AN INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN DUBROW
By David Iozzia
When I chatted on the phone with Quiet Riot singer Kevin Dubrow and also shared a few subsequent e-mails, he was at home preparing for a February tour of England and Spain.
DAVE: Kevin, on behalf of davesontour.com, metalforever.com and music fans everywhere, I'd like to thank you for letting me conduct this interview. They're back!!! Quiet Riot has reformed with new guitarist Alex Grossi, Chuck Wright is back on bass guitar, and Frankie Banali is poundin' drums. What should Quiet Riot and metal music fans expect?
KEVIN: The new CD was just released, and we're going to start touring to support it. When we tour, look out! You're going to love our live show, new blood and new enthusiasm. Alex Grossi is a great guitarist and a great guy. He's a bluesy, 27 year-old, with a new perspective and attitude. Frankie Banali is simply the best. Chuck Wright rocks, and it's good to have him back where he belongs.
DAVE: Quiet Riot's new CD, "Live And Rare," was released in January. What years are the live material from? What are the rare cuts?
KEVIN: The live material was from the Metal Health tour, 1983 and 1984. The rare cuts are demo versions of "Let's Get Crazy," "Thunderbird" and "Love's A Bitch."
DAVE: Does Quiet Riot plan to tour as part of a summer "package tour" at the outdoor amphitheaters or a headlining tour at smaller venues?
KEVIN: A little of both. Quiet Riot has a new philosophy on touring. We can't grab every gig and overplay the marketplace like we used to. Not this time. We want special gigs and not every little gig. We're going to grab a package tour that's been offered, Rock Never Stops, featuring Quiet Riot, Cinderella, RATT and Firehouse.
DAVE: Quiet Riot just played in Mexico at the Monterey Metal Fest on November 13. How was the reception from the fans on Quiet Riot's performance? How was your performance from the band's perspective?
KEVIN: The reception was amazing! I was totally blown away by how great we were greeted. Considering we did not have the opportunity to have an extensive rehearsal of any sort, we played well. Also, our guitar player Alex Grossi was unable to join us due to a prior commitment. Billy Morris filled in for him and did a great job. Alex and Quiet Riot 2005 debuted at a one-off gig New Year's Eve in Baltimore.
DAVE: Tell us more about Alex's debut on New Year's Eve and how he fits in with the rest of your band?
KEVIN: Alex is a real breath of fresh air for Quiet Riot. In the past, Frankie and myself were the main energy force in the band. With Alex, he has all the youthful motivation that we have always had, and that brings a real creative spirit.
DAVE: Quiet Riot shared the stage in Mexico with Dokken, DIO and Twisted Sister. Did you watch any of the other performers? What stood out?
KEVIN: I saw some of Dokken's set, they were the only one's I saw! I was really hungry, it was Frankie Banali's birthday and I wanted to spend time with him at dinner.
DAVE: Quiet Riot has an April gig scheduled in Connecticut and a July gig at the Comstock Rock Festival in Nebraska. More to follow, I hope?
KEVIN: A lot more, you can count on that!! We're going to England and Spain in February, and the Rock Never Stops shows should be announced soon.
DAVE: One of your upcoming European shows is the Atarfe Vega Rock Festival in Granada, Spain. You'll be sharing the stage with bands like Megadeth, Overkill, Fear Factory and Candlemass. What does Quiet Riot have in store for the fans attending that festival?
KEVIN: Our usual high energy show. For the type of music we play, I feel we do it better than most. With our new lineup, we have a new sense of who we are, and that makes all of play up to our old potential.
DAVE: I attended the recent Bad Boys of Metal tour, and you rocked with Alex and Chuck. Some of the "glam" songs you covered were awesome. Can you tell us about the influence British "glam" bands had on your career?
KEVIN: I wasn't into the glam image but I loved some of the glam bands. Sweet had great songs like "Set Me Free" and "Sweet F.A.," and I liked those songs more than their singles. I was more a fan of Slade songs than of the band themselves.
DAVE: I was fortunate in New Jersey in the mid 70's to see British "glam" bands Sweet and Slade in concert many times. Did you get to see those bands play on the West Coast?
KEVIN: I saw Slade fifteen times! They opened a tour for my favorite, Humble Pie. As good as Slade was, the American audiences weren't getting it. I only saw Sweet once, in Santa Monica. They were joined for their encore by Ritchie Blackmore!
DAVE: Quiet Riot covered the Slade song, "Cum On Feel The Noize" and you just covered Sweet's "Burn On The Flame." Daydream for a moment, what Quiet Riot songs could you envision Slade and Sweet performing?
KEVIN: I could see The Sweet doing "Slick Black Cadillac" and Slade could do "Bang Your Head."
DAVE: Kevin, please tell us more about your recent solo CD, "In For The Kill."
KEVIN: It's a CD of cover songs, but more obscure album tracks. Hopefully, an unfamiliar song from a familiar album. Other than "Stay With Me." The recording process was different, it was fresh, more fun. No agenda but my agenda. Michael Lardie from Great White engineered and played all the keyboards. Jeff Martin drummed and Kevin Curry did a lot of the guitars.
DAVE: Which songs from "In For The Kill" will be in Quiet Riot's live show?
KEVIN: Just "Red Light Mama Red Hot." We'd rather add some songs from our back catalog for the hardcore fans, "Ritual" and "Run For Cover."
DAVE: What is your favorite Quiet Riot song to sing night after night?
KEVIN: To play or to sing? I couldn't name one song to play, but to sing it's "Love's A Bitch."
DAVE: Where were you, and how did you get the tragic news, when Randy Rhoads died in the tragic plane crash?
KEVIN: I was home in Studio City, California. A friend of mine who was a roadie with Iron Maiden woke me with the terrible news. I didn't believe him and tried to lie back down. I had to check and when I put the radio on, Ozzy songs were on every channel. Total disbelief, I was stunned.
DAVE: What type of reception did Quiet Riot receive when they toured Europe for the first time? Was the reception in Asia the same as in Europe?
KEVIN: We were so lucky, opening for the metal machine Judas Priest. They were the best band we ever opened for. Def Leppard and Judas Priest were playing our style of music in Europe already, and they paved the way for the rest of us. No anti-American bias either. It was great. Asia was culturally different, but had the same positive response.
DAVE: Where on planet Earth has Quiet Riot never performed?
KEVIN: Australia. "Metal Health" was a Top Ten album there, and we never got there to tour.
DAVE: Please share with us a Quiet Riot memory from the late 70's L.A. club scene.
KEVIN: Everybody thought Van Halen and Quiet Riot were good bands, but the biggest draw was a band called Wolfgang, later named Autograph. They outdrew every band in Los Angeles. They were supposed to be the band that broke out from that L.A. club scene. Guess what?
DAVE: How about an 1980's memory, filming a video for MTV?
KEVIN: Check out the girl with the big hooters in the "Cum On Feel The Noise." She pumps her fist somewhere in the video. I banged her on the set and made sure everybody knew about it. You could probably see my DNA on the dress if you watch the video closely.
DAVE: A 90's memory, how computer technology started changing the music industry?
KEVIN: There was a lot I had to learn but the basics were easy to pick up. The downloading scandal was bullshit, a non-issue, except for some of the big bands. The rest of us weren't getting paid from the record companies anyway, so go ahead, fuckin' download it.
DAVE: What will music fans remember most about Quiet Riot in the 21st century?
KEVIN: That Quiet Riot are not burnouts. We are what we are. We're a kick ass, high-energy rock band. A lot of our contemporaries are not. We're not going to change to try to be current.
DAVE: Which band should put all their issues behind them, reform, record an album, and do one last tour? Which band should just hang it up and go away?
KEVIN: Van Halen with David Lee Roth, the only way that band should play. I don't think any band should just go away. If you can still go out there and do it, I wish them the best of luck.
DAVE: It's about this point in an interview that I offer to switch places for a question or two? Anything you'd like to ask of me?
KEVIN: No, I don't know you.
DAVE: What is the one question you've always wanted an interviewer to ask you that has NEVER been asked? How would you answer that question?
KEVIN: No, they've all been asked. But hey, each day is a new day.
DAVE: I usually leave sex, religion and politics out of my interviews. But hey, you're Kevin Dubrow, and we're all adults here. Would you rather EAT IN Paris, France or EAT OUT Paris Hilton?
KEVIN: I love French food, especially escargot. But I don't like trout!
DAVE: What album defined rock and roll in the 20th century?
KEVIN: I don't think I could name one. For me it was "Who's Next." Any album by The Beatles, maybe the Stones' "Exile on Main Street."
DAVE: Who is the one band that defines how rock and roll should be played?
KEVIN: The Rolling Stones.
DAVE: If you could front a supergroup for one CD/tour, who would be in your band?
KEVIN: Randy Rhoads, Jeff Beck and Mick Ronson on guitars. My best friend Glenn Hughes on bass, Keith Emerson on keyboards, and Cozy Powell would be my drummer.
DAVE: What CD are you listening to in your car?
KEVIN: The CD player in the car is broken. If it was working, it would be something retro. Free's live album, maybe something from Spooky Tooth.
DAVE: Thanks for this interview, Kevin. What final thoughts would you like to share with metal music fans?
KEVIN: Quiet Riot still has a lot of gas in the tank, and we'll be rolling up to your curb soon.
Full Name: Kevin Dubrow
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Former bands: Little Women, Heat
Hobbies: Home improvements, computer skills
Favorite metal band: Judas Priest
Favorite metal song: "Bloodstone" by Judas Priest
Favorite film: "Goodfellas"
Favorite U.S. city to visit: New Orleans
Favorite international city to visit: Paris
Favorite venue to play: Any one that's sold out