-show mark [for this lineup of the band]," he said. "And on we go. We're booked through December 30 at this point, and they're already booking next year. So RATT is gonna be out there, man. The cast could change; it could stay the same. I don't know. It's like a football team. You want the team to win? You root for the team, 'cause you like the team. And we have a good team, and we have great songs, and we will perform those excellently."
Blotzer's revamped RATT is rounded out by vocalist Josh Alan (ex-SIN CITY SINNERS) and guitarists Doc Ellis (Jizzy Pearl's LOVE/HATE) and Nicholas "Blaze" Baum.
Three members of RATT's classic lineup — Pearcy, Croucier and DeMartini — reunited last week at a Los Angeles birthday party, leading to speculation that they were planning to launch their own version of the band that would not include Blotzer.