Back For More – The R.I.P. Series

Robbin Crosby

Date of Death: June 6, 2002
Cause Of Death: Heroine Overdose

Like many of the local bands that I would see as a teen, Ratt had emerged victorious – growing from a local, unsigned band to one of the biggest arena rock bands in history. I saw Ratt climb to stardom, step-by-step…it was a great time for Metal and Hard Rock.

Robbin Crosby teamed up with Ratt in 1982 and was a major force in Ratt’s songwriting and hit songs. Round And Round, Back For More, Lay It Down – all Crosby’s handiwork. There was always a rumor floating around that we used to hear back in those days; that Crosby’s band-mate Warren DeMartini seemed to get more attention and more praise than Crosby, regardless of the fact that Robbin Crosby wrote so many of the bands hit songs. This rumor is what eventually led Crosby down the dark and lonely road of drug addiction.

Crosby truly lived the rock and roll lifestyle that everyone has read about and soon became a habitual heroine user. Despite the drug use, Crosby always remained a sweet and soft-spoken person, dedicated and appreciative of his fans. Eventually his heroine use became much more severe and was seriously affecting his playing on stage, eventually forcing Crosby to exit Ratt. In early 2001, Robbin Crosby publicly announced that he had full-blown AIDS. A year later he was found dead of a heroin overdose, not AIDS as many believe.

Unfortunately, my last memory of Robbin Crosby is not a happy one. I was walking out of a now defunct comic book shop named The Fantastic Store on Highland in Hollywood. As I walked to my car, I saw Robbin – in the alley adjacent to the parking lot, scoring heroin from some filthy dealer. Robbin had lost everything to heroin – his family, his career, his home, his belongings. He looked horrible, the man who was fondly referred to as “King” was dirty and had put on massive amounts of weight. Shortly after this, “King” was gone. It was very saddening for me to see one of my teen heroes like this. It is an image that I don’t think I will ever be able to forget.

Photographed with my old Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm f 5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

6 Responses to “Back For More – The R.I.P. Series”

  1. Andy Tuba Says:

    While I purchased practically all the early albums, up through 86’s “Dancing Undercover”. I thought it was mostly Pearcy/Di Martini doing a majority of the songwriting. I am educated once again on the past. Either way this is tragic; from the outside it appears they have it all. But it’s seldom what they really need.


    If you have some time and are/were a fan of Robbin and RATT, or just looking for the shocking and disturbing end of a talented man, read the above.

    hard drugs suck.

  3. hey man i am a big robbin crosby fan!!! justw ondering what year was it that you saw robbin at that comic book store cheers? just curious. BTW does anyone know what robbin was doing after ratt, and when he ended up on the streets because i have heard some disturbing stories about this cheers.

  4. Wow thanks for sharing that link Tom. What a personal and private thing to share, I feel I got a glimpse of the private hell Robbin went through, along with his friend. I was involved with an addict for 6 years myself. It’s so hard to watch. It’s a private hell that is hard to escape from. I hope he is free and happy now. His spirit lives on.

  5. BTW I met the guys from Ratt when their first album was being released, they did a meet and greet at a Tower Records in El Toro, California. I remember thinking they were short and skinny looking little guys. Then, at the end of the row, there was the man. King. He was probably just trying to get people to come to the show I figured, but he said if I would come he would put my name on the guest list. I didn’t believe him and said I had to babysit. He said, “Aw, can’t you get out of it, please? Come watch us play! (Seriously he sounded like he was begging!)Give me your name and number and I’ll make sure you get on the list.” Nope, no way I could get out of it. The thing was, I was 5 months pregnant, and just wasn’t showing much yet! =) Still, I remember that day fondly, he made me feel so special, even if it was just to get tickets sold.

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