RATT - Carlos Cavazo Interview
March 7, 2010
This particular show was actually the kick off of the Ratt 2010 US tour & there were a few flubs, a little mic feedback, but overall, there was nothing major that went wrong & in all honesty, this might be the best show of the tour based on the bands enthusiasm onstage.
Stephen Pearcy was jumping around ALL night, dancing, frolicking, having a good time, smiling, joking, & it's funny...I was close enough to him that when I got a full on look at his face after he took off his sun glasses, Stephen Pearcy's face reminds me of this old wooden indian statue I saw many times as a kid...you can see the age in Stephen's face...he's road weary, you can tell he's been there & done that, but the amazing thing is that Stephen is still full of energy & his voice sounded great on the kick off of the 2010 tour!
The real power in Ratt's music though is their guitarist Warren DeMartini...his riffs, his tone, he's a skinny guy who's guitar tone is anything but skinny...his riffs are loud & chunky, Warren's playing is effortless, he plays with ease & style & these days he has a true partner in crime with Carlos Cavazo onstage....Carlos playing accompanies EVERYTHING that Warren does, the 2 guitarists play twin solo's, they trade off lead licks & there was no over-playing, no trying to play harder than the other guy, no show boating...both guitarists complete each other's playing, they trade off licks, fill in for each other, Warren used to play ALL the solo's, but these days it's an even trade off between both players & I was curious what Carlos would bring to the table...let me be the first to state...Carlos is the ingredient Ratt's been missing since Robbin's death...Carlos is the perfect fit, he's irreplaceable in Ratt at this point & I credit him with bringing Ratt back from the dead!
The band played an interesting set list...they tossed in 5 new songs from the new record, but it was clear, the fans were happy to hear new material, but the old Ratt standards were what went over the best. The crowd was kinda small for the opening acts, but surprisingly, by the time Ratt took the stage, Ram's Head Live was not totally sold out, but it was fairly close...the venue was packed, the floor was filled, the upstairs had alot of people, for a Thursday night which was a work night & school night, there was a good amount of people in attendance!
Pearcy commented several times that there were alot o' kiddies in the crowd & he made a cheesy comment that he hoped none of them were his...the matter of fact though was that the mostly 40+ in age crowd had brought their small children to the show...my assumption was that it was probably cheaper to buy a $30 ticket for the show than to get a sitter for the night? I have this visual in my mind though of these little kids going to school the next day & telling their friends, "I saw Ratt last night!" & the other kids reply back, "Who?" lol
Carlos told me prior to the show that the band hadn't gotten their "Ratt" guitar pics yet & this little tidbit was something I learned when I interviewed Carlos prior to the show...I was originally slated to interview Carlos at 6 PM, but then it got bumped back to 8 PM, then the night of the show I found out it was to be 8:45 PM...with it being the first night of the tour, everything was kinda disorganized, scattered, & upon being ushered into the backstage dressing room where Carlos, Warren & Robbie Crane all shared a room, I overheard Robbie saying on the phone, "Daddy loves you, goodnight." & I'll just assume he was talking to his child. Carlos had a small Peavey amp plugged in & was playing guitar solo's while Warren was scurrying around...at one point during my interview with Carlos I realized I had set my mini disc recorder next to Warren's guitar & when Warren went to pick up his guitar he nearly knocked my mini disc on the floor & he was totally polite & apologized...I was almost bummed when I started my interview with Carlos because he stopped playing guitar, but we had a good chat, it was to the point, If you've ever ready my interviews, you'll know that I don't beat around the bush, I ask what's on my mind, I ask the stuff people want to know, I'm real, I'm honest, NOTHING is scripted, my interviews are simple conversations, I'm looking eye to eye with my subject & I can't stress enough, NOTHING is scripted, there's NO list of questions...it's simply one on one with my subject. With that said, here's how my interview with Carlos went:
Rock N Roll Experience: I've got to ask, how come you quit Quiet Riot in '03?
Carlos: Quiet Riot split up in 2003 mainly because of Kevin...I love Kevin & I miss him & I wish that wouldn't have happened to him, but he obviously had a substance abuse problem & there was a couple of gigs that he didn't show up to & that kinda ended the band in the Summer of 2003 & they did offer me to come back but at that point I kind of felt like I had gone as far as I could with those guys & that maybe it was time for me to move on & I started working with a whole bunch of people after that.
Rock N Roll Experience: So were you surprised by Kevin Dubrow's death at all?
Carlos: In a way yeah, in a way no, because if anyone lived on the edge, he definitely did, he lived like a rockstar & I knew he was probably going to go in some kinda strange way, I didn't know how, but I had that feeling, but I do regret it, I wish that never happened to him. He was like a big brother to me for 25 years & I learned alot from that guy, I really did.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you ever feel weird replacing Randy Rhoads in Quiet Riot, those were big shoes to fill.
Carlos: I never really did because I don't think that many people remembered Randy with Quiet Riot, they only really remembered Randy with Ozzy, I think for like Brad Gillis who filled in for Randy after his death, that was way harder than what I had to do...if Quiet Riot would have been successful with Randy though, then yeah....I had one kid come up to me one time & say, "You're lucky Randy died or you'd be out of a gig!" & I said, "I could get another gig anywhere!" I wish Randy was alive, I don't wish anybody to be dead.
Rock N Roll Experience: At what point did Kevin Dubrow start to wear a wig?
Carlos: He didn't really have a wig, he had hair extensions...he did have hair but it wasn't enough to grow way long so he had hair extensions pretty much.
Rock N Roll Experience: So are you actually a full fledge member of Ratt now or a paid player?
Carlos: (yells to Warren who is right behind us) Warren, am I a full fledged member of Ratt now?
Warren DeMartini: Official Full Fledged Member!
Carlos: Yeah, I guess you could say I am a full member, I write music, I am in the band, yeah, I am...it's a good blend, I really like playing with these guys, I feel like the luckiest guitar player in the world, I was always hoping I'd hook up with a band from the 80's from my same genre of music (editors note: at this point Warren picks his guitar up & knocks into my recorder) & I lucked out pretty good. Rock N Roll Experience: There was a rumor going around years ago that Stephen Pearcy stuffed his pants...is that true?
Carlos: Stephen Pearcy? NOOOO!!!! Never, I don't think so, the guy is, he's wild & well hung...(laughs)
Rock N Roll Experience: What is your favorite old school Ratt song to play live?
Carlos: Probably "Lay It Down", I love playing that song live...it's alot of fun
Rock N Roll Experience: I was recently listening to "British Steel" by Judas Priest & when I listen to the KK Downing / Glen Tipton parts I can hear elements of Ratt in there, do you hear that & did Ratt borrow from Priest at all?
Carlos: I don't know if Ratt were influenced by the music, but I think people might make a comparison because of the dueling guitars, but what better band to be compared to than Judas Priest, I mean come on! Judas Priest are the quint essential heavy metal band that everyone wants to be! Priest are one of my favorite bands...they are good friends of mine too, they are friends of all of ours.
Rock N Roll Experience: How come you didn't play with Ratt at the M3 Rock Festival last year?
Carlos: I had some prior commitments with some other people that I was working with so I wasn't able to make it & these guys tried everything they could do to get me over there but unfortunately it didn't work out.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you changing the set list up every night on this tour?
Carlos: We might, we have a few songs we can flip flop in & out, we have like 5 new songs off the new record & the rest is all old stuff, we play like an hour & 1/2, an hour & 45 minutes....
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you ever see Quiet Riot play after you left the band?
Carlos: No, I never saw them, but I did run into those guys on an airplane & I was on tour with another band & those guys were on tour & I ran into those guys at 6 in the morning in an airport & thought, Oh My God, what luck is this? (laughs), I have no ill feelings towards them, I wish them all the best, I really do, I'm still great friends with Rudy (Sarzo), we talk all the time, I had a little bit of a falling out with Frankie (Benallie), but that kinda crap goes on when bands break up, that's how that shit goes, & Kevin I miss dearly...I really do. Unfortunately I didn't talk to him for about 4 years & then he passed away & I wish we would have had a little bit of a relationship, I was always hoping that maybe one day we could do something again, but....it's just not going to be that way.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you ever read Rudy Sarzo's book?
Carlos: I have not read it yet.
Rock N Roll Experience: Bobby Blotzer's putting out a book too, right?
Carlos: He wants to, I think he's getting ready to do it or maybe he already has? I'm not sure.
Rock N Roll Experience: So when are you going to put out a book?
Carlos: (laughs) Oh, I don't know, maybe one of these days....there's so many books around these days.
Rock N Roll Experience: Would your book be a tell all or a guitar book?
Carlos: Maybe both (laughs), that's a good question....I don't know, probably a tell all because I've got so much dirt to tell about Quiet Riot that I never have & it's alot of shit!
Rock N Roll Experience: Can you tell me one story?
Carlos: (laughs) It's just all the drug abuse & the women abuse & all that stuff...I don't really want to name names right now, but all that went on, as it did in all the bands of the 80's, we were right in there with everyone else.
Rock N Roll Experience: Marilyn Manson is actually to blame for Quiet Riot reuniting, correct?
Carlos: You're right....yeah..that's true, in 97 I believe it was...we hung out with him & he's a great guy.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did it start to get depressing with Quiet Riot at one point though, because the crowds got smaller & smaller as the band continued on.
Carlos: Yeah, of course. We knew our career was dwindling & I think the band did as much as it could do, & that was it.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you learned anything from playing with Warren DeMartini?
Carlos: Yeah, I learn things every day. I see his control & his approach, the way he does things & I like to watch everybody in this band & you can always learn things from people.
Rock N Roll Experience: Will any of these shows be filmed for a future release?
Carlos: We probably will in the future, I'm sure that will happen.
I have to thank Carlos for a fun interview, he was really nice, answered everything I asked him, he didn't mind when I went for the hard questions, he was honest & Robbie & Warren who were in there with us were also cool as could be, the 3 guys I had contact with from Ratt were really cool, nice guys....Stephen & Bobby had their own dressing room so I never had any contact with them, the only time I saw Pearcy was when he was leaving the venue; he had a beanie cap on with all his hair tucked under it & he got into a car & was driven off. If you waited to see Ratt, this is the time, the band sounds amazing, they have a kick ass new record out & the set list from the first show of the tour was:
Lay It Down
Lack of Communication
Take A Big Bite
I Want a Woman
Slip of the Lip
Eat Me Up Alive
Back For More
Way Cool Jr
Best of Me
You Think Your Tough
A Little Too Much
Round & Round