Quiet Riot’s Road Rage

Quiet Riot has a total of 13 studio albums.  The first being 1977’s “Quiet Riot I”, and the most recent being 2017’s “Road Rage”.  The  majority of that output in that 40 years was with their most well known vocalist, Kevin DuBrow.  But DuBrow died in late 2007, and at the time, was thought to have taken Quiet Riot with him as an active band.  Obviously, that wasn’t the end of it.

Since then, we’ve had a few vocalists.  Mark Huff. Keith St. John. Scott Vokoun. Jizzy Pearl. Seann Nicols. James Durbin. That’s the complete list of vocalists in the versions of Quiet Riot since Kevin DuBrow’s death. That’s a lot, considering the first (Huff) joined the band in 2010. That kind of revolving door can lead to a credibility issue for sure.

But to Frankie’s credit, he kept going, putting out an album in 2014 titled “10” with then vocalist Jizzy Pearl (and some live tracks with Kevin). That lineup didn’t last long either, and the album itself was discontinued pretty quickly (a decision that I still don’t understand to this day).  I was always looking for more Quiet Riot material, as their best album was the one before that – 2006’s “Rehab”.  Rehab is their best album, not Metal Health.

Current Version of Quiet Riot (L-R): James Durbin, Frankie Banali, Chuck Wright, Alex Grossi

Events of 2017

So that brings us to 2017, and Quiet Riot had Road Rage set for release in April with Seann Nicols.  It was available for pre-order.  In fact, I did that (back on March 10th), and because of that, I have one of the songs with Nicols on vocals – it was called “The Seeker”.  There wasn’t any more available from that version of the album, as I would like to hear that too.

Anyway, enough of that.  In April they announced that Nicols was out (who left to join Bobby Blotzer’s version of Ratt), and was replaced by James Durbin, who was most known for being on American Idol.  Something that I destested, as American Idol seems like the mortal enemy of “real music”.  So I had a problem in my head at the start with this lineup because of “American Idol”.

Didn’t hear much from them as they worked on re-recording the vocals for the album with Durbin.  Then we got the first single from the redone Road Rage.  It was “Freak Flag”.  There was a Youtube audio released on June 12th.  You can hear that song here:

That was a MUCH better lead song than “The Seeker” was.  It starts off with a nice blues-y riff, before heading into more traditional rock.  The chorus is very “live friendly” to me.  I can see it being an audience participation bit live.   I was onboard with this, it sounded great – was a great first step.  But I needed some more convincing to be totally behind the album.  Then we got a second “single” on July 10th.  This one was called “Wasted”.

I enjoyed this one, too.  Doesn’t have the blues feel of Freak Flag, it’s a more traditional song.  But has a nice guitar riff by Grossi.   Definitely shows Durbin’s range as a vocalist.  I didn’t hear the old version of this, but I’d be surprised if the other guy had this kind of range.  A great scream in here.

That brings us to the third pre-release song (July 24th), “Can’t Get Enough”, which is the first proper music video from Quiet Riot from this album.  The last time Quiet Riot had an official music video on any album was something from their 1988 album with Paul Shortino on vocals.   The last time there was a music video with Kevin was even further back (1986’s “QR III”).  So it had been quite some time since they had one of these….

I loved the old reappearance of the “stripes” in the band’s outfit in the “outdoor scenes”.  That was a flashback for sure as they go back in their performances and videos to the Metal Health & Condition Critical albums!   One other thing I realized when watching this.  The last time Quiet Riot released an official music video, James Durbin hadn’t yet been born!  Holy crap!!   My thoughts the hearing “Can’t Get Enough” is this is good, straightforward American Rock & Roll.  I really like this song.  Probably the best of the three, and I really did like Freak Flag, too!  Can’t Get Enough is also the first track on the album, which is a great idea for “Song 1”.

Anyway, that’s three for three for songs I liked.  That is an excellent ratio and bodes well for the rest of the album.

The Rest of the Album

Then I got a copy of the entire album from the record label a couple of weeks ago, and holy crap!  I really loved the full album.  Some of the Quiet Riot albums from the 90’s and 2000’s were kind of “meh”, but then they knocked it out of the park with Rehab.  10 wasn’t like that, so I wasn’t sure which way this album would go insofar as me liking it.   Well, I bloody love the thing.  I’m not going to go track by track on it, but there’s a lot on here to like.  Besides the three I mentioned already, I’m partial to “Getaway”.  This sounds like something that Glenn Hughes would do, and that’s a strong draw for me.  The track “Shame” has some nice vocal work.  I also really like the last song on the album, “Knock ‘Em Down”.  Usually by the end of an album, I’m ready for something else.  The last song here is the kind that makes me want to play the album again.   It’s not just these, the rest of the album is damn good too.

My thoughts

Bottom line, this is an EXTREMELY solid album.  It’s not an album from a band trying to hold onto the old days.  This is damn good album, and I really hope isn’t the last Quiet Riot album.  I’d love to see another album from this lineup – especially one with Durbin there for the whole process.  Without having heard the other version, this kind of reminds me of what Black Sabbath did with ‘The Eternal Idol’ to some extent.  Although this seems like more of a total re-do, as Durbin is credited on all the songs, and “The Seeker” isn’t on the released version.  My guess is the music was the same, but the vocals are different, but without hearing the original, I can’t say that for any certainty.

Many an album I’ve bought where there’s just two songs and a bunch that I listen to once and never again.  That’s not “Road Rage”.    This is an album that’s worth a solid listen, something that’s done less and less in this age of digital music and individual songs.  Listen to the whole album.

I wanted to circle around to the “credibility” issue I raised earlier.  While I don’t buy into it, I know a lot of people will slag off Quiet Riot and cite that reason.  I dispute that.  Here’s why.  While Quiet Riot doesn’t technically have any original members left (the death of Kevin took care of that), it’s close.

Frankie Banali – been behind the kit since they were working on what would become the Metal Health album in 1982.  He was out of the band briefly in the early 90’s, but has been there more or less consistently since 1982.  That’s a long bloody time.   Has played drums on all studio albums except the original two with Randy Rhoads.

Alex Grossi – has been on guitar for Quiet Riot from 2004-2007, and then again from 2010 until current.  Those three years the band was inactive.   He played on the “Road Rage (2017)”, “Quiet Riot 10 (2014)”, and “Rehab (2006)” albums.  Not his first go around.

Chuck Wright – has been on bass on and off since Metal Health.  Not consistently mind you, as Rudy Sarzo was also involved over the years, but Wright plays bass on two tracks on Metal Health, as well as singing background vocals on that album.  He also plays bass on these albums: “QR III (1986)”, “Down to the Bone (1995)”, “Quiet Riot 10 (2014)”, and he also does background vocals on the “Terrified (1993)” album.  So he’s been around for quite awhile.

James Durbin – Well, he’s the new guy, and as I alluded to before, he’s the sixth vocalist since the death of Dubrow, and it seems like they finally settled on someone that fits the glove well.  He’s young, so he has the strength and the pipes to pull out anything from the back catalog, be it any of the recorded vocalists – Kevin DuBrow, Paul Shortino, or Jizzy Pearl.

So this lineup is more than credible to me.  The three musicians on stage have been involved with Quiet Riot for some time, it’s not just “Frankie Banali and some guys”.  Which brings me to my next point…

Buy this

In this day and age, people are inclined to getting their music free.  If not outright theft, then via something streaming like Apple Music or the like.  But I think you should go BUY the album.  I did.  Even though I got a copy from the record label, and I also can listen to it for free from Amazon Music Unlimited (I’m a subscriber), I also went and BOUGHT THE ALBUM.  Why?  Because bands that have been at it this long and are still producing quality music deserve to be supported.  Also, in the first week of release, the album is cheap!  You can buy the CD from Amazon for $7.99 – click the cover art.  I also bought a copy for my brother, so I’m on board with this one.

You should buy it too.  It’s quality hard rock, and in 2017 that’s a hard thing to come by, given we’re so obsessed with the shit that normally sells in the USA these days.

Finally, I really like the cover art.  Anyone reading this know who did that?  Found out from a friend at the record label that the artist was William Brent, whose website can be reached here.

Bang Your Head!

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