Stephen Pearcy is ready to rattle Bay City during the Fireworks Festival

Stephen Pearcy is going round and round in Michigan for his birthday bash.

Last year, the legendary Ratt vocalist held his birthday celebration in Traverse City. For this year’s 68th trip around the sun, he will be back for more – only in Bay City this time, during the annual Bay City Fireworks Festival

The weekend lineup also includes Slaughter on Thurs., July 4 with special guests Bullet Boys. Ratt takes the stage on Fri., July 5 with special guests Lynch Mobb.

Pearcy is taking over the headline entertainment for the ailing Jack Russell of Great White fame, who recently canceled.

“My birthday is July 3, so I figured – like last year – I did an outdoor festival with Night Ranger a day or two after my birthday and it turned into a big mele,” he says. “So we’re going to accomplish the same thing, except with a ton of fireworks.”

When asked if Michigan has become a summer destination of celebration for Pearcy, he went down memory lane.

“I don’t mind being anywhere cool,” he quips. “Ratt in Michigan always had this cool thing. I remember doing some great festivals and outdoor gigs in ‘84/’85 and maybe even a little later. Great stuff. Michigan’s good to Ratt and Roll.”

Pearcy has performed in Bay City with Ratt as recently as 2008 at the former Dow River Roar, along with Jackyl and Dee Snider. Outside venues over the years seem to roll back the party memories for him in Michigan.

“Pine Knob – there ya go,” Pearcy laughed. “Those are great gigs. We loved it. We couldn’t wait to do those shows.”

Graphic courtesy of the Bay City Fireworks FestivalMoving into the business side of his music, Pearcy is happy to continue to deliver the catalog of Ratt, mixed with songs from his various solo albums. Having yet another generation opening up to the 1980’s hard rock culture, Pearcy envisions a wider spectrum for the former glam and hair entertainment decade.

“I do just what I normally do the last 50 years, 40 with my band Ratt,” he shares. “Time goes by (and) I’d rather be able to do other things. Hence I started the solo records, hence I started the independent label in ‘95, and it's all good. I’ve been wanting to get out my sixth solo record, which I’m frantically trying to do. I have one in the can. 

“But with my guys and the band, and with the history, I saw what was coming. A lot of our guys are a bunch of fallen soldiers, you know. Robbin (Crosby, original Ratt guitarist), this guy and that guy, and then you get Firehouse’s CJ (Snare, recent vocalist who passed away). Even the later guys. There’s only so much you can give, before, you know … Some people really don’t need to do it. I like what I do. I have no qualms.”

Pearcy was dropping clues about the business future of ‘80s celebrations he plans to curate during this phone interview a few weeks ago.

“I was (recently) doing this thing about hair metal,” he relates. “That (term) was only created a couple decades ago so people could totally identify those ‘80s groups! I embrace that. A lot of people ran from it for so long.

“Fortunately, I partnered with Kristi (Adair, Pearcy’s wife and Top Fuel Entertainment CEO) and we decided we’re going to turn this into something a little different while I’m doing this. I’m not going to do this forever, but I will always be in the business, hence (destination music site)”

Pearcy is putting his history and money into a bigger show idea next year, called the 1980s Sunset Strip Experience tour.

“The whole thing is, I’m embracing the ‘80s. It only rolled around once. We created the Sunset Strip Experience, which will unleash sometime next year. It was such an important decade and no one is really stepping up saying that. I can’t harp on my brothers like Dee (Snider, Twisted Sister vocalist) or whoever came around that time, or even Motley (Crue). So many other bands started that scene that never made it. Like in 1980, 1981 on the Strip.

The Sunset Strip Experience will celebrate the decade. 

“Sunset Strip Experience will be a residency experience. It’s hard to explain. But it’s going to bring you the realism. Literally, I’m going to walk you down the Sunset Strip in the metaverse world and you’re going to meet these icons and you’re going to go to the Whiskey or somewhere and watch some good concerts going down by some of the best cover bands or emulators, like the Yachtly Crue.

“You have so many cover bands out there, the Motley, Ratt – there’s a Japanese Ratt cover band that is great! Plenty of the Zeppelin’s, but I’m talking ‘80s, they are all over the place. You have these groups now that are the Steel Panther thing, cover everybody, and take on all the characters. That’s how important the ‘80s were. That’s entertainment.”

The popularity of the cover bands illustrates the musical successes of the decade.

“It’s an entertainment music entity that people can dig and we can really show them the ‘80s,” elaborates the vocalist. “My point is there are so many cover bands now from the ‘80s, (because) people want to hear it. But there’s still a bunch of those guys left. Unfortunately not all original guys, but it's showing you how important the ‘80s really was in the music scene, besides what it did for (record) labels.”

Pearcy plans to go viral in marketing the event by being authentic and offering hope to new bands.

“To me, it's getting out there for any new band trying to do their thing. Get out there and do it. Make it happen. Don’t worry and bitch about anybody else or anything. ‘Write it and own it,” and that’s another motto,” he laughs.

Pearcy did not slow his roll during the interview, explaining the bigger picture of his scene.

“But I still enjoy what I do. To me it's like exercise. You know, I’d rather be kickin’ by the lake with my dog, but I love hittin’ the asphalt. There’s nothing like it. I still get a charge out of it. Robbin would have appreciated it. We’ll see what happens later down the road with me playing with some of these guys,” he said.

“I decided, I can’t have that band with just a couple guys at this time. I’d rather do what I do, because I started the band, I still like it, I still have fun singing those songs and meeting the people. Our meet and greets are nuts. It’s like going back to the ‘80s. That’s what I dig about it. It’s like Halloween.”

Officially waving the flag of his era now, Pearcy has nothing but praise for all the Ratt worship that has come out over the past few decades.

“Robbin and I pretty much put Ratt together to have a good time, but we were serious about the music,” Pearcy insists. “That’s why some of these later guys, thrash bands or recently Anthrax played ‘Round and Round’ and I thought it was great! Well, why? Because we started out as a hard rock band with two amazing guitar players and they’re not overlooked. That means something to me.” 

The original line-up of Pearcy, the late-Crosby, Blotzer, bassist/backing vocalist Juan Croucier, and guitar great Warren DeMartini struck gold with singles like “Round and Round,” “Lay It Down,” ‘“Back For More,” “I Want A Woman,” among many others, setting the standard ahead of the Bon Jovi’s and Poison’s of the day.

“Nobody hated nobody back then. It was just part of ‘the game’ you know,” laughs Pearcy. “I mean we played shows at roller rinks with Metallica in 1981. So come on now. Robbin and I dared where many bands feared to go and I’ve always retained that motto. Nowadays our genre of people are older, they’ve got kids and even their frickin’ grandkids are even going to the shows – my shows. 

He loves when the kids love his music. “They’re going, ‘Wow, Dad, that’s good music.’ I get a kick out of that too.”

Pearcy has seen his star catapult back into the stratosphere once again since his road manager, Jason Green, has a hugely popular YouTube channel dedicated to tours with Pearcy and band, called Waste Some Time With Jason Green.

“That comes with loyalty and friendship,” Pearcy stated. “It’s an interesting business. If you can get control of it, you’re good. You can’t take it seriously, but it is called the music business for a reason. I've never forgotten that. (People see) ‘Well they are having a great time!’ Well, you still got to think business at the end of the day and hopefully have somebody in your corner that’s thinking the same. Which we have with Top Entertainment (and) Kristi running the whole other marketing end of that.”

With the birthday boy still highly motivated, in great shape and of perfect voice, he’s looking forward to meeting all his fans in Bay City, for the big birthday party.

“The meet and greets, we are not 20 feet away standing on a pedestal,” he says. “We’re right in your face. Show me the tattoo! One of my friends had a tattoo of Sammy Hagar on his hands. I called (Sammy) up right there, took a picture and go, ‘Sammy, check this out!’ Sammy actually sent a video back for the person that was at my meet and greet, going ‘Thank you man! Thank you so much. I appreciate that!’ That’s how cool Sammy is."
Pearcy wants to share his sound and meet and greets with the younger generation digging into the ‘80s for the fireworks.

“Especially when they bring their kids!,” he enthuses. “They introduce them and (the kids) are tripped out! They can’t believe this existed.”

“And I’m trying to get a race car out there too by the end of the year that will fly the Ratt banner. Go to and everything you can think of but your underwear – but maybe that is there too. All the dates and more to come.”
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Read more articles by Scott Baker.

Scott spent time freelance writing/photography for The Bay City Times and Saginaw News from 1997-2014. He was picked to cover local entertainment before graduating from Delta College, landing cover stories a handful of times. During that time, Scott worked as a head cook for four different restaurants over a 34-year stretch. Married with twins, Scott has freelanced for magazines and blogs as well and continues to photograph, mainly for social media. Taking his own music to the masses in 1999, Scott has put records with his band Muddy Gumbo and his sixth solo record, Purpose, was released in 2023. He frequently plays statewide solo acoustic and with his Scott Baker Band. Scott has enjoyed opening for the likes of CCR, Styx, Blackberry Smoke, Bettye LaVette, Popa Chubby, 3 Days Grace, and more. Scott has recorded/performed with the late Dick Wagner, Adam Levy, Larry McCray, Bob Hausler, Mike Brush, Jeff Yantz, and many others. Scott currently is a Job Developer for local non-profit Do All, Inc, operates a music studio between the shows, and continues entertainment and beyond writing for Route Bay City.