Quiet Riot was formed in May 1975 by longtime childhood friends Randy Rhoads and Kelly Garni, along with vocalist Kevin DuBrow. Kevin came up with the name of the band which was a bit of a joke. Kevin's friend and Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt's pronunciation of "quite right" with his heavy British accent came out sounding like "quiet riot". Apparently DuBrow found this amusing and suggested it as a name for the band. Another name that was chosen was Little Woman. After releasing two albums in Japan in the 1970's, Randy Rhoads was snapped up by Ozzy Osbourne while DuBrow attempted to start up a band called DuBrow. After Randy recorded the first Ozzy album in England he returned home for a short while and Quiet Riot performed several reunion shows at the Starwood in Hollywood with Dokken. Randy was soon off to tour with Ozzy and Quiet Riot was basically left for dead. Following Rhoads' death in a plane crash on March 19, 1982, DuBrow attempted to reform Quiet Riot. None of the other original members were interested as Kelly Garni had basically given up on music and Drew Forsyth just wasn't interested in continuing the band without Randy. Instead, DuBrow recruited Carlos Cavazo as lead guitarist, Rudy Sarzo rejoined the band on bass, and Rudy's friend, drummer Frankie Banali, completed the lineup. In September 1982, with a little help from producer Spencer Proffer, they were signed to CBS records in America. On March 11, 1983, their American debut album Metal Health was released. The first single, a cover of Slade's "Cum On Fell the Noize" became a hugely successful single and spent two weeks at #5 on the Billboard charts. The success of the single helped carry "Metal Health" to the top of Billboard pop album charts, making it the first American heavy metal debut album to ever reach #1 in the USA. A #1 album and a top 5 single was unheard of for a heavy metal band in 1983. They were never able to duplicate that album's success, though they remained a popular live act for some time.
For many years they were an on-again, off-again item, under various lineups, until 1999, at which time the classic Metal Health lineup came back together. During that time, bassist Kenny Hillery, who played on "Terrified" passed away from apparent suicide. That version survived until September 2003, when they announced their (presumably) final breakup. However, the duo of Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali decided to work together once again, and with a couple of hired guns in tow, recorded Rehab in 2006. Many have said it's the bands best since "Metal Health". Unfortunately Quiet Riot frontman Kevin DuBrow was found dead at his home on Sunday, Nov. 25th. Kevin was 55 years old at the time of his death.
Quiet Riot - Quiet Riot I/Quiet Riot II 1977/1978
Quiet Riot's first two albums featured the guitar talents of Randy Rhoads, who of course went on to fame with Ozzy Osbourne and then later was immortalized by his death in a plane crash. These early Quiet Riot recordings are much different than their first American major label debut which helped skyrocket them to success in 1983. Quiet Riot started off life as an American pomp band heavily influenced by British bands like Slade and Sweet, as well as bands like Montrose and Humble Pie. In other words, early Quiet Riot were a mixture of pop rock and good old American heavy metal. The band's debut was basically recorded live in the studio and contains many of Randy's earliest stabs at writing. The production is very week, even for 1970's standards. It is reported that even Randy Rhoads himself was unhappy with the final product here. The guitars were not recorded properly and are buried to far back in the mix. However, even if the production had been better, the song writing wasn't quite there yet. Kevin DuBrow had not yet developed as a singer or songwriter, and even Randy himself was young and new to the game. "Quiet Riot II" features far superior song writing, has a slightly more glam rock sound and is my favorite of the two albums. Rockers like "Eye for an Eye," "Trouble," and the ballad "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" are all standout tracks. "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" is actually a Small Faces cover. The immediately likable "Slick Black Cadillac", with it's catchy sing along chorus is easily one of vocalist Kevin DuBrow's best compositions. This song would be re-recorded in 1983 for "Metal Health" and become a hit for the band. This song is the only song from these two albums that carried over into the band's more successful years in the 1980's. It's also interesting to note that despite the fact that Rudy Sarzo is pictured on the front cover of "Quiet Riot II", the bass parts were all played by original bassist and longtime friend of Randy Rhoads, Kelly Garni.
Unfortunately, neither of these albums saw an official release in the U.S. that I am aware of, despite the popularity of "Metal Health" in '83 and the fact that both albums were good sellers in Japan in the late 70's. Quiet Riot were a hugely popular Los Angeles band, selling out each and every time they played, yet they never could score a major label deal, although it was rumored that they almost were signed to Casablanca Records several times in the 70's. Once Van Halen came onto the scene in the late 70's, Quiet Riot became known as the other L.A. band. This was a shame as Randy was a diamond in the rough and certainly didn't take a back seat to anyone. You would think that with the success of Van Halen, that Quiet Riot would have been a natural pick-up, but the band's label woes continued. The band did sign with Buddah Records, for which the debut was recorded for. Unfortunately nothing ever came of this contract as Buddah Records was having financial problems. Instead the band's management went to Japan, who were hungry for American music. The band ended up signing with CBS/Sony and releasing these two albums in the Japanese market, but never were able to tour to support them. Instead the band forged ahead with plans for a third record until Randy was talked into going to an audition for Ozzy Osbourne by his friend Dana Strum (Slaughter). Several riffs from some of these early Quiet Riot songs would also show up on some of Ozzy's early material. Portions of Ozzy's "Goodbye to Romance" came from the Quiet Riot numbers "Teenage Anthem" and "Laughing Gas". ("Laughing Gas" while not appearing on either of these two albums did make an appearance on the 1993 collection "Quiet Riot - The Randy Rhoads Years".) The main riff to "Suicide Solution" was taken from one of Randy's early Quiet Riot numbers titled "Force of Habit". The rest is history.
This two disc set I have is a bootleg, recorded directly from the Japanese vinyl releases and contains both albums plus a ton of bonus material on disc two. The bonus material is all very rough, and quite frankly not something anyone is going to spend much time listening to. These tracks are an interesting look into the band's history. Although a few tracks from Quiet Riot's first two albums have been released on a 1993 compilation titled "Quiet Riot - The Randy Rhoads Years", these two albums really deserve to be officially released.
Some years ago I went to see one of the most memorable concerts I have ever seen. The band I went to see was Black Sabbath with Ian Gillan behind the mic. Opening that show was a band that was blowing down doors with their brand of headbanging heavy metal; Quiet Riot! Anyhow, it was my first exposure to the band other than the radio hits that were playing at the time. "Metal Health" is actually quite a good album and caused quite a stir in the early 80's helping to change the music scene radically. "Cum on Feel the Noize", a Slade cover, was a huge hit, as was the title track (also known as "Bang Your Head"). "Thunderbird" is dedicated to Randy Rhoads, who used to play in the band before this album came out. Of course Randy went on to join Ozzy Osbourne.
Ultimatum recorded a heavy cover of "Metal Health" on their "Lex Metalis" CD as a tribute to Kevin DuBrow
Quiet Riot - Condition Critical (Epic) 1984
1. "Sign of the Times"
How do you follow-up a super successful record? You follow it up with a record that is almost a carbon copy of that record. For a short time, Quiet Riot ruled the rock and roll world. They broke heavy metal into the mainstream with "Metal Health". The record contained a monster, sing-along, anthem as well as hugely successful Slade cover. Well, Conditional Critical attempts to repeat this success, although isn't nearly as successful. Even the album cover and title echoes back to "Metal Health". Shoot, they even do another Slade cover here, which coincidentally did become a hit for the band. It's not that Condition Critical is bad. In fact, the record is well produced and sounds good. Guitiarist Carlos lays down some choice leads, and the rhythm team of Rudy Sarzo (bass) and Frankie Banali (drums) are perfectly in sync. The problem lies in the fact that the songs aren't as immediately catchy. It's almost as if the band was trying too hard to recreate "Metal Health" rather than just progressing as they had been doing since their first album in the late 70's. "Sign of the Times", had it been on "Metal Health", may have been a hit. It's actually one of the better tracks on the album, although it is very similar to the song "Metal Health". Track two is the Slade cover which was released as the first single from this album. After this there is nothing that really stands out in my mind. Over the years, whenever I am in the mood for some Quiet Riot, I tend to put on "Metal Health", one of the Randy Rhoads albums or even some of their obscure 90's stuff. Rarely do I break out this record. It's a shame as Quiet Riot had real potential. If this album had been a bit heavier and the band had taken more time to refine the songs, I think "Condition Critical" could have ruled and Quiet Riot could have stayed on top of the heavy metal heap instead of plummeting down.
Quiet Riot - III (Pasha) 1986
I found this disc for a couple of bucks and decided to give it a try. I mean, how bad could it be? I enjoy a good 80's pop metal album. Well, this disc may have been recorded in the 80's and it may be pop metal, but whether it is "good 80's pop metal" is debatable. The album is loaded with bluesy songs that sound like Whitesnake. Tracks like album opener "Stay With Me Tonight" and the ballad "Run to You" are blatant attempts to cash in on Whitesnake's recent rise in popularity only a year earlier. Vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt) pulls off the David Coverdale hiss quite well, in my opinion. However, the real problem with this disc is that the songs themselves lack any memorable lyrics and melodies. I should make mention that Kevin Dubrow would have sounded ridiculous singing on songs like "Stay With Me Tonight" and "Callin' the Shots" but without him in the band, this disc sounds very little like Quiet Riot. He may not have been the greatest vocalist in the world, but he did have a certain style and charisma that gave Quiet Riot their charm. The guitar solo/instrumental is cool. Quiet Riot 88 is certainly not a total waste of plastic, but not the band's best either.
Quiet Riot - Terrified (Moonstone) 1993
1. "Cold Day in Hell"
Quiet Riot reunites with vocalist Kevin DuBrow, who in all honesty defines this band's sound. Together with guitarist Carlos Cavazo, bassist Kenny Hillery and drummer Frankie Banali they create what is most certainly the heaviest Quiet Riot album to date. There are several excellent tracks, including the slow, plodding "Loaded Gun", "Cold Day In Hell" and "Little Angel". "Rude Boy" reminds me of the Quiet Riot of old and is one of the few songs here that have that anthem feel to it. I also think the acoustic Small Faces cover of "Itchycoo Park" is well done. Overall, a solid album from Quiet Riot and probably one of their least known and most underrated CDs.Quiet Riot - The Randy Rhoads Years (Rino) 1993
Quiet Riot - Down To The Bone (Kamikazi) 1995
Quiet Riot - Alive & Well (Dead Line) 1999
1. "Don't Know What I Want" (4:51)
According to vocalist Kevin Dubrow, "We viewed Alive and Well as something of a comeback album for the band." Indeed. Quiet Riot have recorded something that sounds much like what you would expect from Dubrow and Co. "Angry" & "The Ritual" are the standout cuts here, but there are other good tracks as well. If "Alive and Well" wasn't used as a concert opening for this tour, it should have. I'm not saying it's better than some of the more well know QR material, but it just sounds like a concert opener to me, and the lyrics are perfect for a reunited "Metal Health" line-up. "The Ritual" is a slow, heavy dirge with some screaming guitar work from Cavazo. "Against the Wall" sounds like a Rhoads era track. "Overworked and Underpaid" is a bit cheesy, even for Quiet Riot. I believe "Slam Dunk" was originally written and recorded by Pretty Boy Floyd. This song doesn't seem to fit the Quiet Riot sound quite like it did Pretty Boy Floyd, although it's certainly not a bad song. DuBrow does have the writting credits for this song. (Anyone know what the story is on this song?) "Highway to Hell" is a decent AC/DC cover, but not an essential. As for the re-recorded bonus tracks, the acoustic version of "Never Let You Go" is pretty cool. However, the other tracks are less than impressive. The originals are hard to beat.
Quiet Riot 2001 aren't much different from Quiet Riot 1983, save for a more modern recording. Quiet Riot don't seem worried about keeping up with trends, instead concerned with just releasing music that sounds like Quiet Riot. Some may criticize them for "going the safe route", but for this longtime fan, I much prefer a band stick to their guns and do what they do best than purposely try to stay current. Simple, metal anthems like "Rock the House" and "Feed the Machine" sound like they could have been written for "Metal Health" or "Condition Critical". "Rock the House" in particular has that Slade inspiration that was clearly heard on "Metal Health". "Shadow of Love" is one of the standout cuts on this album with it's melodic, catchy chorus. I also like the melodic nature of the title track. The obligatory ballads are here as well, including an acoustic closer, "Fly to High". So those looking to hear some good Quiet Riot outside of their more known albums, "Guilty Pleasures" is for you. Those looking for anything but a good time, probably need to look elsewhere.
Quiet Riot 2006 is many things; it is the last album to be recorded by the late Kevin DuBrow, it’s a hard rocking album, but it’s far removed from the Quiet Riot of old. The band at this point is primarily founding member and vocalist Kevin DuBrow, long time drummer Frankie Banali, and a rotating group of guitarists and bassists. On Rehab, the bass is mostly handled by Tony Franklin, with former Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes performing on "Evil Woman".