One of the blessings that comes with maturity is the confidence to tell the unvarnished truth, and in this classic rock interview to mark the fortieth anniversary of her #1-selling third album Precious Time , Pat Benatar makes a series of eyebrow-raising revelations here In the Studio .” It went platinum (1,000,000 sales ) in thirteen days,” Pat Benatar states matter-of-factly while she and hubby/ musical director Neil Giraldo reminisce In the Studio about her explosive third album, Precious Time, as it headed rapidly to the top-selling perch in America by Augus 1981. There are some powerful perennials on her best-charting collection, including the timeless tortured love rockers “Promises in the Dark” and “Fire and Ice”, no doubt delivered with complete conviction as Pat was just attempting to rebound from a bad first marriage as she was falling in love with her new guitar player. But the real story wasn’t between the sheets.
“You gotta understand, I was twenty-seven years old, I came off a few years of a very bad relationship, was around a lot of girlfriends who went through hell with (abusive) men. You have to understand that I grew up with the Women’s Movement. I was ready to stretch and flex. I was happenin’ ! (chuckles) So I would inflict serious injury if a guy gave me a lot of crap.” When husband Neil Giraldo recoils in mock horror, Pat quickly adds,” But I’ve mellowed, you see. But I’ve learned to put the glove on the fist. Except I always think that I’m big!” she blurted out in laughter,”I always think that I’m big, I do! When you’re a little person, when you got pushed around on the playground, that makes you into something else that big people don’t have to deal with. And it wasn’t limited to men, it was people in general.” It is important at this point to remind you of just how much the business of pop music has changed over the Precious Time of forty summers since Pat, identified by the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock’n’Roll as “the most popular female rocker in the Eighties”, earned that accolade. “That was when we were doing twelve, even fourteen months (touring). During In the Heat of the Night we did fourteen months in a row. It was nuts. But that was old way. That’s what you did. There was no MTV. You had to expose what you were doing to everybody and that’s how you did it. I look back on it nowadays and I think, ‘Oh man, that purple zebra leotard. What was I thinking ?!”
According to Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, those who were supposedly on her management and record company team chose sexploitation as a business plan. “Redbeard, you gotta understand, in ’81 the record company was airbrushing ( her photos) ,” Neil says exasperatedly,” They were airbrushing…”
“My clothes off !” Benatar blurts out.
“You’re talking about management and the record company,” Giraldo continued,”that she really couldn’t do anything! We were trying to make records, and they were telling us what we can and can’t do, and would play both ends against the middle.”
“What happened was that I had a record company and a management group who refused to be open-minded,” Pat pointed out.”It was a constant battle with them. I was already gone (figuratively) by the time this record came out. By the time this came out, I was already moving to another place. Except that they weren’t letting me. And at that time they still had control, they had contractual control. I didn’t have a choice at that time. And that was when I said, ‘You can do anything you want, but you can’t make me make records. And if you don’t let me make the kinds of records that I want to make, I WON”T make them anymore.” –Redbeard