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Pearcy, Stephen
Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll-My Life In Rock (Book Review)
June 2013
Released: 2013, Gallery Books
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Pearcy is now the second member of the multi-platinum, Metal titans Ratt to write his autobiography. Drummer Bobby Blotzer self-published his indie autobiography a few years back, which we also reviewed on this site, but Pearcy, the voice and look of the band, still has enough star-power for a big-league autobiography on the Gallery imprint of publishing giant Simon And Schuster. For the record Blotzer and Pearcy fought like cats and dogs in the glory days of Ratt and so reading both books will give Ratt fans a nicely balanced perspective.

The book is a nice-looking hardcover, easy to read, it runs about 310 pages and has about four-dozen small black and white photos on glossy paper in the middle. There are some nice shots of Pearcy’s early days and the obligatory goofing around shots, Pearcy with Ozzy, Pearcy with Dickinson, Pearcy with Poison, Pearcy with Bon Jovi etc… One thing that did come home to me while reading was that Ratt was just slightly ahead of the curve in the LA scene. Even though they may be signed a bit later than some of their contemporaries, they took off at a stratospheric rate into a virtually unprecedented seven year run of five multi-platinum albums in a row. Pearcy was a bit older than some of the guys from that era he is creeping up on 60 believe it or not and was already 30 at the height of their power. He is older than Vince Neil, Brett Michaels and Bon Jovi, so in my mind he is a bit of an elder statesmen having helped all those bands along the way in their early days.

Pearcy’s story tends to jump around a bit but it is mostly linear. He has a nice narrative going with his therapist, talking about Ratt while in rehab but that gets shunted aside. I would have liked some closure on his relationship with Dr. Roberts. His life story tends to read like many, many rock/Metal autobiographies; absentee or abusive parent, lack of direction, average academics, not very athletic, above average interest in music and early experimentation with drugs and/or girls leading to life-long addictions of both. I was a little disappointed to learn Pearcy was a junkie, I thought he was more a booze, girls, causal coke kinda guy…not an ‘almost flush your life away for needle drugs’ kinda guy. That part was eye-opening. Fans will lap up the sordid detail of the early days of Mickey Ratt, drinking with Eddie Van Halen, smoking with David Lee Roth, filming videos with Milton Berle and other Ratt stories from the Sunset Strip that have become legend. Pearcy has an engaging sense of humour that comes through nicely.

SEX, DRUGS, RATT & ROLL was very interesting and enjoyable but I couldn’t help shake this feeling that is was a bit by-the-numbers for a rock autobiography. Maybe instead of yet another titillating tale of coke, strippers and blow-jobs, I would have liked to read a bit more about his relationships with the other guys in the band. They just sort of show up in 1983 or so and by 1991 or so they are gone. I understand it is Pearcy’s story but he barely ever mentions the other members of the ‘classic’ Ratt line-up except for his partner in crime Robin Crosby. The book could have used a bit more depth but maybe Pearcy didn’t want to show that side of his life. There is room for a good, in-depth Ratt biography to cover that stuff.

Like so many rockers who have written their life stories before, Pearcy really sells himself short and skips huge sections of his life. Arcade and Vertex are barely mentioned and I don’t even think he mentioned his five solo albums. He has been prolific unlike most of the rest of Ratt and he easily has enough material he could write Part 2. I for one, wanted to read more about the post-1991 years. He even really skimps on the details of the writing and recording of REACH FOR THE SKY and DETONATOR is almost completely missed. Pearcy comes across as a bit of an egotistical guy, but that is the potentially fatal flaw of so many front-men. He admits he is not the most gifted singer but of all the members of the band RATT he had the drive to make it happen from Day One. Blotzer was the brains and Pearcy was the voice, the look and the charisma and the rest of the guys were the talent.

I’ve always considered my self to be a bit more of a Stephen Pearcy fan than your ‘average’ Ratt fan, who may not have followed his career past 1990 or so, and that’s why I was a bit disappointed that he really discuss his career above and beyond what most music fans remember him for, namely Ratt. However, you have to give the people what they want and SEX, DRUGS, RATT & ROLL delivers the goods in a quintessential sex, drugs, rock and roll autobiography.
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