Frankie Banali of QUIET RIOT
Interview by Celtic Bob
Let me begin by saying “Thank You” for the music. Back in ’83 I was a 12 year old just starting to really get into music and METAL HEALTH was the first tape I ever bought by a band (and second album by any band. I had purchased Cheap Trick’s BUDOKAN on LP years prior). It was hearing your version of “Cum On Feel The Noize” that prompted me to buy it. It was that album that began my 35+ Year love affair with Hard Rock and Metal so for that I say “Thanks”.
The new album ROAD RAGE has been one of my most played records of the past few years. I love the album. When I first heard it, I liked it but was of the mindset that it wasn’t really Quiet Riot. There was no originals left and most importantly The Voice was gone. The more I listened to it, the more I got into it and could see/hear that this was still QR. The sound and feel was there. Was part of the reason for releasing the killer new live Blu-Ray ONE NIGHT IN MILAN to prove to naysayers that Quiet Riot is still alive and well and that James does justice to the old songs?
Firstly, I think it’s important to understand the difference between the Randy Rhoads era “QUIET RIOT” and the “METAL HEALTH” era QUIET RIOT. The reality is that outside of Los Angeles no one had heard of QUIET RIOT until that version released the two Japanese only releases. And even then, no one really cared about those releases at the time with the proof being that they were never released elsewhere including the United States, bootlegs notwithstanding. It wasn’t until Randy joined Ozzy that the name QUIET RIOT reappeared as the band he came from, but what Randy did with Ozzy far outweighed what he did with Quiet Riot as far as the fans are concerned and therefore little attention was paid to the band even then. There is no question that if the lineup of Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo, Carlos Cavazo and I hadn’t recorded the Metal Health record, the name Quiet RIOT would have faded altogether. So to say there are no original members in QUIET RIOT is a matter of opinion. QUIET RIOT has had more lineup changes than most if not any other band in a three plus decades long history. I’m the only member of the band that has appeared on every single QUIET RIOT release since 1983’s Metal Health. So as far as I’m concerned QUIET RIOT is whomever I choose to be in the band at any time. This is the case as well with the performers on the One Night In Milan live release. Does James do justice to the vocals on the songs? I believe he does.
Speaking of old stuff. Music On Vinyl just reissued METAL HEALTH on LP (I am waiting on my copy to arrive so I cannot comment on quality). Do you have any plans to reissue ALL the old albums? Many are hard to get and some never on LP. I just recently heard of QR10 which I am seeking out a copy.
I have no plans at present to re-release any of the QUIET RIOT catalog.
With such a lengthly career there must be a plethora of unreleased in a vault somewhere? Would a MENTAL METAL box set be a possibility with ALL the albums, a 2 or 3 LP set of rare/unreleased and a double live concert from the early days that hasn’t been bootlegged?
I have no plans to do that, though never say never. I have quite a bit of material in my archives. It’s just a matter of time, desire and weather there is any real reason to do so.
How do you feel about those bootlegs and grey area releases on the market like HIGHWAY TO HELL, 2 LIVE BISCUITS, LIVE RIOT,…etc. Are you glad fans get to hear these shows or upset that it’s not official?
Technology being what it is today, there are so many cell phone videos on Youtube and elsewhere that it really doesn’t matter anymore. The only rub is that bootleggers are profiting from any bands hard work for decades at zero cost to them, so it’s all profit for the bootleggers.
Would getting official released versions help combat that or is it a losing battle?
Official releases are always better. Better sound quality, better lighting, better mixes, etc., plus, if you are like me, you get a nice package with quality photos and information. Frontiers Music Srl does a great job with their releases both studio and live.
With ONE NIGHT IN MILAN just released, do you plan to do some Summer dates to support it or get back in the studio and release a follow-up to ROAD RAGE?
We are always on tour. We already started playing live dates in January and February. Taking some time off from the road right now to concentrate on new music from QUIET RIOT. My writing partner Neil Citron and I have already written all the music for the next QUIET RIOT studio release. We are currently in the studio recording tracks.
How involved was James on ROAD RAGE?
He was involved insofar as writing the lyrics and melodies to the music that was previously written and recorded for Road rage.
I recall the album was recorded with Seann Nicols then pulled to do vocals with James. I heard a snippet of some if memory is correct. Was it just re-do the vocals or was there more recording/writing done as his name is in the credits for lyrics?
All the music was already written by Neil Citron and me before either singer was involved. The only exception was one song that Alex Grossi had written on his own, and Chuck Wright has co-writing credit with Neil and I on one other song. The only person credited for the lyrics is the person who wrote the lyrics, that being James.
Was a full remix done to it as again, I seem to recall a bad sounding mix of the original?
I completely scrapped all the mixes, newly recorded vocals by James and started all the mixes and mastering from scratch.
How hands on are you and the band when it comes to the final product? Do you follow it through to final mix and master or do you leave that up to the studio guys to ensure the best sounding product goes out? Do you do a dedicated mix/master for the LP or just copy the digital CD file to vinyl?
I am completely involved from start to finish. If I weren’t involved it wouldn’t happen in the first place. I’m a very motivated person and especially so when it come to anything QUIET RIOT.
Being in the business for so long have you thought of writing a book, be it a bio or a coffee table book on the band?
It takes time to write a book, time is my most valuable commodity because I have very little of it. I started playing with the late great Kevin DuBrow in 1980, started managing the band in 1993 which I still do. I’m also a family man, so time is valuable to me. Maybe someday I’ll write a book, but no plans at present.
Besides, the QUIET RIOT Movie “Well Now You’re Here There’s No Way Back: which did the film festival circuit and has it’s debut on Showtime, will give you a good inside view at both QUIET RIOT and me.
What is next for Frankie Banali and for Quiet Riot?
Touring, recording, making new videos, having fun, living life……
Thanks for taking the time in answering my questions and anything you’d like to say to the fans and readers of Metal-Rules out there?
The fact is, that without the fans, I would not be able to keep QUIET RIOT alive and well. Without the fans, there really is nothing. So my sincere thanks always for their support. That is a fact!