Have you ever met someone for the first time, and you just clicked? That’s how it was the first time I met Steven Adler and the guys in his amazing solo band – Michael Thomas, Alistair James, Ari Kamin, and Cristian Sturba. They are all world-class musicians, of course, but they have good souls as well. That’s why my dedication to them goes beyond that of your average publicist. I would get in the trenches for any war alongside my band of brothers any time and any place – and that includes the world’s best tour manager, Steve Sprite.
I grew up in the entertainment industry, and my career has touched a lot of mediums from music to movies to theater. You can even through literature in there.
In the rock n’ roll world, for the most part all the guys in the bands you grew up with who are still around today are pretty special people. Generally speaking, you have to be a good character to last in this industry.
There are a few divas that have managed to last, but in general the guys and girls you see out there busting their asses every night to put on another great show for the fans have their hearts in the right place. Plus, when it comes down to it – rock n’ roll is fun.
Sitting down to chat with Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot for radio show and podcast It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee was not just another “he’s a nice guy” experience. Alex and I are contemporaries – we grew up listening to the same music and we’ve played in many of the same sandboxes. We could relate to each other.
Quiet Riot is one of the most famous heavy metal bands in the history of the industry. The band’s album Metal Health was the first heavy metal album to hit the Number One position on the Billboard charts. Their hits include “Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)”, “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”, “Slick Black Cadillac”, “Party All Night”, and “Love’s a Bitch”.
And while Alex has become as associated with Quiet Riot as founding guitarist Randy Rhoads, he grew up listening to a diverse array of influences. During our interview, we discovered we were both soldiers of the Sunset Strip – falling for bands like Guns N’ Roses, Poison, and RATT during our youth.
Alex was handpicked by lead singer Kevin DuBrow and drummer Frankie Banali to be Quiet Riot’s identity on guitar. He’s appeared on every Quiet Riot live, studio, and video release since 2006. This includes the band’s current epic single “I Can’t Hold On” written in collaboration with DuBrow before his passing.’
I think one of the reasons Alex and I relate is that we’ve both been hoofing it since youth. Alex scored his first high-profile gig as a professional musician right out of high school with the band Angry Salad that was quickly scooped up by Atlantic Records.
Even though the AOL/Time Warner merger meant Angry Salad would go their separate ways before their second album, Alex had already gained a reputation as a master of the guitar. In 2004 he landed the job with Quiet Riot and the rest is history.
I got my start as a youngster too, even younger than Alex to be honest. I scored my first professional entertainment gig as Tiny Tim on a regional CBS broadcast of A Christmas Carol. I’ve been involved in the industry in one way or another ever since.
Coming into Quiet Riot as a young man, Alex faced a daunting challenge. Every night he had to put on a high-powered show shredding for the band started by the man many consider to be the greatest guitarist in the history of rock music.
It’s a challenge that Alex has never shied away from. You won’t hear him brag about his ability to skillfully handle the amazing trail of notes blazed before him, but if you go to a Quiet Riot concert you won’t hear one person in the audience who isn’t enthralled by Alex’s abilities on the guitar. He lets his guitar do the talking, and it talks volumes. That’s a pretty special level of talent.
I think another reason I automatically click with Alex is that we both like to push the envelope and expand our horizons. In addition to being one of the key figures for one of the greatest metal bands in history, Alex has also played with an array of other amazing musicians – ranging from Steven Adler to Public Enemy.
And while Alex definitely respects the music industry and appreciates his legions of fans, he also has a sense of humor – as evidenced with the supergroup he formed with Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed. Hookers & Blow could well be considered the world’s most prestigious cover band.
The band was actually started as a way to drink for free on nights off on the Sunset Strip. The band name is a playful reference to what life was like on the Strip before cell phone cameras made public displays of debauchery unwise.
The band has never written a song of their own. In fact, they’ve been playing the same covers since that started. They’ve never taken an official band photo either. Yet people love them – and rightfully so.
Although the lineup evolves from show to show, the band is always a world-class act. I suggest you check out the Golden Robot Records release of Hookers & Blow performing hits by the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Beastie Boys, Led Zeppelin, and Elton John.
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll check out my It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee interview with Alex Grossi. He’s one of the best guitarists in the industry, and he’s also an incredible guy. Anyone you can joke around with about Milli Vanilli in the same sentence as Mötley Crüe has a good chance of making it to Santa’s good list.
It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee is currently ranked among the top 225 entertainment news podcasts on Apple Podcasts. It is available now to listeners around the world on all major podcast platforms including Apple, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google, Amazon. In addition, the program airs every Friday at 3 PM Central on 101.5 FM WHRU out of Chicago’s Huntley community.
Keep up to date on Alex’s busy performance schedule at www.QuietRiot.band. And make sure to download a copy of the band’s album REHAB: RELAPSE AND REMASTERED featuring the single “I Can’t Hold On.”
And, of course, make sure to see Alex and the guys in Quiet Riot when they come to your neck of the woods. They put on a show that does not disappoint.
Peace. Love. Trust.
Rikki Lee Travolta
Check out more of Rikki Lee Travolta’s Tales from the Road at Life and Times:
For more information on Quiet Riot visit: www.QuietRiot.band
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