During an appearance on a video podcast hosted by Todd Kerns, the bassist of SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS, QUIET RIOT guitarist Alex Grossi talked about the band’s decision to carry on after drummer Frankie Banali‘s death. The group, which now features drummer Johnny Kelly (DANZIG, TYPE O NEGATIVE), played a couple of shows in October and has a string of dates booked in 2021.
“We’re all getting older and things are gonna change, but the music lives on,” Alex said. “And I’m not gonna say it’s inevitable, but I think you’re gonna see a lot more of these situations where [bands continue without any original members].
“We had no choice — [original QUIET RIOT singer] Kevin [DuBrow] passed away, and then Frankie passed away. And Frankie wanted us to go on, and we’re doing it. And it’s working.
“It’s like a big family at this point, ’cause there’s been so many ins and outs,” Alex added. “Everyone gets along — there’s no drama. It’s not like other bands where there’s lawsuits. There’s only one version; it’s all sewn up.”
Banali, who joined QUIET RIOT in 1982 and played on its breakthrough album, 1983’s “Metal Health”, died in August after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
“Basically, when he got sick, he called me, and he said, ‘You know a drummer?'” Alex recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah. I’ve got a couple of ideas.’ And he kind of explained everything, and I got the vibe, like, ‘Okay, if you wanna keep doing this, then…’ There’s obviously the legalities of how to keep use in commerce so no one else can get the trademark, because the last thing you want is four different versions of the same band, which, thankfully, QUIET RIOT never had to go down that road. He was very matter of fact, because he’s got a wife, he’s got a daughter. And he spent his whole life building that brand. Why not? If you had invented something, and then you’re gonna pass away, would you stop making it because you’re not there anymore.”
Grossi went on to say that he has a philosophical approach to established bands changing members.
“It’s a double-edged sword, and internally, it makes you think, and I’m sure you feel the same way, that everyone’s replaceable,” he said. “No matter how great you are… There are certain guys — there’ll only be one Jimmy Page and Slash — but you kind of wonder… You’re up on stage playing those hits and you’re playing ’em right. That’s what they’re there for. And we’re entertainers.”
QUIET RIOT played its first concert after Banali‘s death on October 9 at at the Grand Stage Amphitheater near Urich, Missouri.
At some of QUIET RIOT‘s 2019 and 2020 shows, Banali was replaced by Kelly or Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.), depending on each musician’s availability.
QUIET RIOT‘s shows in 2019 with Kelly and Dupke marked the first time ever that the band performed without any of the members from its classic lineup: Banali, singer Kevin DuBrow, guitarist Carlos Cavazo and bassist Rudy Sarzo.
QUIET RIOT initially featured the late guitar legend Randy Rhoads and went through some early lineup shifts before securing the musicians that recorded “Metal Health”.
Bassist Chuck Wright has been a part of QUIET RIOT, on and off, since 1982, having initially been involved in the “Metal Health” recordings (he played bass on the tracks “Metal Health” and “Don’t Wanna Let You Go”). Grossi was in the last version of the band, from 2004 through 2007, before Kevin passed away, and was asked by Banali to return in 2010.
QUIET RIOT went through two vocalists — Mark Huff and Scott Vokoun — before settling on Jizzy Pearl in 2013. Pearl announced his exit from QUIET RIOT in October 2016 and was briefly replaced by Seann Nichols, who played only five shows with the group before the March 2017 arrival of “American Idol” finalist James Durbin. Pearl returned to QUIET RIOT in September 2019.