Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bang Your Head! Quiet Riot Lives!

Quiet Riot, best known for their 1983 release Metal Health, the first debut heavy metal album to ever achieve #1 on the Billboard chart in the US, is still alive and well (no pun intended on their 1999 album Alive and Well) in 2014.

Quiet Riot's Quiet Riot 10, 2014
The band quietly unleashed their new studio/live offering titled Quiet Riot 10 on June 27, 2014.  For this outing drummer Frankie Banali is joined by bassist Chuck Wright, guitarist Alex Grossi and after a revolving door of vocalists we find Jizzy Pearl leading the group.  Quiet Riot 10's album artwork is not overly awe inspiring, featuring what looks like a solid steel prison cell door over the man with the metal face from the Terrified album cover.  Actually their twelfth studio recording, one can only assume that the first two releases have not been counted being as they were only issued in Japan, the album leads off with "Rock in Peace".  Aside from the sound recording or production being a little dull "Rock in Peace" is a track that perfectly captures the spirit of the Metal Health era thanks in part to Pearl's soaring vocals.  Next is the adrenaline charged "Bang For Your Buck" before the grinding riffs of the excellent "Backside of Water", a song that has been in my head for days after hearing it.  The dull sound of the recording seems to have lifted somewhere along the line and I was air drumming (no knowledge of how to drum, so basically just waving my hands in the air as I sit in front of the computer) before long.  "Back on You"'s gang vocal chorus and showcase of the talents of Pearl and
Quiet Riot's Terrified, 1993
Grossi keeps the pace going on this album that seems to just get better and better as it goes forward.  The bluesy feelings of "Band Down" take us through to "Dogbone Alley" and is another that I could easily hear on the Metal Health record.  The final four tracks of the album are live recordings from the last recorded performances of Kevin DuBrow before his death in 2007.  A spirited version of QR III's "Put Up or Shut Up" starts off the quartet followed by "Free" and "South of Heaven", both originally found on 2006's Rehab album.  The final track is over nine minutes of "Rock 'n' Roll Medley" containing a compilation of songs including Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love".  The whole album plays well and is a pleasant surprise but simply over too soon.  Quiet Riot 10 is a great start but hopefully there's more in the tank from this rejuvenated and reborn Quiet Riot band.

Frankie Banali on MORC 2014-photo by Brian Ronald
The band has been through many line up changes and derailments throughout their career that began back in the early 70's with a roster of guitarist Randy Rhoads, bassist Kelly Garni drummer Drew Forsyth and vocalist Kevin DuBrow.  This version issued two albums that were only available in Japan, 1977's Quiet Riot (QR I) and 1978's Quiet Riot II (QR II).  It was after this in 1979 that Randy Rhoads would move on to join Ozzy Osbourne and be killed in a plane crash while on tour in 1982.  The Metal Health era of the band includes guitarist Carlos Cavazo, bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Frankie Banali joining DuBrow to form the most well known lineup.  Condition Critical followed but did not reach the same degree of success as its predecessor and with DuBrow's tirades in the press and media, Sarzo left the outfit.  Bassist Chuck Wright, who actually recorded on Metal Health) was brought in for 1986's QR III, which is actually their fifth album, but only third international release.  1988 saw the release of Quiet Riot (sometimes referred to as QR IV) with DuBrow being replaced by Rough Cutt's Paul Shortino.  None of these releases after Metal Health lived up to the critical or commercial
Jizzy Pearl on MORC 2014-photo by Brian Ronald
 sucess of that album and the band disbanded in 1989.  By 1993 DuBrow, Banali and Cavazo were back together and issuing Terrified with Kenny Hillery on bass.  Chuck Wright had returned before long and 1995 saw the release of Down to the Bone but by 1999's Alive & Well Sarzo was back to re-creating the classic era lineup that also issued 2001's Guilty Pleasures.  After another breakup and revolving door of players Quiet Riot came out with Rehab in 2006 featuring bassist Tony Franklin and guitarist Neil Citron joining Dubrow and Banali this time around.  Sadly this would be the final album with vocalist Kevin DuBrow as he was found dead from a cocaine overdose on November 25, 2007.  At that time Banali stated that it was the end of Quiet Riot, but with the blessing of DuBrow's mother Quiet Riot is once again Alive & Well and thank God for that!

Meister, Frankie & the Quiet Riot cup
I have a personal history with Quiet Riot as I'm sure that many my age do.  The '45 single for "Cum On Feel the Noize" was an early addition to my collection and the Metal Health and QR III vinyls were among my very first album purchases.  In 1983 a Canadian convenience store issued plastic collector "rock cups" free with the purchase of a large slushie, Metal Health being an easy choice for me over Huey Lewis' Sports and Men At Work's Business As Usual.  I finally got to see Quiet Riot live during a stop in Toronto on the Terrified tour and much of their music, especially Metal 
Mr. Wright points out Meister's tattoo
Health, QR III and Condition Critical helped to shape my life and musical tastes.  The Quiet Riot logo also appears in my full sleeve tattoo, depicting a guitar case stickered with the logos of about 25 of my favorite bands.  I again saw Quiet Riot in 2013 when they stopped in Toronto, that time fronted by Scott Voukoun and then together with Pearl they gave two emotional and stellarly rocking shows aboard 2014's Monsters of Rock Cruise.  On the cruise I was able to meet both Frankie Banali (he'd never seen the cup before) and Chuck Wright, both were extremely fan friendly and a pleasure to talk to.  It's time once again to "bang they head"!

The Meister

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