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 d├ębut 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.

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