Ratt & Roll – Stephen Pearcy’s Memoir – Book Review

pearcyThe first time I’d heard the band Ratt was sometime during 7th grade. “Round and Round” was a catchy song, but being a 12-year-old that wasn’t allowed to purchase rock cassette tapes at the time, I didn’t mind that it was overplayed on the radio. I listened to Ratt throughout my junior high and high school days, purchasing whichever cassettes I could or at least duplicating tapes from friends.

Last week at the library, I found Ratt’s founder/lead singer Stephen Pearcy’s memoir: Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll – My Life in Rock. First I have to say that the book is very well written, flows nicely, and is easy to understand. It’s interesting to read from a fan’s point of view how Pearcy grew up, his struggle with having two broken legs after being hit by a car, heartbreak, his rise to fame, his downward spiral after the band broke up, and his newfound sobriety after the birth of his daughter. Some of the book tells pieces of his therapy sessions, most of which he seems to reveal his blatantly trampy sexual history. Pearcy does not sugar coat anything.

During the 1980s, my friends and I wanted to be like the girls in rock videos – hot and sexy and appealing to band members, but we hadn’t a clue what these band guys were really all about. While I was a 13- to 16-year-old virgin around the time I was a huge Ratt fan and drooling over Stephen Pearcy in MTV videos, he was getting screwed or blown by everything in a skirt or was nursing a bad case of gonorrhea. Pearcy’s constant reminder of how often and to what extent women wanted him is a bit nauseating. He also often reveals sexual escapades of his own band mates (particularly those of Bobby Blotzer and Robbin Crosby) and members of other popular glam rock bands that I listened to at the time (Van Halen, Poison, and Motley Crue, for instance).

Just a few examples – and these are tame:

“… there was so much goddamn trim around in those days, it didn’t make much sense to any of us to stick to one woman.”

“Our bus was a motorized fuck factory on wheels…”

“I pulled my pants down around my ankles and received the blow job of a lifetime while losing to Blotzer at Pong.”

“… one of our best tricks was to find a tall, slutty groupie with dyed blond hair and black roots… and have her suck off as many crew guys as possible; ideally, the ones who never showered. Then we’d steer her over to Blotz.”

So far the only thing that’s been blown for me is my image of the bands I used to love so much. Not that I ever thought they were innocent – but I didn’t expect them to live up to the name of a rodent by doing gaggable offenses (no pun intended).

But in the end, however, Pearcy redeems himself by admitting that (as he was older) he wanted something different – real love. That came after the birth of his daughter, Jewel, and his road to sobriety.

Some of the things that impressed me:

  • Pearcy himself seemed to steer the band to stardom. He wouldn’t stop until it happened.
  • Pearcy convinced the band to have their own look (something he describes as similar to pirates), including eye makeup – to the dismay of some of the other guys. He made his own costumes and even painted his own spandex pants.
  • Pearcy seemed to get along with others easily and make friends and connections quickly (before the downward spiral).

If you were ever a Ratt fan, this book is a must-read and difficult to put down. Oh – and it sure as hell beats 50 Shades of Grey.

To reminisce some of Ratt – here are some Youtube videos.

My Days of Heavy Metal & Being a Rocker Chick

I just read a memoir by Stephen Pearcy (of Ratt) and relived the moments of my lusting over long-haired band guys. I’d written about some of them in both of my books, which referred to me around age 13 and throughout high school.

I was known to be a “rocker” when I was a teenager and in my 20s. Only back then we were called “headbangers”, “motleys”, and “metal heads”. This was back in the 80s, so spandex, big hair, black eyeliner, and concert tshirts was my main wardrobe. (I’ve calmed down quite a bit since.) I went to every concert I could, and I’m glad I did get to see them in their prime.

Here are some excerpts from my books:

 

From my memoir "Unheard"
From my memoir “Unheard”

 

From my memoir "Unheard"
From my memoir “Unheard”

 

From my book "Dissed & Pissed"
From my book “Dissed & Pissed”

 

From "Dissed & Pissed"
From “Dissed & Pissed”

 

From "Dissed & Pissed"
From “Dissed & Pissed”

First impressions during the first week in Hawaii

I’ve been a little behind on blogging these last few weeks, because I’ve been ill most of the time. 😦

These were my first impressions of Oahu while I still exhausted from jetlag. I was completely overwhelmed, because we had no permanent place to live and no jobs past a certain date. (For those new to this blog, we were temporarily staying with friends and still employed until my husband’s official retirement date.)

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1. Naturally, the airport was the first thing I saw when we landed. The view of the sunset past the runway from the plane’s window was gorgeous. I was surprised, however, that Honolulu International Airport was so outdated. Everything seemed to be from the 70s or 80s and very dull.

2. Since we arrived in Honolulu right at sunset, it was dark by the time we got off the plane. I didn’t get to see the island until the following day. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that we learned we had been staying on the dry part of the island. Everything was brown. It was a shock, considering when most people think of Hawaii, they think of lush green grass and tropical flowers everywhere. I thought it resembled more of the desert in the Southwest than the beauty I was hoping to see. This was my first view of daylight on Oahu.

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3. I did manage to witness blooming white plumeria flowers, which was a first for me. Their scent was fantastic, but I think possibly a little too much for my allergies. What a shame! Also I noticed many blooming hibiscus flowers, one of the many plants I was unsuccessfully able to grow in my home state (see below).

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4. Traffic is a huge issue in Hawaii, especially in the Ewa Beach or Kapolei area. It takes forever to get anywhere, but on the positive note, people drive “aloha style”. Unlike the drivers in Florida, everyone lets everyone in and there is no road rage. There weren’t horns honking or people screaming at each other. It was a strange, quiet hum and politeness that held a different vibe than what us mainlanders are used to.

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5. We’d been house hunting for several months prior to our arrival. This is not an exaggeration – but out of about 50 phone calls inquiring about renting, we had about five calls returned. It was quite frustrating to wait around and not hear a thing, especially when we really liked a place.

For the next two days, we drove around Ewa Beach and Kapolei looking for places to rent. Everything looked the same to me and felt crowded. Anything that wasn’t a complete dump was $2000 a month minimum and relatively small. Most places had limited parking for renters and guests, and very few places were pet friendly. This posed a huge problem for us, because there was no way in hell we were going to get rid of our furry family members.

By this time, I knew my immune system was taking a tumble. I was tired of driving in circles and looking at places I wouldn’t want to live. The spicy green curry I had for lunch wasn’t settling nicely, so our renting hunt was over for the next few days. It turned out I had a stomach flu that was comparable to food poisoning, but the sensitive stomach effects lasted for a few weeks. I later determined that so far, I wasn’t “stomaching” this place. Yet.

NPR’s 3-Minute Fiction Contest – Rejection #2

Every time NPR has a 3-Minute Fiction contest I do my best to enter.  Before I got lucky and was selected for my story to appear on their website, this was one of my rejections. The story had to begin with “Some people swore that the house was haunted.” And it had to end with “Nothing was ever the same again after that.” – 600 words or less.

The House on the Water
by Susanna Hartigan
©2010

Some people swore that the house was haunted. The houseboat sat barely afloat on the Florida waters for almost seven years, leaving a mystery of several theories about its history. An old man who resembled a pirate got drunk and fell overboard, drowned by his own negligence. A serial killer abandoned it after having used it as a source of a kill site. Drug lords were executed on it when they didn’t meet their quota, their remains used as bait. A man killed his family on it before taking off into the Atlantic never to be seen again. No one really knew the story about the house on the water.

Many of the small town’s residents were quiet, distant ancestors of the Salem witch trials. They knew that hauntings were real-life occurrences, not just some fictional ghost stories. They knew that water was a great conductor of those from the otherworld and since the surrounding land contained a bed of limestone, there was a great possibility that the houseboat was in fact haunted. And they knew that the best option was to allow whatever paranormal that might occupy it to remain at rest. But there was one woman determined to be rid of the demons encircling it.

“It’s the town menace,” scowled Chatty Patty, nicknamed for being the town’s gossip and outspoken nuisance. “I want it gone. The Lord does not want evil spirits filthing up our community.”

Chatty Patty was known for exercising the demons out of everything, including food from the local health food store that happened to be owned by a pagan. People went out of their way in order to avoid the henpecker and her incessant ranting and insistence that Satan lived among the town. Although the town loathed the middle-aged woman’s presence, Patty was someone who would bring assistance to a family in need.

“Just because they are witches doesn’t mean that the Lord Jesus can’t change their ways through my influence,” she was heard saying one day at the library. Patty considered anyone a witch if they celebrated Halloween, including her own church members.

Despite her overbearing influence, Chatty Patty’s effort to get the houseboat removed from the Mosquito Lagoon was unsuccessful. The town’s mayor told her it wasn’t in the budget.  Her frequent trips to the police department went unheeded. “There’s nothing we can do about it. Not our jurisdiction,” she was told.

“We don’t handle boat removal. You’ll have to call a tow company,” the Coast Guard station informed her.

“Fine,” Patty informed the town. “Then I am going to be rid of this evil presence once and for all, even if I have to do it myself.”

For Patty, the disposal of the boat was a simple recipe: a canoe, Holy Bible verses, holy water, and olive oil. She would use the canoe to transport herself to the house on the water, drenching it in holy water upon her arrival. She would read all of the appropriate verses that were intended to strike any remaining form of immorality, as she doused the house on the water in olive oil. Patty told the townspeople of her plan. No one objected. Some were glad it would be the last time they would have to hear Chatty Patty complain about it ever again.

Patty set out to perform her duty the night before Halloween, knowing that it would deter from bringing more demonic influences to her town on such a blasphemous date.

Halloween arrived. The house on the water had disappeared. A canoe took its place. Nothing was ever the same again after that.

Overheard Conversations Make Me Laugh Out Loud (or Cringe!)

I often sit in public places and take notes for writing. Here are some of my most recent:

Little girl: Look! Three boys and three girls! It’s equal!
Father: No, it’s not equal. The boys are bigger.

Teenage Girl: Stupid cops! They gave me another ticket! Said my tag was expired.
Teenage Boy: When did it expire?
Teenage Girl: Like two months ago. But they already knew that when I got pulled over last month for speeding. They should have given me a chance!

Middle-aged Woman on cell phone: Don’t you love being retired? I’ll have to teach you the retirement dance!

Father: You’re paying? You brought your wallet? Does it have money in it?
Teen Son: I have money and a library card.
Father: When you open it, do moths come flying out?

Little Boy at beach (points to woman wearing black bra-style bikini) says to his mother: Is that a bra?

NPR’s 3-Minute Fiction Writing Contest — Cooking up Fiction by Susanna Hartigan

This was my rejected entry for my very first NPR writing contest. The story had to be under 600 words and contain the 4 words: “plant,” “button,” “trick,” “fly.” It’s been two years since I read this, and looking back, I know it could use some work.


Cooking Up Fiction 
by Susanna Hartigan ©2010

Caterina Romano seemed to be quite the opposite of her Italian upbringing when it came to cooking food. Her most memorable cooking experience ended in a disaster involving the local fire department and an eviction from her landlord when she tried to brown garlic in olive oil. The most frequently used appliances in her kitchen consisted of a microwave and a toaster oven, with a month-old dead basil plant sitting in between the two.

Like the basil plant, Caterina’s love life was dried up as well. Although easy to please, of pleasant company and easy on the eyes, Ma Romano’s voice echoed in her head that she would never find a man until she learned how to cook like a proper Italian woman should. Caterina had pretty much given up on dating and settled for watching her neighbors across the street out of her living room window on Saturdays. She knew that they barbequed each weekend, and one guest in particular that she admired drove a pickup truck donning a frontal vanity plate that exclaimed “FLY BOY”. That was the type of man the pretty brunette was had been dreaming of for the last three years, but in her mind, Caterina was convinced that no man would ever marry a culinary-challenged woman.

“What is wrong with you?” Nonna Romano screeched at every holiday gathering. “Why you no have no husband yet??” she’d ask, hands flying everywhere, nearly knocking over wine glasses at the dinner table.

“Caterina, love waits for you,” Ma repeated over and over again, dreamy eyed.

“Ma, her cooking is like trick-or-treat without the treat,” teased Caterina’s brother Tomeo. It was the same old joke, the same old story each and every holiday for the last two and a half years.

“I met someone,” announced Caterina. “He’s a pilot.”

Everyone perked up. Caterina stood there, unbelievably catching herself in her own blatant lies, clutching her hands and looking to the air above her head for the words to come to her just to please her family. She watched each of them, their eyes lighting up like Paschal candles.

“Tell us!” Ma was excited.

“He comes from a good Italian family,” lied Caterina, nervous and almost fumbling her thoughts to find the right words. Then all of a sudden it came to her naturally, as if it were the truth.

“What he look like?” asked Nonna, thrilled by the prospect that she may witness her only living granddaughter in a wedding dress one day. “He handsome?”

Caterina looked straight into Nonna’s eyes. Her acting classes from college were finally becoming of use to her. “Just like John Travolta!”

“Oh Caterina!” Ma sighed, making the sign of the cross on her chest so hard her button came flying off of her shirt and scurried onto the floor. “When will we meet him?” Tears began welling in Ma’s eyes.

“After our tour to Venice where he is flying me this summer…”

Book Review: Aleph by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. The Alchemist was the first book I read by the author, and I enjoyed a few others as well.

I had ordered his newest book, Aleph, in August, so I was thrilled when it finally arrived at my doorstep. Like Coelho’s other books, Aleph is a spiritual journey. It was much like The Alchemist, but as an older man (and not a sequel). The added magic and fantasy to the story made it a little different, but Coelho claims that this is a nonfiction book. However, Aleph is listed as fiction, which makes the reader wonder which parts are true.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. If you are a Coelho fan like me, you probably have higher expectations and might be slightly disappointed that Aleph is so similar to The Alchemist.