Robbin Crosby Journal 2000-2002 Written by: Curt Dudley, July 2002
I have been waiting for the right time to let some of this out. I have struggled with it since the day Robbin died. I wanted to express some of it publicly June 14th 2002, at Robbin's memorial service, but the pain was still too much to bear...I felt I would fall apart in front of the 200 odd people (mostly strangers to me) there...so I just stood frozen on the beach & didn't say anything.
I met Robbin through Photographer Neil Zlozower. I had gone to Neil in search of some professional photos of Robbin in action with his cherished Jackson Guitars. I am a guitar collector and had acquired a few of Robbin's guitars and I REALLY wanted some good shots of 'The King' from the glory days of RATT with the guitars I now own....just makes having them that much more personal & special.
In talking with Neil he mentioned 'Hey, Robbin is in the hospital just a few miles from here...I bet he'd sign these prints for you and in any case I know he would appreciate the company, just take him a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps if you go'. Hmmm....I took down the address & went the next day. Armed with a few prints, a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps and a silver pen, I went to see Robbin.
Meeting a King 'Do I know you....????' Is the first thing he said to me. He had that characteristic "King" tone in his voice. After explaining why I was there, we got to talking. Just some small talk & some superficial talk of the '80's & RATT. I was there about an hour and something happened to me that day...I left there with a new appreciation for life. Here was this giant of a man lying there unable to walk or even to sit up (he had just had major back surgery) and obviously in a lot of pain and very lonely...yet he was willing to talk with someone he didn't even know. When I got up to leave he says ...'Hey, nice to meet you, would you mind visiting me every once in awhile'. I promised I would. I left there without any autographs...I just didn't have the heart to ask.
I was not prepared for the wild ride of emotions I would experience over the next 2 years. I learned a LOT about what is important in life from this gentle giant. I'll put them in sort of Diary form & only quote Robbin where I remember EXACTLY what he said. They are just snapshots of things I remember and only meant to offer some insight into the last years of his extraordinary life...
Robbin on Spirituality: One day we started talking about Religion and Spirituality & he gave me his thoughts. "I wouldn't consider myself religious, per se, I would say I'm more spiritual." He explained it more in terms of 'Karma' and a 'natural flow' of things in the universe. I asked him 'So do you believe in god ...or not?' He said "I don't know, but one thing is for sure...You & I ain't drivin' the boat!' ...Classic King.
Robbin on RATT: We talked often, naturally, about RATT & his thoughts about success, his bandmates & life the road. He had a lot to say about his bandmates...not all of it good . He would say 'Listen to the EP...that's the real RATT...we just got too polished after that." He loved Warren, "He's like my little brother" but he felt that Warren didn't respect his playing after RATT had attained some success. As for Bobby, I asked him one day "If you could have ANY drummer play with you on your new project...who would it be?" His answer: "Blotz....he's the best there is." What did he think of Pearcy? "Pearcy is a punk and only cares for himself....he can't even sing in key live...we had a lot of problems with that on tour." Juan was his favorite bass player and a very close & dear friend....although they did have their differences.
El Paso '96 and War Party: In 1996 Robbin was living in El Paso Texas with his girlfriend, Jolie Gregory's, family. He had left LA to, in his words, "go & get well." He was using heroin heavily and things had not gone well for him, as a result, since he had left RATT. He accepted an invitation to go there and spend some time with Jolie's family and just get away from LA for awhile. While living in El Paso he started playing again...In a COUNTRY band!!! An all original 'up-tempo' country rock band It was called 'Bill & Kev and War Party' . I've never seen anything funnier or cool at the same time. I have the video from a Sept. '96 gig. The King onstage with War Party at a local joint. Robbin seems rather subdued at first but then after he warms up a bit, he proceeds to just RIP the most killer lead guitar through these country songs!! Picture Jimi Hendrix playing lead through a Travis Tritt song and you have the idea. Also in the video can be seen his beloved black labrador 'Rosie' mingling with the crowd. At one point during a song the singer can be heard saying 'Ladies & gentlemen, Mr. Robbin Crosby' as Robbin begins a BLISTERING lead!! The crowd is just dumbstruck and looks as if they've NEVER heard anything like that before ...at least not in a country song! Robbin was very proud of this band...not because of the quality of music or talent...but because it allowed him to regain some lost dignity & start playing live again. He said he was forever indebted to Jolie's family for helping him get back on his feet & getting him in contact with the local El Paso music scene.
The Ill fated 1996 Reunion: At some point in late 1996 he got a call from either ( I can't remember which) Warren or Stephen..."Get your ass back here, we're putting RATT back together." Robbin was extremely excited about the prospect of getting back to LA & putting the band back together. He sold most of his belongings in order to travel light and start fresh in LA. He boarded a plane for LA carrying only the clothes he had and a few carry on items. The night he arrived he met Stephen at a club to talk and immediately got a strange vibe from him. They talked but Stephen seemed distant and cold. He spent the night at a friends house & met Warren the next day for lunch...he got the same vibe from Warren. Frustrated, he finally asked "What is going on ...we're gonna do this , right?'' He said Warren said something about "Well... maybe we'll let you play on a few songs on the record." Robbin said 'What the FUCK??? LET ME play on a few songs??? I just sold all my shit to move back here to do this!!" Needless to say the reunion didn't happen. I asked Robbin "Well Why? What happened?" He started to tear up and said that they thought he was "too fat and was still using drugs." He was devastated and felt betrayed BUT...in typical Robbin fashion... he was realistic about it. He said "Well I WAS overweight & still using...so I could understand it."