Bottom Line
September 12, 2011 5:07:12 AM UTC Post #11

"I recall listing to Invastion TRYING to make out 2 distinct guitar parts"

sorry for the typos, "Invastion" was suppose to be "Infestation".

September 14, 2011 4:41:09 PM UTC Post #12

=rob_mcewen said:I've been a ratt fan since OOTC had just come out--and I saw them in concert while they were still an opening act (I think they opened for Billy Squire at the Capital Center in Washington DC is when i first saw them live--I was about 10 feet from the stage--right in front of De Martini--it was AMAZING)

Anyways, I really, really like Infestation.

But their best album is still ahead--if they can keep it together--and here is what they need to do for the next album:

(1) As much as I like Infestation, the guitar sound is tooo "Marshall". I miss the OOTC/Invasion guitar sound. It hasn't been topped or matched ANYWHERE.

(2) Cavazo was brought in near the end of the writing process--and it shows. For many of the songs, you can hardly tell that a 2nd guitar is either there, are is really needed. (at least, when compared to the old Demartini/Crosby stuff--or compared to Night Ranger, or some scorpions stuff--they missed the mark in that area) I think that, for their next album, if DeMartini and Cravazo put a bit more preparation into this together, they'll accomplish great things. Sounds written FROM THE GROUND UP for 2 electric guitars ARE DIFFERENT and songs where a 2nd guitar is added to provides fills & layers.

(3) Along the same lines, there is a bit of a "wall of sound" where you can't make out the 2 guitar parts distinctly. Probably typical recording gimics to make it sound cool/big. I recall listing to Invastion TRYING to make out 2 distinct guitar parts--and I can't... which wasn't the case for OOTC or invasion. If they do my previous suggestion, this won't be necessary--and the end product will be BETTER than what some recording engineer can contrive. (if this is unclear, listen to "don't tell me you love me" from night ranger to get an excellent example of the opposite of this)

(6) I haven't seen RATT live for MANY years. But I saw them 3 times in the 80s. The first time, when they were an opening act, the sound was AMAZING. But BOTH subsequent times they were headline acts... one for the latter part of the OOTC tour, the other for the Invasion tour--and their sound on both of those shows TOTALLY SUCKED. All I could hear was a rumble of sound w/some Pearcy high-pitched screaming. I didn't even know which song was being played until half-way through. I've read that this had been a persistant decades-long problem for RATT. They need to get this together (if now already fixed?)

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Great post and some interesting opinions. In a way I agree with you about infestation having that "Marshall esque" wall of sound. I think that was done deliberately to give the album a more modern feel. Most hard rock bands of today prefer that "big" sound...and although the overall product of infestation is within ratt's 80's roots..it does have some modern touches to it.

As for the comments about their live performances you saw, This was the type of feedback I was looking for when I started the "ratt as a live band" thread. I never saw them in the 80's as I was too busy attending nursery school and kindergarten but the reviews I have heard are all over the place. Some say they were breath-taking live. The quintessential party atmosphere with crisp guitar sounds and charisma. Other's take are more in line with your's specifically some issues w/ EQ and sound.

The whole issue fascinates me b/c typically when you think of Ratt you think of 15,000 people singing along to Wanted man in some midwestern Arena. Additionally, The band has always been very quick to emphasize themselves as a live act above all other outlets.

There's alot of vintage stuff up on youtube nowadays. I have a decent receiver/speaker system and have listened to alot of it via my ipod to try and add some back end while eliminating some of the poor quality. I'd say 95% of the stuff I've heard is fantastic. Acouple things I'll point out though. They were/are definitely more of a raw raunchy act in a live setting as compared to the polished studio efforts. Stephen is more of a bar band type frontman and the guitar sound is more keith richards than it is Mick Mars. I'd imagine audiences that went in expecting to hear word for word-sound for sound versions of the hits were likely alittle shocked and some disappointed.Additionally, the guitars tended to be slightly muddy on the earlier arena efforts.

I've heard in acouple places that the band struggled with some EQ/Sound issues on OOTC and the early portion of invasion tours. That's kind of understandable. For one, they basically went from playing Hollywood clubs to playing massive sold out arenas overnight. That's a big difference in acoustics and audience expectations to adjust to in a quick time frame. Also, they had to have been a sound guys nightmare. When it comes to EQ..typically you have to give somewhere in order to get to the roots of what sounds best. But where do you cut from Ratt? You can't cut the rythym section because that's what gave Ratt their great groove(I.E. Lay It down,Wanted Man,Between the eyes), You can't cut the guitars b/c that's the backbone of their entire sound, and you can't cut Stephen's voice b/c he was what set them apart from other bands of the time, female fans loved him and who doesn't want to sing along at a Ratt show?

By late 85 when they started opening for Ozzy it seems like they got all the issues figured out..but it took alittle while that's for sure

September 14, 2011 5:23:50 PM UTC Post #13

@RATTnJETS: To clairify.... "The Marshall sound" and "wall of sound" are two completely different issues... but it makes sendce that they might tend to often happen together.

As I said, when i saw RATT at the beginning of their OOTC tour, while still an opening act, their sound was amazing. It really DID sound just like the record--all from their amps/drums/mic live on stage.

But when I saw them on the IOYP tour, headlining, the sound was so bad that, even though I KNEW all their songs, I had trouble figuring out what was even being played... it took about 1/3 of each song before I could hear something that sounded remotely familier. It was just a bunch of garbled booming bass with illegible screaming over top. That is inexcusible.

Interestingly, when they sounded great early in their OOTC tour, they were using Laney amps. I think they later switched to Marshalls (probably due to the cash Marshall pays artists--as happens often!). That is probably a real contributing factor to them losing their unique and special guitar sound? But this alone wasn't the cause of those other problem, or of the 'wall of sound' issues.

I think your description of arena sound complexities hit the mark--combined with them (perhaps!!!???) being too drugged up and too into finding which girl to take on the bus with them after the show--too much of those to care about sound.

But what I'd give to be back in time in front of them at the beginning when they sounded the best--with the original lineup!

As I said, the "wall of sound" is a different issue. They could have done everything the same with the studio recordings of OOTC and IOYP, except switched to marshalls, and this "wall of sound" wouldn't have happened. But true, bands feel a need to get the studio engineers to layer upon layer stuff that can't be reproduced live to get a "bigger" sound. I think/hope we are seeing a backlash against that. This helps less talented bands. But Ratt's two guitarists are too tallented to need that help.. if only they'd write the next album from the ground up for two guitars with a lot of innovative interwoven riffs... that could make for their best album ever (with or without Pearcy!)

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