- - Thursday, April 28, 2016

If you were a music fan in the 1980s, you knew, and quite possible loved, Quiet Riot. Their debut CD, “Metal Health,” introduced heavy metal to the mainstream, much to the delight of rebellious, testosterone-fueled youth and the dismay of their overly protective parents. Their anthemic song and videos “Cum on Feel the Noise” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” were all over radio and MTV and helped sell millions of singles and albums alike. 

Frankie Banali has been there banging the drums through all the band’s ups and down. After original lead singer Kevin DuBrow died in 2007, his family gave Mr. Banali their blessing to put together a new lineup and continues to motivate crowds to “Bang Your Head.”

With a much-anticipated documentary now out on DVD, the band is heading out on another high-energy tour that sees them drop by the M3 Rock Fest at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, Saturday.

Question: How did life change for you in the 1980s when Quiet Riot broke through to the mainstream?

Answer: It really didn’t change right away. I remember the first time I ever heard “Cum on Feel The Noise” on the radio, I was at the rehearsal studio a couple hours early because our equipment just looked terrible. I was putting duct tape on the Marshall amps and painting my gong stands. And I heard it on the radio. Kevin [DuBrow] heard it at the same time when he was driving to that rehearsal that day. He told me the story how he heard it on the radio and he got out of his car, did a dance around the car, then got back and came to rehearsal.

It was a case of the right band at the right time with the right song. It was a great moment.

I never take credit for everybody’s success that came after Quiet Riot. But because “Metal Health” was such a huge record and “Cum on Feel the Noise” was such a huge single — the single alone sold over a million copies — it showed managers, attorneys, accountants, record labels and promoters that this music was viable. The music was real and doing good numbers.

Q: You had to have some tales of ‘80s excess.

A: It wasn’t till 1987 that I found the error of my ways and sobriety. I was usually the headliner for the insanity — both Kevin and I. We called ourselves the “Kamikaze Twins” because anything that we touched just went sideways when we were partying. There were so many moments. Some great Spinal Tap moments.

Q: What was one of the best Spinal Tap moments?

A: When we were doing our first headlining tour in 1985, we had a gigantic set built. Because now we had to compete with the Van Halens of the world. The set was three tiers. The top tier the guys could walk on. There were these three elevators. They spent tens of thousands of dollars on the set, yet the elevators were powered by Black & Decker drills.

In theory what was supposed to happen was the intro song ends and I start playing “Sign of the Times.” I’m playing, I hit the downbeat, and pyro goes off, and at that point the guys are supposed to be standing on top. I’m sitting there [playing]. Pyro goes off. And I’m waiting to see the guys. Nothing.

I see people pointing. I turn around, and all I see are what looks like severed heads because that is as far up the elevators got. I just busted out laughing. Then they were trying to crawl out with their instruments. It was hysterical.

Q: Besides being the drummer, you also manage the band?

A: I took over managing the band in 1993 at the band’s request.

Q: Why did you take over as manager?

A: I was the sober one. I was always the focused one. I was already doing the books then. It was something I had in me.

I stopped doing it when the band broke wide in 1982 because we needed what was considered a “traditional manager.” Someone who behaved and looked like a manager. I don’t look like a manager.

Q: When Kevin DuBrow died in 2007, did you consider ending Quiet Riot?

A: When Kevin passed away in 2007, I didn’t think I could continue. I was in the worst grief for three years. It wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to possibly do it again. I had a conversation with Kevin’s mom, who I’m really close to. I said, “I am thinking of doing the band again. But if you have any problems or reservations, or even the smallest negative feeling about that, I’ll stop everything right here and now.” She said, “You have my support. Because it was your band too.”

It’s been daunting. We’ve been through several singers since then. Our current singer is starting his third year with us.

Q: Do you still love what you do?

A: So much has changed. The labels are less. Illegal downloading has really killed the royalties. Places to play now you often have to pay to play, which is kind of weird. You are supposed to provide a service and get paid. I didn’t start playing to become a rock star or become rich and get all the pretty girls. I did it because I love playing. I am so grateful that I’ve had music in my entire life. I feel bad for people that listen to music causally. I love what I do.

Quiet Riot plays the M3 Rock Fest at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday. Tickets are available by going to Ticketfly.com.

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