How To Prepare For An Interview With The Guitar Player From RATT (Tips For Interviewing Rock Stars)

Interviewing rock musicians can be fun and entertaining to say the least. I was never supposed to be a journalist, but instead sort of fell into the role for my love of music and being in the right place at the right time. As I was preparing for my latest interview I thought it would be interesting to put together a short post about how to make your interview translate into a readable and captivating story.

1. Do your research. – Go back to the time when the band was at their peak. RATT has sold over 20 million records worldwide; that is incredible and pretty much unheard of these days. The band is influenced by 70s hard rock and glam bands such as Aerosmith, Sweet, Van Halen and Kiss. They fused this style with a harder metal edge citing such bands as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. During the bands peak they made the masterpiece Out of the Cellar which is today widely regarded as the band’s best work and a definitive moment in 80s heavy metal.  Most importantly remember that RATT was instrumental in the formation of the early 80’s hard rock and glam metal scene.

Listening to RATT in its purest metal form; vinyl records.
The back of the debut album from 1983. Ironically featuring the hit “You Think You’re Tough”.

Check out the band’s official web site: It’s essential to understand the current state of the band as well as the latest news and updates:

2. Become a fan – Immerse yourself in the bands music old and new. Even if you missed them in their heyday there’s a second wave currently in effect.  Ratt released Infestation, their first new album in 11 years, and it wasn’t just everyday fans who were excited about it – famous people were too.  At a release party on the Sunset Strip, Tom Morello, Atreyu, celebrities, porn stars and many others came out to watch the group perform five brand new songs in front of a sold-out crowd.

Pick up the Greatest Hits collection for a crash-course in RATT n’ Roll History.

The original and best; RATT & Roll 81-91. Pretty much all you need for the casual fan.

Essential Listening: “Round and Round”, “Wanted Man”, “You’re In Love”, “Lay It Down”, “Way Cool Jr.”, “Nobody Rides For Free”, “Dance”; these are timeless hard rock classics that everyone should treasure.

3. Check out their Wikipedia page. There are many fascinatingly fun facts about RATT that you may have not known about such as: Ratt is featured in One Tree Hill (Season 1/Episode 20) Lucas asks Peyton what she has been listening to. Peyton states, she has been on this huge 80’s metal kick. She then says, “I picked up this Ratt album, it’s outstanding” (In her arms is the Out of The Cellar L.P). Their tour with Poison was the 6th highest grossing tour of 1987. Ratt also played Madison Square Garden. And finally RATT are confirmed for the Main Stage at the Download Festival, at Donnington Park, UK in June 2010.

4. Know something about the instrument he plays. This guy, Warren DeMartini, in particular is one of the most underrated guitar players in music today. He is what you would consider a natural, like a Beethoven of metal guitar.

5. Pretend you are Letterman interviewing this person. You have 10 minutes or less to be funny, informative, personal, and then finally plug the new product. Unless you are writing a three page spread, keep it short and sweet so that you do not lose the ADD readers of today. Don’t ask boring questions. Talk just enough about guitars and gear to keep him interested, but not too much where you bore your non-guitar geek readers.

Follow these rules and have fun with your interview. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to do this kind of thing so make sure you make the most of the occasion. Your job is to make it enjoyable and that is only possible if you enjoy the writing.

As always your comments are welcome below. Stay tuned for my upcoming interview with RATT axe-man Warren DeMartini coming very soon.

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Jason Miller
Jason Miller

Jason Miller is a leading digital B2B marketer, who’s held senior roles at LinkedIn, Marketo, and ActiveCampaign. Before entering the B2B space, he spent ten years at Sony, developing and executing marketing campaigns around the biggest names in music. He is a prolific keynote speaker, digital marketing instructor at UC Berkeley, and best-selling author. Also an accomplished rock concert photographer, his work appears in books, magazines, and album covers.

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