Ratt: The Tragic Death of Guitarist Robbin Crosby
Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories they take a look at Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby who was a huge rockstar in the 80’s but slowly burnt out in the 90’s and 2000’s until his death. It’s a truly tragic story in every sense. Check out the story below!
“Everything that’s happened to us has been like something out of a fairy tale.” Those were the words of Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby who was talking about the success of the band’s first album, 1984’s Out of the Cellar. Ratt would go on to dominate the rock scene in the 80’s with hit album after hit album. But soon enough Crosby’s fairy tale would turn into a nightmare. Stay tuned for the full story. Becoming a rockstar was the dream of guitarist Robbin Crosby who grew up in San Diego. In the 1970s he played in a local band named Mac Media where he came up with early versions of the songs “Scene of the Crime” and “I’m Insane” both of which would show up on Ratt’s debut album. Eventually Crosby left the group and joined a different San Diego outfit named Phenomenon. It was around this time Crosby would meet a Singer named Stephen Pearcy who was fronting a group named Mickey Ratt. By 1981 both musicians hadn’t yet played in the same band, but they moved to LA with their respective groups hoping to land a major record deal. Also joining Crosby on his journey from San Diego to LA would be his girlfriend andfuture model and actress Tawny Kitaene We’ll talk more about her in a bit. Pearcy would recall to the San Diego Tribune during a 1984 interview why he moved to LA saying “The only bands that were getting signed (to record contracts) in San Diego at that time were new wave-type bands, so I decided to take my band, Mickey Ratt, to Los Angeles,” Los Angeles proved to be a much more fertile ground for the type of rock n’ roll that the two musicians were playing given the success of LA based bands like Van Halen and Quiet Riot. And it wasn’t too long after the pair moved out to LA that their own bands fell apart and Pearcy and Crosby soon started playing together under the moniker Ratt. Pearcy would discuss the important of Crosby joining the band and how he was instrumental to the band’s sound during a 2011 interview with Noisecreep saying I brought Robbin into the lineup. Together we laid down the foundation for what everyone knows as the Ratt sound. In those early years, Robbin was pretty much the main guy. And the band would undergo several lineup changes before finally settling on the musicians that got them a record deal with lead guitarist Warren DeMartini drummer Bobby Blotzer and bassist Juan Croucier . Percy would recall the twin guitar attack of De Martini and Crosby telling Noisecreep “Robbin had his own style, but he was definitely influenced by Billy Gibbons and Jimi Hendrix. He played with great feel. Warren was more of a noodler, a guitar hero type of player. They complimented each other so well,” Warren was progressing so phenomenally that it was hard to ignore he’d say. Shortly after their formation, Ratt would play at the Whisky A Go Go and soon earned the status of house band. It was during this time that they caught the attention of Marshall Berle, who was the nephew of comedian and actor Milton Berle who would appear in the band’s future music videos. Berle would sign the band to his time communications record label releasing a self titled EP that sold so incredibly well that it caught the attention of several labels. They band would eventually sign a major recording contract with Atlantic Records and release their major label debut Out of the Cellar. Appearing on the front cover of the band’s first EP and LP would be Crosby’s girlfriend Tawny Kitaen. Out of the Cellar would be the biggest album of their career going triple platinum and the album was spurred by the single Round and Round, which got heavy airplay on MTV and was a top 10 hit on the music charts in America. Guitarist Robbin Crosby would tell the San Diego Tribune in 1984 how Ratt separated themselves from other rock bands at the time saying “We definitely try to be melodic so that we don’t get caught up in the heavy metal shuffle, but I think our music is aimed more at a female audience than a lot of contemporary hard rock bands. Part of our plan was to attract a female audience. We try to come off with a lot of sex appeal in our lyrics and our look, rather than having a violent or rebellious image.”