Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kevin DuBrow (1955-2007)- Two Years Later

Kevin DuBrow
October 29, 1955- November 25, 2007

Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of Kevin DuBrow. DuBrow was the singer of heavy metal band, Quiet Riot. In this post, I'll go into the history of Kevin & Quiet Riot and why he's important to the metal world.

Kevin DuBrow grew up on rock music. His favorite band was Humble Pie, whose singer Steve Marriott, was a major influence on DuBrow. It was in 1973 when he received a phone call from a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads. In an interview with Kelly Garni in 2008, he said that he and Randy heard of Kevin at a party. From appearances, Rhoads and Garni were a bit disappointed as they wanted to do a shock rock band (ala Alice Cooper or Black Sabbath). DuBrow almost dressed like Rod Stewart! However, DuBrow stayed because he really wanted to play with the band. After adding drummer Drew Forsyth, the band got the name Quiet Riot after talking with a member rock band Status Quo, who said he wanted to form a band with name that was "quite right".

The members of Quiet Riot were only in their teens and were playing in clubs. CBS saw this and signed them. In 1977 and 1978, the band released two albums. Both were released only in Japan. By the release of the second album, Garni left and was replaced by Rudy Sarzo. Quiet Riot broke up after Rhoads went to join Ozzy Osbourne until his death at 25 in a jet plane accident. DuBrow reformed Quiet Riot with drummer Frankie Banali and guitarist Carlos Cavazo. Rudy Sarzo joined shortly after and in 1983, Metal Health was released. By November, the album knocked off Michael Jackson's Thriller the #1 spot. This was thanks to massive MTV airplay of "Cum On Feel The Noize", which was a cover of the hit by glam band Slade. The band didn't want to record it but recorded it after seeing there was no way out. The self titled track also became an anthem, as it declared listeners to "bang your head".

The band followed up Metal Health in 1984 with Condition Critical. The album did fairly well with hits like "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" (another Slade cover) and "Party All Night". However, the band got picked on as DuBrow spoke his mind in metal magazines. By 1985, Sarzo left and was replaced by Chuck Wright. QRIII followed in 1986, which managed to squeak out a hit with "The Wild and the Young", but still didn't meet up to Metal Health. After a crazy tour for the album, DuBrow was fired due to tensions and Wright left. Banali and Cavazo soldiered on with singer Paul Shortino and bassist Sean McNabb and released 1988's Quiet Riot (aka QR or Quiet Riot '88) which flopped. The band split soon after.

Quiet Riot reunited in 1993 with DuBrow, Banali, and Cavazo. It wasn't until 1997 that Sarzo rejoined, which meant the classic line-up had reunited. Due to financial issues, the band split in 2003. In 2004, DuBrow released a solo album called In for the Kill. In 2005, DuBrow and Banali reunited the band. The band had been touring in 2007, still in support for 2006's Rehab. In late November 2007, DuBrow went missing after Thanksgiving. Former band mate Kelly Garni tried helping. Police knocked down the door to Kevin's Los Angeles home and found him dead. The cause of the death was later revealed to be a cocaine overdose. Quiet Riot ended for good in 2008.

Kevin DuBrow's death had the metal world shocked. DuBrow was a healthy man and looked fit. Although he didn't get along with everyone, friends have their memories of Kevin. In March 2008, I interviewed Rudy Sarzo (via telephone). When I asked about his memories of Kevin, he said
"A favorite memory? I used to live with him before I joined Ozzy. We used to go out in his car. He had a Corvette. *laughing* As a matter of fact, we used to blast our favorite cassette at that time was Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath. Their first w/ Ronnie James Dio). We just used to crank the hell out of it on the way to the Whiskey. He had a really loud sound system and we just cranked the hell out of it! When I was on tour with Ozzy and I met him, we used to go to the Rainbow. We would go straight from the airport in whatever transportation we had and I’d just go straight to Kevin’s place. Sometimes with Randy. We’d just hang out and hit the town. We did a lot of hanging. Even though we had a falling out in the end, I still have plenty of memories of hanging out with him."

In June 2008, I interviewed Kelly Garni (who is now a photographer) and he said

"We would go out to dinner two or three times a month. Every single time we went to dinner or lunch, we just kind of looked at each other and smirked and said 'Can you believe how much we used to hate each other?" And now we just adore each other...always had/said that. And we always thought that there was three of us sitting there."

Rest in peace, Kevin.

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