Sunday, January 17, 2016
Some random thoughts on Quiet Riot after watching Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back.
First, I was among those fans in 1983, who was turned on to hard rock/heavy metal by the breakout success of Metal Health. Admittedly, I changed loyalties to Van Halen shortly afterward, something I know would have been no end of irritation to Quiet Riot lead singer Kevin DuBrow who had a long time frustration with that rivalry, having been in what was to many the "other L.A. party band with an amazing guitarist".
That said, even with adult ears, I think there's much to be said for that album. The fact that it was a band that had worked hard for years and built up some killer material that knocked audiences out still shows.
For a band with only two hit albums - You might not remember, but Critical Condition performed pretty well at the time, even if it was a drop from the massive success of "Metal Health". - there are a number of focal points you could have used for a documentary on them. I think that a movie that focused on the breakdown of their success surrounding the rock presses turning on DuBrow regarding his opinions on the other L.A. metal bands that rose up in Quiet Riot's wake. There's something really interesting there that I think could be examined.
I think that was my first experience with a celebrity or creative person being put in their place for expressing less-than-glowing opinions about their peers. It's continued to fascinate me through the years. I'm not sure I understand how or why it works.
But after going on a little Quiet Riot listening session following my viewing, I can't help noting that I think if their material was stronger during that period, they might have weathered it. It's not bad, for the most part, but it's not the follow-up for a band that made a breakthrough with material that killed it for audiences in 1983, showing they'd earned a position through hard work and a dedication to building up show stopping material. It's merely solid, listenable middle-of-the-road hard rock.
I suppose the lack of anything that really had the punch needed is why someone convinced them to make the bone-headed decision to lead with another Slade cover.
Drummer Frankie Balani comes across very likable in the movie, so however ill-advised his continuing attempts to revive the band since the death of DuBrow might be, I can't help rooting for him while watching and even carry that over into my life.
One only needs to compare the footage of Glenn Hughes performing at a tribute to DuBrow, along with the footage of DuBrow himself, of course, to see how ill-fitting the string of impressive Karaoke singers that Balani and his cohorts have attached to are. Hughes is not really right for the material. He simply has a different quality to his voice. But he's a fucking rock star and looks like he should be on stage with a multi-platinum band that rocked the US Festival in a way that the replacement singers simply couldn't.
The movie didn't include footage with current singer Jizzy Pearl, and I haven't had the interest to look it up, but I hope he has some of that.
It shows that there is something to be said for DuBrow's feeling about putting in your time and earning your place on the big stage, even if he didn't necessarily put it in as nice a terms as he should have, or perhaps only target people who had it coming.