Quiet Riot

Band members of Quiet Riot are (left to right) James Durbin, vocals; Frankie Banali, drums; Chuck Wright, bass; Alex Grossi, guitar.

Frankie Banali, drummer and band manager for Quiet Riot, talked with The Tribune-Democrat in an email interview ahead of the band’s appearance at Thunder in the Valley.

Quiet Riot found success with the albums “Metal Health” (1983) and “Condition Critical” (1984) and hit songs such as “Cum On Feel The Noize,” “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now.”

The interview covered a range of topics, from Quiet Riot’s beginnings and musical style to the group’s current lineup and latest recordings.

Quiet Riot will perform at 10 p.m. Friday on the Train Station stage for Thunder in the Valley. Ticket information can be found at: www.visitjohnstownpa.com/thunder-valley.

  

T-D: The historic “Metal Health” album (1983) was the first heavy metal album to hit No. 1 on the charts – actually pushing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” out of the top spot. You must get great response from people of all ages to that music – even after all this time, right?

FB: It really is pretty amazing that 35 years after the release of the “Metal Health” record that our music is still relevant and alive and well.

The two most gratifying aspects is seeing longtime fans that have been with us since 1983 out in the audience with their fists in the air and singing along with Quiet Riot.

Equally as important is seeing much younger fans, many who were not born when “Metal Health” was released, also singing along with these huge smiles on their faces.

T-D: You lost singer Kevin DuBrow to an overdose in 2007. How hard was it to find a singer in James Durbin (placed fourth on season 10 of “American Idol”) that you were comfortable could both carry the sound and serve as the face of the band?

FB: When I decided to restart Quiet Riot in 2010, I knew it was going to be very difficult – both professionally and personally – because Kevin and I were best friends for 27 years.

There was never a thought to replace the late, great Kevin DuBrow. That is impossible. Kevin was an amazing singer with a vocal range second to none. And as a performer, no one comes even close.

My thought was to try to preserve the music and sound of Quiet Riot as best I could. We went through four different singers over roughly a six-year period.

In 2017, we brought on James Durbin, who – without a doubt – has proved to be the best singer we’ve had since revving up the engines in 2010. He’s a really great vocalist, performer and – equally as important – a very nice person.

I’m used to change in Quiet Riot, not just the trials and tribulations with singers since Kevin’s passing, but during the entire 35-plus year history. I’m very happy to have James involved with us as long as he wants to be with Quiet Riot.

T-D: Can you talk about the other members of your current lineup? These individuals boast rich musical resumes. For example, your bass player, Chuck Wright, has recorded with Ted Nugent, Gregg Allman, Cheap Trick, Giuffria, Mr. Big – a lot of acts.

FB: Alex Grossi (guitar) was in the last version, circa 2004 through 2007, when Kevin passed away. I asked if he would be interested in doing it again in 2010. So all told, he’s been with Quiet Riot for 11 years and has done a great job.

Chuck has been a part of the band on and off since 1982. He has been nonstop team Quiet Riot for the same past 11 years, though his history with the band is very deep and something I very much appreciate – past, present and future. ... Chuck was initially involved in the “Metal Health” recordings, having played bass on the tracks “Metal Health” and “Don’t Wanna Let You Go.” ... Chuck is also represented on the “QR III” and “Down To The Bone” releases in their entirety as well as the touring bassist on and off for much of the band’s history.

T-D: A rock band with longevity loses some friends along the way. How do you keep going?

FB: Music and drumming have always been the center core of my life. This is something I’ve been doing almost my entire existence. My first paid performance as a drummer was when I was 14 years old.

Things always change, people come and people go, whether by choice or by circumstance beyond our or their control. That’s just part of life. I’m that guy that keeps getting up no matter how many times anyone tries to beat me down or knock down Quiet Riot. I am relentless – regardless of who agrees with me and who doesn’t, who’s with me or who’s against me. Perseverance and a dedication and commitment to Quiet Riot and the fans that have supported us from the start until today is what fuels my passion to continue.

T-D: You’re finalizing a live album and video. How is that effort going? Is there a release date? What should we expect?

FB: I just finished approving the final audio mixes as well as the live footage and I’m really happy with the final results. I’m waiting for the label, Frontiers Music, to advise when they think will be a good release date.

It was filmed this past April in Milan, Italy, at the Frontiers Music Festival. I opted not to do any fixes, overdubs or studio trickery that prevails in many so-called “live” music CDs and videos. What you get is a very honest representation of a night with Quiet Riot live.

I put together a set that covers the majority of the “Metal Health” songs, a number from our second release, “Condition Critical,” as well as representing songs from “QR III.” We also went deep in the QR catalog with a song from 1993’s “Terrified” record and the 1995 “Down To The Bone” record. Of course, we also performed two songs from the 2017 “Road Rage” record. For the most part, this will be the set that I planned for the Thunder In The Valley show in Johnstown.

T-D: In Johnstown, you’ll be playing at a motorcycle rally. How does that type of setting work with your music and stage shows?

FB: While Quiet Riot has played all over Pennsylvania in our long history, this may well be the first time we’ve actually played in Johnstown.

We play quite a few motorcycle rallies all over the U.S. I always have enjoyed them – going and checking out all the vendors and all the Harley and Indian motorcycles. It really is a great part of Americana.

And let’s face it: You can pretty much expect the audience to like songs like “Metal Health,” “Cum On Feel The Noize,” “Party All Night,” “Love’s a Bitch,” “Mama Weer All Crazy Now,” “Can’t get Enough,” “Breathless,” “Terrified,” “Whatever It Takes” – on and on and on. Right?!

T-D: How do audiences respond to the newer material?

FB: Surprisingly well – understanding that the majority of the audience is there to hear the tried-and-tested Quiet Riot songs. When we play tracks from the 2017 “Road Rage” record – like “Can’t Get Enough,” which rock-and-rolls like a freight train; or “Freak Flag,” which is moody and heavy – they fit well with the Quiet Riot songs of the past.

Quiet Riot tours all year long both in the U.S. and internationally. It’s what we have always done since 1983 and I see no end in sight!

Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and TribDem.com, and CNHI regional editor for Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio. He can be reached at 814-532-5091. Follow him on Twitter @MinemyerChip.

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Editor

Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and TribDem.com, and CNHI regional editor for Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. He can be reached at 814-532-5091. Follow him on Twitter @MinemyerChip.

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