Earning a spot among the hard rock elite takes time.
For every Van Halen that sticks around for the long run, there seems to be a dozen Quiet Riots, who may have sold several million albums at one time only to dry up.
Stephen Pearcy, lead singer of the L.A. band Ratt, would like to think that his band is finally reaching a point of comfort with its sixth release, "Detonator."
Although the band has been hard-pressed to top its first single "Round and Round," released in 1983, Ratt has remained a consistent platinum-plus seller without the help of major radio hits.
"Our competition is not Poison or any of the other new bands," Pearcy says. "Our competition is Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Van Halen, the Rolling Stones -- bands that have proven that they can make it for the long haul. When I started this band, the first thing on my mind was to have some longevity. I wanted to stick around long enough to say something."
Before hitting the road on their sixth major arena tour of the United States, Pearcy and the boys have decided to try something different.
"It's been a long time since we've done the meet-and-greet, nice-to-see-you kind of show," Pearcy says. "We decided to just do a warm-up tour of about 10 cities where we could get close to our fans and play some small clubs."
Hence at this Saturday's show at Hammerjacks, Pearcy says, "hopefully we'll be able to see the eyes of the people in the back of the room. You lose a lot of intimacy playing hockey rinks all the time.
"Rock and roll was never supposed to be about making a lot of bread. It was supposed to be about having fun."
In March, Ratt is scheduled to do more extensive touring with two supporting bands.
The band's first single, "Lovin' You's a Dirty Job," was only marginally successful and the second single, "Shame Shame Shame," flopped. The next single, to be released next week, is the ballad "Givin' Yourself Away."
Heading into the studio earlier this year, Ratt seemed to pull all of the right strings for "Detonator," hiring well-known songwriter Desmond Child to help write a few songs, including "Dirty Job," ** as well as giving him executive producer billing.
"He's one of the best in business and we've always wanted to work with him," Pearcy says.
The concert calendar . . .
Coming to Max's On Broadway: Commander Cody (Saturday), Hot Tuna (Sunday).
Coming to Eight By Ten: Dianna Bogart (tomorrow), Slickee Boys (Saturday).
The New Year's Eve line up includes: Keith Sweat, Bell Biv Devoe and Johnny Gill at the Baltimore Arena, Child's Play at Hammerjacks, Hammer at Network and Obstructed View at Max's.