This Just In: Ratt at the Ogden, the Scorpions at 1st Bank and Bret Michaels at the Grizzly Rose -- wait, what year is this again?

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Okay, so I'm not sure why you, me or anyone else, frankly, would remotely give a crap -- or ahem, a Ratt's ass, if you will -- but Ratt evidently has a new album out. It's called Infestation (of course it is), and for whatever reason (ennui? morbid curiousity?), I'm sitting shotgun in the wayback machine right now, listening to it. I'm halfway through, and you wanna know what -- fucker's actually pretty solid.

Granted, that's probably because it sounds EXACTLY like vintage Ratt from the Out of the Cellar/Invasion of Your Privacy days, almost like the past two decades never happened. Come to think of it, though, that's kind of the point here, right?

That's precisely how you want your Ratt, isn't it -- and, for that matter, your AC/DCs and your Scorpions (due at 1st Bank Center on August 17, who also have a new record that sounds more or less like the last 25 albums) and your Bostons and so forth? Invention in these cases, is almost always completely ill-advised and often fatal.

In case you haven't heard, Stephen Pearcy is back in the band alongside original members, Bobby Blotzer and Warren DiMartini, and latter-era bassist Robbie Crane and newbie (if the term even applies here) Carlos Cavazo of Quiet Riot. And they'll be stopping by the Ogden Theatre on May 19, to release said record. Tickets for that one go on sale this Saturday, April 17 at 10 a.m. (Dudes from Brighton named Romero are completely stoked, we presume -- and oddly, so am I.)

Now it's easy to get all sanctimonious about this shit. This particular brand and era of metal hasn't aged all that well, but again, that's kind of the point. And fact is, it still has a devoted audience (see the Rock N America Fest) -- which is undoubtedly why Roadrunner Records (the new Koch?) picked the band up, we imagine.

The puzzling part of this equation, however, the thing that perpetually baffles us, is why some bands can still sell out arenas (Bon Jovi) and amphitheatres (Poison), while others (Winger, Bulletboys) are inexplicably relegated to the county fair circuit and/or suburban strip mall gigs.

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In Bon Jovi's case, the answer most likely lies with the band's sage decision to tap Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland for a duet on "Who Says You Can't Go Home," which, of course, allowed the act to cross over into mainstream country, thus attracting an entirely new audience -- a shrewd move on the part of any aging rocker (right, Darius Rucker?).

For its part, Poison has managed to remain in the spotlight thanks Bret Michaels and his seemingly never ending forays into reality television. Now admittedly, there's holes in this theory, when you think about it. By this logic, you would assume that the increased visibility would naturally translate to Michaels' solo career. Not so much. Poison, it seems, is a package deal.

Case in point: Although his band has played Fiddler's Green several times in recent years, on his own, Michaels has performed at notably smaller venues such as the Bluebird and the Grizzly Rose, where he's due in the next few weeks.

Go figure.

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