The 1980s heavy metal scene was dominated by the bands of Los Angeles, and one of the early favourites was Quiet Riot.
Mach 1 was formed by Randy Rhoads and Kelli Garni in 1973, which morphed into Little Women and then became Quiet Riot in 1975.
A conversation with Status Quo band member Rick Parfitt, who thought a band should be called “Quite Right” was interpreted by the band as Quiet Riot.
Adding vocalist Kevin DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth, the band recorded their first album QR1 and were busy on the LA club circuit, playing with Van Halen. Their second album QR2 was released in 1978 and Garni left the band, replaced by Rudy Sarzo.
Rhoads and then Sarzo left the band to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band, and DuBrow went on the road on his own. Rhoads died in a plane crash while on tour with Osbourne in 1982 and in memorian, Sarzo recorded a song with DuBrow called Thunderbird. Sarzo quit Osbourne’s band and with Sarzo reformed Quiet Riot.
Along with Carlos Cavazo and Frankie Banali, who had been touring with DuBrow, the foursome signed a deal with CBS Records and recorded their first album Metal Health.
The lead single, a cover of Slade’s Cum on Feel the Noize, was released in August 1983, spent two weeks in the top 10 and was the first heavy metal song to top make top five on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album Metal Health steadily climbed the charts and became the first heavy metal album to become number one on the Billboard album charts, thanks to heavy airplay of the single on radio and the video on MTV. Quiet Riot was the opening act for Black Sabbath for their 1983-84 North American tour.
The band’s follow up was Condition Critical, which didn’t do as well as the debut, but charted at number 15 on Billboard and included another Slade song “Mama Weer all Crazee Now”.
DuBrow’s frustration at the lack of notice by critics and fans led to his regular statements about the scene owing a lot to the band, especially the other bands now benefiting from Quiet Riot’s lead.
As a result of the gossip, innuendo and continuing comments, Sarzo quit the band in 1985 and the band continued, appearing live and releasing QRIII, which was a critical disappointment.
The band and record label fired DuBrow in early 1987 and hired Paul Shortino and asked Sarzo to return which led to the recording and release of QRIV but the album’s lack of notice resulted in the band disbanding in late 1988.
Despite the bravado and gossip that surrounded the band, the influence on the heavy metal scene (and thanks to Slade) made Quiet Riot a memorable heavy metal band of the early 1980s.