Sunday Old School: Quiet Riot
Band Photo: Quiet Riot (?)
With the recent announcement that Quiet Riot are to return this year with a new vocalist in tow, it seemed as good a time as any to take a look at the band, and how they broke a major barrier for the genre of heavy metal. The band made a name for themselves in the 1980s but were actually formed by guitarist Randy Rhoads in 1973 under the name Mach 1. The group used this moniker for a short while, before changing it to Little Women until they made the wise choice to change their name once again, this time to the label we know them today, Quiet Riot. While the name may sound like a way to stick in people's minds, it actually has a fairly humourous origin. While the band were talking with Rick Parfitt of the legendary British rock band Status Quo, Parfitt mentioned he'd like to name a band "Quite Right," but owing to his English accent, the band members mistakingly believed he said, "Quiet Riot" and settled on the moniker.
The band slugged it out in their native Los Angeles with their new name for two years before eventually landing a deal with Sony. Strangely though, the deal only entitled the band's albums to be released in Japan. They released their self-titled first album the same year, which featured covers of songs by the likes of Dave Clark Five and The Small Faces. A second album, simply named, "Quiet Riot II" followed in 1978, but the band parted ways with bass player Kelly Garni soon after, with future Ozzy Osbourne, Dio and Whitesnake bassist Rudy Sarzo replacing him. The next year would see another lineup change for the group, when founding guitarist Rhoads left for what proved to be a critically acclaimed, though ultimately tragic stint as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist. Quiet Riot soldiered on for a while, but eventually changed their name to DuBrow, after the band's vocalist, and went through a number of lineup changes.
Eventually, DuBrow decided to reform Quiet Riot but initially found some difficulty when none of the other original members wanted to participate. Rudy Sarzo decided to rejoin the band however, bringing with him drummer Frankie Benali, before the band found a new guitarist in the form of Carlos Cavazo, who is currently a guitarist in Ratt. The new lineup quickly got to work and, with the help of producer Spencer Proffer, secured a new record deal with CBS Records. Their subsequent album, "Metal Health" proved to be groundbreaking not only for the band, but for heavy metal in general. Not only was "Metal Health" the first Quiet Riot album to be released in North America, but it was the first heavy metal album to top the Billboard charts. The album was helped to the top by an unlikely cover of the Slade classic, "Cum On Feel The Noize," which also broke down barriers for metal, becoming the first song by a heavy metal band to enter the Billboard top five. Although the band would only stay at the top of the albums chart for a week before being dethroned by Lionel Richie, they had cemented their place as a top name in the genre and had another successful single with the superb title track from their chart topping album. The band gained further exposure when the song was featured in the cult classic, "Footloose" and opened for Black Sabbath on their "Born Again" tour.
However, the group's next album, "Condition Critical" proved to be less of a success. Although it sold around three million albums, it's sales paled in comparison to "Metal Health" and the record itself received a mixed reaction from critics. The frustration of not being able to top, "Metal Health" seemingly got to DuBrow, and he began ranting in the press about how the glory many of their L.A. contemporaries were enjoying was owed to Quiet Riot, subsequently alienating some fans and offending such bands in the process.
Their next album, "QRIII" was an even bigger disappointment and the rest of the group decided to sack DuBrow from his own band, replacing him with Rouch Cutt singer Paul Shortino, with whom they recorded another self-titled album in 1988. This lineup of the band proved to be short lived however, after DuBrow won a court case which entitled him to ownership of the Quiet Riot name. DuBrow formed yet another lineup of Quiet Riot, which resulted in the 1993 album, "Terrified," though by this point, many heavy metal bands struggled to retain the success they had in the past decade, with Quiet Riot being no exception.
The band soldiered on throughout the decade however, releasing a new album in 1995 entitled, "Down To The Bone" and a greatest hits album the next year. Bassist Rudy Sarzo once again joined the band in 1997 for what would prove to be a disasterous tour, which featured the band being arrested several times, amongst other problems. Despite the struggles, the group released "Alive And Well" in 1999 which featured some new songs, as well as re-recorded versions of their classic hits, before releasing an album of entirely new material in 2001 entitled, "Guilty Pleasures." Quiet Riot finally decided to call it a day in 2003, but were brought back to life by DuBrow two years later, though internal problems meant the lineup featured a revolving door of musicians. Nevertheless, the band were able to release a new album in 2006 called, "Rehab," which featured a guest appearance from respected British rock veteran Glen Hughes. Tragically, the band were forced to split once again in 2007, when Kevin DuBrow passed away in Las Vegas, after overdosing on cocaine. After that, many people assumed that Quiet Riot would remain gone but a shock came only last week, when it was revealed that Frankie Benali would be resurrecting the band, along with bassist Chuck Wright, guitarist Alex Grossi and new vocalist Mark Huff. The band are currently planning a tour of the United States and the release of a documentary movie.
Quiet Riot - Metal Health
Quiet Riot - Picking Up The Pieces
Quiet Riot - The Wild And The Young
Quiet Riot - Cum On Feel The Noize
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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