Heavy metal was never my thing in the 80s, but for some reason I put Ratt in a different category than Mötley Crüe. Listening to this song at age 42 I realize how ridiculous that is. I can enjoy all that hair metal now, maybe because I just see it for what it is instead of living in the moment with it where I thought it was stupid. Heavy metal kids were very different from other music fans, but there weren’t any sixth graders with Aqua Net hair and Spandex pants—at least, not in my school!
I did, however, have spiked hair and a studded wrist band. I looked different from the kids I went to school with, and I liked it that way. But I didn’t fit any sort of subcultural stereotype, really. My first love was rock and roll—Chuck Berry was my main jam at age five! I didn’t really get into contemporary music until I was much older, like nine. And then I loved Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, and Madonna. I took most of my fashion tips from Cyndi and Madonna, and the spiky hair I got from Monsieur LeBon.
Ratt looked exactly like all the other bands playing heavy metal at the time. I thought Stephen Pearcy was a hot piece, despite all that hair spray and random fringe. And since this was the 80s, I could not get enough of that awesome video!
I am pretty sure that most kids my age had no idea who Milton Berle was, but I did. I took great pride in that, and in the fact that I knew that he often performed in drag back in his day. He’s perfect in this video as the rich guy and the rich guy’s wife who decide to leave because of all that rock and roll noise that is disturbing their elegant dinner party.
I was pretty obsessed with the chick in this video, the pretty princess who turns into a heavy metal ho as she ascends the staircase to check out the racket. She looked a little like Annie Lennox before her dramatic transformation. Her hair was fierce, her makeup was everything, and her rubbery outfit reminded me of the slutty clothes my sister and I would make for our Barbies by using popped New Year’s Eve balloons! That one super long earring she wore? I worshiped it!
One of the coolest parts of the video comes early on when the butler, a much older man, is pouring champagne for pretty princess and she spies his spiked wristband. He hides it quickly, but now she knows he’s a closet freak! He’s the one who let Ratt sneak in upstairs to blow the roof off the mansion—rather, in typical 80s fashion, to fall through the floor in a blaze of heavy metal glory onto the dinner table where the rich folks are trying to enjoy their 12-course meal. Old dude closes out the video wearing black lipstick and a Ratt jacket while dancing on the table. What’s not to love about this?
The song itself is great, very much of its time but one of those 80s tunes you’ll always love. I feel bad for kids who weren’t around for all this. We were the last generation to have this much fun with our music before it all went to shit. The 80s were the beginning of the end of the music industry, because as much as I love videos and all the cheese they were sprinkled with, they helped to ruin contemporary music. I know the roots of image over substance go back to the early days of television, but I think that the 80s really killed the radio star.