Quiet Riot’s Frankie Banali talks about the iconic metal band’s legacy, upcoming show in South Florida

L.A. based Quiet Riot is a part of music history. The first metal band to hit No. 1 on the pop charts in 1983, they started the metal revolution that, with the help of MTV, started a wave that still continues today. Even though the genre fell off in the 90’s with the onset of the grunge movement, the bands of that era still enjoy a huge fan following. The showmanship, glam and power of that era are still as popular today as it was then. Quiet Riot, the band that was there from the beginning, returns to South Florida this Friday night playing the Sunset Cove Amphitheater in Boca Raton. We caught up with founding member, drummer Frankie Banali to talk about the band, the show and the upcoming film on the history of Quiet Riot.

QR still rocking 30 years later! Did you ever think for a second in 1983 that you would still be touring in 2012?
In 1983 all we were all thinking about was being successful in music and having fun like all the musicians and bands we looked up to from The Beatles, Humble Pie, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, on and on. For Quiet Riot to still be able to tour and record 30 years later is a gift I am grateful each and every day. We succeeded in both being successful and having fun!

First metal band to hit No. 1 What was that like when it happened?
It was incredibly exciting because it was something that you just dreamed about. To actually accomplish it was phenomenal. It was also tempered by the fact that at the instant Metal Health reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts in November of 1983, we were still an opening act on tour with Black Sabbath. It kept it in perspective and kept me grounded.

Tell us what the history of QR means to you.
Many dreams accomplished, working with the wonderful musicians like Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo, Carlos Cavazo, along with bassist Chuck Wright and guitarist Alex Grossi who continue the journey with me in Quiet Riot. There is so much history and substance that embodies Quiet Riot. There are also Quiet Riot alumni that are great musicians like bassist Kenny Hillary, vocalist Paul Shortino and bassist Sean McNabb as well as newcomer to the ranks of Quiet Riot, our vocalist Scott Vokoun. One must also give credit to the late great Randy Rhoads, a fantastic musician and person. Sadly Randy, Kevin and Kenny have all passed which for me is very sobering.

Does that legacy of what you accomplished transcend to the younger fans who were not there in the 80’s?
Without a doubt. With shows like VH-1 Classic, That Metal Show, the Guitar Hero series, sporting events that play “Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Bang Your Head” and so many films that have feature the Quiet Riot music, not only is our fan base comprised of our long time supporters, but it now includes several later generations of fans. Our legacy in popular music history is secure.

What can fan’s expect at Friday’s show?
All the songs they want to hear! I put together a set list that by and large is made up of songs from the Metal Health record which has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Add to this songs from the follow multi-platinum Condition Critical release and songs from QR III, you have a set list that does not disappoint. Our goal is to give the fans
Quiet Riot exactly as it is suppose to sound with respect to the music and the fans while making it fun!

Your fans are pretty loyal. What is it about 80’s fans that makes them still so passionate about the bands they grew up with?
I think because it’s the music and lifestyle of a time when everyone was having fun and enjoyed life to the fullest, a time when all things were possible. Hard rock and heavy metal fans are the best. They stay with you through thick and thin. I have a lot of respect for the fans, they make it possible for me to continue doing what I do.

New material on the horizon?
It is my hope that once we finish the 2012 touring season in the fall/ winter, we can settle into the studio and start that creative process. Even though the music industry is deflated and music is more often stolen than purchased, it’s still important to me to continue the recorded legacy of Quiet Riot.

You are working on a documentary with Regina (Russell). How is that going?
Phenomenally well! Regina is doing a fantastic job and I really respect her for her meticulous attention to detail and being able to continue rolling film when the landscape of Quiet Riot continues to evolve. It has been a daunting task for us to go through nearly 30 years of vintage Quiet Riot footage from my archives, but she keeps it all together and moving forward. She’s a great filmmaker and quite a woman.

When will that be ready for the festival’s and theatre release?
Hopefully by the next round of festivals, but like anything having to do with Quiet Riot, you never know what will happen next until it happens, so stay tuned!

What about the film do you think QR fans will be most into?
All of it!

Emotional looking back at a lot of that?
When Regina asked if I might be interested in making a Quiet Riot documentary, I found that I only saw Quiet Riot through the eyes of my own sadness at the loss of my best friend and Quiet Riot partner Kevin DuBrow. I had no thoughts of regrouping the band. But having to re-live my relationship with Kevin which began in 1980 through his untimely death 27 years later in 2007 and looking at nearly 30 years of wonderful times and sometimes not so wonderful times, it was the catalyst for my road to recovery and the return of Quiet Riot in 2011. Being the only member in the band that has been on every single Quiet Riot record since 1983’s Metal Health through 2006’s Rehab,
I’ve more than put in a lifetime of dedication, hard work and earned the right to continue the legacy of this great band.

You did a cameo for ‘Skum Rocks!’ narrated by Alice Cooper. Looking forward to seeing how that turns out?
Ah yes! Really had fun doing that cameo! “Skum Rocks!” Truly! And narrated by the great Alice Cooper, the Vincent Price and Dali of my generation? Oh yes, oh yes indeed. Really looking forward to seeing the film and walking down the Skum Red Carpet for the premiere.

Anything you want to say to the fans that will be at the show Friday?
Playing for everyone in Boca Raton will be a blast and I guarantee that everyone will “Feel The Noize” and “Bang Your Head” with Quiet Riot!


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