QUIET RIOT's FRANKIE BANALI Opens Up About Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer Battle: 'I'm Still Fighting The Good Fight'
June 13, 2020
QUIET RIOT drummer Frankie Banali, who has been battling stage IV pancreatic cancer for the past 14 months, offered an update on his health during an appearance Wednesday (June 10) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation". He said (hear audio below): "I'm still fighting the good fight. I'm still doing the chemotherapy. I switched to a different chemotherapy a few months ago. And the side effects on this one are pretty brutal, and they pretty much last into the next round of chemo. So you kind of don't get a break for about three weeks, and then you get about maybe 10 days off, and then the cycle starts again. But it's part of what I'm doing."
Asked if doctors are seeing positive results from the chemotherapy, Banali replied: "It really depends on any given cycle, whether things are going up or whether things are reducing. The situation that I'm in is not a sprint, really — it is the longest race I can possibly make out of my situation. So you have to be really, really careful how you read into some of these things, because something can look elevated, but then if you look at a scan — one of my internal scans — it's not as bad as the numbers say. But it's a deadly disease — there's no question about it — and I know that that's what eventually is gonna kill me. In the meantime, I'm just trying to put that day off as far back as I possibly can."
Banali also talked about how his latest chemotherapy sessions caused him to lose his trademark hair. He said: "I knew that when we were switching from the first chemo formula that we were doing for almost a year to the new chemo formula, I knew in advance that the different formula was really gonna wipe out the hair. So right now you probably wouldn't recognize me because not only did it take all the hair on the top of my head, but it took my beard, my eyebrows, my eyelashes. Let me put it to you this way: I have just really improved my Olympic swimming chances with the loss of body hair."
Regarding the changes in his weight caused by side effects of chemotherapy that can sometimes interfere with his ability to eat or drink, Banali said: "The weight goes up and down, depending on how severe the side effects are. At the moment, I'm on one I.V. that lasts 14 hours a day, so we do it in the evening into the morning, and we do this at home — this is above and beyond the actual hospital and clinic visits. And then we do a couple of other I.V routines to help my immune system, so on and so forth.
"The thing is that if I had to be on the I.V.s that I'm on, sadly, because of the coronavirus and everybody quarantining, including ourselves here at the house, it's given me the opportunity to do those things without worrying about, 'Okay, I've gotta jump on the plane and I'm gonna have to skip treatments for two or three days,' those sorts of things," he continued. "Which I'm capable of doing — don't get me wrong. QUIET RIOT will play the first show during this whole coronavirus situation July 4th in Arkansas. So I will be getting on a plane and I will be performing and I will be social distancing."
Banali also once again expressed his gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the GoFundMe campaign to help with his medical expenses. He said: "The amount of love and support that was shown through that GoFundMe was simply amazing. You know, I take my life seriously, I take what I do seriously, but I don't take myself personally seriously, where I'm thinking how many people like me or how many people don't like me, because it's counterproductive — it's just something I don't spend time on. But I was really, really taken aback in a great way to see what the response was, because even with insurance, it's ridiculously expensive. And the thing is that if you have to financially — like many people have to — pick and choose, 'Okay, I'll do this treatment and that one, but I won't do this other one and that other one,' all of this, with pancreatic cancer, and especially once it has moved over to another organ, as it has with me, to my liver, there's no real blueprint for how to treat this. Are you making the right decision by doing this and that and not doing that and that because you can't afford it? And those are tough decisions that I've had to make."
You can still contribute to Frankie's GoFundMe campaign at this location.
Banali was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer after going to the emergency room for shortness of breath, leg pain and loss of energy. A scan of his lungs caught an image of his liver, which is where the first spots were seen. Then came the discovery of a tumor on his pancreas.
He has been in treatment since last spring and recently started his 21st round of chemotherapy with the hopes of shrinking or controlling the cancer.
Banali went public with his diagnosis last October, writing in a social media post that the cancer treatment had forced him to miss several live shows with the band. He was replaced at those gigs by either Johnny Kelly (DANZIG, TYPE O NEGATIVE) or Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.),depending on each musician's availability.
QUIET RIOT's shows last year 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.
Banali played his first show with QUIET RIOT since he announced his cancer diagnosis in October at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.
The drummer resurrected QUIET RIOT in 2010, three years after the death of founding member DuBrow.
QUIET RIOT's latest studio album, "Hollywood Cowboys" was released in November via Frontiers Music Srl.