In a new interview with music writer Joel Gausten, QUIET RIOT drummer Frankie Banali discusses the band’s new album (“Road Rage”), the response to the 2014 band documentary “Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back” and his hopes for the group’s future. Excerpts from the chat appear below.
Joel Gausten: [“Road Rage”] is significant in that it will soon be a decade since Kevin [DuBrow, QUIET RIOT singer] passed away, and you’ve obviously been through a lot to get things back in order with this band and get it moving forward again. What has been the most rewarding and fulfilling this about keeping QUIET RIOT alive?
Frankie: “When I decided that I was going to continue QUIET RIOT, I knew it was not going to be easy. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to work out… I wanted to make sure that Kevin‘s mom — who was like a second mom to me — was okay with my decision to move forward. My position was that if she was not okay with it, then I would have dropped it right then and there. So I got together with her, and she reminded me of something that she said after we laid Kevin to rest and the family got together for a gathering. I have no recollection of this because I just in ridiculous despair at the loss of Kevin, but he said to me, ‘You know, QUIET RIOT wasn’t just Kevin; QUIET RIOT were you and Kevin.’ Once she gave me her blessings to move forward — because she knew it would also keep Kevin‘s memory and the music alive — I just went full steam ahead. I made the conscious decision that no matter what obstacles were put in front of me — and there have been many, even up until recently — I’m a dedicated person, I’m resilient and I move forward. None of the success of QUIET RIOT in the past would have been possible without the fans. That is written in stone. The fact that I’ve managed to be able to continue QUIET RIOT moving forward after the death of Kevin DuBrow [is something] I owe to both dedication and hard work — but I also owe it to the fans. If they were not responsive to it, then there would be nothing there.”
Joel Gausten: One thing that’s brought attention to the band in recent years is the documentary you guy did. I always found that interesting because it’s not just about a reunion; it’s about dealing with a tremendous loss and struggles in deciding to actually do this again. Just as a fan watching it, I could see there were some very raw moments in there. Now that some time has passed, what are your thoughts on that film, what it accomplished and what ultimately ended up being featured in it?
Frankie: “The interesting thing is that fan perception or an outsider’s perception of what a band is like and what it really is are very, very different. I think there were a lot of things that were accomplished and brought to the forefront on the QUIET RIOT documentary. It’s not just a story about a band; it’s a story about people and struggles. Everybody thinks that being in a band is one big party, but it really isn’t. We’re all people; we’re all human beings who have the same problems that, in many ways, a lot of people have. I think it opened up a window to what it’s like to be in a band after the success is over, the music has died down and you’ve finished playing the show — and what it’s like to continue moving forward. It also showed that a lot of people have this perception that QUIET RIOT was only the four guys on the ‘Metal Health’ record. The amount of personnel that this band has gone through is staggering, and I don’t think a lot of people knew that. I don’t think a lot of people knew how much comedy was involved in this thing called ‘QUIET RIOT‘ — especially between Kevin and myself — and I don’t think a lot of people understood the brotherhood, friendship and bond that Kevin and I had and still do in many ways.”
Joel Gausten: This band has a lengthy history — more than forty years, if you go back to the original era. That’s a long track record in the music industry; that’s a very rare feat to accomplish. You have the new album and what appears to be a very stable lineup. What are your biggest hopes for QUIET RIOT‘s future?
Frankie: “We’re currently booked into next year, so I see no end in sight. What my hopes are would be that this lineup continues. Nothing lasts forever; I’m a realist. But this lineup is one of the best ones since Kevin was alive. I hope this particular lineup with this particular personnel stays solid for as long as it’s possible and that we continue moving forward. Who knows? Maybe there will be a live record in the future; maybe there will be a follow-up to ‘Road Rage’ in the future. I can’t predict it, and I’ve learned from experiences — especially in QUIET RIOT — to never, ever say ‘never’ again. I’m really, really happy right now; I’m in a really, really good place. The band sounds great; we’re having a great time on the road, just having fun. We’re playing some great shows, and the fan response has been phenomenal. I hope they receive the ‘Road Rage’ album how the record is meant. We try to put out the best piece of music that we can, and I hope people will enjoy it.
The complete interview is available at www.joelgausten.com.