Quiet Riot was a staple of the late 1970s club scene in Los Angeles, contemporaries of the likes of a young band by the name of Van Halen. But whereas the big-time came calling on the latter band, Quiet Riot was left to languish by record companies, who were by then busy trying to cash in on disco and new wave. After releasing two records in Japan only, the band would temporarily go on hiatus when, in 1980, their superstar guitarist, Randy Rhoads, was selected to be the sideman to recently fired Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Tragically, Rhoads’ life would be cut short just two years later in a plane crash while on tour in Florida. But, not before he had turned the world on its ear with his fiery, classical-inspired lead playing on Osbourne’s first two solo records.
Randy’s death stimulated interest in Quiet Riot and the work that he had done with them, so singer Kevin Dubrow reassembled the band with Frankie Banali on drums, Rudy Sarzo on bass, and Carlos Cavazo in the guitar slot. They finally signed an American record deal and released the landmark album, Metal Health. The album featured a touching tribute to Rhoads called “Thunderbird” which was penned by Dubrow. The album’s first two singles — the title track, and a cover of the Slade classic “Cum On Feel The Noize” — would become some of the most played videos on the young MTV (yes kids, they used to play nothing BUT music videos!). As a result, Quiet Riot would make the history books on November 26, 1983 when Metal Health became the first heavy metal album to reach the number one spot on Billboard’s album charts.
Unfortunately, they were unable to ever quite match Metal Health‘s success again. They would go through too many lineup changes to count, even firing Dubrow from the band at one point. Sadly, Dubrow would die as the result of an accidental cocaine overdose on November 19, 2007. Banali continues to tour with a version of Quiet Riot to this day.
This week’s Massive Metal Monday song is the title track of Metal Health.
Dedicated to the memory of Kevin Dubrow and Randy Rhoads.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University of Ohio). It was called Massive Metal for the Masses, and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.