Drummer Bobby Blotzer is out there currently touring with his "Ratt Experience." Not quite sure what guitarist Warren DeMartini is doing in the way of live shows at this time, but bassist and "The Other Voice of Ratt," Juan Croucier (website here) has recently put a band together and just stopped by The Chance in good ole Poughkeepsie, NY this past Friday, December 11, 2015 with his take on the Ratt catalog (or dare I say Rattalog? I wonder if can get that to catch on...)
Juan handles all lead vocals and of course bass duties and completes the rhythm section with drummer Pete Holmes (of Black n Blue). Filling out the quartet are two killer guitarists in the way of Mike Moore and Toni Aleman who together make up a tight unit more than capable of handling all of the Ratt classics (and some deeper cuts). Especially impressive was when we later found out this was only the band's tenth show ever!
What unfortunately was not impressive was the turnout for this show which was a great night of classic 80's hard rock hits for a measly 15 bucks. With basically all the bands of this era back out on the road, and knowing Poughkeepsie to often pack the house when they come through, it was a bummer that just a few dozen people showed up - but that didn't stop Juan and the boys from playing as if to a packed house...in some respect, especially with Juan, I think he took this as a challenge to show those who were there what this band has to offer and to let the word spread so the next time through, this band will have the natural growth of any new band, albeit with a full classic catalog to choose from.
As you can see from the photos the band was having a blast and Juan, who was really known for has bass moves back in the day, still has them all (playing chops too of course).
Mostly this was a greatest hits set (although quite a few were skipped, you forget how many damn hits Ratt actually had!). Half the set was made up of 8 of the 10 tracks off Ratt's first full length album "Out of the Cellar"...hell if I was the band, I'd throw the other two in and bill the show as them playing all of "Out of the Cellar" which of course the fans would dig and which basically they are already doing. (Yeah I know, I missed my calling as manager of a rock band).
Half of the rest of the set were the singles off Ratt's second full length album "Invasion of Your Privacy" and then a few other key Ratt tracks. I already posted the setlist on setlist.fm, but here it is if you haven't checked that:
Dangerous but Worth the Risk
Scene of the Crime
In Your Direction
Lack of Communication (with the original lyrics)
Lay It Down
You're in Love
Way Cool Jr. (off Ratt's 4th full length album "Reach For the Sky")
You Think You're Tough (off the debut selft titled EP)
Nobody Rides for Free (off the soundtrack for the classic/maybe only Surfer/Heist flick "Point Break")
Body Talk - (off Ratt's 3rd "Dancing Undercover)
Back for More
What You Give Is What You Get
She Wants Money (another with original lyrics)
Round and Round
Played straight through with no silly encore break.
So the big question - we understand Juan's harmonies and background vocals were key to the Ratt classics earning him "The Other Voice of Ratt" tagline, but how is it with him singing lead on all the songs?
Obviously it's different. Whether you're a fan or not (and well, if you're reading this you probably are) of Stephen Pearcy, you have to say he has one of the most distinctive voices in rock. When he sings you know it's him.
Juan's vocals have a rougher edge, kind of a whiskey soaked style (Think kinda Lynyrd Skynyrd, but without the Southern accent. Juan, if you guys get to adding covers to the set, play some Skynyrd!) which takes a little getting used to since you're so familiar with Pearcy singing these songs. I think it's smart that they don't open the show with a huge song, but instead hold that until the fourth slot.
By that time when "Wanted Man" hits, the first big sing a long of the night, you're all in.
One song in particular I want to call out is "Body Talk." I know it was a hit and probably a bunch of folks' fave (including some of the folks I went with), but to me, it was never one I cared too much about, almost felt a bit of a throw away single, but wow, I actually would love these guys to release their version of it. Musically it seemed sped up slightly and had that heaver live edge and Juan's vocals on this just turned it into so much more of a rocker than I ever remembered it being from the times I saw Ratt or Stephen live. This was a definitely highlight for me.
After the show, we got to chat with the band and Juan for about 45 minutes during load out. Took photos, got stuff signed and got some dirt that maybe if we can get an interview, we'll see what Juan wants to share on the record in regards to his Ratt band mates, but the overall message was this - sure people know Juan from Ratt, but this is not Ratt and they understand that and realize they have to pay their dues and they are happy to be out there doing it. It sounds like they are going to be doing alot of road work, so go check 'em out. I look forward to the next time they pass through the area...
Click on any of the photos above or below to supersize them.