The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA PLEASE PREPARE TO BANG YOUR HEADS

ON THE EVE OF THEIR AUSTRALIAN TOUR

FRANKIE BANALI OF QUIET RIOT TALKS TO MARK

 

 


MD: Hi Frankie, thank you for taking the time to speak with The Rockpit.



FB: My pleasure!



MD: Quiet Riot has a retrospective DVD coming out soon "QUIET RIOT Live in the 21st Century - 20 Years of Metal Health": tell us about the project and how long it has taken to pull it all together?



FB: Firstly let me correct you. The QUIET RIOT documentary has a working title of “Well Now You're Here There’s No Way Back - The QUIET RIOT Movie” and we've been working on this for over a year. The title you referred to “QUIET RIOT Live in the 21st Century - 20 Years of Metal Health” was a live performance DVD which was released in October of 2003 which has nothing to do with the documentary.



MD: I'll dismiss my researcher in the morning! You used Kickstarter.com to raise money to fund the DVD, how was that experience? Did it work as expected?



FB: We did indeed use Kickstarter.com to raise fan fueled funds to help with the burgeoning expenses that it takes to produce a film. It was more successful than expected and I am so grateful for the fans who supported this aspect of the funding for the film.



MD: The latest album "Rehab" has a more late sixties/early seventies hard rock feel to it than we might have expected, tell us a little about how that album came about?



FB: Kevin (RIP) and I have always loved the music created by British bands of the late 60’s and 70’s. This was one of the many things that cemented our friendship throughout our career. Rehab was the album that we both wanted to make for many years. Now looking back it is comforting to know that when Kevin passed he did so with the knowledge that fans and critics loved the record, the songs, the performances and particularly Kevin’s singing on that record. It was our favorite right next to the Metal Health record.



MD: You said back in 2007 that one of the goals of the “Rehab” CD was to gain international interest for Quiet Riot. Now you are coming over to Australia and New Zealand; it all seems to have fallen into place!



FB: During our peak period, QUIET RIOT were so huge in America that we toured the states constantly year in and year out and barely had time to develop our fan base internationally. We did tour Europe, Latin America and Asia, but not nearly as much as we did the US. Oddly enough QUIET RIOT never had the opportunity in 28 years of touring. That is about to change!



MD: What are you most looking forward to about touring Australia? What will you be doing on your time off?



FB: Looking forward to playing for everyone in Australia is putting it mildly! I am ecstatic about this opportunity to bring the music of QUIET RIOT to the Australian fans. Shane Tester and his team at Intense Impact who are bringing this tour to Australia have been thus far fantastic to work with. Between Shane and my agent Mark Hyman, this should be a great experience for the fans and us! What will I do on my time off? That depends if I have any time off! But I want to take all of Australia in, so I am open to suggestions!

 

MD: I'm sure we can come up with some ideas for you, it's a great big beautiful country!



MD: Your CDs have not always been released down-under but when they have they've charted really well (1999’s Live CD made the Top 20). Is there anything you would like to say to your Aussie fans on the eve of the tour?



FB: Because the fans in Australia are so important to me, I've put together a live set of material of songs that I hope the fans will appreciate. Know that we never played Australia, the live set will consist of material mainly from Metal health, Condition Critical, QR III and perhaps something from Rehab.



MD: The “Metal Health” line-up of Quiet Rot is the one most people remember, when you recorded the album was there any idea how huge it was going to get?



FB: No idea whatsoever. We knew the songs were great, we know the songs were unique, we knew the album sounded great, but beyond that we were not hanging our hopes, dreams or expectations on it either. The music we created was not popular at the time, yet we managed to make it popular with the release of the metal Health record and ushered in the genre as commercially and financially viable.



MD: When the Metal Health went to number one you were on tour with Black Sabbath during their "Born Again" tour, how did outselling the headliners go down?



FB: We didn’t look at it as outselling the headliner. We were thrilled to be opening up for Black Sabbath! It was great to hear Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan sing those songs live and Bev Bevan from ELO was the drummer, a really nice guy who had some great John Bonham and led Zeppelin stories. And come on, Tony Iommi? Geezer Butler? Rock Icons! I’m a music fan, it was fantastic to share those stages. It felt great to know that we had gone number #1 on Billboard’s Top 100 and we found out a week prior on my Birthday that it would be #1 the following week, what a gift on so many levels! At the same time, we were the support act, so we went out and played our songs.



MD: There are lots of doppelganger stories in rock history and we remember a rumor in the press back in that day that Quiet Riot was Kiss without makeup!



FB: Funny! Never heard that one, though many people thought I was Paul Stanley for a while, I think because of the hair, but Paul is a hairy chest beast, I am a smooth chest beast, LOL!



MD: What do you think of Slade personally? I was always surprised that they never made it in the US when so many bands have covered their songs successfully.

 

FB: I thought Slade wrote great songs but I was more into Led Zeppelin, The Faces, The Who, Free, Cream, Hendrix, Jeff Beck, those sorts of bands that were less pop oriented by and large. It made sense to do the Slade songs in America because they were very successful everywhere but in America. QUIET RIOT made them more known in the US because we recorded two of their songs and therefore brought attention to them that had escaped them prior to our success. Sadly even that didn’t help since they toured after our initial success but US acclaim still eluded them. It was a strange but productive association for both QUIET RIOT and Slade because we recorded two Slade songs, we became famous and they got all the money for the two songs. Everyone’s a winner!



MD: You played on the charity project Hear N Aid with Vinnie Appice do you have any memories from the session?



FB: Yes, it was a real honor to have been picked to be the only non Dio member playing with Dio. The recording session was great with both Vinny Appice and I playing drums together like a well oiled drumming behemoth both with natural maple drum sets. The whole band was great to work with and dear Ronnie was a price, a giant in every way, Very mush missed, God bless Ronnie and may he rest in peace.



MD: I caught up with Paul Shortino recently what are your memories of the album you recorded with him fronting the band?



FB: Paul was awesome to work with, what a great singer in that wonderful blues/rock base. Great singer, great songwriter, great front man. The whole band was great. Carlos Cavazo was playing the best I had heard him in years and I can’t say enough about what a wonderful bass player Sean McNabb is. I recently played with Sean and he’s even better now! I saw Paul a few months ago in Las Vegas as well and he’s still a monster vocalist! It was a great record, a very different QUIET RIOT record, but great. It just came out at a time when the music industry and fans just didn’t care about that style of music. I still stand 100% behind that record.



MD: Musically who are you heroes and influences?



FB: There are so many I can’t even begin to list them, but let’s start with Jazz greats Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Tony Williams, vintage Mitch Mitchell, Ginger baker, Cozy Powell, straight ahead drummers like Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Dave Clark, fusion masters Billy Cobham, Dennis Chambers, Simon Phillips, and at the overall top of the heap, the mighty John Henry Bonham. I could go on and on but your collective readership would bemoan with a resounding snore…..



MD: Of the younger rock bands out there are there any that particularly catch your eye?



FB: Not really because I stopped listening to the radio years ago and can’t find any new music that inspires me enough to put down money for goods, though I buy CD’s of records that I have on vinyl of all genres but now released on CD. Yes, I’m still a fan, yes I’m still a consumer of music.



MD: Do you have any time for interests outside music?



FB: Vintage snare drums and drum sets. I also study and collect Japanese art, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese ceramics. I also have a voracious appetite for reading. My library is beyond capacity and varied.

 

MD: I'll have to check out that library, I've got books all over the place here!



MD: Years ago you said on the internet you said that there would be no Quiet Riot without Kevin, I know a lot of people understood where you were coming from but equally were disappointed that the legacy wouldn’t carry on. When did you change your thinking about that and was there a key factor is deciding to revive the band?



FB: When I started working on the documentary it forced me to relive nearly thirty years of QUIET RIOT history. That was the beginning of the healing process, the start of putting the mourning in perspective and to focus on the future both that of QUIET RIOT and my own. The only person whose feelings matter to me is Kevin DuBrow's mother, who I am very close to. She supports it and gave her full blessings. Even my old friend Rudy Sarzo, who isn’t in the band, fully supports my decision to continue Quiet Riot. As much as I wish I could bring Kevin back, I can't, but I can bring QUIET RIOT back and have done so.

 

get those tickets people!



MD: Tell us about the new line-up and what we can expect from the live show when it hits town?



FB: The lineup is the same QUIET RIOT that last toured with Kevin and I. Bassist Chuck Wright who has been a part of QUIET RIOT over the years in one form or another and Alex Grossi on guitar who was hand picked by Kevin to join the band. This was the most balanced and stable lineup in the band’s history. The newest addition is vocalist Mark Huff who can sing the QUIET RIOT songs in a manner that is expected by the fans of the band. What can you expect of the live shows? Great songs played the way QUIET RIOT songs should be played and should sound. I don’t hype, I just let the music do the talking! What I will say though is that these dates in Australia and New Zealand are the first international dates for QUIET RIOT since the passing of Kevin DuBrow, but most importantly the first ever in both countries for QUIET RIOT and this is so important to me that I plan to ensure that QUIET RIOT delivers!



MD: You played in WASP and for a long time and were their favored studio drummer. Was it your decision not to tour those later records? I know you once said that the “Headless Children” experience was your favorite time musically outside of Quiet Riot. How are things with you and Blackie?



FB: I’ve known Blackie for decades, we have a lot of history together. When I did the Headless Children record it was understood that I would not have the time to devote to tour the record, but as it happened I was able to tour that release and it was great on every level. But beyond that both Blackie and I knew that my commitments made it impossible to tour beyond that one world tour in 1989. Blackie and I have been speaking a lot of late, most recently a week ago. There are not too many musicians who I share a past and have so many things in common that are still around. There is value in those friendships. While Blackie and I don’t always see eye to eye, we have a lot of respect for each other. He’s more talented than given credit for.



MD: You've been in many sessions and side projects over the years – are there any that you thought had that extra something and would have liked to have taken further?



FB: I think the “Hughes/Thrall” record with Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) had great potential that was not realized. “Heavy Bones” could have been huge but it wasn’t. I’m on so many recordings that I can barely keep track of them. For the most part they have all been great in one way or another.



MD: And any disasters?



FB: No, not really. Each time you go into the studio to make a record there are going to be high points and low points, but all in all each has been rewarding.



MD: Of all your years in the business what is you favorite road memory (so far)?



FB: Playing the US Festival at 11:30 in the morning to an audience of over 375,000 screaming fans after partying the night before with Van Halen comes to mind……..



MD: You’ve managed Quiet Riot for the past 14 years do you enjoy the business side of things?



FB: I do. I’m very disciplined and structured. I know the business intimately from the ground up, inside and out. I don’t play video games, so business is my video game, but it’s not a game, I take it seriously. It's a lot of work, takes a lot of time and when everyone else in the band is out having fun, I'm usually working behind the scenes to ensure the band can continue to work.



MD: If you could have been involved in the creation of any piece of music at any point in the history of rock what would it have been and why?



FB: I don’t really think about things like that. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in QUIET RIOT, the band that created “Metal Health” changed the way the music industry, record labels, managers, radio programmers, rock television and especially the fans looked at the music of the 1980’s. That’s good enough for me.



MD: What is the meaning of life?

 

FB: It has a humble beginning, a natural progression and the inevitable end. Make the most of it before reaching it’s final destination…..

 

MD: Many thanks for your time Frankie: we look forward to catching up with you when you hit down-under! It's gonna be a long wait till May!

 

FB: Thank you for your interest in QUIET RIOT and looking forward to having everyone down-under Feel The Noize and Bang Your Head!

 

Mark Diggins spoke to Franki Banali February 2011

 

 

 

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