Former RATT drummer Bobby Blotzer has refuted guitarist Warren DeMartini’s claims that Blotzer has been expelled from the RATT partnership.
Last month, three members of RATT’s classic lineup — DeMartini, singer Stephen Pearcy and bassist Juan Croucier — issued a press release claiming that they had taken control of the band’s name after a judge ruled against Blotzer with respect to whether Croucier had committed trademark infringement by using the RATT name and logo to advertise his band ‘RATT’S JUAN CROUCIER’ back in the fall 2015.
On top of that, the judge decided that the corporation of WBS, Inc., of which Blotzer and DeMartini were thought to be the sole shareholders, and which Blotzer had claimed owns the RATT name and brand, did not have ownership interest in the RATT moniker and that the name and brand were still owned by the members who were part of the original RATT partnership agreement, being the 4 surviving members of the original lineup.
According to sources: ‘Under a 1985 written Ratt Partnership Agreement, the name/trademarks are the property of the partnership and can only be transferred with the unanimous approval of all partners. Thus, the judge ruled that in 1997 when Blotzer, DeMartini and Pearcy purported to transfer the trademarks to WBS, the transfer was invalid since Croucier, who was still a partner, was never advised of, and therefore did not consent to, the transfer. Therefore, the judge said, the partnership still owned the RATT name.’
Aside from having Blotzer expelled from the partnership, Pearcy, DeMartini and Croucier have said that Blotzer could now only refer to himself as a “former member of RATT.”
Just recently, Blotzer and his attorney Drew Sherman addressed the latest legal developments going on within RATT during an interview with the “One On One With Mitch Lafon” podcast.
Despite the fact that a judge ruled that the four-way RATT partnership — and not WBS — still owned the band name, Sherman says that no judgment has been entered either against or in favor of Blotzer. “Essentially, WBS owns the name,” the attorney said. “They — meaning Stephen, Juan, Warren — whatever they’re going out as, they do not have permission to [go out as RATT]. So right now they’re infringing the trademarks of RATT owned by WBS.
“The ruling that we have, there are many legal strategies that will be employed in order to change and bring to the court’s attention various other pieces of evidence as well as prior rulings,” he continued. “So it’s a long time before this is done. We’re not even at the appeals part yet, because there’s no judgment to appeal. So there’s a lot of time. Status quo will remain, and WBS owns the marks.”
Blotzer also insists that his current band (featuring him and a constantly changing lineup of musicians) is still called RATT because “there is nothing else to call it.”
Blotzer said that he “made the decision as half owner of the [RATT] name” to start playing live shows as RATT without any other members of the band’s classic lineup. He says: “WBS owns the name. I’m 50% of WBS, Inc. and still am. WBS, Inc. still owns that name right this moment. That’s not changed.
“We’ve had tremendous, great success with this band out here,” he said. “I mean, we’re headlining big gigs. It’s doing really well. I’m very proud of that. So I think [Warren, Juan and Stephen] seeing this kind of success, now all of a sudden, from not liking each other or talking, [they’re now in] collusion together and they decide that they’re gonna do this at this point, and there you have it. They’re making their move, and they don’t have the name RATT.”
Blotzer was also asked about changing the name of his current band from ‘BOBBY BLOTZER’S RATT EXPERIENCE’ to simply RATT, which seemed like an attempt to grab bigger marquee gigs. Blotzer said: “Well, there’s a little bit of both of that in there. The band was so good that I wanted to bring it to bigger venues to people. And the way to do that was, obviously, to use what was mine. And that was half of that name. I called Warren, and, of course, he wouldn’t answer the phone; I can’t e-mail him. We have this corporation, but yet I can’t even get in touch with him, so I was getting in touch with him through our old manager. And I’m saying, ‘Listen, dude, have you heard this thing that I’m doing? Because I’m gonna take it out. I wanna play bigger gigs, and I’m taking it out as RATT. And I want you to come with me and do this.’ And he wanted no part of it. I don’t think he even wanted to go on the road. His reasoning was he’s not going unless it’s the original band. But the problem with that is all you do is complain about how bad Stephen is, and how hard he is to work with and deal with, and [how difficult it is] to even get [Stephen] into a freaking van to get to the gig. I think he was using that [excuse] knowing that they were not going to rejoin unless they got [ownership of] the name [back]. So it was completely stalemated by both of those sides — Warren and those two guys.”
Sherman also addressed the fact that Pearcy, Croucier and DeMartini recently announced that they will perform — as RATT — at next year’s edition of the M3 Rock Festival, set to take place on Friday, April 28, 2017 and Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. He said: “They do not have permission to play the M3 [as RATT], they do not have permission to advertise it as such. And I’ll just say this: right now, to throw that out there, to make these announcements, these press releases, without having a [court] judgment, I would say is very ill-advised. And I’ll leave it that for now.”
Blotzer’s current version of RATT features guitarists Mitch Perry (TALAS, HEAVEN, STEELER, MSG, LITA FORD) and Stacey Blades (L.A. GUNS) and bassist Brad Lang (Y&T).
Click below to listen to the full interview…