The Infestation Begins: Ratt’s Out Of The Cellar

Heading into the summer, I’ll get a chance to take some records off the shelves that evoke the season for me. Ratt’s first full-on LP Out Of The Cellar is one of them, thanks to an infectious series of hits that are best listened to while driving down the coastal highway under the generous Californian sunshine.

Released in March 1984, it concretized many hopes of the young quintet from LA who, after playing the club circuit for 3 years, saw themselves finally get signed to Atlantic Records and given the opportunity to record the songs that made them known on the Sunset Strip.

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Ratt’s story has everything of the American dream of the eighties. Rising form the dirty streets of LA after struggling to find recognition, Pearcy, De Martini, Crosby, Croucier and Blotzer reached an insane amount of success, thanks in no small part to this first effort. Let’s see here: “Wanted Man”, “Back For More” and especially the hit single “Round And Round” constitute the blueprint of the Ratt brand. A charismatic singer whose intonations may remind you of Steven Tyler, a rhythm section that add groove and power to the ensemble and a talented pair of axemen were what you needed in order to make it back in this crazy decade. Talking about guitars, Ratt was one of these band that incarnated the quintessential dual guitar hero approach (at least at the beginning of their career). On one side, the gentle giant Robbin “King” Crosby provides rawness and authenticity to the Ratt sound and on the other, young prodigy Warren DeMartini (barely 20 years old at the time of the making of the album), is the ultimate and flamboyant guitar virtuoso, almost a shredder. Combined together, these talented individuals were responsible for a string of consecutive hit albums that contributed to the legend of the hard rock/glam metal of the eighties.

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Even if Ratt had an undeniable gift to provide appealing melodies and hit singles, their harder side is also visible on this opus. I particularly like the double attack “In Your Direction” and “She Wants Money,” that tends to remind me of the EP they released the year before: straight to the point hard rock with a tiny bit of punk edge added to it. Also, don’t miss out on the fan favorite and live staple “Lack Of Communication” that according to bassist Juan Croucier was written amongst tension over lyrical direction. It seems like Ratt was always plagued by internal conflicts but at the time of Out of The Cellar, the egos of its members hadn’t yet blew up to the point of putting the band in danger (though it would come soon enough).

Peaking at number 7 on the Billboard and certified three times platinum, Out Of the Cellar, saw Ratt go head-to-head with Mötley Crüe, with the vast majority of 1984 spent on the road alternating headlining dates or support for acts such as Ozzy Osbourne. Their following offering, 1985’s Invasion Of Your Privacy was met with similar enthusiasm until things started to fade a bit, with the band’s appetite for partying and self destruction taking over musical quality.

A classic of the eighties!

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