JUAN CROUCIER Says 'Band Psychology' Plays A Part In Why Certain Rock Groups Never Reach Their Full Potential
July 26, 2023
In a new interview with "The Chuck Shute Podcast", RATT bassist Juan Croucier reflected on how he and his bandmates managed to break through as part of the 1980s Sunset Strip scene at a time when the glam metal movement spawned dozens of MTV bands. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, interesting chemistry and dynamic that occurred in RATT. I'm familiar with band dynamic extensively because I've produced and engineered a lot of bands from my studio. So when you see how other bands work in the studio, you start understanding what I consider to be band psychology.
"Every band has some form of band psychology that it operates by or it's subjected to, depending on if you're on the giving or receiving end. So RATT had a chain of events that occurred that brought forth a lineup that made it a very formidable opponent for other bands. We were hungry, young, on a mission and had absolutely nothing to lose. So we had everything to gain. So, it's interesting because the record companies had such a grip on the industry and concert promoters were like the second tier of that. There was no way around that. So fast forward to today and it's a vastly different industry. You have many more categories and subcategories of styles of bands and music. Back in the day, you had hard rock, metal, pop, and then you had like the DeFranco Family — you know, kiddie rock. So there weren't that many genres, although, of course, that's taking into account punk rock and new wave. But these things were evolving. So it was a really interesting time, and basically the recording end of it… If you were to get into a studio, that was a huge accomplishment in and of itself."
Asked about the importance of all the musicians within a band possessing an unbridled passion for their craft, driven by a singular focus to create and share their art with the world, Juan said: "Yeah, look, it's a collective. So, as they say often, you're only as strong as your weakest link. So there's also a vision involved — where does the band wanna go and how does the band plan on getting there? And then there are extracurricular issues. Is everybody of sound mind? Does somebody have a dependency issue? Or should somebody have a dependency issue? [Laughs] So there's a lot of factors that enter into it and basically equate how effective a band can be working as a unit. Oftentimes in groups there are certain people that will be sort of the catalyst of the ideas that come forth and are… you know, become the band's output, if you will — in other words, songwriters. And depending on how smoothly that goes and what the understanding is and the type of communication you have within that structure determines how effective you can be. Of course that's all predicated upon how talented you are. You can have all the communication in the world, if you can't write a hit song or you can't effectively communicate or cooperate, if you're not willing to cooperate, you're sabotaging the potential of the group to run at its maximum. So, a lot of times, you don't wanna let the outside world know every single detail. It's just not necessary. There's a certain amount of privacy that's required. And it's art. That's the other factor. In art, you can look at something and go, 'Oh, that's a horrible painting.' But another person might look at it and go, 'That's a Picasso, right?' So a lot of it is subjective. So it takes a lot to really create a band that's effective."
Croucier added: "Interestingly enough, isn't it interesting how certain bands have sustained their success at this point that started out with humble beginnings, but the unit has managed to move forward and deal with adversity and move on and sustain a long and happy career. So you never know — it's a big gamble. The average life of a band isn't that long. It seems like nowadays bands last a little longer. But a lot of bands just never really reach their full potential, and it's difficult. And the band psychology part of that is an interesting aspect that I don't think it's often talked about."
Earlier in the month, Juan told Bass Musician Magazine that he will relaunch his solo band in the fall. Joining Croucier, who plays bass and sings in the group, are Toni Aleman on lead guitar, Mike Moore on guitar, and Pete Holmes on drums.
RATT — featuring Croucier, singer Stephen Pearcy and guitarist Warren DeMartini — played a number of shows in 2017 after reforming a year earlier in the midst of a highly publicized legal battle with drummer Bobby Blotzer over the rights to the RATT name. They were joined at the gigs by guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who played on 2010's "Infestation" album, and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who previously played with Y&T, WHITE LION and MEGADETH, among others.
RATT hasn't released any new music since "Infestation".
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