QUIET RIOT is one of those band’s with enough messed up history to create an HBO mini-series drama mostly thanks to singer Kevin Dubrow. The band was started as far back as 1973 by the guitar god Randy Rhoads who would only reach full potential and glory by pairing up with Ozzy Osbourne after the exodus from Black Sabbath. While many members came and went throughout the 70s including two mediocre albums before Rhoad’s readiness for prime time, several things went down in the 80s that led to the recording and release of QUIET RIOT’s third album METAL HEALTH which is the album everyone knows as the single release that catapulted heavy metal into the mainstream popular culture. This album, mostly with the help of the fledgling MTV’s heavy rotation of “Cum On Feel The Noize,” shot up to the number 1 position on the Billboard chart as well as having the aforementioned Slade remake hit the Top 5 and the title track cracking the Top 40.
After two albums, Rhoads got wooed away to audition for Ozzy and ended up getting hired on the spot while warming up for an audition. After that sobering reality, the rest of the band called it quits but after the untimely death of Rhoads in an airplane crash in 1982, the band members who had been writing material for the prior years suddenly found themselves with a renewed surge of energy that was rekindled. After deciding to reunite and record all these songs, the band ultimately settled to reemerge as QUIET RIOT in honor of Rhoads and after finding a suitable guitarist replacement with Carlos Cavazo, alligator mouth Kevin DuBrow, bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Frankie Banali found instant success of the greatest magnitude with METAL HEALTH.
Musically this is pretty much similar to all the glam metal of the 80s that you’ve all heard before. It is basically bluesy metal with teenage hormone induced lyrics screaming and celebrating the mindless pleasures of life whether it be the art of insanity (title track), the love of extreme decibelage (“Come On Feel The Noize”), love of cars (“Slick Black Cadillac”) or inability to find love (“Love’s A Bitch”) but this album certainly has attained the honor of becoming a milestone in history as the entry point for metal music to become a majorly hot selling phenomenon and able to generate chart hit singles as well. Granted it’s all very catchy pop rock but everything is amped up with plenty of attitude and distortion to create some veritable noise within the popular music scene of the early 80s when new wave, synthpop and AOR were reigning supreme.
Listening to this in the 21st century is rather amusing. It is very much a product of its time which is basically an updated 2.0 version of 70s glam rock as heard by bands such as The Sweet. However, DuBrow had quite the set of pipes and could belt out those adolescent lyrics like nobody else in the biz. The band successfully adopted the glam image which along with a give no middle fingers attitude that propelled them up the MTV ranks and into Generation X’s highest ranking of “bug-yer-parents” music. To be honest, this music is quite silly in all its faux pomp and swagger, but i have to admit that the tracks are pretty catchy as pop metal goes and the sound of the vocals and instruments together is quite well performed. While the band would continue their musical soap opera with DuBrow continuing his tasteless antics and band members sifting through the lineup like sand grains through an hourglass, the band did hit it huge for this brief moment in time and cemented their name into the history books. There are some strong tracks (title track, “Love’s A Bitch,” “Battle Axe,” “Slick Black Cadillac”) as well as some lesser ones on this surprise hot seller but unfortunately the moment waned quickly and QUIET RIOT who was neither QUIET nor a RIOT but somewhere in between would simply be a catalyst to allow the much more talented underground bands behind the scenes to step into the limelight leaving QR to be a footnote, albeit significant one in the metal archives.