Robbie Crane, born January 5,1969 in Orange County California, grew up in Hollywood, California where he began playing in a band, hooked up with and was a “roadie” for Poison all by age 15. He then went on to play with Vince Neil (Motley Crue) and finally finding a permanent gig with RATT now consisting of Bobby Blotzer/drums, Warren DeMartini /lead guitar, Robbie Crane/bass, John Corabi (The Scream, Motley Crue, Union) and Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate, LA Guns) on vocals. Robbie and I hung out and talked after the show at The Filling Station in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
|Exposed (1993) Vince Neil
Religious Fix (1995) Tuff
Carved In Stone (1995) Vince Neil
| Collage (1997) RATT
Over The Edge (1999) RATT
RATT (1999) RATT
RHYTHM, ART & GROOVE- Who were some of your major influences?
ROBBIE CRANE- When I was a kid…Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols), Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), and Juan Croucier from Ratt. A lot of different players like that. Cliff Williams from AC/DC…Pretty much all the great players.
RAG- Define your own style of music.
RC- My own style of music? I don’t know…. heavy rock like Aerosmith. Early Aerosmith. Everything I try to write is early Aerosmith. I try to keep my true influences in there.
RAG- That’s cool!
RAG- What about your band “Hot Wheelz”?
RC- I think I was 18 and my friend Adam, from high school had a band. His bass player, Freddy had injured his fingers. I filled in for him at first and then ended up staying in the band. I loved being in that band. It was awesome!
RAG- Did you have any albums released?
RC- We did demos. Actually the demos are out circulating around now. They’re pretty good! I don’t know why I left …other than the fact that I was a young kid and wanted to experience everything in my life at that time.
RAG- You were a “roadie” for Poison once. What was that like?
RC- Yep…from age 15 ‘till I was 18. 1984 to1987. AWESOME!
RAG- What are some of the bands that you’ve played in?
RC- I played in Paradise, Hot Wheelz. These are all local L.A. bands. New Haven…with Tim Kelly from Slaughter. Monroe, Lancia, Wild Side and Devor. Then from there, I went to Vince’s (Neil) band. All those bands were from when I was 18 until I was 22.
RAG-You worked with Vince Neil for a while. How did you two meet?
RC-I met Vince through his brother-in-law, Gary. Gary was my best friend and Vince’s assistant in the later Motley Crue days after “Girls, Girls, Girls”
I would go to his (Vince’s) house for BBQs and stuff like that. Gary lived with him, so I would go to visit Gary and Vince would be there. Then one day in 1992, Vince called me up and asked me if I’d be in his “You’re Invited, But Your Friend Can’t Come” video. I joined his band from then on. Actually, I joined playing guitar, which is kinda weird. I never played guitar in a band before. Just bass. So, the first time I played guitar live was at the “1992 MTV Movie Awards.” I was like “Uh…Okay?” and Arnold Schwarzenegger was like ”Oh, this is very nice.” It was very trippy. We had to shoot it 3 times. It was very funny.
RAG- What was it like to work with Vince?
RC-Awesome! He was a total gentleman. Very focused…very on top of his game. We’ve all heard the stories about him drinking and stuff… not into his music and more into the girls. I found him to be very focused…very “in charge” He knew what he wanted…very driven. It was amazing how he and Steve Stevens worked together and played off of each other to make the “Exposed” record happen. It was cool to see them together. I remember being 22 years old and being totally in shock of how they were. I kept thinking, “So this is how it really happens” It was amazing to see that process in action. I was going like a sponge…just absorbing as much as I could. Just think… just to be there everyday. It was an amazing experience with Vince. He gave me my start and was very supportive of me up until the end. I respect him and appreciate everything he’s ever done for me.
RAG- What was being out on tour with him like?
RC- Crazy dude! It was a-mile-a-minute! A million girls-a-minute!
RC- Complete! Most people go “Motley Crue… the total bad boys, chicks everywhere.” With Vince, it’s worse. I’m telling you, people can’t comprehend it. It’s just shocking…Literally hundreds of girls. It was just crazy.
RAG- A whole hotel floor?
RC- There would be busses full of women! I remember going to MTV Spring Break in 1992 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. And we had the whole top floor at the Radison. It was a joke. It was crazy. It was Vince, Gary, Ron (our producer) Sabastian Bach, Pauly Shore and a bunch of us were together. We had security guards and we’d sit with binoculars and pick out girls and send the security guards to get the girls on the beach. I remember Lenny Kravitz goin’ “You’re all gonna die actin’ that way.”
RAG- How did you join up with RATT?
RC- In August of ’96 I left Vince’s band. I was out of out of work until November ’96. Larry Moran (our tour manager with Vince) called me up on day and told me this band Vertex was looking for a bass player. He wanted to know if I was interested in listening to a cd of them. So, I listened to it and didn’t think any more about it. Larry called me up later that night and asked me if I could come down and play at the studio with this band?
He told me to learn a couple of the songs and come down. I sat down for about an hour and learned 3 of the songs. Then I drove down and rehearsed with the band and Charlie from the Alice Cooper band and Megedeth was there. There was an oriental drummer guy also. It was just they and a couple of other people. So, we played alittle and they asked me if “I wanted to go to New York the next day and rehearse for 2 weeks?” Then out from the corner, came the singer and it was Stephen Pearcy! I was like “Oh F*&%#!” Anyway, so I joined the Vertex thing. I played from November ’96 to February ’97. In that time, Stephen and I got along real good. He told me that RATT was getting back together and he left it at that. We left Japan in February ‘97 and I never heard from him again until April 4th, ’97. He called me up one night and goes “Hey what’s up dude? This is Stephen Pearcy. It was around 11:00 p.m. and he wanted to know if I could come down to Mates Studio the next morning around 11:00 a.m. I get my gear ready… get there around 10:30 a.m… I don’t see any cars. 11:00 comes and goes…nobody. I saw Bobby (the owner of Mates) and asked him if Pearcy was there? He told me that Stephen wasn’t scheduled there that day. I drove all the way back home totally pissed. On my answering machine back home, there were around 6 messages from Stephen. I called him back at the number he left and it was Audible Studios. That’s the studio where I rehearsed with Vince. I would’ve know it if he would’ve told me Audible the first time. So I drove to Audible. I was so pissed! I pull my gear into the room and it’s the RATT guys standing there. I was like “That’s Bobby Blotzer! The first thing…Bobby snaps at me ”We’ve been waiting on you for an hour and a half. Where’ve you been?” I told him ”Steve told me the wrong studio.” Stephen was like “Yeah, yeah anyways.” I didn’t even know I was gonna audition for RATT. They gave me an audition. I just walked in and started working on the song “Steel River.” I rehearsed for about 3 days and then we started doing the “Collage” record. That’s how I joined the band…literally. Every tour up until 2000, I was on a “probationary tour.” “Let’s see how you’re gonna do this tour, and if your good enough, we’ll hire you for next time.
RAG- What were your feelings when Stephen decided to leave RATT?
RC- I don’t think he ever left RATT. I think they (the band) had some arguments in their time. I was definitely very let down by the whole situation…that we all put ourselves in. Stephen was put in a situation, as well as the band, where neither side had an out. The only way to leave with some dignity on each side…was to part ways. I found that to be very unfortunate. I love Jizzy (Pearl)… he’s one of my best friends but, Stephen is definitely “ The voice of RATT" And I mean it! I love Stephen…he’s a wonderful guy and to see him loose the name (RATT) in court and to loose all that makes me upset. He’s one of the best friends that I’ve ever had in my life. We partied every day together. We had some wonderful times together. It’s a sad thing (him leaving) more than anything for me. I hope that one day they’ll all get back together. That’s where RATT belongs…the four original members that are left.
RAG- What’s it like to play with these guys?
RC- A nightmare!(laughing) No, I’m just kidding. They’re my best friends. I get along with Bobby, Crab (Corabi) and Warren. And Jizzy…Jizzy and I do like 5 different bands together. John and I do a couple projects together. Warren’s been one of my guitar heroes since I was a kid. It’s amazing…a real trip. I’ve had the opportunity to play with some of the greatest guitar players of my era. Ones I grew up with. Steve Stevens (Vince Neil). I’ve played with George Lynch (Dokken) too. My dad used to always tell me, ”No matter how great the players are that you’re playin’ with, you’re there for a reason too.” I love playin’ in this band. I’ve had a great time! There’s nothin’ like playin’ with your heroes. I was 15 and jammin’ to RATT records in front of the mirror and my mom would beat on the door goin’ “What are you doing in there?”
RAG- Are there any plans in the future with the band or any solo projects?
RC- Yeah… Keri Kelli from LA Guns and Slash’s Snakepit, Brent Muskat from Faster Pussycat, Steven Adler from Guns n’ Roses, Jizzy and myself all have a band together. It’s called Adler’s Appetite. Izzy Stradlin’ has been writing songs for us also. We’re in the middle of signing a record deal right now with a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. We’re going to do a record and then tour…Alot of touring. I really want to try and focus on that project. Steven (Adler) is a wonderful guy. He’s clean and sober now. He’s got such a lust for life. It’s amazing to be playing with him and see the look in his eyes. He’s so thankful to be alive…much less to be playing. It’s really awesome to see everybody come together for one cause…for somebody they believe in and respect. It’s almost weird to see the guys in G n’ R. We played with them earlier this year. All of them were so happy to see him (Adler) come full circle. They all had to help themselves out of that trench. I think Duff (McKagan) is the patriarch of the bunch in that manor. He never really got into the “Heroin thing” He had a thing with booze. But now, they’ve all gotten clean and Steven (Adler) is the last one that came clean. Now that he’s out, it’s great to see everyone rallying around him. He’s getting a lot of support…even from people he thought he’d never talk to again. I wish him the best. He deserves every bit of success he’s ever had.
RAG- Is there anything that you want to tell your friends, fans or family?
RC- Thank you for coming out and supporting me through the years. I’m old now…(laughing) It’s been 12 years now. I appreciate everybody’s support. My family too… The fans as well… You as well… I’ve been out here for a long time. You see and meet so many people. You lose friendships…keep in touch with others. We have that kind of “kinship”…the music together. I’m appreciative of that. A lot of people aren’t. A lot of people that I’ve played with are not. They see it as “What else can people do for me?” People have a choice. There are millions of bands out there. When people support yours…it’s definitely a treat!
RAG It’s cool that you hang out with the fans, after the show.
RC- I’m like everybody else. I’ll go see Stone Temple Pilots and I’m the kid in the front row yelling and cheering to Robert DeLeo. My wife is like “Come here” and I’m like “No, wait…Robert sign my shirt.” I’m crazy. I went to see Iron Maiden in 1999. I’ve always wanted to meet Steve Harris. He’s my favorite bass player of all time. I got to meet him. He was so funny. He said, “You’re like a giddy little kid.” I was. I have heroes too. We appreciate the guys from Tork for coming out and playing with us tonight. We also appreciate everybody in the area… for taking care of us. Everybody creates such a great vibe. Tonight went off really well. It’s so cool to me It’s like having “little successes” every night!
TROY- I would again like to thank Roy Kelley for all his help with these series of interviews.