For almost three decades, Bobby Blotzer has been playing the drums for Ratt. Like any smart musician, Bobby is looking towards the future, and knows there will be a day when Ratt (at least in it's present form) will cease to perform. And in today's tumultuous state, in which the recording industry is in, most bands (including Ratt) derive the majority of their income from touring. So, to expound upon the "Ratt" band name (which he co-owns with Ratt guitarist, Warren DiMartini), Bobby has created his own brand of "Ratt-N-Roll" products, which he owns exclusively. The first items Blotzer has released under the "Ratt-N-Roll" brand are a series of Artist wines (created with the help of world renown wine maker, Kristian Story), with the first release being a chardonnay wine labeled, "Body Talk," and on December 1st, there will be the "Slip of the Lip" cabernet. In addition to the "Out of the Cellar" wines, Bobby will be releasing his own brand of hot sauce, salsa, and of course, how could you have a glass of wine without a piece of "Sweet Cheater" cheddar cheese? (No, I'm not making this up)
Even with all of the branding going on, Bobby is looking forward to recording a follow up Ratt CD to 2010's "Infestation," which he hopes will be released by the spring of 2012, with a summer tour to follow. In our interview, we discussed Blotz's new life as an entrepreneur, the future of Ratt and more, all while Bobby was sitting poolside in Florida, attending the "Spooky Empire" horror festival in Orlando.
RockMusicStar: Congratulations on the release of your "Ratt-N-Roll: Out of the Cellar" wines. How did the series come about? Was it an idea you had, or did someone approach you to endorse their product?
Bobby Blotzer: A little of each actually. We (Ratt) were planning on taking a little leave of absence this year, and I knew if we were going to take some time off, I'd have time to focus on other projects. I love wine, and I've been a wine drinker for probably 38 years now. It's something that I wanted to get into and brand out a little bit, and utilize my position in Ratt. I'm one of the owners of the trademark of the name. Warren DiMartini and I own that 50/50. But I wanted to create something that I had complete control over, so I wouldn't have to bug him (Warren). I wanted to have something separate from the business enterprise I'm involved with Ratt, the band. I met up with the guys at Artist wine, who are one of my partners, and then our wine maker, Kristian Story, who are all really nice people, and it's a pleasure to be in business with them. And what we did was, we just created the wine to my palate. I would meet with Kristian and tell him different wines I like to drink, and sample stuff he was making, and just pretty much dialed it in, on that level. I wanted my white wine to be a chardonnay, because whenever it seems that I'm out at a club, or a bar, or a restaurant, they primarily serve chardonnay. It's usually pretty hard, and not the best tasting chard. I really wanted to lean towards a nice oak-y flavor. A chard that was light, and doesn't give you the 'sour puss' face. We just tailored it to be appealing.
I also have a sauces blend coming out, which is a hot sauce. I'm going to do about 6 different blends. The first one is called, "Pi-Ratt," and it's a Caribbean rum hot sauce. The kicker line is, "If it's too hot, you're too old."
RMS: I think it's great that you're branching out on these ventures, and helping Ratt evolve, from not just being known as a band name, but attempting to make a brand from it. As much as creating your own business and brand was a motivation, was the fact that you knew that Ratt wouldn't have any product out for almost two years a motive, in keeping the "Ratt" name in the public's eye, by releasing these products?
BB: I did a lot of research of what my rights were to the actual "Ratt" name. And the slogan, "Ratt-N-Roll" was not owned by us or anybody. So, I was able to go in and get the US patent and trademark on that. I've been in Ratt now for 30 years, and I want to correlate my lifetime work with that. And have something that I can control, and not have to argue about things, as far as which direction, ya know? I'm doing promotion like wine tasting shows, and the "Spooky Empire" festival, here in Florida, which is a three day convention, which will probably have about 15,000 people come through here. So I'm doing what I can to get the "Ratt-N-Roll" name out there.
RMS: Let's switch gears a little, and talk about Ratt, the band. Is the same lineup still together, which recorded the last record, "Infestation?"
BB: Yes. And that record turned out amazing. It was critically acclaimed around the world. And on the charts here in America, it made it to #30. We also got a couple Grammy nods. So we were very excited and weren't expecting that to happen. So right now, we're in writing mode. And looking at a spring release and summer tour. That's generally what everybody does. Hopefully we'll wind up touring longer than last time, and at least do 6 months.
RMS: It's good to hear there will be another new Ratt CD, as fans really loved "Infestation." Unlike so many other bands who've done 'comeback' or 'reunion records,' "Infestation" delivered the goods, and really sounds like the band that people remember.
BB: We weren't even writing that record, trying to cop that vibe. We were just individually writing and collectively taking each other's songs, and then putting our own individuality into our own songs. And they just came out sounding like a record that would have fit in between "Out of the Cellar" and "Invasion of Your Privacy," respectively. It was a trip to see how everyone gravitated towards that record.
RMS: I'm a big fan of the Twenty 4 Seven record you did with John Corabi, and I noticed you reworked and recorded a couple of those songs on "Infestation."
BB: The reason I did that was because I wrote all of those (Twenty 4 Seven) songs, and the label that I signed with (Metal Mayhem Music), cut me out of my own record, and did not give me the credit of me being the writer, me playing on the thing. It was really horrifying. To this day, I have such a bad taste in my mouth, because I played EVERYTHING on that record. John sang lead vocals. I played all of the guitars, except for the lead. I had Robert Marcello come in and play lead. I played all of the acoustics (guitars), the bass, the rhythms, and they cut me out of that.
RMS: Another record that I'm a fan of, is the Saints of the Underground CD you did with Jani Lane. Which I believe is the last official CD that he released before his passing.
BB: Yeah. That was one of my favorite records that I ever played on. I happened to see Jani one EXACT week before he passed away. I hadn't seen him in a couple years, and it was great to see him and catch up. I am still just lopsided over that (Jani's death). Even though a lot of us knew that this day might come to fruition, it didn't matter that we thought that it might. It's just so sad. It's a waste of a life, and a father, and a talent.
RMS: To wrap things up, could you leave a message for all of the Ratt fans reading this interview?
BB: I just want to say thanks for everyone being so cool and supporting us for the past 30 years. I am so happy to be working still in Ratt. I get to play these great songs that we've all written. For me, I don't know when it's going to end. I'll play until I can't swing the wood anymore, which would be my drum sticks by the way!!!! LOL
For more on Bobby Blotzer, please go to www.bobbyblotzer.com
To order Ratt-N-Roll wine, go to www.artistwine.com