Although the heyday of the Sunset Strip glam rock scene began over 40 years ago, it never quite ended. Proof of that is the 80’s Rock Invasion show that took place at a nearly full Mohegan Sun Arena on January 20. The show featured Stephen Pearcy, the voice of Ratt, Quiet Riot, Vixen, and Riley’s LA Guns. While the names may be familiar, it should be noted that none of the bands features more than one member from their glory days.
Riley’s LA Guns is an offshoot of the original band and shouldn’t be confused with the Phil Lewis/Tracii Guns-led version. Drummer Steve Riley, who was part of the classic LA Guns lineup before forming his version of the band, sadly passed away this past October. The band, featuring classic LA Guns member Kelly Nickles (bass), chose to still play the show as a tribute to Steve. The lineup is rounded out with singer Kurt Frohlich and guitarist (and one-time LA Guns Member) Scott Griffin.
Vixen saw big sucess with their self-titled 1988 debut and it’s follow-up Rev It Up. Drummer Roxy Petrucci is the only member left from that era. She is now joined by Lorraine Lewis (ex-Femme Fatale) on vocals, Brit Lightning on guitar and Julia Lage on bass. In addition to the classics, the band added a new single “Red” into the setlist.
It can be arugued that no band was more responsible for ushering in the 80’s LA rock movement than Quiet Riot. Their classic record Metal Health is considered the first heavy metal album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts. Rudy Sarzo, bassist from that classic era, is the only remaining member left from the band’s most successful period. Guitarist Alex Grossi, a South Windsor, CT native playing a hometown show, has been with the band since 2004 while vocalist Jizzy Pearl, in his second stint with the band, has been frontman since 2019. Johnny Kelly took over for late drummer Frankie Banali in 2020.
Stephen Pearcy was the original and classic voice of Ratt. While this was a Pearcy solo performance, it was billed as the Back In The Cellar tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Ratt record Out of the Cellar. It is a shame that the remaining members of Ratt’s classic era can’t get together for this tour, but Pearcy is more than capabile of reminding us of how great these songs were. Pearcy is joined by guitarists Johnny Monaco and Erik Ferentinos, bassist Matt Thorne, and drummer Scott Coogan.
Nostalgia always makes for a fun night. While the current versions of these band may not be the ones we saw back in their heyday, the songs are the same and that’s what matters. These are the songs that were playing during all the important events of our childhood so even as members come and go, the songs and the bands will always hold a special place.