Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, ex-W.A.S.P

October 10th, 2007
by Marko Syrjala

 

 

FRANKIE BANALI

Frankie Banali is a legendary drummer who is best known for his work with Quiet Riot and W.A.S.P. Frankie joined Quiet Riot in 1983 prior to the band releasing their smash album METAL HEALTH. The album stormed up the U.S. charts; it even reached the number one spot and went platinum five times over in the process. It is worth a mention that Quiet Riot were the first heavy metal band to top the U.S charts. Unfortunately thier following albums CONDITION CRITICAL and QRIII didn’t reach the success of METAL HEALTH.  With the lack of success and several line -up changes the band slowly disbanded in 1988. Frankie started to work with W.A.S.P. HEADLESS CHILDREN was released in late 1988 and it was a big success. Frankie did a world tour with W.A.S.P and later on he worked on numerous W.A.S.P albums including CRIMSON IDOL which was another milestone in W.A.S.P’s career. Quiet Riot was reformed in 1993 and after several discussions Frankie decided to rejoin his old mates. Since re -joining Frankie has been the driving force behind Quiet Riot. The band released their latest album "Rehab" in 2006 and now in 2007 they finally arrived here in Scandinavia, for the very first time in their career.At the Swedenrock festival I managed to sit down with Frankie himself to talk about the long history of Quiet Riot, his involvements with W.A.S.P, his work with Glenn Hughes and various other interesting topics… 

 

INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA

TRANSCRIPTION BY ANDY OSBORN AND TARU SAARINEN

 


TOURING THEN AND NOW

Quiet Riot is now finally playing here in Scandinavia. What is the main reason that you have never been here before, even back in the glory days?

Well you know…What happened in the 1983 when we did our first tour together. We were touring in the America and the record has started to do very well and we were offered the opportunity to play in the U.K with Judas Priest. And so we did the shows in the U.K with Judas Priest and then we came over to Germany for few shows but back then we had so many dates lined up in the United States that we never had chance to play in any Scandinavian countries, we didn�t have opportunity to play in Japan, we didn�t have opportunity to play in Australia. All those places wanted us to come, but there wasn�t enough time and then when we were through with that tour we were forced to go immediately in to the studio by the label to do the second record because they wanted the second record out. Then we went right back to tour and we actually didn�t get to tour in Japan, until we were doing �Condition Critical� tour two years later. By that time when we were ready to come over to Scandinavia but the band all the sudden really wasn�t as popular anymore. So the offers weren�t there anymore. So it took us 25 years, 20 years to get here. One of the main reasons we wanted to do this Swedenrock festival is [that] we were hoping that if the show goes well for us and if the audience was happy with our performance maybe other Scandinavian countries would be more interested to having Quiet Riot come back? Which is what I�m hoping is going to happen. Because I mean you know I�d love to do Denmark, Norway and Finland dates… I mean… I�d love to go to any place where there are people who want to hear the music.

Chuck Wright, Frankie, Kevin DuBrow, Alex Grossi are Quiet Riot in 2007

80�s hard rock and metal is doing really well in Scandinavia right now�

I know and that�s amazing. Well, you know the thing about Quiet Riot is obviously were are going to do material that fans are familiar from the first record to second record and third record especially. But we continue to record new music which is what we do three new songs. I�m hoping we have the opportunity to play for instance in Finland. I don�t care that it is a small place. You have to start somewhere. But there�s got to be a promoter in Finland that wants to bring us. We just can�t to show up. Someone has to invite us but if they invite us we will be there.

So you don�t mind even doing some smaller places with capacity between 100 -300 people?

I�ll be happy to do those sizes of venues. Because my whole point is to bring music to people who want to hear it. And is fits to big venues – great, it fits to small venues � great, because we play with the same intensity and the same love what we do whether it�s for as many people as here or for 200 people. You know, we don�t make the distinction � well, if there are less people, so we are not going to try as hard – that�s bullshit.

 


ROCKLAHOMA

Rocklahoma. How does is feel to play in such festival in year 2007!

Well, I�m really curious about how it�s going to go. What I have found out is the fact that European audience are lot more faithful for this kind of music. So I�m curious to see how it�s going to happen. I think potentially the show could do well because it�s not in New York or LA which both are very trendy. They just sit there like this – they just don�t really like anything. They cross their arms and it is like, you know, they look at you. Rocklahoma is located in Oklahoma which is a kind of middle of America. It�s got the potential of doing well. I�ll be really curious because you know what I�m calling it right now I�m calling it �ego Oklahoma�. So I�m going to be really curious to see you know. Listen, we come in and we get along with everybody. We come in and we do what we suppose to do. We stay out of everybody�s way and when we�re done, we�re done. We go have a meal and we go back to the hotel and have a drink and we�re done. We are not getting on anybody�s ways. We will see how it goes but I think it�s going great. I mean. I have heard that ticket sales are phenomenal and people are coming from all over the world.

I heard that they have sold tens of thousands tickets already!

Oh yeah. I mean right now unless you have a hotel booked you�re going to be staying a good hour, hour and half away.

You know…the busters of Metal sludge said that it was going to be a totally crazy idea but�

 

You know what it�s going to do really well form. Because the problem with Americans�most people listens to that 20 % trendy music and they think they�re the ones that dictated what�s popular and what�s not popular. It�s really funny because we can tour America non-stop and we do it year and year out because there�s still people who are interested of that kind of music. There�s certain pocket I mean if you go to Miami there�s still that dance music and if you go to New York they are really trendy and in LA it�s the same thing but in the most part you can still do it. What I like about European audience is that they are really, really in to it. It�s not a fake. They don�t go home and take all the staff off and put different clothes on rest of the week. They really are about this and that�s really rewarding.


THE HISTORY IN BRIEF

You joined the band prior the mega successful METAL HEALTH� how did you ended up to Quiet Riot and how well did you know the band before you came in?

What happened was…Rudy and I have known each others for years. When my family moved from New York to Florida Rudy was living in Florida and we started to play when we still were in the high school we started to play together and we both came up to California in different times. He had joined to Quiet Riot when Randy was in the band and he wants me to join to band but I didn�t want to join the band because I thought Randy was great but I thought they were pop band. I was then in band which was more like Led Zeppelin and Free. So I didn�t want to do it and what happened is that Rudy introduced me to Kevin and he said to Kevin; �Well you know I think you should get to know Frankie but he isn�t easy person to get to know because he is from New York and he doesn�t really say too much�. We then hang out couple of times but we didn�t start working together. This was like 1980. We didn�t start working together until but a year later in -81, -82. By that point Randy and Rudy had really joined Ozzy so I started working with Kevin and band was called DuBrow. Then after Randy was killed in accident and Rudy rejoined the band and we were ready to record �Metal Health�. So that�s when I started. That line up with Kevin and Rudy and Carlos and I did �Metal Health� and �Condition Critical� record. By the time we did �Condition Critical� record, Rudy was unhappy and he left right at the end of that tour. So when we did �QR III� that�s when Chuck joined the band but it was actually Chuck who played bass on songs �Bang Your Head� and �Don�t Wanna Let You Go� on the first album. When we did �QR III� tour we were in Japan and then things weren�t doing well with Kevin. We had to ask Kevin not to participate anymore and we went back to the studio and did fourth album with Paul Shortino and bassist Sean McNabb because Chuck then decided to leave and play with Free. We did that �Quiet Riot� album in 1988. That version of band was very short lived. We did a tour in South America and a tour in Japan and then we broke up. Then there wasn�t Quiet Riot from about 1989 until I rejoined in 1993. In 1993 when I rejoined there was Kenny Hillary on bass, Carlos and Kevin and I.

And then you released the album TERRIFIED?

Yes and we then did �Terrified�. Actually Bobby Rondinelli was in band at the time and he did half of the record and he left in middle of recording and I did the rest of the record and we toured for that. After the tour Kenny left the band and then Chuck re-joined the band. That�s we did album �Down to the Bone� and after that band took a break about a year. Then Marilyn Manson asked us to play for the private party and we did the show. Chuck was gone again so we decided to ask Rudy to play that show. Rudy hadn�t been in the band for ten years at least. I asked him to come down to play two songs and then he never left. That�s when we did �Alive & Well� and then we did �Guilty Pleasures�. That�s brings us up to 2002. In 2002 we did live-DVD �Live in the 21�st Century� but before it came out on October the band split up again. So then there was no band from 2003 until to almost to 2005. That�s when I restructured the business and new corporations that brings us up to the point I talk with Kevin and we started doing business a little different way.

That was the history in brief. May I ask some details?

Yeah for sure!

Rudy, Kevin and Carlos live in 1983


BANG YOUR HEAD WITH PLATINIUM

First of all, tell the readers how the song �Metal Health� came about?

Carlos was in the band calling Snowy before Quiet Riot and they had a song called �No More Booze�. The only part what was good about the song was the hook, �No More Booze�, but who�s going to buy a song called �No more booze�?  We changed it from �No More Booze� to �Bang Your Head�. I worked on the arrangement and changed it little more. I was big AC/DC fan so I was looking more AC/DC kind of a vibe, so that�s how that kind of structure came about and we actually did a video for that before we did the video �Cum On Feel The Noize�. Actually MTV played it couple of times and nothing really happened. So next we did the video "Cum On Feel The Noize" and from that point the whole thing went huge!

Talking about some more about METAL HEALTH period. Like you mentioned things started to go huge pretty soon and actually it did seem that everything happened really fast for you� I mean you suddenly changed from club band into stadium band…

Well, it did happen really fast which was really funny. When we first started playing – we started playing at the Rocks which is fairly small – about 300 seats – in LA and it did very well. We start and went out doing clubs on our own. And we were out a good 6 or 7 months and nothing was really happening – I mean it really wasn�t happening. So what happened when we were on the road we got offered to open up for the Scorpions. So all of sudden what happens is that we were put in the position where instead of playing – we were selling out those clubs 300, 500, 700 seats but they are still clubs. Soon as we had that opportunity to open up for Scorpions we were put on arenas. So all of sudden you have that many more people hearing the songs. So that made it interesting to them so they started buying the record. We were doing so well as opening act that we were supposed to play with them four weeks and they extended it to six weeks and then wanted to extend it two more weeks, but we couldn�t because we had been offered the opening spot for ZZ Top. So now we were opening for ZZ Top and in even bigger places. Again we had a four week deal and they picked up it to four more weeks so we were with them two months and as soon as we had done with them we got the best possible position which was opening up for Iron Maiden. We were then out with Iron Maiden about three months. Then we were over the UK and we had the good fortune to open up for Judas Priest. So it was like opening up for one great band after great band after great band. The odd thing about it is – we did have an opportunity for open up for Black Sabbath during �Born Again� tour and it was most bizarre thing because we�re opening up for them and their record had come out after ours. We were playing in Cincinnati on November 13th of 1983 � which is a day before my birthday, I never forget that day. We found out that day that next week �Metal Health� is going to be number #1 in U.S. So here we are, opening up for Black Sabbath with two feet of stage room and our record is number one and theirs was already sinking, it was very strange situation�

It was Mr. Ian Gillan singing in Black Sabbath on that tour?

Yes, that was �Born Again� tour. They were very, very nice for us. They came to the dressing room and gave us a case of champagne and all and I felt so bad because, you know, here is Black Sabbath the band I was listening when I was a kid and their album is sinking and ours was doing very well. But yeah, it was very exciting, very exciting.

Quiet Riot in 1983: Carlos Cavazo, Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo and Frankie

What�s was the reason… as you already mentioned that Chuck played on a couple of tracks on the first album but�I interviewed Rudy couple of years ago and he said that when he came in Chuck actually wasn�t in the band anymore.. How that actually went then?

What happened? Chuck� you know? The best way I can put this is, Chuck never really has a steady girlfriend and that�s because up until now, he has got one now� but that because he had a fear of commitment on every level. So we never knew how long he was going to be around. So there was a mission there and when we had opportunity to have Rudy back in the band and Rudy and I�ve been best friends and things were already going great with Chuck. I mean the same thing did happen when we came back from Japan after Kevin was out of the band. He rehearses with us to do a tour with Paul Shortino and then, one day, Chuck was gone. So you know that�s basically the way it was. But he has changed now.

That�s good to hear!

You know I keep telling – there�s a saying in the America that �the grass is always greener on the other side�. Meaning you know your yard might be dead like this and you look on the neighbour�s yard and it is green, so you want to go over there. My logic is � yeah, the grass is always greener on the other side, until you have to mow it. Okay?

 

I got it. Whose idea originally was the man with iron mask?

The idea of the mask was combination of – the whole idea of cover was a combination of everybody in the band. We didn�t want the picture of the band on the cover. We were very impressed with the whole idea of Eddie and Iron Maiden, so we wanted some kind of icon, so we decided that we wanted to have kind of insane person but we didn�t want a phrase or we didn�t want a skeleton head. So Rudy said how about if we use man with the iron mask. So that was the basic idea for that. Then I came up with the idea making of straight jacket of leather, I happened to have a red leather motor cycle jacket. So that was the model for that and then I think it was Kevin�s idea to put buttons on the front of our faces to make the guy a fan. The actual mask was made by photographer Stan Watts who did the cover.

"Metal Health" !!!

Speaking more about the early days of Quiet Riot …whose idea it was to use stripes on clothes?

That was a thing that Kevin was doing a way back that whole stripe thing…yeah…that was Kevin�s thing. I did it on the drum set. I tell you something that was really, really bad� Okay� When we went to the Japan for the ï¿½Condition Critical� tour the backdrop was black stripe, white stripe, black stripe etc. One problem, in Japanese culture, that�s what they put on at a funeral.

Ha ha� but you still finished the tour using that backdrop?

Oh yeah. We did it with conviction. We fucked up, but we fucked up good!!!

How did you feel when Stryper used same kind of stripes like you only few years later…?

You know, it didn�t bother me because there was nothing new, nothing original but they looked like bumblebees� They looked like bees.� Who cares? They are nice guys, though�


�CONDITION CRITICAL� AND �QR III�

Kevin has often said that he really dislikes the next album �Condition Critical�. How about you?

No, I don�t dislike it at all. I understand why Kevin feels that way because we then had a very bad deal. Having said that, we knew when we signed that it was a bad deal. So you can�t look back and say we got fucked. We allowed ourselves to get fucked, but it�s like anything else… I think that everybody likes to think that they could have done something differently or better. I think it was a great record, I think it was the best record we could have done at that point of time. I�m very grateful to Slade for writing a song that although they were never able to. I mean, it was a hit in everywhere else by them except the United States. I�m very grateful they wrote a great song �Mama Weer All Crazee Now� that we made a hit in United States and I think it worked out great. We got the fame, they got the money, everybody did good  -you know what I mean? I don�t view it the way,  I�m a glass full kind of guy, if  I see a glass and it is half full what ever I�m drinking, I don�t lament that it isn�t full all the way, I rejoice that I still have some, you know?

 

The next album QRIII was quite different compared to previous ones. I guess that producer Spencer Proffer had lot to do with that?

 

It is true. That I can.. I never blame somebody else. I like friends for instance, if I play badly I never blame the drums. The drums are just drums, you know what I mean? They don�t make you to play bad. In that situation what happened was – the producer was not the nicest person on the planet to start out with but you have to take it to consideration that not only he was a producer but it was his label. It was his studio where we were recording at and there is a thing in America, when you sign a record deal that they can put on suspension. Putting you on suspension is like putting a VCR on pause. What happens is you can�t record, you can�t do anything, but your contract is frozen at that point of time. So if you are put on suspension for six month, when they take you out of suspension, that six month didn�t happen. So we wrote a whole album worth of material, which was a lot heavier, and he said no. We said, �Well then fuck you; we�re not going to do anything, right?� and he put us on suspension. So now we can�t tour, we can�t do a record. We finally reluctantly gave in and in that point things in the band, I mean, Rudy was already gone. Personality issues between the band and Kevin were not good. The issue with the label was not good. We basically just didn�t care. It got to the point, okay you don�t like that song, but how do you like that song? Hey, if you like that song, we record that song?� We went in and he used a lot of keyboards – and there was couple of good songs, but then it was a mess. I mean �Wild and the Young� was good song and there were a couple of more good stuff but otherwise the whole album was a mess. Everybody kind of gave up. You just get to the point that you can get hit so many times that finally you just stop fighting and you just take the hit. 

Frankie, Carlos, Kevin and Chuck Wright in 1986

Speaking of �Wild and The Young�, how did you get an idea for the drum intro?

I tried about six different things and every time I tried one I think; �Nah, someone did that already� or �Nah, that�s too predictable�. So what happened is – and I remember that it was the sixth one I tried – what I did is, I wanted to displace the beats so it would have tension. That�s why, I hear Barbear playing and they play it so wrong, because they play it all even, and it�s just a series of flams. What I did is, I displaced it and put a half beat pause, so when you go �prap prap.�, then you have that half beat pause �pramp pramp pramp� – it goes to the triplets, and then it picks it up again. I tried like I said five things that sucked really badly and I found out the sixth one that was ok.

I would say that the results were really good!

Oh�thank you

Still to date many young drummers keep on playing that fill�

You know, it is Kevin�s favourite. Every time Kevin is behind my drums, that�s the first thing he plays � poorly, but that the first thing he always plays.

Quiet Riot in Swedenrock 2007

THE FANS

After all these years how do you like your fans?

You know what; I try to be as good as I can to the fans because the one thing I always remember is that the only reason I�m fortunate to start to do this is because of them. So I never take for a granny because I also understand. Some people go for great arrange system and lot of trouble to see you. My position is never been…you know�they pay the ticket I play my twenty songs and that�s all you get. I don�t believe in that because I�m the fan too. When I was still in school I went to see Led Zeppelin and it was like religious experience for me. My dad drove me because I didn�t have a car or driving licence and he said on the parking place, while he was drinking espresso and smoking novelty cigar which was a Sicilian. I went in and saw Led Zeppelin…when I came out my father said to me: �What happened in there?� and I said �I don�t know dad?� and then he goes: �I suppose you want to come tomorrow again? �Yeah!� and he bought me another ticket and I came back on next day. So I never forget that, I never forget that feeling!

So you know what you�re talking about �laughs�

Yes it�s really important to me because if I wasn�t there for fans I wouldn�t be doing this. I would be making burgers back in California…you know?

If you give something, you get something?

Absolutely. If you are good to your fans they are good for you


PAUL SHORTINO ERA

The self titled album with Paul Shortino was released in 1988. Tell the readers briefly what happened behind the scenes back then?

Here�s the chronology of what happened. There were some defined problems in the band with personalities. So by the time we were played in Japan the manager came out to Japan and there was a guy from American label there and they had a meeting and they said �Listen, there is a lot of negative problems with Kevin�� and they said that we should make some changes. I said to them, there was Carlos and I there in a meeting, and I said to them �Listen what I suggest that we do. Don�t make a decision now, let�s finished what we have now. We only have four shows left in Japan, one left in Hawaii. Let�s go back to L.A and try to solve our problems there?� The fact is that at end of the day Kevin is the voice of Quiet Riot. You�re not going to round that, right? Unfortunately what happened then was that one friend of Kevin in L.A, the very same time we had that meeting, called him up and said he had heard a rumour that we�re going to fire him. It was wrong because then didn�t have made any decisions yet. When that meeting was over I went to my room and my phone rings and it was Kevin: �Come on to my room right now� and I said �Okay� I went to his room and he starts accusing me of trying to take all that and all that and I said �Kevin, its not the case�. I said �There are problems but why don�t we just finish the tour and let�s deal with this and go back in L.A?�  But he goes �So you are going to fire me�. I said �No Kevin, we are not going to fire you� But he kept on pushing and I said �Oh right, fuck you! That is it, when that tour is done, we�re done.� When we came back to L.A Kevin was out of the band and I wasn�t interested in continuing Quit Riot anymore but there was one thing that I haven�t take on consideration. We owned another record for the label. So we went in and started looking for singers. I had heard Paul Shortino�s version of one Janis Joplin�s song which sounded amazing. I really liked that song and I took the cassette and played it to manager and said �Lets try this guy out, he isn�t doing anything now� so we did audition with him. He did a great job and we start rehearsing together. Then right in the middle of rehearsals, Chuck decided to leave the band. Unceremoniously, no notice, no nothing, he was gone. So we needed a new bass player and we soon found Sean McNabb. We started to work new album but it was clear right from the beginning that it wasn�t sounding like Quiet Riot record. So I got the together with everybody and said �Why we don�t just do the record but calling it something else but Quiet Riot?� It was fine for the band but the label said to me �That�s fine if you�re going to do this but you will only get 50% of advance� The fact was that we couldn�t do a record of 50 % of advance so we were kind of forced to used name Quiet Riot. I want to say that Paul Shortino is a great singer. I mean in the matter of fact I have got a record which I�m going to release in America in 18th on September. It�s a Led Zeppelin tribute record. I�ve got names like Glenn Hughes, Mark Boals, Don Dokken and both Kevin and Paul in one track each.

Some years ago, when you had again some problems with Kevin, Paul did some shows with Quiet Riot. How did that came about?

What happened was, you know, when the band got together again after a long break there might be problems. When Rudy was joined in the band again in 1999 were ok in the beginning but soon, the old problems between Kevin and Rudy, started again. What happened was that Kevin didn�t show up like in two weeks and we had shows to do. I would have wanted to pack it up, because I�m a manager in the band, because it was costing me personally money. It was costing me a lot of money and I said to Rudy and Carlos �That�s it, I am done!� but they both wanted to continue and get Paul back in the band. I said to Carlos �You call Paul, but I�m going to do just two weekends with him. If we can�t resolve the issues with Kevin then let�s just pack in�. Paul came out and we did couple of shows together. Unfortunately Paul was very, very unprepared. He didn�t even know the lyrics, he performed with printed lyrics in the music stand and it was very embarrassing. I love Paul, but the truth is a truth. It was very embarrassing situation for both of us.


W.A.S.P

Quiet Riot disbanded in 1988 but later on the same year you joined WASP and you did a tour and album HEADLESS CHILDREN with them. How did that thing start in the first place?

That was a really serious advance because what happened is, Blackie had called me up and wanted to know if I wanted to join WASP but I couldn�t because I didn�t have time. I was very committed to Quiet Riot. I said to him �If you have problem to find someone to came to do the record I committed to do that record, but is better for you to find a drummer who is committed to do both the record and tour�. What happened was that he couldn�t find the drummer he was happy with and he asked if I would do the record with him. I said, it was �the Headless Children�, �I�ll do the record, but do you understand that I can�t tour?� But as it ended up, we were the Quiet Riot version with Paul Shortino, we had done the shows in Japan and in that point is it was clearly evident that the band didn�t exist anymore. So when we were in Japan we had four shows left to do and I called a band meeting and I give a notice �We have nothing else at the calendar after Japanese shows so I�m not letting anybody down but the next show in Tokyo Sun Plaza is going to be my last show with this band�. By coincident, right after the meeting, Blackie calls me up and he goes �Is there any chance at all that you could do the �Headless Children� -tour?.� I told him what was happening with Quiet Riot and he goes �I call you back in half an hour�. Half an hour later he calls me up and he says �I was going to come in Japan to do press but now I have changed my plans. I will go to Europe and do press there. You will stay in Japan for a week and I�ll send Chris Holmes out there and both of you can do the press in Japan.� So the day that Quiet Riot checked out of Tokyo Hilton, there was a guy from EMI to check me out. He checks me out, we pick up Chris and then we went on the other side of Tokyo where we did the press thing. After that I and Chris did fly to London where we did a week for tour rehearsal and then we did a world tour, almost twelve months. I actually played in Scandinavia for the very first time on that tour.

THE HEADLESS CHILDREN is actually the most successful WASP ever?  

I think so and I also think that it was the best W.A.S.P record ever recorded because it was a record that stood on the strength of the music rather than the theatrics.

There are also some really serious lyrics on the album?

Yes, he actually, Blackie actually took lot of time and he actually wrote some songs that he put some thought in to it and it wasn�t all movie gore. There were actually real issues and he then doubt with it. I think he wrote wonderful record and I�m very proud of my performing on that and I�m very proud of what I did on �The Crimson Idol� too.  No matter what he, no matter how he likes to change the history but I am on every song on that record except on one section on �Chainsaw Charlie�. That�s the only thing that I�m not on and that�s because we had a very bad falling out in the end of recording, the same thing what happened with me and the recordings of �Neon God� -albums. I did the both albums �The Part I� and �The Part II�. He asked me, when he had already done an art work for �The Part I� where I had my credit, he asked if I would tour for the album? I said �What is your offer?� Because I wasn�t doing anything at that time with Quiet Riot, he knew about that, his offer was very poor. He wasn�t going to pay almost anything and I said �I love you but I make more money just staying at home and doing session work.� Blackie isn�t that kind of guy you say �no� to. Hands down, I don�t have credit on �The Part II� but if you listen on the record, you can hear it�s me.

 

Speaking of THE CRIMSON IDOL. It took 18 months or what ever to record that album. Why it took so damn much time?

It was difficult because…I mean…I can understand both side of it. I know Blackie wanted it to sound like� he had to make a better record than �The Headless Children� which was almost impossible thing to do. We started recording at a studio in Hollywood and he wasn�t happy with the way it sounded so then he bought this building almost a cross the street from there, it was available, and then he start moving studio there and then the problems started.. Working with Blackie is sometimes very difficult because sometimes he thinks that it can�t be possible that some part would be good enough with one or two takes. I remember when we were doing �Metal Health�, almost every song on that record was one take and it�s the same thing on the new Quiet Riot record.  I mean I do my job because I love it. I do it well because I pay attention. I learn my parts but I also leave some open space for creativity but with Blackie you have to play everything 20 or 30 times. Now what happens is by the time you play something part like 15 to 20 times, it�s absolutely perfect, but it�s absolutely sterile. There is no life on it. Every song was sounding like that and I remember when we had a falling out, this is the truth story, when we had a falling out he showed up to studio one day. I was not happy about sitting there all day because I had better things to do so we go over the song maybe nine times and finally I got fed up and Blackie is sitting in the control room. Because the way we recorded, there is a guitar track and a scratch vocal, and then just me with my headphones. I was actually doing my recording by myself and I lean down on to my stern and said �Blackie, are you there?� he goes �Yeah.� I said �I am doing that song one more fucking time and then I am done.� Then there was a long pause and then he said to me �You are done�. That�s how that ended. I still love him, but I just can�t work with him.

 

How it was to work with Bob Kulick who did play guitar on THE CRIMSON IDOL and some more W.A.S.P albums later on?

Bob Kulick, he is a very talent guitar player. I don�t think Bob had his style of his own but he can copy everybody�s style. I enjoyed working with Bob for the most part. He is ok to work with but sometimes he is a pain in the ass, you know, but everybody is sometimes like that. I�m like that sometimes too "laughs" He is good to work with. He is very, very talented.

He never did any shows with WASP, right?

No. I think he is much more happy being in the studio and producing the records and playing lot of guitar tracks and that�s stuff. Later on we did that �Blackthorne� record and that was actually a very good record, but we didn�t tour either. It was just a project.

The very last question about W.A.S.P. Which are your best and worst memories about working with W.A.S.P ?

Right, my whole thing with Blackie is� you have to understand that Blackie and W.A.S.P is the same thing. You may as well call it Blackie, but if it would be called Blackie, nobody would care and that�s why he calls it W.A.S.P. There�s never going to be any room for anything other than Blackie wants, which is fine, because it�s his band. My best memories of W.A.S.P are recording of �Headless Children� �album and doing the following tour. That was wonderful experience. I would even say that every record that I did with W.A.S.P was a good experience for me, I enjoyed doing them. The greatest thing with me and W.A.S.P are the fans of W.A.S.P who have been so wonderful to me. They were great for me even I was never a member of the band and they were supportive for the most part when there was a falling up between Blackie and I. They have been so incredible nice to me�so supportive. W.A.S.P fans are really great. So for me that was a plus. I think the worst part about it was the fact that Blackie and I had a great friendship which started before I even was in Quiet Riot and it meant nothing to him. If that friendship would have mean something to him, he didn�t have to pay me more money but he didn�t have to get mad about it either. He could� just say �Okay, I understand your position� and still give me the credit, right? But straight the credit early out of spike was wrong and I think it�s very sad that he was willing to throw 25 year, 26 year friendship away. I have no ill feelings towards him. I will never work with him anymore, but I wish him and the band best of luck. This is a top business we are in and I think every musician deserves fair treatment. I was pretty angry when it was first happened because I thought that was unfair but I�m that kind of person that I don�t let anger ruin my life because anger will destroy you if you let it. So I�m very happy of where I�m now. I wish the best of luck for him!

 

Blackie, Frankie, Johnny Rod and Chris Holmes

BLACKTHORNE

Because you earlier mentioned band Blackthorne, I have to ask, how that band started and why did you broke up so soon?

The Blackthorne thing? Bob and Graham had issues…if you hear Graham singing like on Rainbow stUff �you know what that voice sound like. But if you hear his vocals on the Blackthorne, it is more almost radical almost a trash metal kind of vocal and Graham didn�t want to do that. And that was Bob who wanted to do that. There was always a lot of conflict there because Bob wouldn�t let Graham sing the way Graham sings because Bob had a different vision of what he wanted from that record. From that point that record was doomed right from the start, .because you have two principle people who aren�t get along. That�s very weird situation.

You never did actual tour with Blackthorne but I have heard that you did some shows with them, right?

I did one show with them. There was a benefit show in Hollywood and that�s the only time I played with them. The band really didn�t tour.

Okay. I talked with Graham last autumn and he wasn�t too pleased about the whole Blackthorne thing…

Yeah…well…and that�s why because he was pretty much forced to sing in the manner that really wasn’t him.

 

RETURN IN FOLD WITH �TERRIFIED� AND THE TRAGEDY OF KENNY HILLARY�

Lets go back in Quiet Riot history and the TERRIFED album. How did you ended up being back in the band and whose idea it was to restart Quit Riot again in 1993?  

  

Well, what happened is�when Bobby Rondinelli left the crew, Kevin and I hadn�t spoken for about ten years. With in exception one case, what was happened was, when my mother past away in 1990 he actually found my phone number. He got my phone number from someone and he called me and said �You know I know you and I have our issues but I just wanted to call you and say that I�m sorry about your mom passing away�. That did mean a lot to me. When had Bobby left the band, Carlos said to Kevin �What we�re going to do?� and Kevin goes �What if we call Frankie?� Carlos did think it was a good idea and that I would do it. What happened next was that they were rehearsing at a rehearsals studio in LA and the guy had my phone number but they were too afraid to call me because they were expecting me to hang up or said �no, fuck you�. Finally they called me up and I said�sure, let�s get together�. So we get together and we talked about it and they asked me to do a record and join the band. I said �I�ll finish the record because I know you guys need to finish it, but I�m not sure I�m ready to do this Quiet Riot thing again�. We finish doing the record and they asked me to join the band and I first said �no� Little time goes by and they ask me again and I said again �no�. They did it again, the third time, and then I went thru some thoughts and figured, – its big part of my history…so I get back in there again. It was in 1993.

That wasn�t the easiest time for hard rock/metal bands then, right?

Yeah, it was a very difficult time. We�re playing in the small places, the half packed houses, because it was all about the grunge thing and things like that. It was difficult time for all hard rock bands, but there were still enough fans interested who that made it worth of doing it and that�s why we continue of doing. It was hard, very hard time.

About late Kenny Hillary who played bass on TERRIFIED. Did you recognize that everything wasn�t fine in his life? I mean was it surprising when he did what he did back then?

We didn�t know too much about Kenny. I have wonderful memories of Kenny. He had a very dark sense of humour. He was very, very funny, but in a very dark kind of way. When we finished the tour he left but he wasn�t done with Quiet Riot. He was done with music. He didn�t want to do it anymore and we respected that. He had a beautiful girlfriend and he got a job…you know…I can�t remember what he was doing, but he was happy doing that. When I found out he was committed a suicide we where out of the road and it came us in complete total shock. I have no idea, what could been so terrible in his live that he would do this to this himself and to his family. I have� in to this day…I really don�t know, I have no idea. It was very sad because I can�t imagine anybody�s live to be so terrible that it�s the only option. There are always other options. He was a very good guy. I think about him often. I was talking to Kevin about him today, because we were doing some dates in 1997 in Germany opening up for UFO. We used to do some Free songs on sound check and he was doing them so great. We were talked about it today, because we had it on the video and actually I�m doing a little clip of him playing and put him on my websites. Just for people to see him. He was a really good guy.

Bobby Rondinelli, Carlos, Kevin and Kenny Hillary


DOWN TO THE BONE AND THE RETURN OF CLASSIC LINEUP

DOWN TO THE BONE was released in 1995. That album didn�t get too much attention when it was released?

Yeah.. A lot of that had to do with the fact that Kevin and a friend of his decided to get a label for together.

So there wasn�t too much promotion…

There wasn�t any promotion at all. You know, anybody can do a label. That curly guy with a yellow t-shirt beside the Gibson, he can do a label but that doesn�t really mean that you really have a label. You have to have a promotion; there was no promotion for the record. I think it was a good record, but I don�t think it was a great record. There are parts that are really, really good�but there was no promotion and album was forgotten really soon. Having said that in that time, at the point of the time it came out, rock music is so unpopular that unless you are a Bon Jovi, nobody was going to care it anyway. In one hand, there was no promotion, but to be honest would it still have done any better with that? � Probably not?

You already told us how the re �union of �Metal Health� era band started but was that a plan you had for years or did that just happen by accidenct?

Well�I knew that Rudy wouldn�t come back unless� I wasn�t even sure what it was…but in the order to have Rudy come back, I had to invite him. I had to stretch my hand out. We really invite him just to come in and do two songs at that show but what I notice, as soon as he started playing, it sounded right again. So after the show, it was around the holidays, I said �what if we talk more after Christmas?� We talked and he felt comfortable with coming back. By the time we did that live DVD the band it was in a worst way. To be perfectly honest with you, I think the performance on that DVD is subtended. You can tell if you look at it, that it�s a band that doesn�t want be a band anymore. If you look at it carefully, some the songs have been played too fast, because we didn�t care anymore. Everybody was doing their own thing and it was four people playing the same song, but not together. What was really unfortunately for business point of view, less than a month before it came out, Kevin decided to leave the band again. So I get left holding the business back. Here I�m. I promised to company that we are able to promote DVD and then suddenly I got no band to promote.

It�s not always easy�

Hey, somebody�s got to clean the kitchen…. right

 

How about the ALIVE AND WELL album. Whose idea it was to re-record the old songs? I just didn�t get it when I first heard the album�?

That was the idea our record label Cleopatra. Here is what the deal was; they were giving us the record deal only if we do record a certain amount of old songs. The reason they wanted that, then they had the right to take the key songs and put them to that record, was to make more money. In that time, because what was going on the record industry, we couldn�t get a deal otherwise. So we were lucky to have one but we really hated doing the old songs again. We really didn�t rehearse, we just played them�we didn�t care. Was that a good business deal? � No. Was that a bad business deal? �No. We managed to put out new product, there was still new material, but we didn�t want to do it that way.

I would say that all newly recorded versions are not so bad. I would say that this version of �Wild and the Young� sounds a way better than original version, don� you agree with that?

Yeah�well�the whole point evidence… What was the point in remaking what you already did? We played some songs little differently but our hearts weren�t in to it because we didn�t want to do it, we were forced to do it.

Carlos, Kevin, Frankie and Rudy in 1999


ONE MORE TRY, NEW ALBUM �REHAB� AND DEMOLITION RECORDS

Quiet Riot broke up in 2003 but just after a �hiatus� the band returned with this new line -up. What was the main reason you decided to start the band again at that point?

Well, what happened is that a couple of years ago, I mean, there have always been a lot of discord in the band. Couple of years ago I said to Kevin that I want a restructure how we do business. I wanted to restructure how we do music and I want a restructure how our attitude is towards what we do. We have been doing this quarter of the century. I want to see if we can improve what we�re doing. And what that takes is a solid line, a band that is relatively happy, a band that also understands we�re not at the peak of our popularity. So to be grateful for what we still have and or what we continue to do. What that also means is that we have to co-operate with the press. You have to talk to people who are interested in talking to you and hopefully that will create more interest and so far that�s been the way it�s going.

Your latest album REHAB got really positive reactions and good reviews from everywhere. On recent interviews you�ve said that musically REHAB represents everything that you�ve really wanted to do for a long time, right? 

Exactly. Kevin and I finished that complete record from start to finish. Because when you�re working this way, nobody was going to tell us what to do and how it should sound like. So what we did is we just wrote a kind of music that we really wanted to play. If it is selling, -great�if it didn�t, we didn�t care, because we wanted to do real honest record and what we are with it. If people liked it that�s the greatest complement and if they didn�t we were still be happy with it. Only thing I�m disappointed here is Demolition Records because there is no open line communication between us.  I send them e-mails but I never get any replies. I mean, it�s really sad. I�m happy that management released it to European market, but the label should talk to the band and label should definitely talk to management.

You don�t sound like �a fan� of theirs?

I�m very unhappy� as a matter of fact�I got an email from the republication department at Demolition four days ago. They wanted to set up some interviews and I said �I would be happy to discuss the possibility of doing interviews providing that you speak with Eric Cook and ask him to answers these questions for me�. I had four questions and I said �If he answers these questions for me, I would do every interview. If you don�t reply to me, I won�t do anything for you�. I never heard from him?

That�s sad because the Swedish guy, who did pick you up for this interview, said that he had something like twelve interview requests for Quiet Riot interview �

Well… Like I said, I had four very basic questions, four very basic business questions that I wanted answers. I waited but they never answered. So my position is, I�m not your fucking slave, -ok?. I do not jump when you said �jump�. I would be very co-operative, but you have to do it�if you agreed to do something contractually, – then do it and I would do the same. If you don�t, then �fuck you�. So simple is that. So what happen now is this individual will send me an email, requesting that I do these interviews and I will again send these records. I�ll be happy to do all these things for you. Answer me for these four questions, for these four basic questions. But no, Demolition Records�so every time I send him an email I click the thing for received mails. So then I automatically know when they are getting my email.

So there is no way that you would continue your working relationship with Demolition records anymore?

No

That�s definite?

 

That�s not going to happen because so far today they haven�t show their willing to communicate. My position has always been; if you agreed to do something, you do it. If you agreed to do something you do it. That�s how simple is that? When there is that kind of lack of communication and it�s very one-sided…I mean�what�s the point to continue here??


MIGHTY GLENN HUGHES

Going back to the REHAB album. There�s one interesting guest musician called Glenn Hughes. You have your own history with Glenn from the early 80�s when you played drums for HUGHES/THRALL album in 1982. How was that session back then?

That was absolutely wonderful. They auditioned almost a hundred drummers at the time in 1982. I was already involved with the band, but that was actually before doing anything solid and I got three call backs. I never expect to get them but� I�ve been a fan of Glen since Trapeze before the Deep Purple. So for me it was a thrill and I know about Pat, he was a guitar player from Pat Travers band. I was very thrilled. To today it is still one of the best recording experiences of my life, it�s absolutely wonderful. I talk to Glenn all the time and I call him �Big daddy�. I talked him all the time and he is wonderful. He is without a doubt the greatest singer I know and he is such a sweet man. I can�t say anything but good about Glenn because he is wonderful person and he is a great bass player. It�s sad that he�s such an underrated bass player because he is such a great singer. It was an honour and thrill to do Hughes/Thrall �record and it was wonderful to have him play bass and even do some vocals on �Rehab�, it was absolutely wonderful.

Have you heard the re-mastered version of Hughes/Thrall album yet?

No, I haven�t heard it yet.

Frankie and Glenn Hughes

Kevin was appearing as a backing singer on Glenn�s LIVE IN CITY OF ANGELS DVD and which was release a few years ago. Have you seen that one?

Yeah he did that one. I was actually going to the filming of that too but I missed it because I had to take my daughter for her riding lessons. My daughters riding lessons comes before anything else so I never got to see the performing. I did an interview before I left in here and I saw the DVD, it�s really wonderful. Anytime when Glenn opens his mouth he is great. I wish that I could play drums as good as he sings.

Maybe you have to ask if you can play some drums on his next studio album….?

You tell Glenn…he has my number �laughs�


CARLOS CAVAZO

This new album actually your first album without Carlos Cavazo. Are you missing him as a person or musical point of view?

Carlos and I were never close, we were never enemies but he�s got a totally complete different personality. He likes to watch TV, he likes to build models�he�s pretty laid back and I�m a very active person. I participate in life, he watches life. We are different personalities, as a matter of fact…Carlos�when we first started to make big money, we got big houses. Carlos never came to my house not even once and it wasn�t like there�s any problems, but we are just different people. What Carlos does is� he kind of does that one thing and I don�t thing that we could have done album like REHAB with Carlos because it would always sound different, more like the old Quiet Riot. I saw him over the Hollywood some time ago. We get along great and it�s always great to see him because we share so much history. There are no problems or no issues� as a matter of fact…  I actually did offer him when I structured the band�I actually gave him the opportunity to come back and do it, but he wasn�t interested. He said that he wanted to do some other things and I respected that but I also said to him �You got to understand that this opportunity would not represent itself again. If you�re out and we do a record without you�that�s it�it�s over�. He accepted that and it is all good. We have no issues.

Have you heard his new band Three Legged Dog?

I saw one video clip from this new thing. My impression is that they try to sound like a 90�s band? Why would you want to sound like ninety�s band? It doesn�t make any sense to me but you know, if he is happy �that�s great! Do you know what I mean?

I totally agree with you in that issue�

Like I said he was a very big part of the band, but I learn from experience that if you tried to force something or somebody, it never really works because it�s only a matter of time. It might be good for a little while, but eventually all the problems will come back again.

 

THE FUTURE OF QUIET RIOT?

What are the future plans of Quiet Riot from now on?

I really, really want to try if we have opportunities to send ourselves to have a bigger presents in Europe. I really do, because I think that for some reason we haven never been able to really cultivate the European market and I really want to do that in future. One of the reasons I accepted this Swedenrock date, this is a long way to come for a one show, is that I was hoping that we were play well enough  and the audience will receive this well enough that perhaps other promoters would be interest in bringing us over again. We will go to the studio and do another record…but when? – �I don�t know?� We would do probably the same way like we did �Rehab� Kevin and I will find answers again, you know, we will do what we can do it in our way. What it�s going to sound like? �I have no idea�. There�s no pre taken sections here� 

The next studio album, is it going to include current band members Chuck and Alex Grossi?

You are right. This line up didn�t play on REHAB. We had Neil Citron on guitar, who is one of my best friends and Tony Franklin who is a wonderful bass player. I don�t know who will play on the next record? I think Alex is a very good guitar player but I don�t think that Alex, in this point of time has the music vocabulary to be able to do all those different kind of things that we want to do and that�s why he doesn�t play on REHAB. Chuck was more than capable to play on the record, but if there is any change I got to play with Tony Franklin again�I will use it!

Actually I saw Tony playing live with Whitesnake some years ago and he was simply amazing!!

Both of those guys Neil and Tony�the great thing with Tony is �he is so incredible talent and he gets in situation to playing with other musicians. He doesn�t just show up, he always plays like a band member but he doesn�t put himself on the front. He is very much a team player and that�s so rare to have somebody that can play with the most people but has self-control with the unit I have nothing operation form. I�ve done probably eight or nine records with Tony and every single time it has been absolute a pleasure. I don�t know? I would like to record the next record with this line up because this is going to be a touring line up but I don�t know for sure yet?

The very last question; everybody is releasing DVD�s both new and vintage material from the past. So you have any plans to release anything new related to this?

 

Actually, yeah. I�ve been speaking with the company I�ve done business with before and we were talking about possible doing something. What I would like to do is�I want to find another band that would be a good combination with us and then we would do a show together and film that for the future. So yeah�I�m actually�I haven�t start to negotiations yet but I�m in discussion of that right now.

Ok Frankie. Thank you for the interview!

 

 

FOR MORE INFO GO TO: 

WWW.FRANKIE-BANALI.COM

 

PICTURES OF QUIET RIOT SHOW AT SWEDENROCK 2007 !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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