“QUIET RIOT” INTERVIEW by Andrea Bermúdez

It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to have this interview with Frankie Banali, drummer of the legendary band Quiet Riot for Metalheads Forever Magazine.

It is a pleasure to meet you via this interview Andrea. Thanks you for your interest in QUIET RIOT and the new “Road Rage” record on Frontiers Srl!

This year is the 10th anniversary of the death of the originally singer of Quiet Riot, Kevin DuBrow, you have a new album, a new singer, James Durbin. How does all these movements have impacted the band?

It is still very difficult to believe that Kevin DuBrow passed 10 years ago this coming November. He was my best friend and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him or miss him. It has been really great to have James Durbin singing with QUIET RIOT and doing both the memory of Kevin and the legacy of QUIET RIOT justice.

Recently the band shot a video “Can´t get Enough”, is the first video that you shot in almost three decades. How has the critics and the fans have received it?

The actual QUIET RIOT fans have loved both the video and of course the song. Critically it has been very well received. Of course, no one and no band can please everyone, but for the most part is has been a very positive experience to make a QUIET RIOT music video after nearly 30 years.

Your new album,“Road Rage”, will be released on august 4 via Frontiers Music Srl. What are your expectations for this album?

It took me a long time to decide to do a QUIET RIOT record and it’s the first real release since 2006, so over a decade. Frontiers have been very positive and very supportive of this QUIET RIOT release and I felt the time was right. It is a very honest rock record in the tradition of QUIET RIOT but of course also moving the music forward.

What does it mean to you to record a new version of the album with James, and all the controversy with Seann Nicols who claims his participation in the creative process of it?

There is no controversy. All the music was written largely by me and my writing partner Neil Citron along with the music for a song contributed by guitarist Alex Grossi and the music for another co-written by bassist Chuck Wright. None of the music was written with or by Mr. Nicols at any time and he only contributed lyrics and melodies and none of his lyrics and melodies were used. James Durbin wrote all new lyrics and melodies which is what was included on the Road Rage record and nothing by Mr. Nicols. He is not included, he is owed nothing.

Do you agree that the dynamics of the songwriting have changed nowadays and the technology, the internet plays a new roll in this?

On the one hand, it is easier that you can send songs and ideas via the internet to band members if you are not living in the same city or state. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the old school process of going to rehearsal after rehearsal and working on songs that way. Now you write a song, you introduce that song to others who then learn it and you meet in the recording studio to cut the tracks. Convenient, probably, as fulfilling? Depends on your point of view.

What the new fans and those who have been loyal to the band, since times of the “Cum On Feel The Noize”, will find in this new period of the band?

QUIET RIOT is very lucky to have a fan base that spans three and a half decades, but we also have fans that are half their ages and then younger fans that weren’t even born when Metal Health was released in 1983. So we get a really great cross section of the older and newer fans. Much like the material on Road Rage which I believe the longtime fans will find songs that remind them of the past, but also songs that are a little different yet still part of the future legacy of QUIET RIOT. So like our fans, there is something in the music for the old, the wild, and the young.

What do you think that James Durbin provides, as a lead singer to the band, apart from having the vocal range that Kevin had?

Kevin was one of the greatest performers I’ve ever worked with and James has that same intensity and showmanship. Kevin was also very funny as is James and they are both tall, so there are things that remind me of Kevin, put also James is his own person and is which makes it possible for James to sing the older material as well as the new material easily.

How has the fans had received James during his live debut, last 18 of march at the Cotillion in Wichita, Kansas? Do you think that the fact that he was in “American Idol” helps the band to become more popular nowadays?

Then fans didn’t know what to expect, but right from the first song of the first show, they immediately understood why James was the right choice for QUIET RIOT, and it has built from there in so many positive ways. It helps that James was already known via American Idol, but QUIET RIOT has such a long and historic presence and James just adds to that history live and on Road Rage.

Apart from Quiet Riot you have played in Wasp, with Glenn Hughes, Pat Thrall, Gary Hoey, after all these years on the road in which way do you think that the metal scene has changed?

I’ve been very fortunate to continue to have a great and long career in music. The music business has changed greatly as has radio, television, etc. These days it is all about your history, who you are, how you are known and that the name of your band is instantly recognizable. That’s what makes it possible to continue touring when so many other bands won’t, don’t or can’t. There are very few real record labels anymore. Frontiers Srl is one of the few that is still out there supporting and promoting rock music.

What kind of advice would you offer up-and-coming bands?

Do it because you love music, do it because you enjoy playing with other musicians, do it because it gives you a creative way to live your life. Don’t do it if you think you are going to become famous quickly or get rich overnight. It is a difficult business and you have to be strong if you are going to survive it.

Apart from the moment that “Metal Health” became number one on Billboard´s list, which another pleasant moment in the history of the band do you remember more?

Playing the US Festival in 1983 to over 375,000 fans. Playing Madison Square Garden in New York where I saw so many of my music heroes play. Headlining the Los Angeles Forum. There are so many others.

Which do you prefer recording or playing live, and why?-If you could be granted three wishes related to Quiet Riot and your music, what would they be?

I enjoy both equally. Creating new music is as exciting to me as being an adventurer and discovering new places. It never existed until you discovered it by creating it. Playing live is taking the process of writing new music to the next level in front of an audience. And of course playing the older material is like spending time with old and trusted friends.

Three QUIET RIOT wishes.

1. That Kevin DuBrow would still be alive.
2. That Kevin DuBrow would still be alive.
3. That Kevin DuBrow would still be alive.

Do you want to add anything for your fans?Thanks for your time and I wish you the best of luck!

I am incredibly grateful to each and every QUIET RIOT fan from the very beginning to this day and in the future. If it wasn’t for their support, there could not have been a QUIET RIOT nor would I have lived this incredible journey. I look forward to where Road Rage leads QUIET RIOT and me.

Thanks so much for your time!

Andrea Bermúdez/MHF Magazine