Quiet Riot finds its voice

After the death of the lead singer and a series of unsuccessful replacements, the group still tours and now has a movie about its history.

April 29, 2014|By Michael Miller
  • From left, Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo, Kevin DuBrow and Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot.
From left, Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo, Kevin DuBrow… (handout, Daily…)

While wading through his personal archive of film footage, Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali came upon a snippet of the band horsing around offstage. On the soundtrack, lead singer Kevin DuBrow can be heard boasting, "This is gonna be in a Quiet Riot movie in the theaters someday. I don't know how far in the future."

That footage was shot in 1983, and the "someday" that DuBrow promised has finally arrived. "Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back," a documentary about the heavy metal band's history, is set to have its world premiere April 29 at the Newport Beach Film Festival. In an affectionate nod, the film opens with the singer's prediction of big-screen stardom.

But DuBrow, who fronted Quiet Riot for more than two decades, will be absent when the lights go down at the Triangle Square Cinemas in Costa Mesa. The singer died of a cocaine overdose in 2007, and the band has continued with a string of replacement lead vocalists since.


DuBrow's tenure with Quiet Riot was famously rocky — he drew ire for criticizing other musicians in the press, and his bandmates fired him at one point — but nearly a decade after his death, Banali still feels his loss daily. The film shows the drummer visiting his longtime friend's grave and growing misty-eyed talking about him. And the discovery of that decades-old clip made DuBrow's presence feel even nearer.

"All of these things, we're talking about VHS tapes from 30 years ago," Banali said. "And I remember pretty much everything that happened, but you're obviously not going to remember every spoken word or every sentence that was uttered. And when we came across that, that was just amazing. That was just amazing. It was almost as if Kevin was in the room participating in the making of this movie."

By grim coincidence, the festival will be a homecoming of sorts for DuBrow. The singer is buried at Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary in Corona del Mar, just a few miles from the site of the screening, although Banali was quick to note that the connection was unplanned.

Still, with DuBrow's relatives living in the area — and with Regina Russell, the director of "Well Now You're Here," now engaged to Banali — the event will serve as a reunion of sorts for the Quiet Riot family. And Banali is eager to see the band's story told on screen, just as his partner hoped to long ago.

"It's an interesting story," he said. "Interesting to me, because I lived it."


'Like a little sister'

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