QUIET RIOT Drummer Says Veteran Acts Who Don't Continue Releasing New Music 'Become A Caricature'

February 9, 2019

QUIET RIOT drummer Frankie Banali recently spoke with Sydney Taylor of MA Entertainment Global. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the band's chemistry with current vocalist James Durbin:

Frankie: "It's been really great. Chuck Wright, our bassist, and I have been working together on and off since 1982. I've been the constant figure and he's been in and out of the band, but we've known each other for decades. [Guitarist] Alex Grossi's been in the band, I think, close to 10 years now, and James just started his [third] year. He's a great singer, and he's a great entertainer. He's a really nice guy, and we're having a great time. I think the 'Road Rage' record turned out really, really well. I'm really happy with 'One Night In Milan', especially because it's a true, live record... Everything is going along really well."

On recording the band's new live album in Italy, where the group had never previously performed:

Frankie: "The interesting thing about Italy and a lot of parts of Europe, when 'Metal Health' came out in 1983 and after it started gaining momentum, we were so busy performing mostly in the United States. [We also did] some European dates, but it was very limited, so we never had the opportunity in the band's career to play Italy. When the offer came up to do the Frontiers [Rock] Festival and also be able to record it, I jumped on it."

On the longevity of "Metal Health":

Frankie: "It's amazing, because I started working with Kevin DuBrow in 1980, and by 1981, many of the songs that ended up being part of 'Metal Health', we were already playing live... The thing is, out of all the songs that QUIET RIOT has recorded in our history, 'Metal Health (Bang Your Head)' is the definitive QUIET RIOT song. That is the song that is most representative of the band — at least the 'Metal Health' version of the band — from its inception even through today. The proof of that is that although 'Cum On Feel The Noize' was a No. 5 single and the single sold over a million copies alone in the United States, that's not the song that ends the set. The song that ends every QUIET RIOT set is 'Bang Your Head'. That gives you a pretty clear indication of how important it is not only to the fans, but to me personally and to QUIET RIOT."

On the band's future plans:

Frankie: "Everybody understands across the board that these days, records don't sell in the way that they did two or three decades ago, but the thing for me has always been that I constantly want to keep writing and I constantly want to keep creating new music, and hopefully get it out to the fans and anybody that wants to give it a listen. That's what a musician should do. While by and large our set is made up of the classic songs — those are the songs that most people want to hear; those are the songs that they come to the show to maybe relive a little bit of their past — the other side of the coin for me is that I've got to constantly continue creating. Otherwise, you just become a caricature of yourself... If you don't keep the music brain working, then it stops functioning. I love playing the complete QUIET RIOT catalog. There's nothing I don't enjoy doing when it comes to playing the music of QUIET RIOT, but I equally as much enjoy creating something new. Whether it becomes successful commercially or not, that's neither here nor there. I've got to keep creating; otherwise, it just becomes stale."

On the possibility of a HEAVY BONES reunion:

Frankie: "That HEAVY BONES was a great, great record. I'm really proud of that record. It came out at the completely wrong time... where that type of music and that type of production was really frowned upon [by] the whole grunge movement, which was more organic and more raw. The chances of that happening, I stopped saying 'never' quite a while ago, so you never know — but I don't see it happening for a couple of reasons. One, I'm really busy with QUIET RIOT and all my other side projects that I do, as is Gary Hoey, who has a really, really wonderful solo career on his own. The original bassist, Rex Tennyson, has literally disappeared off the face of the earth. I've been trying to find him for at least a decade, and I can't. I know he's not dead, thankfully. Joel [Ellis], the singer, is still around. I think he's the one that wants it to happen the most, but I don't see it in the cards. While that was a great record and I thought it was a great band, we did maybe a half dozen shows total, so there was really no interest in the band. If you have a record that was a great record but had no hits purely because nobody cared, it's really, really difficult to get somebody to invest financially, because that's what it takes for everybody to stop what they're doing and go into rehearsals and work out a set, and then you have the problem of trying to find an agent that can book a band that not that many know about compared to a band that had hits. It becomes a real challenge to be able do it. A lot of well-meaning people think that's it really easy — you just pick up the phone, call up the three other guys, go into a rehearsal studio, rehearse the songs, get your little wardrobe all set up and somebody is willing to book you and pay you to play. That's not reality... It's a great record in my discography and I'm really, really proud of it, but it wasn't given the opportunity or the chances that it should have had. Now, several decades later, I can't see it happening, but if somebody wants to make it real and do what it takes to make it real, I'm all ears."

"One Night In Milan" — recorded at the 2018 edition of the Frontiers Rock Festival — was released on January 25 via Frontiers Music Srl. The 15-track release includes two songs from the group's latest studio album (and first with Durbin),"Road Rage", which was released in 2017.

Durbin, who became known as the "metal guy" on 2011's season of "American Idol" after performing "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking The Law" with JUDAS PRIEST, hooked up with QUIET RIOT after the dismissal of Seann Nicols (a.k.a. Sheldon Tarsha; formerly of ADLER'S APPETITE). Nicols was with QUIET RIOT for just a few months, but long enough to record the vocals for an early version of "Road Rage".

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