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INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN PEARCY – By Sally Steele
VR: “Hey Stephen! Thanks so much for getting on the phone with me today! You are so popular these days! I wanted to thank you again for coming to my Vegas Rocks! Hair Metal and Magazine Awards shows.”
Stephen Pearcy: “ Thanks Sally- It’s a pleasure, you know, your mag I have supported since day one, and we’re friends, great seeing some people there. Some peers, and being honored because there are a lot of people that don’t really give our genre the respect that we deserve. We have sold like billions of records.”
Vegas Rocks: “Absolutely, I agree. It’s crazy. When David Coverdale came to my show to be honored in 2012, Did you know he has never gotten an award? Isn’t that crazy. Whitesnake? “
SP: “It’s all politics. God bless Dave Grohl. He’s a friend, a buddy. How many awards can Foo Fighters, I mean they finally figured it out but how many Foo Fighter awards can they get? I think Dave probably went enough of me right now. Give it a rest, I don’t want any more awards. This is a little to political. I admire these guys, RATT, Motley. I grew up with them. So, I mean you can dissect this.
VR: “I get it. Almost like corporate world got ahold of them and the other corporate award shows went we got to get Dave Grohl cause he’s like, we need him he’s popular. They had no idea who Food Fighters were at first.”
SP: “Sure it’s the same with Metallica. Metallica is a great band but no disrespect. I love their new record but how many times can you award Metallica? They’re probably sick of the awards. Probably use them for door stops.”
VR: “So tell me about your new record Smash. How does it differ from the RATT days and sound? You knew I was going to ask that right?”
SP: “Yeah…besides Beau Hill from RATT our RATTsries are getting ahold of the first single, “I Can’t Take It”. Unfortunately, he couldn’t produce, mix master the whole record even though I wanted him to. He set the standard for or the bar of Smash. Because I had the whole nother batch of songs ready to record from the Sucker Punch sessions. I just kinda threw them all away. When Beau sent me back this song, we kinda went holy shit. Then months months later, I was in and out of the studio recording. Then I got approached, through a friend, about talking to Frontiers. I was like well yeah Top Fuel Records can be involved I will be happy to entertain Frontiers. We made a deal and I scrapped all the songs and Eric Ferentinos, my guitarist and cowriter on 99% of all these songs here. We just went to town. Just started rewriting everything from scratch.”
VR: “That’s awesome. Would you say it sounds more like RATT than your previous solo records since Beau Hill did it?”
SP: “No, Beau only did one song. Matt and I produced the rest of the record. I mean the completion of the record. He mixed. We pretty much did Top Fuel Records family thing. The thing about this record is we wanted it to be very diverse. We wanted it to be different than anything I had ever done. It was a very sobering environment. Which everybody was tip top. And we went in and did songs and gave every song the same attention. We put it away for a bit and come back to ‘em and then scrap it. Then go to something else. It took a while and then when really had the songs we dug in deep. I spent 24/7 on lyrics for months. Tried to come up with stuff that was more interesting and palatable then pussy, party, paycheck. We achieved that. I wanted a good ebb and flow like “Zeppelin III” per say, you know, “Immigrant Song” meets whatever. That’s the way. And we did it.”
VR: “That’s cool. Where is this available? Itunes, it’s out now right?”
SP: “Yeah it’s been out. The record’s been out since the 27th (January) and doing very well. We just finished the video for the first real single “Ten Miles Wide”, 3 days ago. It’s out everywhere. Itune, this tune, that tune. It’s out there. You can also go thru Frontiers and get it on vinyl. So it’s out there, it’s out there. In the ears and eyes.”
VR: “Alright! Cool! I am going to ask you a few questions to go back in time a little bit. In the early 80’s was there a certain thing that happened or a defining moment where you thought WOW I think I finally made it big in rock and roll.”
SP: “When did I think that? Oh wow. When you get your first, you know we were doing bigger shows in ’84. I believe we were just getting off of the road, with Ozzy openin up. About to go to Squire and getting your platinum plus album. On stage. That was quite cool.”
VR: “Bet that was awesome. Did you think from the beginning that RATT was gonna make it big? Were you confident or just hoped for the best?”
SP: “No we knew we were going to do something. We were the last to be signed. We knew we were a great band. We had great songs. We didn’t care. We had no competition but ourselves. We knew what we were going to do. We were going to make it one way or another. Come hell or high water.”
VR: “What do you mean “you were the last to be signed”? The last of?”
SP: “The LA 80s. The early 80s thing. When Motley got signed. Everyone was getting signed except for us. Then we played this one show. I don’t know if it was Beverly Theater or which one. The president of Atlantic was there and he saw us play. Lita Ford was supposed to open up but she didn’t show up. He signed us right on the spot. We looked at each other and went ok well Atlantic Records was good enough for Zeppelin and the Stones it is good enough for RATT. And away we went.”
VR: “Wonder what happened to Lita? She ever say why she wasn’t there?”
SP: “She didn’t want to open for us.”
VR: “Seriously?”
SP: “We ended up taking her out on the “Out of the Cellars” tour doing arenas. Opening for us anyway. How cool are we.”
VR: “There you go. She was forced to. So do you have any regrets personally, professionally after all of these years? Would you change anything if you could?”
SP: “Well the current music business means something music is for the artist but you can’t forget the business. I would have changed some of that. You learn a lot. It seems with success and excess comes a lot of dysfunction. It seems the norm with every band whose successful you have major dysfunction or something. And yeah I would have changed a few things.”
VR: “Craziest fan story?
SP: “Craziest what?”
VR: “Fan story. Crazy girls chasing you all of these years.”
SP: “Well there’s way too many to talk about. We used to have girls in our rooms hiding in curtains. We’d walk in your room and there they’d be. We invited trouble man. We wanted it. We wanted everything and anything and a lot of it. So we didn’t care. I didn’t care. Me and Robin didn’t give a sh*t. We wanted it all.”
VR: “Do you have any of these stories in your book? I haven’t read your book yet. LOL”
SP: “There so many stories I couldn’t tell and I had so many. I’m actually going to do another book starting at the end of the year. And it will be quite different. Won’t be so much of the party and the mayhem and the girls it’s going to be more the structuring, the band, how it started. All that other good stuff. Well you know the reality is that there are a good three years I did f*&kin remember out there. We were out on the road doing 250 arena gigs a year for so many years and then in the studio. I had to go to my connoisseurs and security guys and friends for stories. They had to tell me what the fuck I did. I didn’t remember for the book. I did what? Michael Jackson what? Kissinger what?”
VR: “What did you do with Michael Jackson and Kissinger?”
SP: “Kissinger, we were in New York at the same time. We were playing the Spectrum. We were at the Spectrum doin some gig. We happen to be in the same hotel and when we walked in, it was normal and we walked out and there was this black curtain tunnel. And I’m like what’s goin on here. And obviously fucked up, having a good time and I happen to walk out first. And I see Kissinger. And I just walked up to him and I went hey Henry what’s happenin?”
VR: “What did he say?”
SP: “I’m havin a beer and tryin to have a conversation with him. He looks at me like what the f*&k? Then the next thing I know these two men are like going move the f*&k out of the way.”
VR: “What was he there for?”
SP: “He was there for, f*&k if I know, doing government business. I don’t know”
VR: “Was it a show or something of yours?”
SP: “No it was at a hotel.”
VR: “I know that you have another call so let me just breeze through these other questions. So with this ongoing situation with Blotzer and his version of RATT coming out, was that the starting point that made you want to get back with the original guys and do something?”
SP: “No and the dust is settling or settled and we just grabbed the RATT by the tail and put it back where it belonged in respectville. And that’s it. End of story. Not much to talk about but you know the integrity of the entity was being abused and disgraced totally disgraced and we just commonly decided hey this is going to suck. This is the worst thing possible. Without getting into it we did all the hard work. We did the writing, we did the studio, and someone just went out there and decided hey. Justice is peace.”
VR: “That’s great. I felt the same way you did about that. Have you heard from Bobby since you started your version? Or do you just communicate through lawyers?”
SP “There is nothing to say. The dust is settling and settled and we move on. We’ve got a hand full of festivals to do. We have a show on the 11th with somebody on drums. We don’t who the next drummer or the real guy is gonna be. It’s gonna be, we’re gonna take things meticulous and right and proper. Try to hang out for a few years. We want to start on a record at the end of the year. The Smash shows touring starts beginning of next month going into July. Then we’ll take it from there.”
VR: “Well my question is so you guys are out there playing is his version still out there playing? You both out there playing now? What’s happening with that?”
SP: “No, they won’t interfere with each other at all my solo Smash and RATT.”
VR: “No I am talking about Blotzer’s version of RATT”
SP: “No no. It’s over. He can’t go out with that. No. That’s over and done. If you didn’t know we wouldn’t let him play the last show he did.”
VR: “You said you wouldn’t let him play in the last show?”
SP: “The last show he did we stopped that he tried to do”.
VR: “I know you have some other calls, thank you. It’s always great to talk with you Stephen! 
SP “Thanks Sally, see you soon!”

Stephen Pearcy Cover Photo: John Harrell

Stephen Pearcy Band Photo: Joe Schaffer

Interview Transcribed: Alzi Clanton