Kevin DuBrow - lead vocals; Carlos Cavazo - guitar; Rudy Sarzo - bass; Frankie Banali - drums
Though it had been almost five years since metal god Randy Rhoads had ditched Quiet Riot to become Ozzy's right hand man, this recording, captured for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, sees the SoCal sleezoids at the absolute peak of their powers. The show, recorded on October 17th, 1984, sees the band still riding the wave of their six-times platinum, seminal third album, Metal Health, while supporting their newly-released fourth LP, Condition Critical.
Throughout the group's 12-song set, they eschew any of the material on their first two albums (the one's that featured Rhoads) in favor of tracks from Metal Health and Condition Critical. They open up with "Sign of the Times," the lead track from their most recent release. Right away, vocalist Kevin DuBrow's sharp, high-pitched howl takes center stage. After that, they roll into one of their classic songs, "Slick Black Cadillac." Guitarist Carlos Cavazo lays down a storming, pentatonic blues riff, and the group explodes from there. It also is the first time Cavazo shows off his acrobatic shredding.
Never a band for power ballads, the quartet keeps the amps turned up to 11 and the Norman crowd fired up. The audience's energy finally boils over, when the boys close out their set with their ubiquitous cover of the Slade anthem "Cum on Feel the Noize." After the rollicking favorite, the boys come back to treat the crowd to a two-song encore that features their second biggest hit, "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" and live staple (and Slade song) "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." As the group leaves the fans in a state of audible pandemonium, it is clear why Quiet Riot had such a good run. They didn't stand out because they were the most talented musicians, the best looking guys, or the best songwriters. They stood out because they were one of the most charismatic, entertaining, and hard rocking bands of the era.
Quiet Riot formed in Los Angeles in 1976, when bassist Kelly Garni and guitarist Randy Rhoads started playing together in early bands such as The Katzenjammer Kids and Violet Fox. Kevin DuBrow lobbied hard and eventually was given the singer slot (his distinctive voice had not yet fully developed), and Drew Forsyth eventually rounded out the group on drums. Their first two albums, Quiet Riot (1977) and Quiet Riot II (1978), were released only in Japan and failed to make a dent in the US despite a strong following on the LA club circuit. By the start of 1980, Rhoads had left to join Ozzy Osbourne's band, Garni and Forsyth were out, and Quiet Riot was all but finished. However, after Rhoads tragically died in a plane crash on March 19, 1982, DuBrow decided to reform the band. Though Garni and Forsyth would not return, DuBrow recreated the group with Carlos Cavazo on guitar, Rudy Sarzo (who joined the group shortly after Quiet Riot II) on bass, and Frankie Banali on drums.
The reformed group headed into the studio in late 1982 and emerged with their triumphant third album, Metal Health. Boosted by their cover of Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize" and "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)," the disc went on to sell over six million copies. Quiet Riot's scrappy image and uncompromising style were popular for metal fans who were bored of the increasingly slick, poppy hair metal that was taking over the charts. While the record was certainly radio-friendly, it wasn't as saccharine or overproduced as some of the "metal" bands (i.e. Winger, Warrant etc.) that were massively popular.
Instead of resting on their laurels, the band quickly went back into the studio to record a follow up. Condition Critical was released on July 27, 1984. Though it wasn't as big of a smash as it Metal Health, it did sell over three million copies and kept them in the spotlight. However, it would be their last effort that would make any kind of commercial or critical dent. All of their subsequent releases either flopped or didn't register, and the next 20-plus years were awash with rotating band members, trouble with the law, and ill-fated tours. That said, the band soldiered on, bringing their party metal on tour all over the world and continuing to release albums up to 2006's Rehab.
The party finally ended for good on November 25, 2007, when DuBrow was found dead of a cocaine overdose in Las Vegas. He was 52. After his death, there were rumblings about the group reforming with a new vocalist, but Banali issued a statement saying that as long as he had anything to do with the band, they would never tour again with a new singer.