Thursday, January 19, 2017
Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 2 - Ratt 'Invasion Of Your Privacy'
Is Ratt’s ‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’ a rock n’ roll classic?
Is the album a hard rock classic?
I believe that it is just that.
I remember getting my first taste of Ratt when I stumbled across their 1983 self-titled EP at Camelot Music in the Carolina Circle Mall (no longer there). Their songs were catchy and infectious. Their look was New York Dolls meets Duran Duran. And they had a great cover of “Walkin’ The Dog” on that EP. The production was a bit murky, but that led to their full-length LP ‘Out Of The Cellar’ on Atlantic Records.
‘Out Of The Cellar’ is a mighty fine album as well. But for me, ‘Invasion…’ hit all the right notes. It arrived in stores not long after my high school graduation. My friend Jonathan Everett and I went to pick up my LP and his cassette copies at the old Record Bar in the Friendly Center Shopping Center.
Jonathan put his cassette into the tape player of his hot red 1985 Chevrolet Camaro before we left the parking lot. The volume was set at level that would make Lemmy Kilmister wince. And when those opening riffs of “You’re In Love” bounced off our eardrums for the first time I knew that I was in love with that song and wanted more.
I got more. In fact, I got a great album.
When people talk about the great opening tracks from albums, “You’re In Love” should be on the list somewhere. It’s the perfect blend. One solo guitar opens the song and it doesn't take too long the rest of the band to thunderously joins in.
Sure, “Lay It Down” could’ve been a good choice as well. But its placement as the third track on side one really provides that boost again after “Never Use Love”. The song sequence was definitely thought out. It was like Ratt used their own tunes to make a “mix tape” with the proper ebb and flow.
I wanted to be in Ratt. I wanted to be Juan Croucier. He is one of my favorite bass players. He wasn’t just a “thumper” plodding along with the beat. He worked the neck. And when you saw him play live, it was a show. He didn’t stand in one place like a mannequin. He was animated. The song made him move and seemed to consume him on stage. And at times, Croucier looked as if he was beating his instrument into submission and causing it to bend to his will.
But the most underrated musician in the band was Robbin Crosby.
Warren DeMartini got all the accolades because he handled most of the lead guitar chores. DeMartini got those accolades because he IS a very fine guitarist. Crosby excelled on the rhythm guitar. Sure, he looked like a fullback that modeled his appearance after Bea Arthur from ‘The Golden Girls’ complete with makeup and the long jackets. But Crosby was the back bone of the twin guitars in the band. The band didn’t have the typical power chord strum or chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga style. Ratt were more of the Van Halen type of songwriters where combination of notes provided most of the riffing. There was more pickin’ than strummin’ with Ratt.
As an aspiring rock star, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a lot of those riffs with my ears alone. As a self-taught wannabe, I found Ratt as aggravating as Molly Hatchet. Jonathan could pick out the songs in just a matter of minutes. He was always there to calm my aggravation when it came to pickin’ out the tune.
‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’ was produced by Beau Hill. Hill produced ‘Out Of The Cellar’ and they guy had a way of recording and producing hard rock. He gave it a cleaner, clearer sound and steered clear of the murkiness that most hard rock albums exhibited at the time. He also produced another fine album, ‘Midnight Dynamite’ by Kix.
He helped to produce a few more million selling albums later in the decade that were, to me, pieces of crap. But hey, the guy had a mortgage and bills to pay. And who can fault Hill for having goals and meeting them. He will always have more gold and platinum awards on his walls than I will ever have.
As for ‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’… I find it as one of Hill’s top achievements. “Lay It Down” just cracked the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. ‘Invasion…’ climbed to number 7 on their album chart. As my friend Benjy Johnson once said, “They toured world as a headliner with that album.”
I consider “Closer To My Heart” as the only dim spot on ‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’, but I can live with it. Pearcy’s acid-scarred voice provides the perfect countermeasure to the clean and crisp production from Hill. And first and foremost, the album is fun.
The lyrics won’t make you contemplate any philosophical thoughts or get you into a heated debate on Facebook concerning the meaning. The songs are of the universal variety. Boy meets girl, girl problems, and poppy hooks with a side of misogynistic undertones.
It was the perfect album for that time and place. ‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’ will always remain as a “go-to” when I’m looking for something that will cause me to switch off my brain and just rock out.