Monday, May 27, 2013

Sex, Drugs and Stretching the Truth

Stephen Pearcy- Sex, Drugs and Ratt and Roll: My Life In Rock (Gallery Books)

Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy’s autobiography, Sex, Drugs and Ratt and Roll: My Life In Rock  follows the tried and true formula for rock bios; growing up, getting a guitar, starting a band, gigging hard, growing a following, getting a deal, touring non-stop with all the pre-requisite dangers and delights of life on the road, followed closely by success and excess and the inevitable belly flop into decline.

While the story is formulaic it is spiced with Pearcy’s seemingly endless fascination with his manhood and his generous nature as he tells tall tales of his desire to share it with as many interested parties as possible. While epic and legendary stories have been told about rock stars sexual appetites and excesses the Ratt-man’s seems to defy reality. For a guy who proudly details his appetites for chemical destruction, his near total recall of all things groupie seems to strain credulity. He certainly doesn’t leave me with the impression that he his free time journaling the history of his excesses to aid with later recall.

Pearcy does detail the early 80s Los Angeles music scene where hair and hairspray ruled and the newly launched MTV was proving to be a ripe for the picking way for even marginal bands to garner exposure beyond squeaky tight radio playlists. The proper mix of high hair, eyeliner, and screaming guitars captured on video, was a sure fire way to be beamed into the living rooms of America. From there it was a short hop to full on stardom and it was a leap Pearcy and Ratt made with their break through single Round and Round.

Always lemmings, music business types beat a path to places like the Whisky, looking to snap up a legion of White Rain laden posers during the peak period from 1983 to about 1987 when the next big thing were hard rockers with a dirty street edge, ala Guns and Roses. The final death knell for the early hair metal legion came in the form of angst ridden, flannel wearing grunge rockers from the great northwest. While they tried to hang on, and still do to a very limited mix and match extent Pearcy and company never quite made their way back to repeat the glory days.

Sex, Drugs and Ratt and Roll is the written word equivalent to cotton candy, it’s okay when you eat it in small doses, but after a while your teeth will start to hurt.

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