Friday, January 30, 2015

Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back movie review

Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back
Rating: ****

Picture source: Blabbermouth

In the early 1980s, Quiet Riot had hit it big time. In March 1983, their American debut album Metal Health was released. By November, the album had made its way up the Billboard charts at #1, becoming the first metal album to do so. Drummer Frankie Banali now tells the story of the LA hard rockers, as well as his own story in this new documentary. The movie- Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back- is a heartfelt story about a rock band and the friendship at the center of it.   

While most of the movie documents the resurrection of Quiet Riot, we are also told of the band’s history. The first half hour of the movie is devoted to giving history of Quiet Riot from the beginning till the 1980s. At certain parts in the movie, it will cut back to the 1980s. For the most part, the information given in the history segments is good. Even being a Quiet Riot fan, some of the information was new to me as were some of the archival videos used. While this isn't a complete history of Quiet Riot, it’s still amazing how much director Regina Russell was able to fit in the movie’s runtime of 104 minutes.  

For interviewees, we get to hear from a nice group of people. This includes former members such as Rudy Sarzo as well as other figures in the world of hard rock including Dee Snider, Glenn Hughes and That Metal Show host Eddie Trunk. We also get to hear from Rhoads’ brother and sister, as well as singer Kevin DuBrow’s mother and even his brother Dr. Terry DuBrow (a plastic surgeon who has starred in several E! Network reality shows). Quiet Riot members Chuck Wright and Alex Grossi even get some camera time, sharing memories of DuBrow and discussing the status of the new band.  Watching the resurrection of Quiet Riot is quite entertaining. We get to see the band audition different singers in one scene before finally deciding on singer Mark Huff. The movie documents almost each and every show the band plays with Huff, which lead to some hilarious and even emotionally intense scenes.

Overall, Well Now You’re Here is a great documentary. The movie is also strengthened by the hard rocking tunes Quiet Riot delivered over the years. In the last few years, there have been a series of great rock documentaries: Anvil with Anvil: The Story of Anvil, Rodriguez with Searching for Sugar Man and Death with A Band Called Death just to name a few. Quiet Riot can now join that group with this movie. I highly recommend seeing this movie, whether you’re a fan of Quiet Riot or not.

This movie was also partially funded by Quiet Riot fans through Kickstarter in 2010. I was one of the many who donated some money so I could see this movie. After seeing this, I’m proud to say I had a small part in helping this movie become a reality.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ringo Starr to release Postcards from Paradise in March

After hinting at the release of a new studio album, it's official: Ringo Starr will release his 18th studio album this year. The album, Postcards from Paradise, will be released on March 31. The album's release is timely, as it's just weeks before Ringo's induction in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. The album consist of 11 original songs, all featuring Ringo's current All Starr Band- which currently includes Peter Frampton, Dave Stewart, Richard Marx, Glen Ballard and Ringo's brother-in-law Joe Walsh. Postcards from Paradise is Ringo's first album since 2012's Ringo 2012.

The tracking list is as follows...

1. Rory and the Hurricanes
2. You Bring the Party Down
3. Bridges
4. Postcards From Paradise
5. Right Side of the Road
6. Not Looking Back
7. Bamboula
8. Island in the Sun
9. Touch and Go
10. Confirmation
11. Let Love Lead

I'm happy to see Ringo will be releasing another album. I wasn't impressed with Ringo 2012 when it came out, thinking it was too short and rushed. With any luck, this one will be better.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kim Fowley dead at 75

Kim Vincent Fowley
July 21, 1939 - January 15, 2015

Singer/songwriter and manager of the Runaways Kim Fowley has died after a short battle with bladder cancer. Fowley was 75. Fowley was born to actor Douglas Fowley and actress Shelby Payne. By the time Fowley was 20, he was already in the music industry. By the 1960's, Fowley found himself producing singles by artists such as the Murmaids with "Popsicles and Icicles" and the fictional Hollywood Argyles with "Alley Oop."  Fowley also produced singles by artists who would become famous years later such as Slade (as the In'Betweens) and Soft Machine. Sometime during the late 1960's, Fowley embarked on a solo career of his own with little success. 

Fowley is perhaps best known for managing all girl rock band the Runaways. It was in 1975 when Fowley met a young guitarist named Joan Jett. Jett would later be joined with drummer Sandy West, singer Cherie Currie, bassist Jackie Fox and guitarist Lita Ford- all of whom were recruited by Fowley. As the band recalls, Fowley was vulgar in his approach; teaching them how to deal with hecklers by throwing bottles and bricks at the group. In the end, the Runaways would end up becoming one of the first successful all-female rock bands. During the 1970s, Fowley co-wrote several songs for artists such as Kiss ("King of the Nighttime World" and "Do You Love Me") and Alice Cooper ("Escape"). Even after the Runaways' split, Fowley continued to work in music as a producer, manager and songwriter. 

It is sad to hear of Kim Fowley's passing. I was not aware of his illness until now. I've read and heard several stories about Kim: he was a character and sometimes an odd one. Despite being a strange and sometimes vulgar person, the guy was creative and I respect that. 

Rest in peace, Kim. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame: Class of 2015

Note: I'm once again pretty late posting this. I've always posted the results for each year for the Hall ever since I started this blog so I will keep to that tradition. These are simply my thoughts on each act getting in and more rambling on about who should be in.

The 2015 Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced last month. I'm happy to see that 4/5 of my ballot were inducted. Along with the five inductees are a few additional inductees. Here are my thoughts on each artist and their induction.

Lou Reed- It was only a matter of time: Lou was going to get in after he passed away in 2013. This is Lou's second time getting inducted into the Hall, his first being with the Velvet Underground in 1996. While many might see Lou's career as hit or miss, the man kept making music. If he made a great album, it was great. If he made a bad album, it was bad. I like to think that Lou made a handful of great albums. Along with Transformer and Berlin, I think Coney Island Baby, Street Hassle, The Blue Mask, New York and Magic and Loss are all fine albums. Even his collaboration with John Cale- the Andy Warhol tribute Songs For Drella- is damn good. Speaking of which, I would love to see Cale induct his former band mate. That would be very touching.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- While the Runaways aren't in yet, Joan is finally in the Hall. I'm actually surprised by some of the comments I'm reading in response to her induction. Some people actually think she's a one hit wonder. That's just depressing. While a couple of her hits were covers of other songs, Joan and the Blackhearts are very deserving of this induction. As many know, the Hall hasn't inducted a lot of women. In fact, women in rock n roll are of a minority. Joan was able to succeed because of her rebel persona and during the 1980s, she was pretty badass. She still is.

Stevie Ray Vaughn- I'll admit that I'm not a big fan nor am I really a fan of the singer/songwriter guitarist genre. However, SRV should've been inducted a long time ago. The man was one helluva guitarist.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band- Again, I'm not a fan (or not yet) but they deserve to be inducted. From what I know, their historical significance is that they were one of the first rock bands to be signed to Elektra Records- before the Doors or even before Arthur Lee and Love. A little part of me is praying to see Love get on the ballot next year.

Green Day- I said it before on my blog: I really don't like Green Day. It just pisses me off that the Hall waited until the first year they were eligible- given their first release was an EP in 1989. Can one non-Green Day fan name one song from that EP? While I will not argue that they aren't deserving, it's just a joke that they got in first before Deep Purple, T. Rex, Jethro Tull and dozens of other bands (even the Replacements, who were a big influence on the band from what I know). The only good thing that can come out of this induction is that the members of Green Day will be able to vote for future nominees. They can go right ahead and give nods to all of the bands that influenced them.

Along with these five acts, there is one other inductee...

Ringo Starr- The Hall surprised many by announcing Ringo Starr would be inducted for his solo career. However, he is not being inducted as a performer but instead being given an award for "musical excellence." While most people are calling bullshit on this, I'm happy that Ringo is in the hall for his post-Beatles work in some way. It's true: Ringo struggled throughout his solo career. It was at it's peak during the early 1970's in which he had hit singles with "Back Off Boogaloo" and "It Don't Come Easy." His 1973 album Ringo earned him two #1 hits- "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen." While Ringo did struggle, the guy didn't give up. He was able to find success with his All Starr Bands and even before then, Ringo played on a handful of albums by other artists.

The "5" Royals are also being inducted as Early Influences.

The ceremony will take place on April 18th at the Public Hall in Cleveland.

Quiet Riot documentary to premiere on Showtime January 29

After four years in the making, a new documentary on Quiet Riot will soon be available for people to watch. The documentary, Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back, will premiere on Showtime on January 29th. The documentary tells the story of the LA hard rockers, who were able to hit it big in 1983 with the release of the classic Metal Health album. It also documents the story of drummer Frankie Banali as he tries to put together a new version of Quiet Riot, almost three years after the passing of original singer Kevin DuBrow. The movie will also see a DVD and iTunes release on May 19th.

I'm pretty excited to see this movie. The documentary started out as a Kickstarter project, which I did post a blog on back in September 2010. I donated some money to the Kickstarter project and this is the final product. The only thing that concerns me is that the trailer seems to show that the movie will be a little more about the group reuniting without Kevin. Still, I think it looks really great and I'm happy to have had a part in helping this movie be made.

Click below to watch the trailer!