Rediscovering My Records: Out of the Cellar
I bought a cheap turntable and dragged that box of records that was hiding in the corner of the basement upstairs. Ratt's debut album was the first one I played.
This isn't trendy, these aren't 180 gram remasters, these are my old records from back in the day. My mom has saved everything from my childhood, but finally started to get rid of things a few years ago. When it came to a stack of LP's that were in the closet of my old bedroom, I just couldn't throw them in the trash. I took my old records home where they sat in my basement for a couple of years. Now, after remaining unplayed for almost 40 years, I'm rediscovering my records and learning a lot about my teenage self.
Ratt's Out of the Cellar was the first album I cued up after I went out and bought a cheap turntable. I was a HUGE fan of Ratt in the '80s. I know I had at least one cassette version of this, but I think I wore out at least two copies. I was buying a lot of albums in 1983, but this one probably got the most spins. Surprisingly, it was in great condition and played all the way through without incident.
First, the band. I have no musical talent, but (of course) fantasized about being in a rock band. If I was in a band, I'd dress like these guys. It was the '80s, so it was OK to raid your girlfriend's wardrobe and makeup kit. Outside of the mandatory ripped jeans and an occasional bandana, I never actually dressed like this in real life. Mascara aside, Steven Pearcy had a great rock and roll voice and the twin guitars of Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby soard over the rhythm section of Bobby Blotzer and Juan Crocier.
I saw these guys play live so many times, including a memorable show at Wings Stadium where Bon Jovi was the opening act. It was not Ratt's best night, and Bon Jovi blew them off the stage. My favorite Ratt & Roll memory is among the my favorite concert moments. My best friend and I were the only ones in our section standing up and headbanging with the band when Robbin Crosby looked up, made eye contact, smiled and pointed at us. It was bad! (Remember: in the '80s, "bad" meant good.)
Listening to Out of the Cellar again, I was a little surprised that most of it still holds up for me.
"Wanted Man" is Ratt playing cowboy before those guys from New Jersey. While it's the bass groove that first defines "You're in Trouble," the guitar hook quickly takes over the song and the solos are some of the best on the album. The career-defining single "Round and Round" is next followed by "In Your Direction" and "She Wants Money" which was probably not so great for a teenager to be singing along with. (See also "The Morning After" on side 2.)
And then something strange happened...the music stopped.
In today's digital age, I was completely surprised by Side 1 of the record ending, and I had to turn it over to hear the rest of the songs. "Lack of Communication" and "Back for More" are a great one-two punch to kickoff the second side, which, for me, still holds up with some great songs like "I'm Insane" and "Scene of the Crime," filled with memorable hooks, tasty solos, tight background vocals and Steven Pearcy's rock and roll rasp on top of it all. Out of the Cellar will definitely get more plays from me- just give it time.
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