Wanted, Asleep or Awake


Year: 1984

Song: “Wanted Man,” by Ratt

So, I’m going through these videos mostly chronologically, for reasons and for science, and sometimes I absolutely know I’m going to write about a particular video, and other times I watch Metal Mania or poke through Youtube, unearthing treasures. And what a treasure I have unearthed here. I had never even heard “Wanted Man” before, because I got food poisoning the night I was supposed to see Stephen Pearcy at the Whisky, which is a sentence that takes place in 2016, not 1983.

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Waldenbooks! Record store signings! These things really happened, kids!

The video opens with a concert crowd cheering, a shot of the band taking a bow, a cut to a tour bus, fans mobbing the group, reiterations of how famous they are now, some bus antics. I have literally no idea what Stephen is eating here, and it’s probably better that way.

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Anchovy? Gummy worm? Earring?

As any astute observer of hair metal videos would tell you, all of these images add up to one thing: power ballad. The title doesn’t exactly scream “ballad,” but if Bon Jovi can write not one, but two western-themed anthems, why can’t the boys from Ratt?

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But then the bus takes a turn, and so does the video. This is an M. Night Shyamalan-level plot twist.

That’s right. They stumbled into a western. And no one is more excited that Bobby Blotzer. Has anyone ever flexed upon declaring that an establishment is a saloon before?

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To prevent overheating, keep one pec exposed at all times.

It turns out that this is the type of town that lets rock stars cosplay cowboys, which is pretty cool of them, I guess. They even make posters. True fact: “Ratt gang” is actually in the lyrics. Do with that what you will; I’m just the messenger but I’m 100% not dropping the scare quotes.

Just look at this. I want an oral history of how this video concept came to be. What was the motivation behind a 2 MINUTE open? Who did the costumes? How many takes were required to get Robbin to spit like a cowboy? Did they know how to ride horses? Statistically, at least one of them had to be terrified of horses! Was it Warren?

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I guess this town is like colonial Williamsburg in that they have people dressed up as locals so the “Ratt gang” can have their true cowboy experience. From what I can tell, this job involves playing cards, making out in the saloon, and being dusty.

Either the gang is so potent they start a bar fight just by standing in the doorway of the saloon, or this is like the last cowboy fantasy experience of the day and the locals are tired and want to go home. Maybe Dokken was there earlier that day and made a mess, IDK.

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This is intercut with some extended footage of the band playing, which is fine and all, and it’s always cool to see Robbin on the guitar, but at this point I’m getting nervous because we’re four and a half minutes into this video and we’ve yet to see an Awkward Stephen Pearcy Leg Kick. We do make a very quick trip to No Man Is An Island So I Will Simulate Playing a Guitar territory, though:

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So the final act of Wild West Fantasy Camp is a good old fashioned shootout, and the locals do an excellent job keeping straight faces before letting the “Ratt gang” win.

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BUT THEN. Twist #2! We’re back in the saloon and Bobby’s falling off his chair and the guys rush over except for Warren who’s all, jeez Bobby, we can’t take you anywhere about it. And Bobby comes to, and he’s all you were there, and you and it’s turns out this whole thing was a dream. Like, the bus just took a wrong turn and the driver had to stop and get directions, and Bobby napped up this confection. I guess a town that lets you pretend to be a cowboy really was too good to be true.

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This would be a reasonably satisfying conclusion to the video, but wait, there’s more! Suddenly, we’re back on the bus, where Robbin jolts awake and hold on here…is it…good god, that’s Twist #3’s music! It wasn’t just a dream, guys.

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It was a dream within a dream.

Which, if you think about it, explains the lack of Awkward High Kicks. It takes a real friend to dream you at your least embarrassing.

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