Quiet Riot Artist Profile

Kevin DuBrow (L) and Carlos Cavazo of American heavy metal band Quiet Riot perform live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1984.
Pete Cronin/Redferns/Getty Images

Formed:

1975 in Los Angeles, California

Core '80s Band Members:

  • Kevin DuBrow (born Kevin Mark DuBrow on October 29, 1955 in Los Angeles; died November 19, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada) - Lead vocals, primary songwriter
  • Carlos Cavazo (born Carlos Eric Cavazo on July 8, 1957 in Mexico City, Mexico) - Guitars, backing vocals, songwriter
  • Rudy Sarzo (born November 18, 1950 in Havana, Cuba) - Bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Frankie Banali (born November 14, 1951 in Queens, New York City) - Drums, backing vocals, songwriter

Other Key '80s Members:

  • Chuck Wright (born September 13, 1959 in Los Angeles) - Bass guitar, songwriter

Overview:

If nothing else, the mottled, fascinating history of Quiet Riot serves as one of the most interesting rock and roll stories of all time. Begun as a pioneering L.A. heavy metal outfit and vehicle for founding member and eventually legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads, the group amazingly built a superstar second act based around the manic energy of longtime frontman DuBrow. But even that tells only a portion of the story. Ultimately, the band's feast-or-famine '80s narrative serves as both hard-luck tale and unlikely rebirth myth, but the group also managed a relatively successful return during the '90s and '00s - sadly derailed by the drug-fueled death of DuBrow in 2007. Amazingly enough, Quiet Riot's fourth act remains ongoing, as Banali has continued to lead a lineup (with a series of replacement lead singers) that attempts to honor the band's four-decade thread of ragged perseverance.

If that sounds like a complicated summary, feel free to research the details for even more twists and tangles.

Early Years:

Simply put, Quiet Riot was one of the very first Sunset Strip metal bands, responsible for blazing the path traveled rather blithely years later by bands that enjoyed far more immediate spoils.

Led initially by Rhoads and bassist Kelly Garni, the band added DuBrow by 1975, around the same time it adopted its now-legendary name. Even the name has a priceless origin story, but despite leading the way for early L.A. hard rock bands from Van Halen to Motley Crue, the early lineup had no luck securing a U.S. record contract. As a result, the first two Japan-released albums (featuring Rhoads) remain extremely difficult to hear still today. In fact, the '80s phenomenon of Quiet Riot almost ended before it started, when Rhoads auditioned for the guitarist slot in Ozzy Osbourne's post-Black Sabbath band in 1979 and secured it. With Rhoads out (and Sarzo soon following him to Osbourne's band), DuBrow's hopes for rock and roll transcendence seemed utterly snuffed out - and were not to be resurrected for almost three years.

'Metal Health' and Mid-'80s Peak:

Against many odds, DuBrow continued some semblance of a career amid the ashes of the band he helped shape, at first feebly attempting to press on with new personnel and then recruiting Cavazo and Banali to play in what he imagined would be his own band. Ironically enough, Rhoads' infamous death in a 1982 plane crash served as a partial impetus for the rechristened Quiet Riot, as Sarzo again became available (in the process squeezing out Wright) to round out the core lineup of the '80s quartet.

Without ambitious intent, the new group soon began recording songs together, offhandedly resurrecting the Quiet Riot name in a sort of low-key tribute to the fallen Rhoads. What happened next was almost universally unexpected, as the group finally signed a U.S. record deal in the fall of 1982 and completed Metal Health only six months later. Even more unpredictably, the record was a slow-building smash, eventually becoming the first American metal album to claim the top spot on the Billboard albums chart. With such a frenetic blast of "overnight" success, perhaps it was inevitable that a decline would set in almost immediately after Quiet Riot reached a previously unimaginable pinnacle.

Late-'80s Chaos and Swift Collapse:

The new group's sophomore LP, 1984's Condition Critical, followed quickly, enjoying considerable success but lacking spotlight tracks in the vein of "Cum on Feel the Noize" and "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" this time out.

In addition, it didn't help that DuBrow at this point spoke frequently in the press with disdain regarding the newly emerging pop metal bands he felt were riding unceremoniously on the coattails of Quiet Riot's spectacularly trailblazing year just passed. This alienated fellow L.A. bands, Quiet Riot fans, and - of course - the hard rock press. Internal band friction grew, in turn, and by the 1986 release of QR III Sarzo had exited once again, later joining a new lineup of David Coverdale's Whitesnake. Wright returned at this point, but within a year Banali and Cavazo had kicked DuBrow out of what had been essentially his band. And so the band's precipitous fall was all but complete.

Death of a Classic Frontman, Then One Last Rebirth?:

Following an inconsequential 1988 album with a new frontman, Quiet Riot faded entirely for a time, completely shut out of the late-'80s explosion of hair metal popularity. A few years later the '80s core gradually ironed out its differences, and by 1993 all but Sarzo reunited to relaunch the band once again. Sarzo himself even returned for a few years toward decade's end, but the classic lineup didn't last too long into the new millennium. Ultimately, DuBrow and Banali remained the only constants as the group soldiered on with rapidly shifting supporting players. A new studio album surfaced in 2007, but by year's end DuBrow was dead, and it looked like this time Quiet Riot had to be over for good. But after initially balking at the idea, Banali has insisted on moving forward with a version of the group.

And now, three lead vocalists later, Quiet Riot continues to deepen a rich, chaotic legacy that still stands as one of the strangest, longest-lasting "overnight success" stories in music history.