Quiet Riot is regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of heavy metal. The band was founded in the early 1970s by young guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads and featured the iconic Kevin DuBrow in his first job as a vocalist (having previously gained acceptance on the club circuit as a rock photographer).
The band had a few albums released in Japan, but it wasn’t until after Rhoads left to be Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist that Quiet Riot ended up taking the US by storm. Their 1983 album Metal Health was ground-breaking. It was just what the heavy metal genre needed to cross over to mainstream music fans.
Even though he was no longer in the band, Rhoads’ popularity and notoriety as Ozzy’s axe man helped propel Quiet Riot’s rise to fame. Rhoads had incorporated several Quiet Riot riffs in his work with Osbourne, so the band’s sound was already familiar to rock fans when Metal Health came out.
Cum on Feel the Noize was the first single off the album, and it was the right song at the right time. The cover of Slade’s 1973 song became the first heavy metal song to crack the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Metal Health became the first American debut heavy metal album to reach Number 1 in the U.S.
Metal Health was a huge success. It sold over 6 million copies and landed the band touring slots with ZZ Top and Black Sabbath. Quiet Riot was officially on the map.
Like many bands, Quiet Riot has had some lineup changes over the years. Rhoads, DuBrow, and longtime drummer Frankie Banali have all sadly crossed over the rainbow already. However, their presence lives on in the music the band made famous and the current lineup’s continued dedication to the spirit of Quiet Riot.
The band’s current lineup consists of living legend Rudy Sarzo on bass, Alex Grossi slaying the guitar, Johnny Kelly handling drums, and Jizzy Pearl up front with a vocal delivery that is simply next level.
Sarzo was part of the historic lineup that took over the world. He appeared on the band’s self-titled debut album and such subsequent albums as Metal Health – which perpetuated Quiet Riot to rockstar status. He originally left Quiet Riot to join Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s band, then subsequently returned to Quiet Riot for a period of time after Rhoads untimely death.
Over the years Sarzo has also played with other top bands including Whitesnake and Blue Oyster Cult. He returned to Quiet Riot shortly after the death of longtime drummer Frankie Banali. Banali had been a close friend of Sarzo’s, and the two had been discussing the possibility of Sarzo rejoining the band.
“Frankie, before he passed away, requested that I return to the band,” Sarzo said in an interview with Andrew DiCecco at Vinyl Writer Market. “I mean, it’s simple, but then again, there’s a lot of layers to it, emotionally. Quiet Riot has been my home, really, since 1978 when I first joined with the Randy Rhoads, Kevin DuBrow, and Drew Forsyth version of the band, prior to Metal Health.”
It is great seeing Sarzo rocking the stage with Quiet Riot again. He is one of the most celebrated bass players in the history of heavy metal and he still can play like nobody’s business.
Guitarist Alex Grossi has been with Quiet Riot since 2004, and he has played on all of the band’s albums since then. He is a super-talented guitarist and songwriter, and he has helped to keep the band’s music fresh and current while staying faithful to the signature sound that Quiet Riot fans expect.
To understand how incredible Grossi is on guitar, remember that Quiet Riot is the band that Randy Rhoads founded. Without question, Rhoads is widely regarded as one of the top rock guitarists of all time. Grossi performs that music every night with note-for-note precision. It is a decisive homage to Rhoads that also allows Grossi to display his own flair and astronomical talent. It’s the ultimate test that Grossi passes with flying colors.
In the central spotlight, Jizzy Pearl first took on vocalist duties for Quiet Riot in 2013. You can hear his raspy, blues-inspired hard rock vocals on Quiet Riot 10,
Many remember Pearl as the frontman for Love/Hate. He has also handled singing for Ratt, LA Guns, and even a short stint with the Steven Adler solo project Adler’s Appetite.
Pearl took a hiatus from Quiet Riot in 2016 but returned to the fold in 2019 and has been the voice of the band ever since. I am a mammoth fan of Jizzy Pearl. He has the gravel in his voice to do justice to tunes made famous by DuBrow, but a vocal dexterity and range that puts him in the elite of metal vocalists. He makes it seem easy.
Drummer Johnny Kelly has been with the band since Banali succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Kelly is a proven commodity on the skins, having previously provided percussion for Type O Negative and Danzig. He has also played with A Pale Horse Named Death, Kill Devil Hill, and Silvertomb. He fits right in.
I had the chance to take in Quiet Riot at a recent event at the Bands in the Sand Festival at 3D Sideouts in Island Lake, a rural suburb of Chicago – a truly awesome venue. The band is just as good today as they were in their heyday. The vocals are electric, the guitars are inspired, and the drums thunder like Thor in Valhalla.
The current lineup just kills it. They perform all the best songs from the Quiet Riot catalog of hits, as well as songs made famous by current members while with other bands, and a few other choice tracks.
Songs like Cum On Feel the Noize and Metal Health (Bang Your Head) are natural fan delights. But the band excels on all their tunes.
I Can’t Hold On is the band’s most recent single and it really resonates. It was originally written by DuBrow and Grossi in 2003, but wasn’t included in any recordings until being added to the recent REHAB: RELAPSED AND REMASTERED. The incredible tune was engineered and mixed by the always spectacular Alistair James – who also previously turned the knobs for Hollywood Vampires.
The band also blazes through some other really hot songs in their current setlist for live shows. Love’s a Bitch, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Sign of the Times, Thunderbird, Blackout in the Red Room, Party All Night, and Condition Critical are all known to make it into the set and every single one is performed with a mastery of excellence.
When you’re in the recording studio working with an amazing engineer and a brilliant producer, you have the stop-and-start, multi-track ability to pursue perfection. What a band sounds like live can sometimes be a totally different animal.
Quiet Riot is every bit as good live today as they are in their recordings. These are some of the best musicians in rock and they’ve proven it over the years, time and time again. Quiet Riot live shows are simply flawless.
If you get a chance to see Quiet Riot live, do not hesitate to go. You will have the time of your life and experience rock n’ roll and heavy metal in its purest, most exciting way.
Also, make sure to add a copy of REHAB: RELAPSED AND REMASTERED to your library. If you haven’t heard it yet, I can assure you that the new single I Can’t Hold On is a masterpiece. You can check out the touching video on the Quiet Riot YouTube Channel.
To stay up to date on all the happenings with Quiet Riot including where to see them next visit www.QuietRiot.band.
For bookings contact live performing agents Big Time Inc. (BTE) www.BigTimeInc.com.
Big thanks to 3D Sideouts in Island Lake, IL – it’s a multi-acre indoor and outdoor playground for food, fun, and festivities with scrumptious dining and fabulous entertainment. Visit: www.3Dsideouts.com.
Peace. Love. Trust.
Rikki Lee Travolta
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