Blotzer, Bobby & Clayton, Jim
Tales Of A Ratt: Thing's You Shouldn't Know (Book Review)
Released: 2010, Blotzer Brothers Publishing
I’ve read many of the ‘rock star’ autobiographies, most of them in fact, and is really eye-opening. Not necessarily for the shock value of a book like the THE DIRT or the depressing tone of autobiographies by Mustaine or Ozzy, but for it’s open and honest portrayal of the life of one of many rockstars.
Bobby Blotzer is the drummer for Ratt and he leads us on his life’s journey from his simple beginnings in Pittsburg in ’58 (Born in a mining town in ’58!) all the way up to 2010. This independent publication is a sizeable 375 pages with lots of black and white photos, candid and otherwise. His writing style is a bit crude, but it’s conversational, entertaining and at times witty. It’s not going to win any literary wards but it’s fun and readable.
Blotzer’s tale is one of triumph and tragedy, sometimes self-induced and sometimes not, and is a very entertaining read. He describes in detail, his family, his career, his various wives and girlfriends and his friends. Bobby is a music fan, he loves The Beatles, The Stones, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith and many more and often uses musical moments to help recollect his personal history, where he was when John Lennon was shot, or what he was doing when Michael Jackson died, these kinds of things. You can tell he is a music fan as by his own admission of one of his bad habits of getting drunk and playing music very loudly at 4:00am much to the displeasure of his various wives over the years.
At times he comes across as this big, dumb, loveable puppy-dog, bouncing along with little regard for the feelings of others, the rules or even consequences as evidenced by his various brushes with the law. He has a love for life that is enviable and beyond the reach of most of us. However, like most dogs he seems sincere, loyal and hardworking. His ego is fully intact as well! Blotz seems to have been the financial brains behind the Ratt machine, moreso than many realize.
One of the features he talks about very often in the book is money. That may turn some people off but in this case it adds something to this bio that many other bios avoid…namely money issues. I’ve read lots of bios that never talk about money, how much was made and/or lost, but Bobby tells all. It’s refreshing and eye-opening. He discussed in candid detail lawsuits, merchandise, expenses, bills, salaries, mortgages, lawyers fees all that stuff that generally gets avoided. He doesn’t gloss over the fact that back in the day they did blow through a ton of money having fun buying boats, houses and cars but he is also honest enough to admit that when times were tough he would be living in a one bedroom apartment or cleaning carpets for a living. One thing you have to say, that when times were tough, Blotzer worked very hard, opening and owning a number of businesses over the years to support his family when the Ratt thing was a little meager.
For the pure music fan there are many, many celebrity rockstar stories, such as shooting at sharks off the side of a boat with Jack Russell (Great White), arguing in a bar with Don Dokken about his ex-wife, baby-sitting a drunk Jani Lane (Warrant) in Texas and many more. None of it is mean-spirited or malicious. There are lots of interesting things I didn’t know such as Mike Vescara was the producer/engineer on Blotzer’s ill-fated solo album or tales about Blotzer’s early touring history in Germany in the very early 80’s with Vic Vergat and the truth about Robbin Crosby’s final sad days.
TALES OF A RATT is one of the more sincere, honest and open rockstar autobiographies I’ve read. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe that everything is gospel truth. As the saying goes, There are three sides to every story. The book gets bogged down near the end 2003-2009 or so as many of the stories are less about Ratt and more about his variety of (allegedly) crazy ex-wives, fiancés and girl-friends. He seems to get sued a lot! One of my most common complaints about these types of stories is that they tend to glorify the golden years and skimp on info about the recent history. Blotzer avoids this common pitfall and his engaging narrative brings us to speed on Ratt all the way up to 2010, even if details are a little thin on the writing and recording of INFESTATION. Judging by the world-wide critical acclaim for that album, the timing is perfect for you to get the inside story by picking up a copy of TALES OF A RATT.