Ratt & Roll – Stephen Pearcy’s Memoir – Book Review

pearcyThe first time I’d heard the band Ratt was sometime during 7th grade. “Round and Round” was a catchy song, but being a 12-year-old that wasn’t allowed to purchase rock cassette tapes at the time, I didn’t mind that it was overplayed on the radio. I listened to Ratt throughout my junior high and high school days, purchasing whichever cassettes I could or at least duplicating tapes from friends.

Last week at the library, I found Ratt’s founder/lead singer Stephen Pearcy’s memoir: Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll – My Life in Rock. First I have to say that the book is very well written, flows nicely, and is easy to understand. It’s interesting to read from a fan’s point of view how Pearcy grew up, his struggle with having two broken legs after being hit by a car, heartbreak, his rise to fame, his downward spiral after the band broke up, and his newfound sobriety after the birth of his daughter. Some of the book tells pieces of his therapy sessions, most of which he seems to reveal his blatantly trampy sexual history. Pearcy does not sugar coat anything.

During the 1980s, my friends and I wanted to be like the girls in rock videos – hot and sexy and appealing to band members, but we hadn’t a clue what these band guys were really all about. While I was a 13- to 16-year-old virgin around the time I was a huge Ratt fan and drooling over Stephen Pearcy in MTV videos, he was getting screwed or blown by everything in a skirt or was nursing a bad case of gonorrhea. Pearcy’s constant reminder of how often and to what extent women wanted him is a bit nauseating. He also often reveals sexual escapades of his own band mates (particularly those of Bobby Blotzer and Robbin Crosby) and members of other popular glam rock bands that I listened to at the time (Van Halen, Poison, and Motley Crue, for instance).

Just a few examples – and these are tame:

“… there was so much goddamn trim around in those days, it didn’t make much sense to any of us to stick to one woman.”

“Our bus was a motorized fuck factory on wheels…”

“I pulled my pants down around my ankles and received the blow job of a lifetime while losing to Blotzer at Pong.”

“… one of our best tricks was to find a tall, slutty groupie with dyed blond hair and black roots… and have her suck off as many crew guys as possible; ideally, the ones who never showered. Then we’d steer her over to Blotz.”

So far the only thing that’s been blown for me is my image of the bands I used to love so much. Not that I ever thought they were innocent – but I didn’t expect them to live up to the name of a rodent by doing gaggable offenses (no pun intended).

But in the end, however, Pearcy redeems himself by admitting that (as he was older) he wanted something different – real love. That came after the birth of his daughter, Jewel, and his road to sobriety.

Some of the things that impressed me:

  • Pearcy himself seemed to steer the band to stardom. He wouldn’t stop until it happened.
  • Pearcy convinced the band to have their own look (something he describes as similar to pirates), including eye makeup – to the dismay of some of the other guys. He made his own costumes and even painted his own spandex pants.
  • Pearcy seemed to get along with others easily and make friends and connections quickly (before the downward spiral).

If you were ever a Ratt fan, this book is a must-read and difficult to put down. Oh – and it sure as hell beats 50 Shades of Grey.

To reminisce some of Ratt – here are some Youtube videos.

My Days of Heavy Metal & Being a Rocker Chick

I just read a memoir by Stephen Pearcy (of Ratt) and relived the moments of my lusting over long-haired band guys. I’d written about some of them in both of my books, which referred to me around age 13 and throughout high school.

I was known to be a “rocker” when I was a teenager and in my 20s. Only back then we were called “headbangers”, “motleys”, and “metal heads”. This was back in the 80s, so spandex, big hair, black eyeliner, and concert tshirts was my main wardrobe. (I’ve calmed down quite a bit since.) I went to every concert I could, and I’m glad I did get to see them in their prime.

Here are some excerpts from my books:

 

From my memoir "Unheard"
From my memoir “Unheard”

 

From my memoir "Unheard"
From my memoir “Unheard”

 

From my book "Dissed & Pissed"
From my book “Dissed & Pissed”

 

From "Dissed & Pissed"
From “Dissed & Pissed”

 

From "Dissed & Pissed"
From “Dissed & Pissed”

Go You Chicken Fat, Go Away! (Please Get Out of My Head!)

The strangest things have been happening lately with songs popping into my head at random times. Although most may not find this unusual, it’s unusual to me because these songs are ones I haven’t heard in years.

For instance, this morning I woke up with a song in my head from the fourth grade. Our quad of teachers made students do exercises each morning in order to get us (or them) fit. The tune was “Chicken Fat/The Youth Fitness Song” and it’s one that once heard, you will never, ever forget.

I found that someone had put this song on Youtube. I wasn’t aware of the history of this song. According to WFMU:


The song was commissioned by John Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. A copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics.

I recall participating in these morning exercises (begrudgingly) and watching all of the other miserable faces following along. For some reason it only lasted a few weeks or so and we stopped doing it – probably a complaint to the administration put a quit halt to it.

So why was this song in my head when I woke up this morning? Was it the Universe telling me I needed to get out of bed and make that chicken fat go away? Or is it because “Chicken Fat” is one of those songs that no matter how many years down the road you will never, ever forget it?

More Bad Song Lyrics, Part 2

I knew that whatever I was belting out was wrong, but without knowing the singer or song, what was I to do?

I was singing:
“He hops in his coat
He’s yessin his note
Into his mouth
And down to his toes.
You spike your makeup,
Get into your truck…”

(Something along those lines.)

The song is catchy. I started asking around. Someone suggested Eminem. Nope, it’s a female. And it’s really, really popular, and I cannot keep up with all of the new hits. No one knew what I was talking about.

Except one friend – one that is a musician – and she sent me the real lyrics.

The song is actually Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold”. I got a pretty good laugh out of myself.

The next song is one that everyone is guilty of butchering. I think I am probably the exception when it comes to cutting this one to pieces…


I was singing:
I been lured into your
Mangled carpet Trap…
Hey, Wayne!
I gotta nuke airplane
Forever a dad to
The Price is Right…
Me eating your kids
Forget no one just yet
Cook myself some angel hair
And navy bread
Broken hammer of your handness
I’m left black

You probably guessed it – Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box”.

I’m sorry to those whose songs I’ve ruined, and I know that “Hot and Cold” will never be the same to its fans after reading this.

‘His Face Poured Gasoline’ and other Bad Song Lyrics

For those of us that grew up before the advent of the ever-omniscient internet, we relied on the insides of album or cassette covers (and later cd’s) to read the song lyrics from our favorite bands. Many times those covers did not provide the lyrics, so we depended on our own ears and those of our friends if we couldn’t understand what the musicians were singing. This is where the fun begins – entrusting on what we thought we heard rather than what was really being said.

One of the songs that comes to mind most frequently is Skid Row’s “Eighteen and Life”, because that is the worst set of lyrics I ever made up. There I was, all cool in my black spandex pants and big hair, singing at the top of my lungs, “Daquina in his heartbeat, his face poured gasoline!”

Don’t ask me what daquina was, because I didn’t know that, either. When my friends corrected me, it was funny enough that we all started jokingly singing, “His face poured gasoline.”

Some other hysterically funny/bad song lyrics I came up with over time were these:

From the Police’s “Spirits in a Material World”:
I sang: “We eat asparagus in our material. Yeah, asparagus in our material…”

From Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”:
I sang: “I had to come, come for it all.”

From Kansas “Carry on Wayward Son”:
I sang: “Carrie on my way, your son.”

From Blondie’s “Call Me”:
I sang: “Calla me, your caller, baby. Caller me your call… roller me in caller sheets, I’ll never get it up… Motions call, I don’t know why. Caller up is all a lie…”

From The Eagle’s “Hotel California”:
I sang: “Stab it with their steely eyes, but they just can’t kill the peace.”

From the Bee Gee’s “Stayin Alive”:
I sang: “You can tell by the way I youth, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk. You make love the way I want, all around since I was born; but that’s alright, it’s okay, you can see another day. …. We can try to understand the way you put your hand on me, whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a lover…”

From Van Halen’s “Panama”:
I sang: “Ain’t nothing like a shiny machine, with a wheel for a tray, movin’ heart tween. Hot shoe burning down the avenue, gotta countdown with the crew.”

And I know I’m not the only one that had these lyrics all jived up…

From Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s “Blinded By the Light”:
I sang: “Blinded by the light. Wrecked up like a douche, with your mother in the night.”

I’m sure there are more I can come up with that I’ve forgotten. Now that you’re done laughing, maybe you can share some of your own.

Remembering Whitney Houston as a Teen

The news of Whitney Houston’s death tonight was very sad for many of us, especially those of us that grew up listening to her music.

I was in junior high school the first time I heard Whitney Houston. She was new to the pop music industry and probably the only popular singer at the time that undoubtedly had the voice of an angel. She had the perfect skin that girls of all colors dreamed of having, and to the relief of many parents, Whitney was a role model with dignity, class, and innocence.

I can’t remember how many times I belted out “Greatest Love of All” using my hairbrush as a microphone, but I do recall that no matter when I turned on the radio, the song would play on at least one of three stations within the hour. My favorite song and video of all by Whitney Houston has to be “How Will I Know?” because it’s such a fun song to sing and dance to. That’s how most of us remember Whitney – spunky and cute, still rocking out with those bright eyeshadow colors from the 80s.

Whitney’s battle with addiction ultimately became her downward spiral. It’s unfortunate that bright lights burn quickly, but Whitney Houston’s voice will forever live in our hearts.