For a very brief moment, Quiet Riot was a rock & roll phenomenon. The first
heavy metal band to top the pop charts, the California quartet was an overnight sensation thanks to their monster
1983 smash Metal Health. But their road to success had been long and far from easy, and when their star power quickly
began to fade, the band's fall from grace was accelerated by the man most deserving of credit for taking them so far with
his dogged persistence, singer Kevin DuBrow. Arguably the only rock star to talk himself out of a gig (Oasis'
Gallagher brothers also come to mind), DuBrow began turning his frustration into verbal attacks toward all in
sight, eventually isolating the band even more and almost single-handedly sealing their fate. By the time damage control set
in, it was too late to turn the ship around, and Quiet Riot's fortunes only went from bad to worse, eventually resulting
in DuBrow getting fired from his own band. He would eventually resurrect Quiet Riot in the '90s, but despite
their best efforts, the once chart-topping band would remain forever exiled to the fringes of pop conscience, and what
may have been intended as a chapter in rock history has become little more than a footnote.
The story of Quiet Riot begins with vocalist Kevin DuBrow, who started the band in 1975 with
guitarist Randy Rhoads, bassist Kelli Garni, and drummer Drew Forsyth. Contemporaries of Van Halen,
the band cut their teeth in L.A. clubs but found it difficult to land a record deal in the disco-dominated days of
the late '70s. Eventually securing a contract with Columbia Records in Japan, they recorded two moderately successful
albums -- a 1978 eponymous debut and 1979's Quiet Riot II -- before losing Rhoads to Ozzy Osbourne's
band (and later a tragic plane accident, rock & roll martyrdom, immortality, etc.). Quiet Riot disbanded
and DuBrow formed a new band under his own name with drummer Frankie Banali and Cuban-born bassist Rudy Sarzo.
With the arrival of guitarist Carlos Cavazo in 1982, they reverted to the Quiet Riot moniker and signed with
independent Pasha Records, for whom they recorded 1983's Metal Health. Pushed by a raucous rendition of the
old Slade chestnut "Cum on Feel the Noize," the album stormed up the U.S. charts, quickly reaching the number
one spot and going platinum five times over in the process. Their unexpected success shocked everyone, not least of which
the band themselves, who found it hard to cope with their instant stardom and the pitfalls that came with it.
Pressured to capitalize on their hot streak, they were rushed back into the studio to whip together 1984's
Condition Critical; but, not surprisingly, the album was little more than a poor carbon copy of Metal Health
-- even including yet another Slade cover in "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." Sure enough, fans were hardly impressed,
and as they watched the album begin to slide off the charts, the band began to panic -- none more than notorious motor mouth
DuBrow. Leaving no stone unturned, the singer's incessant slagging of fellow metal bands, members of the press,
and eventually his own record company literally burned most of the bridges that the band had worked so hard to build. It also
began wearing on the band, and by the time they regrouped to attempt to launch a comeback with 1986's QRIII, Sarzo
had quit (later joining Whitesnake) and been replaced by ex-Giuffria bassist Chuck Wright. A forced experiment
to join the glam metal revolution, the album was an even bigger flop and sent the band into a severe tailspin. The
mounting tension resulted in a band mutiny at tour's end, and DuBrow was abandoned at the hotel after their last concert
in Hawaii, as the band and crew left on an earlier flight. Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino was recruited (along
with new bassist Sean McNabb) for 1988's simply disastrous Quiet Riot, after which DuBrow filed an injunction
against the band (he owned the rights to the name) and Quiet Riot finally disintegrated. Drummer Frankie Banali
joined L.A. shock kings W.A.S.P. while the remaining bandmembers went to ground.
Then, come 1991, DuBrow and Cavazo began working together once again in a band called Heat.
In time, they began using the Quiet Riot name once again, eventually recording 1993's Terrified with bassist
Kenny Hillary and a returning Banali. Down to the Bone followed two years later, and in 1997, a one-off
performance at a party hosted by industrial shock rocker Marilyn Manson lured bassist Rudy Sarzo back
to the fold. With their classic lineup intact once again, a re-energized Quiet Riot hit the road playing clubs across
America. Public response was less than enthusiastic, however, and the band usually couldn't get arrested -- except for DuBrow,
who spent a night in jail after a tour stop in Charlotte, NC, thanks to an irate fan suing him for injuries sustained at a
previous show. This and other road adventures were captured on 1999's Alive and Well live album, and 2001 saw the release
of Guilty Pleasures, the first recording by the band's "classic" lineup in 17 years.
~ Ed Rivadavia, All Music Guide