Heart of Steel: Interviews

Ratt Tales

Interview by Keith McDonald

Juan Croucier is known for his days in the widely popular 80's hard rock / metal band Ratt. He did have a brief stint in Dokken before Jeff Pilson took over the bass duties. Ratt sold millions of records and played in pretty much every major arena around the world during their heyday. But like all good things, they one day will come to an end. Ratt dropped out of sight in the early 90's a little before grunge took over and dominated the airwaves. The former members kept busy doing assorted side projects until the band elected to reunite in the mid 90's. Yet Juan Croucier elected not to join so he could concentrate on his own projects. I had the opportunity to speak with Juan about his new project Liquid Sunday and the imploding of his former band. You can check out his website at www.juancroucier.com.

Tell me about your Liquid Sunday project? 

Liquid Sunday is a project I'm doing with my brother Rick on drums. It's a duo. We plan on starting the next record by this summer. In the meantime, I'm going to put out Juan Croucier's "Demo's From The Ratt Years, Volume 1." You can get more information on any and all of my projects at: www.juancroucier.com I update that site on a regular basis.



How would you describe the music? 

It's a rock project but we really don't have any musical restrictions, we can do what ever we want. If I had to categorize it I would say that it ranges from music similar to Ratt to what Ratt could have done had it been a more open and creative situation.



Are there any tour plans? 

No plans to tour. We just want to make records at this point. It's hard for a new band or project to tour being unknown. For that matter, it's hard for bands that are known or have been popular before to tour these days! We are doing Liquid Sunday because we love music and want to put out quality songs. It's about the songs and the statements they make.



What were your thoughts on the Ratt lawsuit? 

I think it's unfortunate but I'm not surprised. I'm not going to elaborate on it, because it's a private matter between those folks, suffice to say that in my opinion it's really a simple matter of giving the people what they want and I believe they want the original band they fell in love with but on the other hand there are years of problems that can't just be ignored or resolved. It's a sad situation.



How did you feel about two different versions of Ratt touring at the same time? 

I thought it was embarrassing as well as funny at the same time. It does shed light on how dysfunctional the situation really is or was.



Do you think this tarnished the Ratt name? 

Yes, it's destroyed a lot of the musical integrity we once had. It has shown the public a dark side of the personalities of some of the members. It's ironic in a way because it took us so much work and effort to become something meaningful and so little to diminish or destroy it. Greed is a bad thing.



What are your thoughts on the new version of Ratt? 

Well, it's Warren and Bobby left, right? So, I'm hard pressed to be happy about it. I understand they need to make money and the name we built has instant recognition and therefore a built in following. That's what they were in court fighting over. Apparently, they (Bobby and Warren) don't believe in themselves enough to start a new band and move on. As far as the replacements that are with them, it's a good gig for them! Robbie, John and Jim are just trying to make a living in the music world. I don't blame them for doing the gig.



What is the Ratt - Demo Years Vol. 1 all about? 

It's about songs that I recorded while I was in Ratt over the years. The band, for political reasons, among other things, did not use many of the songs that are going to be on the CD. But some of them ended up on Ratt records so they are the original versions of those songs. It's not what you would expect to hear. I hope it's refreshing and brings to light some of the creative aspects of the band that most fans are unaware of. The other side of the story is that I am not sure if I'm ever going to be able to record those songs again, so at least people that care can hear the songs that have been written and recorded by me over the years. I plan on having three volumes altogether.



How can we find the Liquid Sunday and Ratt Demos albums? 

You can get the Liquid Sunday record at: www.juancroucier.com or at: www.perrisrecords.com Right now, those are the only places to get my recordings.


Why didn't you join Ratt when they first got back together a few years back? 

I just didn't feel that anything had changed with some of the members of the band. I didn't want to go back to an unreasonable, restricted situation again. Trust is a hard thing to earn and an easy thing to ruin? Let me clear something up here, it wasn't about me not wanting to tour or my kids or anything like that, it was about not wanting to make the same mistake again. I didn't want to get screwed twice.



I see you have your own studio. How well has that panned out? 

The Cellar has been a fantastic endeavor. I love that studio, we have made many wonderful records from there and it has been nothing but positive. It's my favorite studio in the world! It's the real thing. I will continue to make all my records from there and only there.



Would you ever consider rejoining Ratt again with all the original members? 

If enough things were to change and mature, then maybe at some point in the future I would consider it. But that is a very long shot and the way things are today, no way. Life is too short and I have to make records that are focused and represent my true abilities and not some diluted, truncated version of songs that I have worked my ass off to write. For me Ratt is over at this point, for that matter it's been over since 1992. I don't hold any hope for us getting back together.



Anything you'd like to plug/promote? 

I have a few bands that I'm going to be producing in the near future. One of them is a band called Desensitized from Maryland. Great band. I also have a few projects coming in from Japan with my good friend Tak Yonemochi the guitar player from Air Pavillion. Please, check www.juancroucier.com for updates on them as well as other bands. I'm really trying to only work with the best bands that I can find. For the last year or so, I have been taking time off from the studio. I just needed a break from it. One of the last records I did for a band was very difficult and painful to make, but now I'm about to get back in and make the finest records I can produce!

For the musicians out there, please check out my website for information on the new guitars and basses I'm playing these days. They are by a company called Caparison and they are among the finest instruments I have every played. Their website is: http://www.kyowashokai.co.jp/caparison.html

Also, check out The Cellar Message Board. There are a lot of cool people that post there on a variety of topics. It's a fun rock message board.



What's the future for you? 

I just plan on making quality records and enjoying my music, friends and family! I always hope for the best but expect the worse! It keeps you on your toes.