CHUCK WRIGHT on debut solo album “Chuck Wright’s Sheltering Sky” – “For me, this is my musical legacy more than something that I did in 1983 with Quiet Riot. To me, that’s what’s important. All I care about is that people check it out, and see what I’m about as a musician and songwriter. I think they’ll be surprised in a good way.”

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Chuck Wright is an American bassist, songwriter, and producer who’s been at the forefront of the hard rock scene for over four decades. He is best known as a longtime member of the multi-platinum-selling hard rock band Quiet Riot, with whom he played for a total of over 26 years. His other past bands include House of Lords, Impellitteri, Blackthorne, Murderer’s Row, Heaven & Earth, and Giuffria. As an in-demand session and touring musician, Wright has performed and recorded with a wide array of artists, including Alice Cooper, Doro, Slash, Kuni, Bad Moon Rising, Montrose, and Ted Nugent. Wright has headed Ultimate Jam Night, a long-running live music show since January 2015 at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. In 2022, Wright released his debut solo effort, Chuck Wright’s Sheltering Sky, which was considered for a Grammy nomination in the “Best Rock Album” category. The title track “Weight Of Silence” won “Best Instrumental” and “Best Video” at the Rock Music Alliance Awards and was presented by Tony Kaye of Yes. I met good-natured Wright last November in Hollywood, and here is the summary of that long and interesting conversation.


When was the first time you started working on CHUCK WRIGHT’S SHELTERING SKY record, and what was your main motivation to make a solo album?

Well, it started because of the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, I was stuck at home, and I went, “Well, I might as well start recording.” And because of the feeling I had looking at the apocalyptic vibe of the world with nobody on the streets, I wrote my first song on the album,” Weight of Silence,” and I recorded it. And I decided to do it because people were doing all these Zoom videos at the time. After all, they were at home. I decided to make a video of the song with me playing and everything. And I got drone footage of the empty cities, and it really fits the song’s mood. And I put that out myself.

I had one central character in a hazmat suit as if he were the last man on earth. I put that up on YouTube, and then I got a call from Troy Luccketta, the drummer of Tesla. He said, “This song is great, man. It would sound good with drums on it.” And I said, “Wow. I never thought of it, but it would be wonderful. I would love to hear it” He has his own studio, so I sent him the tracks, and his drums are just killer. Around the same time, Allen Hinds, one of my favorite jazz-fusion guitar players in L.A., reached out and added some guitar stuff I edited together. Then got in touch with my good friend, Derek Sherinian, whom you might know from Dream Theater, Yngwie, and Sons of Apollo, to add some mellotron and synthesizer to the song. I wanted to reinforce my acoustic guitar, so I contacted world-renowned flamenco artist and a good friend Ben Woods. I wanted him to strengthen my guitar parts. Sadly, he just passed away some time ago.

The song has that kind of emotion in it, so it’s even more emotional now when you listen to it, knowing that he’s gone and his part was so integral to the song. I then edited Allen and Troy into my video, mixed with the stark images of an empty train journeying through the empty cities that created the storyline intercut with myself playing acoustic guitar and bass. I was very surprised by winning “Best Instrumental” and “Best Video” at the Rock Music Alliance Awards, presented virtually by Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye. Now that’s what I call validating! I was up against Joe Satriani, John 5, and other artists I hold in high regard. They had five people listed, but I can’t remember the other two, but I won, and Tony Kaye presented it. I had no idea I was even nominated, and I was just like, “are you kidding me?” The awards were for the first song I composed when the pandemic hit. I sat down and started writing music based on what I felt in the world without people anywhere to be seen in major cities. Then I edited together some footage of me playing the various instruments merged with an apocalyptic vision of cityscapes as streets lie silent, the unsettling beauty of the lockdown, which often felt like pure science fiction.
But that’s how it all started. Then I got up to five songs finished. I thought, “Wow, I think I have something here that somebody might be interested in.” Now I have, “Wow, I’m listening to it. This is pretty good.” You sit back, and you go, “wow,.” I then approached some labels, and Cleopatra Records immediately saw my vision. And I’d already had a lot of songs close to being finished because I’d been writing nonstop. At that point, I finished it, and now I have the product out there on Amazon and Cleopatra Records. It’s now out everywhere, Spotify, iTunes, and all the streaming platforms.

Your album doesn’t sound like anything I was expecting to hear from you, but maybe it’s only a positive thing.

Most people know me as this Rock bass player guy from Quiet Riot or House of Lords. I played with Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, and a list of others, but it’s mainly been Rock music. But people don’t know the other things I’ve been involved in, like producing a couple of reggae records and an ambient trance record. I was in a flamenco group for two years. I’ve been involved in seven film scores, so many different things. A lot of people don’t know that about my career. They only know the heavy rock stuff. So, it’s been a big surprise for people when they hear it, “Whoa, this isn’t what I was expecting.” I hate to use this term, but it’s not a cookie-cutter record like so many of my peers. I’m not denigrating anybody because they do it well, but it’s just that you’ve heard it all before. I wanted to do something unique. Originally, I never planned on doing a solo record. But when the pandemic hit, I just started writing songs that I would want to listen to and styles I’d want to listen to. So on the record, you’ve got hard rock, industrial rock. You’ve got Prog, and you’ve got Funk. There are even folk/gospel types of songs, like Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Then there is one song which is a Celtic piece with three drummers playing tribal drums, a fiddle player, and all these different things going on. The singer on it is David Victor, who sang in the band Boston. With my career being so long and because I have an event called” The Ultimate Jam Night” that’s in Hollywood, which we’ve had well over 2000 professional musicians– and I’ve made a lot of friends because a lot of them would come back many times.

So far, everyone I’ve spoken to is taken aback by the album’s diversity, depth, and almost cinematic feel. I never planned on doing a solo record; I was writing music I wanted to hear. Music that was inspired by things happening around me or in one case, I discovered some tracks I had forgotten about that were recorded with my late friend Pat Torpey from Mr. Big and Lanny Cordola, who was in House of Lords with me, whom I’ve also done many album projects with as well as many film scores. One of the songs we recorded was our version of Bjork’s 1995 hit “Army of Me,” which we had just started jamming on. We never really finished any of these songs. Those recordings only had drums, rhythm guitars, and bass. Upon hearing them again, I felt they needed to be finished, especially to honor my late friend Pat Torpey.

I just found out a couple of weeks back that I’m under consideration for Grammy for the album. It is an amazing honor. And, as I said, it’s unexpected. With this record, there was no agenda. It was just art, for art’s sake. And that’s why it came out the way it did: there wasn’t overthinking. Oh, I can’t. It’s got to be three minutes, and it’s got to have this guy. It’s got to have a big chorus. All these things that a lot of times when you’re in bands, you have a certain sound, and you’ve got to stick to that. With this, I had complete freedom. I could do whatever I felt lor whatever I wanted. That’s why there are so many different styles on it.


Speaking more about the songs, one of the standout tracks on the album is” It Never Fails,” and it features Jeff Scott Soto on vocals.

When I started recording songs, I was going, “You know who’d be great for this song? This is a killer funk tune.” It Never Fails is another song from the three that I discovered from the recordings with Pat Torpey and Lanny Cordola. It’s an aggressive funk song. So, I reached out to Jeff, a good friend since I met him back when Yngwie opened up for Quiet Riot in 1987. I know that people know him from Yngwie. Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Sons of Apollo, and he was in Journey, too, right? I thought to bring in Jeff. Not a lot of people know this, but Jeff is a badass soul and R&B singer too. I contacted him and sent him the song. It had had vocal guide ideas already and lyrics. I got his vocal tracks back within three hours, and it just blew my mind. I wouldn’t change a thing because his vocals were unbelievably great.

He is exceptional on that type of stuff.

He’s perfect for that, and Eric Martin from Mr.Big does some singing on it too. I wanted a real kickass rock guitar solo, so I reached out to Scotti Hill from Skid Row. But for the rest of it, I wanted a Pink Floyd pedal steel slide guitar sound and something more cinematic sounding.

The soundscape of the album is massive. Is it exactly how you wanted the album to sound?

I did. I wanted to make an almost cinematic-sounding album. Some people think it sounds like a concept record, even though it’s not.

Before coming here, I checked out the video of “Throwing Stones,” which is a great rock song. It’s one of the few tracks on the album that reminds me of your past work. Vocalist Joe Retta is doing a fantastic job on that track.

Yeah, Joe Retta. I have worked with him on Heaven and Earth. He’s also been singing with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Dio Disciples, and many others.”Throwing Stones” is a really funky song. I think that Joe can sing almost anything. He wrote the lyric with a powerful anti-war message. In fact, it was written a month before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So when I picked the second single, I chose this song and created a video that reflected what was going on in the world then.

One song that clearly stands out from all the others is a beautiful instrumental called “Farewell Horizon.” Tell me a little more about that song.

It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album, mixed by Jimmy Keegan, who comes from the progressive music world. He also played drums on the track. That’s another song that was written on bass guitar first. I reached out to my friend Toshi Yanagi, who is Jimmy Kimmel’s house band guitarist and one of the most versatile players I know. I sent the track to him and said,” I think this song would sound great with a Jeff Beck-style melodic line mixed with some of your patented shredding on it.” It came out amazingly great.

Chuck in Japan 2023. Photo by the courtesy of Burrn magazine


One thing on the album that also deserves special mention is the album artwork, which looks amazing.

That’s a real vulture. Glen Wexler, a very close friend of mine, did the cover and CD package. He’s done album covers for Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Yes, Rush, and many others you’d know. This photo is a screencap from the first video I just told you about. But yeah, this is Glen Wexler. This represents, as he described to me, as we’re coming out of the pandemic, and this is the vulture, which represents death leaving the desolation. And there is an eclipse. It’s all just ending now. And it fits the music.

As said, the art looks impressive. I would love to have this on vinyl. Do you have any plans to do that?

Me too, but we’re not going to make it. To get vinyl nowadays takes nine months.

Do you have plans to play any shows around this album?

Well, that’s the question that comes up a lot. The truth is to really do this– to perform the music from this, to have it be the way I envision it, as an immersive experience, I would need Roger Waters’ budget. I mean, there are 41 guests on this, and one song has five guitar players. I’m not a big fan of using tracks. I’m more into an organic type of sound. One of the songs has three bass tracks on it. Some of them have two. I like to use my fretless as a melodic passing instrument the way guys use the electric guitar solo. They’ll go from a chorus, a little setup for the next verse, and a little guitar solo that I did on fretless bass. “Giving Up The Ghost” is a good example of that. And a song called “Time Waits For No One,” during the chorus, I’m doing a fretless melody underneath the chorus with the piano doubling it, and I’m doing low bass, carrying the low-end chord changes.

It doesn’t sound very easy to me!” Laughs”

Well, you could look at it that way, but it all comes together nicely.

Yes, but what would be the right environment to perform this kind of music? I think that some amphitheater-type of venue would work best for this.

If I had financing to do it, I’d love to. That’s the thing. I would love to do it. One thing I thought of was taking songs that I could pull off without the big, elaborate amount of players needed and combining that with some music that I did with Pat Torpey and Lanny, who were a big part of this album. The project we did together was called Odd Man Out. I would like to do even a couple of House of Lords songs and do it with that kind of thing. I could see doing it with five or six guys on stage. But I have invested money in my videos. I’ve been financing them myself, and they came out fantastic. Luckily, I have a friend who’s an amazing cinematographer and editor. He’s also an award-winning film composer and engineer, and producer who was involved in some of the songs on my record.

In fact, today, you can make amazingly great-looking videos cheaply compared to the old days when making a music video cost a fortune. Technology has changed and developed hugely since then.

Oh, yeah. If you plan it well, get good location lighting and have somebody who knows what they’re doing.

You can now create amazing-looking videos using your mobile devices.

Well, that one I won the award for was done on an iPhone, so there you go!” Laughs.”


As we’ve discussed, your solo album has been successful on many levels. It’s been awarded, and critics and fans seem to love it. Do you plan to make another solo album sometime in the future?

Maybe, time will tell! “Laughs”

Okay, but you’ve been writing new music since the release of that album?

I have extra songs. When I finished five, I had a lot of what’s on there now on the album in different states of being completed, and I also had a few others that I never finished. But only a portion of the album’s worth of music is waiting to be recorded.

But, hey, if you win the Grammy, then you have to make another one

Well, then, that’s a different story. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make a way…. Then I’ll find a way to do it, yeah.


One thing you’ve been doing recently is LOCR (Legends Of Classic Rock), with whom you’ve been touring a lot. Tell me more about that supergroup.

It was like people saying that when one door closes, another one opens. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I got the phone call that Rudy was rejoining Quiet Riot. I’ve been in the band 26 years off and on. I’ve played on nine Quiet Riot albums, then I went, “Again! This is the fifth time I’ve either left or Rudy came in, or I left because he came in or whatever.” It’s like we’re like chess pieces, I guess. And the next day, Terry Ilous, whom you might know from Great White, called me up and said, “Hey, we’re doing this thing called Legends of Classic Rock, and it’s with Greg D’Angelo on drums, who is a friend of mine.” I go, “Oh, yeah, okay. I heard he was doing that.” And Kevin Jones, who played with Ozzy, he and I were in a band 40 years ago, which is crazy. We were in a rehearsal together when I heard about Randy dying in the plane crash, Randy Rhoads.

I said, “I know him,” and he was a friend, and now we have a guy named Jason Boyleston on guitar. He has played with Paul Rodgers and Bad Company and was also doing the “Raiding of the Rock Vault” show in Las Vegas. He’s awesome, and it fits great. They said, “Yeah, we’re next going to the Caribbean, and then we are going to Europe.” I was in Europe all this past summer and saw places I never thought I would see. We were in Majorca, Barcelona, Rome, and France 4 different times. We went to the Greek Islands, and I went to Ephesus, the oldest Roman ruins in Turkey. We were playing the world’s newest, largest cruise ship. And we play music from our past bands, songs from different guys in the band. And we do songs that we truly love, like that fantastic Zeppelin medley.

Does LOCR have plans to play more shows in the future?

Actually, I’m leaving on November 13th for the Caribbean again. We just headlined the Innovation Amphitheater in Atlanta, which was great. I called it an away game like baseball. You may know about baseball, but an away game is when you’re not playing in your home stadium, and that’s what it was like playing somewhere else. We played in Palm Springs too. The LOCR gig has been fantastic for me. It’s been a good year.


You just mentioned that you got the phone call saying that Rudy Sarzo was returning to Quit Riot, and you were again free to go from the band. Was it in the works for a longer time, and whose decision was it at the end?

Well, it was a management decision, and the band had nothing to do with it. I’ve worked with Quiet Riot since 1981, and I’ve been in and out of the band many times, so it was no surprise that Rudy wanted to come back. When I got the call, my response was, “Well, you know what? You’re probably doing me a favor because I’m burned out from how we travel.” And it turned out to be true. It turned out to be fantastic, and the combination of what I’ve been doing, traveling everywhere, and having my record out at the same time has been great. Like said, this is the fifth time in my career. I started with them when the band was still called DuBrow in 1981. I did all the demos and got the record deal with them. I play bass on” Bang Your Head” and” Don’t Wanna Let You Go,” and I sing on every track on METAL HEALTH. I’ve still after nine studio albums with the band, I’m still feeling like, I’m going. “No, no. Really, I’m in the band. I’ve been in the band.”

As you said, you worked with the band for a long time and were involved from the beginning. But I think people still remember your Quiet Riot days best from the promo video for “The Wild And The Young,” which was also a significant song for the band. Do you have any special memories from that video shoot?

“The Wild and Young.” Yeah, that was a special one. That’s back in the days when you had a budget, and the concept was great. In the future, there’s no rock and roll. And we were able to get a bunch of guitars that were not playable from Jackson. And we got a tree mulcher, and they would confiscate– the police, confiscate the guitar and throws it into the tree mulcher. The guy that was running the rehearsal studio had very long hair, and we talked him into shaving his head. We had the famous game show host here in the States named Wink Martindale, who played Big Brother. Yeah, it was great. Hot day, but great. It was a really fun video to make,

The video and the song are great. Still, when I recently listened to the QR III album after a long time, I have to say that the sound and production could have been better. But it’s just my opinion.

Yeah. If you look at it that way, it doesn’t stand the test of time because of the way how the keyboards were used.

That is definitely what it’s about, but that kind of sound and style was fashionable then.

What happened was, Quiet Riot came out with that album. It’s all samples and synthesizers, and everybody jumped on that bandwagon. At the same time, everybody’s also glamming out with their clothing. So the band followed the trend instead of being trendsetters.

You’re correct, and that’s what everybody was doing in the mid/late ’80s.

Yeah, that was the thing. It’s like in the early 80s synth,” boom, boom, boom, boom.” That sound, but it dates the records. It’s like you could put on an early AC/DC record. It still stands up. Yeah, it all stands up. It’s not dated. It’s like, “Oh, whatever. That’s cheesy.” It’s kind of cheesy. I hate to use the term, but it is. It makes things sound cheesy.

I repeat myself now a bit, but METAL HEALTH still sounds great. It didn’t have any extra “cheese” involved, but I’m not 100 % convinced of CONDITION CRITICAL if I think about it as a whole.

The second one was a rush job. They were on the road the whole time. And I’m not trying to make excuses for them, but I know the situation. Nonstop touring and the record company, because they wanted to get on the success of METAL HEALTH made the rush out an album. They threw together tunes and recorded them quickly. I was in there. I sang on every track and played bass on a song called “Born to Rock,” too. But the album is a rush job, and I think it was a mistake to release” Mama We’re All Crazy Now” as a single. And this is just me, but I remember being in the studio with them then. And they go, “Hey, put up yourself to sing.” right? Put up backing vocals to” Mama.” And I go, “Mama? Doesn’t Phil Collins have a song called” Mom, I’m Coming Home” or something?” And then they go, “No, no, no. It’s a Slade tune.” I go, “You guys are doing another Slade song?” I thought that was the last thing they should do because they were going to get pigeonholed. But it did turn out to do well for them, but it was a kind of double-edged sword for them. If they’re going to get a cover tune, they should have gone a different way instead of the same band.

I always thought they should have done something from the Sweet instead of” Mama We’re Crazy Now”?

Well, if you’re going to do a cover, Sweet’s amazing. Yeah, no doubt. Not the popular ones, but they had some awesome songs—”Action” would have been great for them.


After you left Quiet Riot in February of 1987, you worked briefly with the legendary Ted Nugent. How did you end up working with him?

My best friend, the late John Purdell, was co-producing the album with Tom Werman and Duane Barron (We did the Quiet Riot records together). They suggested to Ted that he should bring me in to play Bass.

The album. IF YOU CAN’T LICK ‘EM… LICK EM wasn’t a great success commercially, but the band lineup on the album was terrific, including Dave Amato and Pat Torpey. How was it to work that album in the studio?

The best part about this album is the sexy album cover and the title. This isn’t one of Ted’s strongest songwriting efforts. Dave and Pat’s parts were already recorded, so I wasn’t in the studio with them. One cool thing is I was able to talk Ted into having fretless on a track. I don’t think that’s ever happened before with him. Just know that all the stories you heard about him being intense are true; just multiply that by 10. Also, when we took breaks, we’d go shoot basketball hoops, and Ted would go shoot a full-sized Deer target with his bow and arrow.

Did you ever play any shows with Ted Nugent?

I’ve never played live with Ted.


In 1987 you joined House of Lords, which was a kind of supergroup at the time. The band included your old bandmates Gregg Giuffria and Ken Mary from Giuffria, plus Lanny Cordola and James Christian. The band signed a recording contract with Simmons Records, owned by Gene Simmons. He also produced the first two House of Lords albums, right?

Well, he didn’t produce anything. Gene basically would stick his head in and go, “Yeah. That sounds great” And then he leaves. He was the executive producer. We had the legendary Andy Jones, who’s been engineering and producing Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and all these iconic artists. Andy was engineering and coproducing with us. All of us have had a lot of experience in the studio. So, Gene, it was his record label, and we hung out. I played racquetball with him, and he’s a really funny, super brilliant man and great to be around and just hang out with. It’s just when you’re doing business with them, you’ve got to be on top of your game– that’s when the fangs come out.

Well, it may have been a challenging time for you and the band, but I still love House of Lords’ debut album. One of my favorite songs on it is “I Want To Be Loved” Can you tell me more about that song and how well you think it represents the album as a whole and House of Lords as a band?

What do I think about that song? Well, that song was brought to us. It was more of an outside song. We felt like we needed a pop-type rock single. To me, it sounds like a Bon Jovi-type song. The chorus on it and all that, but yeah, it was fine. I don’t think that song speaks to what the band was about musically. ” Pleasure Palace” is that kind of song, and so is “Slip of the Tongue.” Those songs show the musicality of the band. But back then, if you think about the 80s, it was all about the big anthemic choruses. Here’s another thing. I believe House of Lords would have been much more successful if we had been signed on a rock label instead of a country label because Gene did his deal with the country label, RCA. They didn’t have many rock bands. And when you’re labeling, you have some major rock bands, . You can go, “Hey, so you want so and so to play? Well, then you got to take these guys, too.” That’s how it works. And if you don’t have any leverage, it’s hard to get a band out there.

I interviewed Ron Keel a couple of years ago. He had very similar stories about working with Gene in the mid-’80s when Keel was signed to Simmons Records. He said Gene was very little present and didn’t do much production work during the entire process.

No. He wasn’t hands-on at all. He did make some decisions. We would go down and throw in some songs we were thinking of, and you go, “No. What’s the point of recording anything unless it’s a hit?” And then he had this weird way of editing with two cassette players [laughter], and he’s in his bathrobe by the pool.

Ron also told me about those same things. He also said that at the time, Keel had the option of choosing between several labels/producers. Still, they decided to go with Gene because they were all KISS fans. Did House of Lords also have other options to choose from then?

We got involved with Gene because Gene reached out to Greg Giuffria and said, “If you could put together a cool band, I’ll sign you.” So, he reached out to me. I left Giuffria and joined Quiet Riot again because I wasn’t allowed to write songs, Gregg and David Glen Eisley, the singer, didn’t want anybody else to write in the band. That’s why Craig Goldy left to join Dio. Although all of us were songwriters, we weren’t allowed to participate in songwriting. It was like, “Okay. See you later then.” Luckily, Kevin DuBrow called me right then, and I did the QR III, on which I co-wrote every song. I brought in the two ballads on the record, which is 100% my music and vocal melodies. With the Gene Simmons deal, I knew a great singer, James Christian, from the band Eyes I had been working with. I said, “Hey, I know this great singer. We just got to work on his look a little bit.” Which we did, and he sounded great. Gene didn’t want David Glen Eisley to sing even though David wrote some of the material that’s on the album; I mean, he did the demos that helped get us going. But Gene didn’t want him to be the singer. So, in that regard, Gene was hands-on as far as overseeing who’s in the band, and he came up with the band’s name. But as far as producing the record. Not at all.

A few years later, in 1993, I did the Doro record, and Gene was producing again. And I’ll never forget this. We’re in the studio, and there’s a couch like this right up at the door to the studio. And I’m in there. Producer Pat Regan, my dear friend – we had a band together for six years – is engineering and producing the record. Gene sat in the other room reading the paper. He sticks his head in to give me a suggestion for a bassline. He goes, “So Chuck. Oh, yeah. It’s you. Never mind.” It’s pretty funny. I remember that, though, clearly. [laughter]

That Doro album, DORO, is a really good one.

Yeah. My problem with it is that they should have listed what you played on what track. So you need to know which tracks I’m on or which ones E.J. Curse is on, and which ones Todd Jensen is on, as far as basslines goes.

Did you ever play any shows with Doro?

No. No, I didn’t. She is such a good person, a really sweet, super powerful singer.

House of Lords 1988. Greg Giuffria, Lanny Cordola, James Christian, Ken Mary, and Chuck. Photo by Glenn Wexler


After you left House of Lords, you rejoined Quiet Riot in 1994, and one year later, the album DOWN TO THE BONE was released. Because it was released on a very small label, it got very little attention. However, it was a decent album in all respects, or what do you think of it now after all these years?

Well, DOWN TO THE BONE has some really good songs on it, but we were very limited with the budget when we recorded it. So, if those songs had been recorded better, it could have been a killer album. It’s a really strong album as far as it comes to the performances by everybody in the band and the songs.

I learned that the mid-’90s was a challenging time for all traditional hard rock and metal bands. Do you agree with me?

Oh, nobody cared then. I mean, what we were doing– I went and started playing with them again in 1994. We were only playing in clubs, not making much money. And we’re just out on the road to be out. That’s when I started doing film scoring with Lanny Cordola and Matt Sorum. We did a bunch of different projects. We produced a couple of Reggae records and an Ambient Trance record. We started doing all these different kinds of projects just to stay afloat, but also music that we love to do. Being active but still being able to pay the bills at the same time.

A lot of things happened, but in 2004, you joined the band again for the last time. The album REHAB was successful, and you also played a couple of big overseas shows, like the one at the Sweden Rock Festival. I interviewed Frankie there, and then we two also met briefly backstage. It was a great show, and the future looked bright for Quiet Riot, but then the world received the unexpected news of Kevin’s passing.

With Kevin, that was the last big show– I have a photo I took of him where he’s standing out there at the front of the stage, and he’s looking back going, “We’re back. This is it. We’re back.” We had all these European dates lined up, and we would finally start making our headway in Europe, which Quiet Riot never did. Then he died shortly after.

Quiet Riot in 2006.

After Kevin’s death, Quiet Riot understandably went on hiatus, and the band was completely gone for a long time. What did you do back then when Quit Riot didn’t exist?

There was a three-year break. And I did a short tour with the full orchestra. We did 90 minutes of Pink Floyd. That was an amazing show. I kept busy doing different projects. I remember Frankie calling me and saying,” I decided to do Quiet Riot again. I talked to Kevin’s mom, and I got her blessing.” And her exact words to him were, “Well, you know, Frankie, if it was you that passed away, he would be out the next week with a different drummer, so you should, too.” And he’s trying to honor him. He called me up, and I said, “Yeah. Okay. I’ll go for it and give it a go.” And then, look, we went on for quite a while, since 2011, late 2010.

After Kevin was gone, Quiet Riot released two more studio albums with a different singer. What do you think about those records?

Do you mean the ones that we did with the different singers? I have nothing good to say about them, honestly. I had nothing to do with them. I was told, “Here, play some bass on these tracks.” I go, “But there are no vocals; there’s nothing on it to work with.” I was then told, “We’ll just play the bass. So, I take a disclaimer that I have no comment on those records.

It was a confusing time anyway when the singer in the band changed every few months. I especially remember the ROAD RAGE record, which was recorded several times. And the Japanese version of the album had a different singer than the U.S. version.

Yeah. And then a new singer came on. I know. It was crazy. A lot of turmoil going on with singers. Yeah. It was Frankie’s band. At this point in the band’s history, I’m just a hired guy, so to speak. I didn’t have any say, which is what’s so great about having a solo project. I have a complete say on everything: songwriting, producing, and picking the right players.

So what’s actually– during all these years, what’s your worst experience with Quiet Riot?

Oh, man. There was one outdoor show with Warrant and a bunch of other people. I don’t know why this one’s coming to my head! “Laughs.” We went there, and the P.A. wasn’t even set up yet, and the promoter is not being cool. Then Frankie got in his face. And it turns out the promoter went around, got all the money, and left. Even the police department that he had hired to be security didn’t get paid. This promoter took everything. It wasn’t very pleasant. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere– I don’t know where we were? We had a show, and then we didn’t. Another bummer situation was when we had a show in Wisconsin. Our flight got canceled, and we had a choice. Frankie sat us down, and he goes, “Okay, you have a choice. We can either stay at the airport and fly back home the next morning on our return flights, or we can rent a van and drive eight hours.” And luckily, we had this tech who’s great named Trent. He said, “I’ll drive.” And I go, “Really?” He goes, “I’ll do it.” We drove eight hours. We showed up literally 20 minutes before we were supposed to be on stage. It’s raining, and it’s an outdoor gig. Everybody’s in the beer tents watching from far away. We did our show, then we got back in the van, drove eight hours back, and made our flight. That was hell.

Which year was that?

It’s when we got back together. Yeah, that was– yeah. I am trying to remember who the singer was at the time. I think it might have been Jizzy Pearl singing with us then?

Ahh… exactly. I already forgot Jizzy was and is now again in the band. There have been so many changes in the band that it’s almost impossible to remember everything.

I know. Well, the band. Have you seen the documentary?

Yeah. I have it at home.

So in the documentary, Frankie does this whole thing in the middle of the documentary that talks about all the players that have been in and out of the band, and it’s pretty entertaining. It actually came out way better than I ever expected. The editor was killer on that.

I’ve learnt that making that documentary was a very long process that took years to complete.

Well, yeah. They were filming us for two years, then they just took all this footage, and they got a great editor, and he put together a great film. It was on Showtime for two years. They said, “We’ll give you two weeks.” And it stayed on for two years.

I still remember when I did that two-hour-long interview with Frankie in Sweden. We then went through everything. He loved to talk!

He remembered everything. I kept telling him, “You need to write a book.” I go, “You remember everything.” I would too, but I don’t remember details like he did.” If I have a photograph that conjures up the memory, or if I was in a roundtable with other guys, let’s say, eight guys from the 80s from different bands, we all start telling stories. Getting a guy like you and keeping conversations going would be an excellent way to do it.

One thing I have to ask from you now. When I interviewed Frankie, he did want to talk a lot about his on/off tenure with W.A.S.P. But have you ever been working with those guys?

Blackie called me once. I forgot which record he was working on then, but he called me and said, “Hey, Chuck, do you want to come to work out these songs with me and rehearse them? Mate, I’ll pay you.” So he paid me. And at that point, it was like I needed the money. I said, “Sure, man, I’ll come and play.” So what he did is he recorded everything I did. And that’s what got used on the album, were parts I came up with, even though I didn’t play on the album. Anyway, that’s the way it goes. And hey, he paid me. There you go. But I was helping with arrangement ideas. “Hey, why don’t we try this change? Why don’t we do this?” So I was helping construct the tunes with him. But I’ve never been a W.A.S.P. fan. I’m not a fan of that super-heavy music. Except for Frankie’s version of” The Real Me,” I think that maybe one or two songs I like from WASP. I’m more into melodic type music and all different styles. But I’m not into it when it gets super heavy, like all these heavier bands like Pantera. I don’t feel it.

Quiet Riot in 2019. Alex Grossi, Jizzy Pearl, Frankie Banali, and Chuck Wright.


One interesting name you have worked with in the past is Bob Kulick, who sadly passed away a few years ago. How did you two learn to know each other in the first place?

Oh, my late friend Bob. I had just had a conversation with him probably two weeks before he passed away. He said, “I’m going to have you involved in this next” Whatever the project was, I can’t recall right now. But he goes, “I’d like you to work with me on this., “Oh, that’d be great, Bob. It’s been so long.” We did Blackthorne together, Murderer’s Row, some tribute albums, and so on. We had been good friends for decades, but I hadn’t seen him that often since he moved to Las Vegas. I first met Bob in 1984 when Ricky Philips started a weekly softball game with their musician friends. Many people participated in the game. Bob eventually joined us, and we became friends that way. That man loved to play, and Bob was a great talent, but for me, as a bass player, he always wanted you to play exactly like the guitar player’s parts. That’s not what I do, but he’s producing, so I played the way he wanted me to play. Those are still pretty good records we did together. I think that the Blackthorne record I did with him and Graham Bonnet was smoking. Frankie was on it too. Unfortunately, we only played one live show together, but it was not with Frankie. It was with Jay Schellen from Hurricane/ Yes on drums.

But didn’t you also play some shows in Japan with Blackthorne?

No. That never happened. Not that I’m aware of. I never did. I don’t remember Blackthorne doing anything. I was also in Impellitteri with Graham at the time. I love Graham, and he’s practically my neighbor, only a couple of blocks from me, which is great.



In 2002 you served as a touring bassist for Alice Cooper on his “Decent Into Dragontown” -tour. What kind of memories do you have from that tour?

Well, how that came about? I was then playing with Montrose, with Ronnie Montrose, and the drummer was Eric Singer. The Cooper -tour was coming up, and Eric just said, “Hey, would you be interested in trying out for Alice Cooper?” He told me the details about the tour that was coming up, and I said, “Yeah.” And I got the gig. I called Ronnie, and I told him. I said, “Hey, listen, I got this tour that came up with Alice Cooper.” He was very happy for me. I said, “But I have a bass player you’ll love, Ricky Phillips,” whom you know best from Styx. I was his roommate at the time. They became great friends. He’s a Northern California guy like Ronnie. And then, I did 75 cities and 17 countries with Alice. And it was a highlight of my career. He and I would get together after breakfast and go shopping and tour the different cities. And he loved finding a bargain. And he would take it backstage and show everybody, “Hey, I got this for whatever it was.” And everything goes, “Wow, that’s a great deal.” And he goes, “Anybody want it?” And then he would give it away. That’s the way he is, a great guy. I loved Alice Cooper. He unfortunately had a couple of pretty dark characters on his staff, though. It was still great being a part of a big production like that, a Broadway rock show. We had a couple of “Spinal Tap” moments that I’ll never forget. There was this part where he was in a straitjacket then guys dressed like executioners grab him and take him over to a guillotine. Eric is doing the drum roll, and then one of them yells and drops the guillotine blade. It stops halfway, and Alice’s head still falls off into a basket. It was hilarious. And he also got stuck in this pod that fills up with smoke, and he’s supposed to come out and sing “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” He built himself as a Frankenstein monster out of body parts on the stage and builds himself, the pod fills up the smoke, and then he is to come out. That show he got stuck in there. He couldn’t come out. He had to go the back way, a real Spinal Tap moment. That was a great band. I’ve known Eric Dover for years, and Teddy ZigZag from Guns’ n Roses is also a good friend. I played on his solo record. Eric Dover had played with Slash’s Snakepit and Jellyfish before. And Pete Friesen from The Almighty was also a brilliant guitar player. It was a killer band.

So it was largely thanks to Eric Singer that you got to play on Alice Cooper’s tour?

Yeah. Eric’s a good guy. I loved playing with him. We used to have a cover band together, too, for fun that played around L.A.. It was a blast.

I remember that when he was out from KISS, he had a cover band called GlamNation, but that isn’t the band you’re talking about.

No. GlamNation was him Eric Dover, Ryan Roxie, Steven Adika, and Teddy Zig Zag. That was a great band. I remember when we were going to do– this is a great one. I’ve never told anybody this one. Eric and I are going to go play with Ronnie Montrose, and Tommy Thayer goes, “I know all those songs.” So we rehearsed playing Ronnie’s songs with Tommy. Tommy came to Eric’s house. He had a little rehearsal studio in the back. And yeah, we rehearsed the Montrose tunes with Tommy. He knew them well, which was great because the vocalist, Keith St. John, lived down here, but Ronnie lived up north. The upcoming shows were going to be up north. So we go, “Don’t worry, Ronnie. We’ll get it together here and meet you there.” Right. Tommy nailed that stuff. He’s a great guitar player.

I agree. We’ll see what he will do after the KISS thing is over. Maybe he will retire from playing and concentrate on the business side of things, or what do you think?

I think he’ll continue playing in the right situation, or he will do a solo thing. But he’s got a lot going on. He’s done well for himself. He was their road manager and then became the guitar player for the band, which is just amazing.

True, and after the Black and Blue thing didn’t go anywhere, he became Gene’s personal assistant, correct?

He became that. And then he was their tour manager. And then he became their guitar player, which is fantastic.

There’s also a rumor saying that he once helped Paul Stanley out when Paul needed help to get his new house painted. But I don’t know if that’s true.

I don’t know about that, but I once went to Paul Stanley’s house here in Hollywood, and he had a birthday party. He had hired a KISS tribute band to play there. Tommy was in the KISS tribute band, and Jamie St.James was singing. I go,” Wow. It’s crazy!” When I think about those days– you remind me again. I told you earlier that if you start talking about things, those brain cells wake up, and I go, “Oh, yeah. I remember that time.” You know, I did an album with Tommy called 28IF.

Yeah, I have that album.

Photo by ©MikeSavoia


We have now been through many things in your long career. Can you now summarize what we can expect from Chuck Wright in the near future?

Sure. For me, this album, Chuck Wright’S SHELTERING SKY, is not– the album title isn’t SHELTERING SKY. It’s CHUCK WRIGHT’S SHELTERING SKY because there are 41 guests on it, and that kind of feels like a project with a lot of really, really great, talented people as opposed to, “Hey, it’s all about me,” I’m trying to get everybody involved in it, so. For me, this is my musical legacy more than something that I did in 1983 with Quiet Riot. To me, that’s what is important. All I care about is, “People, listen to it, check it out, and see what I’m about as a musician. I think you’ll be surprised in a good way for the most part.” The future, it’s open. I’m going to be doing more shows with LORC, which comes from the words” Legends Of Classic Rock.”

I also have an album coming out, which you probably need to be made aware of. Frontiers Records reached out and presented their concept of putting a couple of the original founding members of House Of Lords, myself with drummer extraordinaire Ken Mary, together with the current House Of Lords guitarist, Jimi Bell. Both are friends of mine, but when they contacted me about doing this project album, I first passed because I had my album coming out, and it’s nothing like that. I said, “I don’t think I’m really into wanting to go backward.” And they go, “Well, let me send you the music.” And they sent me a song called “Follow Me,” which floored me. I went, “Whoa. This is damn good”, so, I accepted and recorded all the Bass on the album here in L.A. During that time, they brought on Chilean vocalist James Robledo. He has been fantastic. So powerful and passionate The album sounds like a cross between the old House of Lords and Queensrÿche. But it’s a little bit heavier, with deeper elements in there, here, and there. Jimi’s a great guitar player, and the singer they brought in is killer. And I love playing with Ken. I’ve lost track of how many albums and projects we’ve done together over the years. And he’s a close friend still, and he’s a super talented guy.

He’s also a great engineer, and although he didn’t do this” Sheltering Sky” -album, he plays drums on one track called” The Other Side,” which he also mixed. “The Other Side” was written after I received the phone call saying that Frankie Banali had passed away. He was someone I had worked with for over twenty-six years of my life. I knew the call would come eventually, but it still hit me hard because I had lost my mother and many of my closest friends over the last few years. So, I sat down, picked up my twelve-string guitar, and wrote “The Other Side” in one sitting, even the chorus, which is sung, “See You On The Other Side.” It’s a song of loss and hope, which is what many of my songs on the album are. I then contacted August Young, a vocalist Frankie had been working with recently on his Led Zeppelin project. He helped me finish the verses. But going to that new project, they got a great combination of musicians and decided they wanted to do a House of Lords thing. So they took an album title from House of Lords called” Demons Down.” Originally, the band was going to be called Sahara, and then they changed it to Demons Down, which I thought was kind of– I actually wrote them and said, “You know what? It’s kind of odd that you’re picking Demons Down when nobody on this project had anything to do with that album.” They go, “Well, it’s a catchy name.” I go, “Yeah. It is a cool name.” But anyway, it’s a record company thing than me shouting, “Hey, let’s do this band.” So, it’s very good, what I’ve heard. I heard mixes of it, and it’s what you would expect, except a little bit heavier.

Do you have plans to play any live shows with the band in the future?

I think it would be a blast to play this music live and maybe throw in a few House Of Lords favorites like “Pleasure Palace” and “Sahara.”


We have now covered everything that I had in mind beforehand. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Check out Chuck Wright’s Sheltering Sky. It’s available everywhere. You can get it on Spotify, and YouTube’s got it, and I have four videos out.

But what about physical copies of the album? I tried to find one here in L.A. but have yet to find one.

Well, you can get it on Amazon. Yeah, definitely. It’s available on Amazon. And it’s available at Cleopatra Records. But that’s probably more for domestically, and I don’t know in Europe.

At least in Finland, it’s impossible to find. I tried. I really tried but with no luck.

Well, that’s unfortunate. I know I’m on like 50 radio stations in Spain. So many, so yeah. And if you can’t get the record, it’s whatever. At least they’re hearing it. For me, it’s like I want people to know what I can do.

For me, it feels like a twisted circle: people are not buying records, how they can buy them, they cannot have them.

Yeah. The ones that want to buy it need help to find it. But most people don’t buy them anymore. Everybody downloads. However, it’s been like that for ten years or more. CD’s have become more promotional items than… let’s put it this way, it doesn’t make sense to put CD’s out for financial reasons anymore. It’s more about getting the word out so you can go on tour. And a lot of established bands like Styx and Journey will put out an album, and it doesn’t do much except for them to say, “Oh, we got a new album out.” People are not that interested in new material. They want to relive the glory days. The hits that remind them of their youth. That’s why I’d ask people about the Quiet Riot after shows and see a young kid; I go, “How do you know about the band?” He would go, “Oh, Guitar Hero,” or “My mom used to play it all the time.” It was always either of the two answers for why a younger person was there. And older people would say, “Hey, this just brings me back to my youth when I was in high school and carefree and having a good time.”