Legendary Rock Interviews recently conducted an interview with former RATT bassist Juan Croucier. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Legendary Rock Interviews: To me growing up, you’re a legend. You were a cog in two of my favorite bands, DOKKEN and, of course, an integral singer/player/writer in RATT. Looking back and reading recent clips, these are not only two of the most popular but also most dysfunctional bands ever. Hell, DOKKEN even named their album that. Recently, even after all these years George and Don were still trading jabs in the press… The RATT situation isn’t much better. They recorded what many people felt was a good album and were barely able to stay together long enough to promote it. As someone who has been outside both situations for a while now, is there something the fans are missing? Why, after all this time, can’t these bands simply coexist and present a united front to us, the people who have supported them for all these years?
Juan: Thank you, for the complement. To answer the gist of your question, it’s because being in a band is very much like being in a marriage. Often you’ve heard the politically correct term “musical differences” when band members reach an impasse. But it’s really like anything else in life, when two or more people do not naturally get along, little things can (and usually do) become big problems. Left undealt with, the problems often escalate and after you have a history of not agreeing on things and just not getting along, everything becomes harder than it should be. Also, oftentimes, it really comes down to maturity, collective intelligence and respect for one another. Oh, and also, some musicians are just plain disturbed; it’s drama in, drama out. They don’t see themselves as others see them, so they don’t think they have a problem and it goes on and on, becoming a vicious cycle. Sadly, signs eventually come out and the fans pick up on it… Ironically, a lot of musicians don’t realize how closely fans watch them. Bottom line: some things are better left unsaid to fans.
Legendary Rock Interviews: Assuming you could somehow come to an agreement with the RATT [camp], which seems doubtful, would it still sound off to my ears without the mighty Robbin Crosby? Give me your honest, insider opinion as to the sheer importance of Robbin Crosby and what he meant to RATT…
Juan: Well, I never say never, because I can’t predict the future but there have been some very nasty things said and done to me by my former bandmates in RATT. It has destroyed the trust, bond and respect we once had among each other. Robbin was an important part of the RATT chemistry. Despite his demons, he was one of the smarter ones in the band — he got it. He also tried to keep things in the band positive, for the most part. His guitar style and sound juxtaposed with Warren‘s [DeMartini] gave the band a unique contrast. It helped to forge RATT‘s signature sound. Carlos Cavazo was playing in my band (THE DIRTY RATS) for about a year and a half before Warren called him to ask him to join RATT. I know for a fact that (although Carlos is a formidable guitar player) Warren called him because he was playing in my band. I took it personal (as intended) and it’s just an example of some of the bad things that have happened over the years that are pretty hard to ignore and just get over. But I consider Carlos a friend and I understand why he took the offer to join RATT. He is a fine guitar player, I know that he can cover anything Robbin did (all due respect to Robbin) and he’s also a good singer, too.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I got a chance to talk to LOVE/HATE‘s Jizzy who basically indicated that he thought [RATT drummer] Bobby‘s [Blotzer] book was a total sham. He said that beyond the obvious proofreading errors there was a general slapdash approach to the whole thing. Have you read it, what do you think of these rock-star bios and would you ever consider doing one to set the record straight?
Juan: I have not read Blotzer‘s “book.” I’ve known Bob since he and I were in middle school. We actually used to be really good friends before and during RATT. I can only imagine what he said about me, but considering the source and our post-RATT relationship, I’m not in a big hurry to read it. I’m considering writing a book but it’s a “dual-edged sword” so, we’ll see… It seems like a lot of people are writing books and putting out hot sauces these days.
Legendary Rock Interviews: It has been said that you had turned down the offers to do these RATT reunions because you preferred to keep an eye on family. Do you feel blessed that you weren’t raising little ones during the ’80s and do you feel like you got a chance to experience a different side of life these last couple decades while still being able to do things musically?
Juan: Okay, great example of one of the many attempts by them to transmogrify the truth. Let me set the record straight: I have had many offers to go back to RATT (ironically, sometimes while they were deriding me in the press at the same time) and the main reason I have not gone back to the band is because we had a very problematic situation in the first place, and nothing had (or has) changed, we don’t get along, it’s not fun and things that should be easy are hard. Not because of my children. I have two awesome kids that were born while I was in RATT and that didn’t deter me from being in RATT. Some people like being in tumultuous relationships, I don’t. I have been fortunate enough to be able to work in my recording studio, still play in bands and be a father that is present in my children’s lives at the same time. It’s not “all about Juan.”
Legendary Rock Interviews: There are a few bands nowadays, like THE DONNAS, VAINS OF JENNA and some of the other Swedish groups that proudly fly the RATT flag and cite you guys as an influence. Is the band’s legacy secure in your eyes despite all the damage that has been done to the name since you’ve moved on to other things? When all is said and done, can you rest your head knowing you guys made your mark like few bands did?
Juan: I am very proud of what we did in RATT! We were “the real thing,” and no one can take that away from us. Loud, proud, dysfunctional and dangerous, like it or not, that was RATT. I’m glad there are bands that understand what we were about and are influenced by that. Now that all is said and done, I can rest my head knowing that I did everything I could to keep the band alive and moving forward, with integrity, as long as possible. But other forces eventually prevailed and brought about the end of the band in 1992, leaving the drummer and I as owners of the name. Beyond that, you can do your own research on the Internet…
Read the entire interview from Legendary Rock Interviews.