Quiet Riot

L.A. March 1983

The Los Angeles band Quiet Riot are commonly referred to in connection with Slade. The band took two Slade covers high up into the American charts in the early/mid 1980s.

Quiet Riot began in 1975, consisting of two notable members Kevin Dubrow and Randy Rhoads. The band was based in Los Angeles and despite making something of a reputation, the band couldn’t secure themselves a record contract. After two years, 1977 proved to be a turning point for the band. The band made a deal with Sony however the records would only be released in Japan.
A very quick-made album was released, conveniently titled Quiet Riot and a follow up in 1978 titled Quiet Riot II. Both made little impact overall in Japan. After the recording on the second album, bassist Kelly Garni left the band for good and so the replacement Rudy Sarzo was credited for Quiet Riot’s second album as well as being pictured on the front cover.

In 1979, guitarist Randy Rhoads auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne’s new band after the editors Slaughter bassist Dana Strum contacted Rhoads to see if he would be interested. Apparently, Osbourne himself stated that he hired Rhoads immediately. Kevin DuBrow and original Quiet Riot drummer Drew Forsyth tried to keep the band together following Rhoads' departure. From 1980 to 1982, the band changed its name to a simple DuBrow.
Randy Rhoads died in 1982 in a plane accident which sparked an interest in the young guitarist. This led to many fans to come across Quiet Riot’s first two albums. Somehow, DuBrow and his band bumped into producer Spencer Proffer which helped DuBrow’s band, now titled Quiet Riot once again, to signed to CBS Records in America that very year.
By this point, no original Quiet Riot members were interested except DuBrow so the line-up now included guitarist Carlos Cavazo, whom DuBrow had previously played with in a band called Snow, Rudy Sarzo re-joined the band on bass guitar, and his friend, drummer Frankie Banali, filled in the missing part.

Proffer told DuBrow that his vocals sounded a little like Slade’s vocalist Noddy Holder and so the suggestion of covering Cum On Feel The Noize came from Proffer. DuBrow and Banali were dead set on not covering the song, claiming that they hated it. They decided to try to cover the song badly in the studio believing the label would refuse to release it. As we know, their ruse did not work and on March 11, 1983, the album Metal Health was released.
By late August 1983, Quiet Riot's version of Cum On Feel the Noize was released as a single (even the Slade's trademark spelling was kept.) Their cover spent two weeks at #5 on the Billboard chart in November 1983. It was the first heavy metal song to make the Top 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. The success of the single helped carry Metal Health to the top of the charts. According to the official billboard site, Metal Health didn't chart until 23/04/1983, where it peaked at #183. By the 26/11/1983 the album hit the #1 spot for a week. The total weeks on the charts were 74, making it the first American heavy metal début album to ever reach #1 in the USA. Quiet Riot were also the first heavy metal band to have a top 5 hit and #1 album on the same week.

Cum On Feel The Noize’s role is clear in this whole history. Without the song, the band wouldn’t have had the same success. Ironic that the bands only real hit was not only a cover, but a cover of a song which half the band hated.

As the album started to decline after peaking, the single Bang Your Head (Metal Health) was released in mid-February 1984, a song written by the band themselves. The single peaked at #31 but it couldn’t save the album as every week from then on, the album was dropping.

U.S. record companies began searching for the band who wrote the hit. In 1984, Slade had managed to get a record deal with coincidently Quiet Riot’s label CBS. By mid-April 1984, their single Run Runaway was released, peaking at #20 on the billboard and lasting a healthy 17 weeks. The follow-up was another success, although not as successful, My Oh My came out on July 7, the same year peaking at #37.

Another surprising coincidence was Quiet Riot’s follow up single, Mama Weer All Crazee Now (another Lea & Holder composition), which came out the very same time, peaking at only #51. The Slade album Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply came out early May, peaking at #33 and staying on the charts for a total of 18 weeks.

Quiet Riot were quickly pressured with a follow-up. The group's follow-up, Condition Critical, was released on July 7, 1984 (yes, the same date again). Though successful – peaking at #15, it was a disappointment, critically and commercially, selling only 3 million copies. This album included Mama Weer All Crazee Now. Frustrated over the sophomore release's failure to duplicate the success of its predecessor, DuBrow outspokenly began expressing his opinion in the heavy metal press that many bands on the L.A. metal scene owed their success to what he saw as the doors opened for them by Quiet Riot. Of course without Slade’s Cum On Feel The Noize, Metal Health wouldn't have been the door opener so, in reality, the real thanks go to Slade and perhaps Spencer Proffer for recognising a good song.

Quiet Riot slipped off the charts quicker than anything whilst Slade did the same. No Quiet Riot singles charted after Mama Weer All Crazee Now. Slade released their last charting single in America, titled Little Sheila in May 1985. The track adopted the new synthesizer craze of the 1980s. It peaked at #86 and #13 on the mainstream rock charts.

QR III came along in 1986, again another commercial disappointment. The album peaked at #31 and adopted a heavy keyboard sound, much like Slade’s April 1985 follow up to Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, Rogues Gallery (including Little Sheila) which only peaked at #132.

Fed up with DuBrow's antics, the rest of Quiet Riot fired him from his own band in February 1987 and replaced him with former Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino, leaving no original members. The only album with Shortino, titled Quiet Riot, perhaps for a new beginning, peaked at only #115 and Quiet Riot never bothered the charts again. DuBrow resurrected the band in the early 90s, with Carlos Cavazo and Frankie Banali.

An interesting add on is Dubrow stated that he believed it was a mistake to record Mama Weer All Crazee Now when he was interviewed in 1987, after being fired.

In a 2007 interview, DuBrow states:

FIB MUSIC: I have read a lot of great comments about REHAB.....

Kevin: People really like it....the people who understand it, really like it. If you are expecting Metal Health Part II, you won't get it and you won't like it. There are hardly any background vocals, I mean, it's very similar to a 70's record in that way...it's very retro. It's not super dry, but it's not super wet in the echo either. It's like the records I grew up listening to, Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin, Spooky Tooth, Free, bands from the 70's, retro bands. Our original roots were more towards glam, Bowie, Sweet, Slade, things like that. (http://www.fullinbloommusic.com/kevin_dubrow.html)

Finally, in 2001, DuBrow answered questions from fans.

Coral Gables, Florida: Were you guys big fans of Slade?

Kevin DuBrow: We were not big fans of Slade although we respect what they did. I don't own any of their records. The reason we recorded the songs we did was that our producer felt there was some similarity between my voice and Slade's lead singer.

Another interesting note is Slade's influence on Quiet Riot dated back to the early 1970s, when Kevin DuBrow photographed Slade during their first Los Angeles appearances at the Whisky a Go Go.

A change of story each time for the band who gave Quiet Riot there success.

Glam Metal


For many, nothing was more exciting than the explosion of glam metal in the 1980s. Glam metal reached mainstream popularity by 1983 although it had been around since the late 1970s. Just short of a whole decade, glam rock was back in a new form, described as combining the flamboyant look of glam rock and playing a power-chord-based heavy metal musical style.

Slade were the most successful glam rock group, by far, in the United Kingdom during the 1970s. A total of 17 top 20 hits, 13 top 10 hits and 6 chart toppers ensured Slade's top rank of the period. Once Glam Rock died, it took a few years for glam to once again make a mark, this time on American soil.

By this point Slade had got back on solid ground after years of performing in small clubs around the UK since the punk uprising.

The first part of the true glam metal explosion was down to Quiet Riot or more so their producer Spencer Proffer who believed lead vocalist Kevin DuBrow sounded a little like Noddy Holder. This led to Proffer getting the band to record Slade's UK chart topper Cum On Feel The Noize. The classic Slade track helped make Quiet Riot's Metal Health album (dedicated to the memory of Randy Rhoads) a number-one hit in the US. The song's success drew huge nationwide attention. Metal Health, released state-side in March 1983, with the help of the popular lead off single (...Noize) sold more than 6 million copies. It could be argued that without Slade, Quiet Riot would never have made it. Two albums were released before Metal Health, although only in Japan.

But it wasn't just Quiet Riot that the song helped, it was the entire glam metal scene. Metal Health is said to have paved the way for a new, stronger commercial viability for heavy metal. Before this explosion, glam metal bands were already releasing albums to only small success.

Mötley Crüe (amidst rumours of being pre-fabricated) released their debut in 1982 which only peaked at #77. Their next album Shout At The Devil, which came, September 26th 1983, a few months after Metal Health, peaked at #17. Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe stated:
"Slade was pretty much the only thing metal about glam rock in the 70s."
Twisted Sister released their debut Under The Blade in 1982 which peaked at #125, their 1984 album Stay Hungry peaked at #15. KISS were suffering by 1981 when their album Music From "The Elder" only peaked at #75, unusual since they became popular in 1975. Their follow up in 1982 titled Creatures of The Night only hit #45. By 1983, the album Lick It Up came out, again months after Metal Health and peaked at#24. The next 3 Kiss albums also peaked in the top 20.

With this evidence, Metal Health started glam metal's 15 minutes of fame. Allmusic cites numerous bands that were heavily influenced by Slade, many from the glam metal background. Bands such as Kiss, Poison, Mötley Crüe, Wonderboy, Lizzie Grey, Hanoi Rocks, Queen, Quiet Riot, Orbit, Holy Ghost Revival, Kirka, Condo Fucks, Hot Leg, Def Leppard, Mozart, Dokken, Noel Gallagher, Rose Tattoo, The Clash and The New Electrics.

Although Twisted Sister isn't listed, an interesting observation was comparing Slade's final studio album You Boyz Make Big Noize with Twisted Sister's final studio album Love Is For Suckers. Both were released in 1987, Boyz in April and Suckers in August. Twisted Sister's songwriter and lead vocalist Dee Snider makes numerous lines relating to Slade. Firstly, both albums have the same titled track Me and The Boys, although both are different. Secondly, in Twisted Sister's Me and The Boys, there is a particular line: "me and the boys, we make a big noise". The closing track titled Yeah Right has the line: "so stomp your hands and clap your feet". This line is clearly from Slade's 1974 album Old New Borrowed and Blue which was retitled "Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet" in America.

Alice Cooper once stated:
"Slade was the coolest band in England. They were the kind of guys that would push your car out of a ditch."
High praise I'm sure from the Coop but I think we know what he means? Kiss, on the other hand, were more likely to push your tour bus into the ditch and set the thing on fire. Kiss were selling platinum albums by the late 70's but Simmons and Stanley sacked the original drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Freahley which lost them a lot of fans. Kiss member's Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley stated Slade as a clear influence. They also stated they simply took the Slade sound and took it to the farthest extreme.

To add to that there are a further two quotes from Simmons:
"Slade was certainly our greatest influence; not only in the crafting of rock songs but also as performers. Before Slade, no one really knew shit about how to make an audience riot. We really got off on that. There would probably never have been us without them and when I look at the greatest hits section by Sweet, or Slade, or any other of my favourite bands, there are TONS of compilation records."

(Interview, Utopia Records website.)
David Coverdale (Whitesnake) spoke of Slade in an interview:
"...whatever happened to bands that rocked liked Slade? Y'know, that no-bullshit, fuck you, in your face, we're bad-as-hell-and-we-know-it kind of band?"
Even when grunge became popular and glam metal died, Slade were still respected.
"...absolutely. Slade! A band that would never bend over."

Kurt Cobain: Nirvana
By the time glam metal exploded, Slade began being shown interest by American labels. Just Slade. No other glam rock bands but Slade. This proved to be a success as Slade scored their first hit in America shortly after with Run Runaway, peaking at #20 whilst the follow up My Oh My peaked at #37. Slade would eventually begin to tour with Ozzy Osbourne around this time until Jim Lea fell ill to Hepatitis and so the tour was cancelled.

Despite the large amount of evidence, Slade are not mentioned when it comes down to this musical event. Who knows if glam metal would have fully surfaced without Quiet Riot's cover of a Slade track? Regardless, there is no doubt that the most successful glam metal bands were influenced by the "God's of glam rock".