Los Angeles’ Ratt. Ahhh yes, the yin to Motley Crue’s L.A. yang. The band with a singer that was constantly hidden behind aqua-netted shag (did Stephen Pearcy even have eyes?) and a sound that convinced millions that Aerosmith had started wearing women’s clothing. Ratt was one head-bangin’ band in 1984 and their smoldering debut LP served up a handful of songs that threated to rip the fabric right off of your parents speakers. A quick listen to this album today reveals that while aesthetically, Ratt has in no way dated well, their sound was indeed the real deal. Armed with hooks that could hang with the best of them and guitar solos that sounded like Warren DeMartini’s guitar had been sitting on a stove, Ratt’s sound was state-of-the-art hair metal (still a progressive concept in 1984). While “Round and Round” grabbed the attention of radio, it also denied songs like “Lack of Communication” and “Back for More” the acclaim that they deserved. Interestingly, the opener “Wanted Man” explodes with huge power chords that seem to be announcing Ratt’s dominance on the sunset-strip (albeit briefly), while the song’s “cowboy/outlaw” lyrical material (handed down from Aerosmith) soon became a reigning commonality in L.A. metal’s radio anthems. The sleeper song on the album and also perhaps it’s grittiest (perhaps even best) is the Robbin Crosby-penned “I’m Insane”, which pounds fervently with a punkish-attitude that gives Pearcy’s lyrics an air of credibility (something he didn’t always have). “Out of the Cellar” stands as Ratt’s finest LP and a true gem in the L.A. metal genre. Those who can get past the album’s dated quality and the band’s gruesome looks will be rewarded with energetic and youthful tunes that threatened to conquer Los Angeles in 1984. They don’t make them like this anymore.
Along with Motley Crue, Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister, Ratt was one of the main players of the ’80s glam metal movement. Although many of their songs lacked diversity and emotional poignancy, their guitarist Warren De Martini possessed the flash and technical ability to escalate the group above most of its peers. Out of the Cellar is by far the band’s best record, but between the blazing solos and call-and-response choruses are many lackluster moments. What saves it from the bargain bin, however, is the quintessential metal anthem ”Round and Round,” one of the greatest three-or-so minutes in ’80s rock. –Jon Wiederhorn
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When I saw Ratt open for Ozzy in 1984, I was 14 year old and I wasn’t that impressed. They were loud and Stephen Pearcy was as foul-mouthed a frontman as any metal singer could be and that was about it. Being that the show was in San Diego, most of Ratt’s hometown, well…maybe they were just trying to show off. Anyway…I ended up buying Out Of The Cellar on cassette tape right before I left on a three week cross-country family vacation. Being ill prepared for the travel I had only packed three cassette tapes (Dio’s The Last In Line, Out Of The Cellar & Ozzy’s Bark At The Moon). Well…three weeks is a long time on the road and in the back of the family van…to New York and back to SD. Lots of time to just sit back and listen and that’s what I did. Out Of The Cellar became one of my favorite albums and is still on my all-time list. Could it be that I know it like that back of my hand? Maybe? But familiarity usually breeds contempt and I have nothing but respect for Out Of The Cellar. Wanted Man. Round And Round. Back For More. The obvious MTV hits. Killer. Then you have You’re In Trouble, Lack Of Communication, In Your Direction & She Wants Money. Juvenile? Probably. But what part of 80’s Metal wasn’t? Please. This album absolutely f*cking rox! Warren Di Martini is a shredder that never really gets to show you how good he really is. Pearcy’s strange style is mezmerizing. Solid. Hands down, one of the best metal albums of all time. Brings back a lot of memories for me. Classic.
If you want a cd that sums up hair metal in like 9 songs, this is the one. Every song you can just imagine being played in some Sunset Strip club. While many might say the title for greatest glam cd should go to The Crue’s Shout at the Devil, or Poison’s Look What The Cat Dragged In, this is actually better.Every song has a catchy chorus worthy singing along to (just listen to Your’e In Trouble if ya doubt me) and conjours up images of spandex, makeup, and hairspray.
During our family’s annual summer vacation, my cousin had found this tape on the beach after a huge beach July 4th party back in 1984, someone had left it behind. After a trade involving a frisbee and two packs of firecrackers, I took the tape back to the condo. After shaking the sand from the cassette and listening to the whole album, I came to the conclusion that I had come out on the winning side of the deal. I’ve since bought this on CD and still enjoy listening to it.If you ever wanted to know what 80’s pop/glam metal was all about, look no further than this album. This album was a massive hit and a big step forward from their Ratt EP, putting Ratt at the top of the metal heap of the early 80’s. Some people have said “Detonator” or “Dancing Undercover” are the band’s best albums…I disagree. While those albums are good, this is definitely their best. No question about it. With this album, Ratt crafted a distinctive look and sound all their own. From the opening of “Wanted Man” to the last cord of “Scene of the Crime,” you have an excellent album. Top notch prodution, the songwriting, the blazing Warren DeMartini guitar solos, they’re all here and then some. The biggest hit from this album is “Round and Round,” followed by “Wanted Man,” a great opening song for the album. You also get a reworking of “Back For More” from the Ratt EP, this version being a huge improvement over the first. The only downside…yep…the hair band lable. Do not let that sway you. These guys were on the music scene prior to the blow-dried-no-talent-wannabes that left nothing but empty Aqua Net cans on the music scene. If you have their greatest hits album and want more, get this, you won’t be sorry. Enjoy — and thanks for reading!
I was first introduced to Ratt on Friday Night Videos in 1984 when they first showed the video for “Round and Round.” (You know, that really cool video with Milton Berle!) I liked the song immediately, and it didn’t take more than the next 3 times I heard it to make me badly want to get the album “Out Of The Cellar.” Just before I did, I had already heard the follow-up single “Back For More.” ANOTHER killer track!! I bought the album, and it remained one of my most-played albums that year. The above two songs were my favorite, plus I also liked “You’re In Trouble” and “Wanted Man”. Sorry, but “Lack of Communication” never did it for me, I basically refer to it as “Lackluster Communication.”Ratt was a group that had a glam image, but were certainly not a bubblegum group by any means. They had a good, crunchy sound; more melodic than the Crue and no less talented. Ratt was also never one to ride on anybody’s coattails. I’ve always found it interesting that as soon as they became big, they distanced themselves from other L.A.-based heavy metal bands. (You would have expected a young band like them to do the opposite.) First of all, they described themselves as hard rock, and they went out of their way to distance themselves from the “heavy metal” category. In fact, lead singer Stephen Pearcy STILL maintains that Ratt was not really a heavy metal band at all, just a regular hard rock band. Whether or not this would accurately describe their style of music I guess is a matter of personal taste, and is therefore subjective. In any case, I have always respected them for being very non-pretensious about themselves. Listen to their music and decide for yourself what they are. I do agree very much with the earlier reviewer, who said that the real secret of this band was the rhythmic groove they provided, in the form of bassist Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer (who was such a madman on drums, and probably one of the strongest drummers of his time). Of course, this is to take nothing away from Warren DeMartini’s talent on lead guitar: I’ve always admired his fluid, effortless style of playing. Robin Crosby played a steady rhythm guitar, and occasionally traded off some pretty mean leads with Warren DeMartini (like on “Round and Round”). Stephen Pearcy has always been a decent rock ‘n’ roll singer/screamer. Sure, he’ll never be counted among the true greats (Plant, Halford, Dickinson), but how many hard rock singers can say that they’ve been doing this for 20 years the way Pearcy has?After this album, Ratt would go on to record several others, each of them having at least 2 or 3 certifiable rock ‘n’ roll hits. Over time, they have amassed a pretty impressive collection of great songs…call them hard rock or heavy metal, one thing’s for sure: Ratt have been, for the past 20 years, one of the most consistently good rock ‘n’ roll bands around. They are instantly recognizable without being repetitious. Ratt rocks!!