Frankie Banali

Written by Randy Patterson

Posted April, 2011

Banali1Photo by Rob ShanahanWhen I feel particularly ornery, I like to tease the last wave of the Baby Boomer generation – specifically, those born in the first half of the sixties –  that the only good music was made in the 70’s.  Of course, our older brothers and sisters say, ‘Au, contraire!  The only great music came from the sixties!”

Of course, every decade in the last 70+ years produced some great, memorable, even iconic music that still enjoys a following today.  My good-natured teasing aside, the eighties put out some pretty darn good music.  As the eighties charged full speed ahead, heavy metal enjoyed a very dedicated fan base.

From that genre, one of the flagship bands that became a symbol of those times was Quiet Riot.  Their breakout hit, a cover of Slade’s hit, Cum On Feel The Noize, made it to the number five spot on Billboard.  The album, Metal Health, that contained the song was the first heavy metal album U.S. heavy metal band to simultaneously reach number one AND have a top five song on the charts within the same week.  Along with Noize, the title cut from the album has served as the bands most identified tunes that still serve them well today.

Like many bands, Quiet Riot experienced the dramatic, gut wrenching ups and downs of the rock and roll business.  The most tragic event of their ride was the pre-mature 2007 death of the bands iconic singer and co-founder, Kevin DuBrow.  Fans feared that the band was over.  Last year brought the welcome news to Quiet Riot fans that the band was back, alive and banging their heads with more verve and vigor than ever.

Through a mutual friend, noted rock photographer, Rob Shanahan, I was introduced to the band’s current leader, co-founder and drummer extraordinaire, Frankie Banali, who graciously consented to a phone interview recently.

Quiet Riot fans have, obviously, read everything there is to read about the band during its history.  With over 30 years of experience and perspective of the band, I started off by asking Banali how he would now describe and define Quiet Band.

As would be demonstrated throughout the phone call, he answered with well-thought out answers.  “I think one of the key elements of this strange trip that we’ve been on – this Quiet Riot journey – has been the fact that, for whatever reason, we were fortunate enough to have been at the right place at the right time when the Metal Health record came out in 1983.

“From that, we culled two significant songs, Cum On Feel The Noize, which is a Slade song that we re-did.  But, also equally as important, is the song, Metal Health (Bang Your Head).  That’s become almost the key song for the band - so much so that it’s the last song of our set.  I think for the genre, those two songs sort of became the soundtrack for that generation.”

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