JUAN CROUCIER On Possibility Of New RATT Music: 'I've Been Sitting On So Many Songs, It's Almost Scary'July 18, 2017
Juan Croucier says that it is "inevitable" that RATT will eventually return to the studio to record new music.
RATT's last studio album, 2010's "Infestation", featured Robbie Crane on bass instead of Croucier, who rejoined the group in 2012. After putting the band on hold for a few years, Juan and two other members of RATT's classic lineup — singer Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini — became embroiled in a highly publicized legal battle with drummer Bobby Blotzer over the rights to the RATT name, with the trio finally emerging victorious several months ago.
During a July 10 appearance on the "Trunk Nation" show on SiriusXM channel Volume (106),Croucier was asked if there are any plans for RATT to release a follow-up to "Infestation". He responded: "Naturally, what we do is, obviously, like many other rock bands, we write songs, record and perform. And at this juncture, I'm sitting on a lot of songs, and I know that Warren and Stephen also have a a lot of things as well.
"We're trying to get our legs under us right now and just kind of take the first step," he continued. "I think it's inevitable, at some point, that we'll record. I'm not sure whether it's gonna be single, or a couple of singles, or EP, LP — that's yet to be determined. But right now, we're kind of dealing with one thing at a time and keeping the focus of the band where it should be, which, at the moment, is playing live and letting people know that this isn't a fluke and we're here to stay.
"I can't really get into what's gonna happen in the future as far as releasing records or not, because I can't speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself. But, naturally, we wanna stay creative, and it's sort of a band's lifeblood to keep releasing material. So that's a really important factor. We just have to figure out what the right timing would be for that."
Croucier explained that he personally didn't want to "make a record just for [the sake of] making a record. I wanna make a record because we have something to say and we all agree that it's an appropriate thing for us to say, and we all wanna do it as a team collectively," he added. "That's really at the heart of the matter. And the good news is there's certainly no shortage of songs for RATT. I mean, I've been sitting on so many songs, it's almost scary for me. So that's a good thing — we've got a lot of material. So now it's just a question of what's gonna fit, what's gonna be appropriate to do, what's the right move to make. And it's not like you wanna be calculated, but you just wanna take the right steps at the right time to facilitate maximum impact, if you will. Too many records come out, they're promoted before the record's even out, and the day it comes out, it's like, 'Poof!' What happened to that?'"
Since 2015, Blotzer had been playing shows under the name RATT with a lineup in which he is the sole member from the band's '80s heyday. He has pitted himself against Croucier, Pearcy and DeMartini, who reunited last October for a surprise performance on a Monsters Of Rock cruise. The trio has since played a series of RATT shows, including high-profile sets at Maryland's M3 Rock festival and Oklahoma's Rocklahoma, and has issued cease-and-desist letters to concert promoters in an attempt to block the Blotzer version of RATT from performing under that name.
Back in November, a California judge ruled against Blotzer with respect to whether Croucier had committed trademark infringement by using the RATT name and logo to advertise his band RATT'S JUAN CROUCIER in the fall of 2015.
After someone uploaded a short clip of RATT'S JUAN CROUCIER performing in February in San Antonio, Texas, Blotzer took to Facebook to share the video and disparage the bassist's stage presence, writing in a since-deleted post: "I would rather have surgery on my C**K with no anesthesia than to have to ever see this anywhere in my life again. Man, that's really disturbingly horrifying to see. A purgerer [sic] and a spazzorama freak! Seriously, can someone really say, 'Man, that was really great'? Looks like he's riding a broom horsey!"
Blotzer previously publicly insulted Croucier's appearance in January, comparing the bassist to "Danny DeVito with a headband on" while repeatedly referring to him as "Crucifer."
In the "Trunk Nation" interview, Croucier was asked about Blotzer's comments regarding his stage moves. He responded: "I've known our ex-drummer since he was in middle school. He was in a special-needs class that was called an EH class. And he would come to our school, like on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I got to know him from a really early age, obviously, from that. And I thought I knew him and I thought I knew his temperament and I thought I knew who he was, and obviously I was greatly mistaken. You can know somebody for many, many years and not really know the person until push comes to shove.
"A lot of this I'm not surprised about," he continued. "And I really don't have anything to add to it in the sense that… You know, what I think is appropriate to say and not appropriate, there's certain lines, and going beyond that, to me, just isn't very flattering to all parties. And I've never been one to get into kind of the mudpit and sling mud around.
"Yeah, it was a great disappointment, and at this juncture, we just wanna move forward," Juan said. "Yes, look, a lot of hurtful things were said, and one never knows what another might do. So I just sucked it up and stayed focused and thought about what was good for the band, the betterment of the team, the group. I fought really hard on behalf of Stephen and Warren and myself. And it wasn't easy, but it had to be done, and it had to be adjudicated and finalized. As of June 7th, the case was closed by the judge, so we are moving forward. And no matter what happens, we're looking out for the fans, we're looking out to just play good music, and that's what it's all about. We're a rock band, so we wanna get out there and play in front of the fans and give the people what they love."
Asked if he, Pearcy and DeMartini made a "calculated" decision to not engage in a public war of words with Blotzer while they were involved in a legal dispute, Juan said: "You know, it wasn't so much calculated. It's more like, 'What do you say to that?' When you hear some outrageous statement that's childish or juvenile… We're grown men. We've been doing this a really long time. I've known the RATT guys thirty-five years plus. You realize you're not gonna make things better by throwing rocks back. So it was sort of a natural position to take or, like, 'Hey, we wanna stay above the fray and not add to it.'
"This was a matter that was fought in the court," he continued. "And now we have two courts — we have the actual legal court and we have the court of popular opinion. You don't win a legal case in the court of popular opinion necessarily. This is legal thing and the laws apply, so we really wanted to pretty much stay focused on what the bottom line was, and the bottom line was the court case. And that's pretty much how we proceeded.
"There are pros and cons to not making statements," Croucier explained. "It leaves a lot of people wondering, and you're not answering a lot of questions. We were never broken up. We stopped working. Stephen had an unfortunate tragedy happen in his family, and, of course, to the members of RATT, at this juncture in our lives, certain things are very, very serious, and we understand that. We were always together; it was just a question of what we were gonna do next. And then when this all started happening, the lawsuits, it didn't mean that we weren't together; we were just figuring out, 'Okay, where's this going? Where's it gonna end?'"
According to Juan, the decision to perform an unannounced set at last fall's Monsters Of Rock cruise was well thought out, and it served its purpose.
"There was a narrative that was out there, and it was controlled by our ex-drummer," Croucier explained. "And try as he may at the time, a lot of the information that was perpetrated was obviously incorrect. It fit his concept of it and what he wanted reality to be. However, it was not that way. So, without adding too much to it individually, Stephen, Warren and I, we figured that what better way to make a statement than to get out there and play and show people that, 'Here's where it's at. This is what we're doing.' And that's kind of what the idea was behind just making a great show, letting that speak for itself and then moving forward from there. Shortly thereafter, or sometime after that, what's called a summary judgment was done, and we prevailed, and then from there, we knew that, 'Okay, this thing's gonna go well.'"
Croucier went on to say that it was at times difficult to keep RATT focused on the big picture while the individual members were having to deal with attorneys and court hearings.
"Look, these things are complicated, they're very time consuming," he said. "It really just kind of consumes you. It's really a nuisance. And there are side effects; there's collateral damage, and it's really hard to not come out unscathed or unaffected. But we did the best that we could, under the circumstances, to stay focused, keep the core of the group safe; we protected it. I went forward and did what I had to do in my individual case, and that was very, very helpful to the general cause. It allowed Stephen, Warren and I to move forward, because I won my case, so that was big, big positive for us. So now, you know, we're just moving it forward."
One aspect of RATT's comeback that suffered as a result of the drawn-out legal battle was the band's ability to effectively lay out its concert schedule.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to really plan the year the way we would have liked to have," Juan admitted. "Normally, when bands play, a lot of the booking is done the previous year. And so this year what we've been doing is we've been trying to salvage what we can and get out there and play as many shows as we can, shows that make sense for us to do. So we're planning a much more vigorous touring schedule for next year. This is just a way to sort of get the ball rolling and get out there and Ratt 'n' roll."
Joining Pearcy, Croucier and DeMartini in RATT's current lineup are former QUIET RIOT guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who played on "Infestation", and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who previously played with Y&T, WHITE LION and MEGADETH, among others.
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