An Exclusive Interview with
DuBrow has been the frontman for legendary LA metal band QUIET RITO since the
mid 70s. Back then the band was relatively unknown outside of the LA scene, but
also featured a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads. A few years later Rhoads
would become internationally known playing on the first 2 Blizzard of Ozz albums
[before passing away in a plane crash in March of '82]. DuBrow however had kept
the Quiet Riot name going with guitarist Carlos Cavazo, drummer Frankie Banali
[later to work with Ozzy Osbourne and Wasp] and bass players Rudy Sarzo [also
with Ozzy's band] and Chuck Wright. The band was a huge success in the early 80s
with such albums as 'Metal Health' and 'Condition Critical', both of which
featured a few hit singles [most notably a Slade cover on each!]
87 DuBrow was out of the band [following QR III], but revised things in the
early 90s following a short stint as 'Heat' with Cavazo. From 1993 to 2001 Quiet
Riot would release another string of CDs before splitting in the fall of 2003.
May Shrapnel Records released Kevin DuBrow's debut solo album "In For The
Kill", which is an album of covers, mostly obscure 70s classics by the
likes of Deep Purple, Nazareth, the Sweet, Montrose and more. DuBrow has also
put together a new band and is on the road as part of the "Bad Boys of
Metal" Summer tour, which also features Jani Lane [ex Warrant singer] and
Steven Adler [ex of Guns N Roses].
- Can you tell me a bit about your new solo album?
- In For the Kill was something I was approached to do in December of last
year by Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records. He wanted me to do an album of all
cover tunes; actually he wanted Quiet Riot to do it, but Quiet Riot had broken
up in September. So, it was something I wanted to do for many many years; I
had planned on doing with Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali. I had the songs
selected already, so it happened very quickly. We agreed on a price, we agreed
on the songs, we went in the studio within 10 days.
- So, it was pretty quickly done!?
- Yes, we just had to find the right musicians. Some guys he had lined up to
do it, and one guy I really wasn’t thrilled about using, so we changed one
of the players, and we got in a great line-up of guys. He has this great
guitar player named Kevin Curry that's just really got the spirit of the thing
down, because it's a real 70s album in the sense that it's all songs from that
era and the 80s guitar players wouldn't really be able to cop the feel
correctly. So we got Kevin Curry who really pulled it off well. He got Michael
Lardie, who was going to record & mix it and also ended up co-producing it
with me. He's super-talented and a really nice guy.
- How did you go about picking the songs?
- They're obscure covers, like b-sides and outtakes. There's only one well
known song - 'Stay With Me' [by The Faces]. Otherwise, it's 'Red Light Mama'
[by Humble Pie], 'Burn On The Flame' [by The Sweet], 'Good Rocking Tonight'
[by Montrose], 'Rolling With My Baby' [by Silverhead], 'Drivin Sister' [Mott
The Hoople]. Most of these songs have not been covered before.
- That's good, because most cover albums tend to feature the same songs over
- Correct. I didn't want to do 'Smoke On The Water', Again!
- Why an album of covers as opposed to an album of originals?
- Because when you do an album of covers every song is great, when you do an
album of brand new songs, only a few songs are great. He [Mike Varney] didn't
really want to do a new album from me at that time although I have a whole
album's worth of material written. I wanted to do an album with Glenn Hughes,
my good friend from Deep Purple. We've been friends for a long time and we've
been wanting to do something together for a long time, and we probably will
next year. But this is what he wanted to do. So, it was an easy way for me to
release a record quickly. I was not objected to it at all.
- How did you approach doing the covers? There's a few cover albums out there
where they kind of do a note for note cover and then you get a few others that
are a bit more experimental.
- I'm in the middle. I did the arrangements very similar to the originals, but
they weren't note for note. They were with our personalities. We didn't try to
copy the originals but we didn't try to do it like, say ... some of those
Hendrix cover albums, where they completely re-do them.
- Who else is on the album, other than Kevin [Curry, the guitar player]?
- Michael Lardie played keyboards and produced with me, Jeff Martin [from
Racer X] is on drums, and a guy named Gunter Nezhoda's bass.
- Who's in your touring band?
- Jeff Martin on drums, Chuck Wright on bass, and Alex Grossi on guitar. It's
a really good little band.
- Are you doing a lot of the covers or mixing it up with the Quiet Riot stuff?
- We're doing 3 songs from 'In For The Kill' and the rest is Quiet Riot stuff.
- Are you changing the 3 around?
- The same 3. The 3 that I really like doing - 'Burn On The Flame', 'Red Light
Mama' and 'Good Rocking Tonight'.
- Was there any songs that you recorded or considered recording that you took
off or decided against at the last minute?
- We started to record 'I Ain't Superstitious' by The Jeff Beck band, and
right at that time we started having major equipment problems, so we took it
as an omen that we were done with the tracking.
- Growing up and listening to a lot of the early 70s stuff, did you have much
of a preference of the British bands or the American bands?
- I liked the British bands much better. I mean, I liked Montrose. That was
the only American band from the 70s I liked. I didn't care for many American
bands. I was a big British rock guy.
- Humble Pie!?
- Loved them! ... Free, Spooky Tooth, Bloodwyn Pig - all that stuff! We did a
song by Quatermass, 'Black Sheep Of The Family'.
- That's the Rainbow song!?
- Yes, that's the same song. They covered Quatermass' version. I did the
- What will you follow this album up with?
- I'm going to do an album of originals later in the year. I've got the songs
written pretty much. And I want to do it with, like, say Glenn, Frankie
Banalli on drums, somebody cool on guitar, somebody real '70s' on guitar; like
a Ronnie Montrose or Pat Travers - somebody like that. Someone that's got that
whole bluesy thing going on. I don't want to use somebody that's a real
'Whammy' Bar, 80s kind of a guy - I'm sick of that kind of guitar playing.
There's nothing wrong with it, I've just had my fill of it for a while. It
doesn't have a lot of feel to me.
- Are you nervous about being out as a solo artist as opposed to being part of
- I never even think about it. I'm just out there doing what I feel I need to
do for myself. I was always the main songwriter in Quiet Riot, and the lead
singer, so whatever I do is going to have a certain distinctive sound to it.
It's up to the people, if they like it and purchase and come see me
play. I always try my best to give a good live show.
- What's the status of the guys and Quiet Riot? I know you're friends with
Frankie. Do you have any intentions of working with those guys in the future?
- Me and Frankie are definitely going to do something together again. I
haven't spoken to Carlos since the band broke up. Definitely, Rudy Sarzo won't
be involved in anything having to do with anything I do for the rest of my
years on this planet. Life's too short. I want to do things that make me
happy, not things that make me miserable.
- I take it, it was a frustrating time over the past few years!?
- OH yes, very unpleasant!
- The last few albums you guys did weren't too bad. I liked 'Alive & Well'
a lot. What did you think of that period as far as the albums were concerned?
K - Some songs were better than others. I liked the guy that produced Alive & Well, Bob Marlette. He was real easy to work with. He made it real easy. He really knew how to use the Pro-Tools technology. The song 'Don't Know What I Want' [from Alive & Well] was one of my favorite songs I've ever written. There's some other songs on there...once again, I don't like to write by committee, so when you get people involved in the songwriting process that aren't songwriters it can be difficult and frustrating. 'Guilty Pleasures' was a lot easier to write, but the guy that produced it wasn't really a producer, didn't know what he was doing, so it made the mixing process difficult. I prefer the 'Terrified' album we did in '93. I really like that. It's heavier, it's angrier; it's ballsier, less pop-ish. But the rhythm section, with Rudy in the band, we couldn't play blues oriented stuff. He's never good in the studios. It takes forever to record him. He's good live, but he's really got problems in the studio. You'll notice he wasn't on the Ozzy Osbourne albums, he wasn't on the Whitesnake album, he didn't play on 'Bang Your Head'. So, if you look at all these things that his picture's one - he's not on any of those records! His photos on them only. That's why we had problems with certain records. If you have any one guy in a band who has musical deficiencies it makes the recording process difficult. Rudy could play Bob's [Daisley] parts once he [Bob] wrote them, but for him to play and record in the studio would've been impossible. He's not good in the studio.
- Who's idea was it to do the remakes on the Alive & Well album?
- That was Cleopatra's idea. I hated the idea. I hated the way they turned out
too; they're awful!
- Was it just a quick sell idea?
- Yes, that was their idea. I thought it was just garbage. I can't express how
much I hate those versions.
- And you did the AC/DC song on there?
- That was different. That was for an AC/DC tribute album, and I really quite
liked the way that turned out. That was on a one-day recording from beginning to
end. It had a lot of energy and a lot of spark and we did it our own way. That I
- One thing I like about you guys that you could always recognize, from
Terrified, Live & Well, and the earlier ones, that not just because of your
voice, but it's obviously the same band and you never got in to all the
experimental crap that the '90s had.
- It wouldn't have been believable from us.
- Another thing I've always liked about the band is Frankie's drumming, because
he's one of those drummers that you can actually recognize the drums with.
- Great drummer! Cozy Powell was like that too. And playing with Frankie is a
joy because of that reason.
- If you listen to the stuff he did on the Wasp albums, he makes a world of
- For sure.
- Was it ever frustrating during the late 80s / early 90s, where you're
connected to that 1 [or 2] albums that were huge and then not getting that same
- No. That's the nature of the business. It's sort of like evolution. In the
evolutionary scale dinosaurs die off and certain animals eat their young. It's
the nature of the business. The business eats it's young.
- You had a few other things during the late 80s/ early 90s, like 'Heat'!?
- That was basically me and Carlos doing Quiet Riot with a different rhythm
- What else do you have in the works?
- Well, this tour starts, and that's going to be my big focus. It should be
really interesting - 11 guys on a 12 bunk bus starting next week for a month. It
should be insane!
- Do you ever get tired of it?
- I haven't done a bus tour since the year 2000, so it's going to be real
interesting! I love singing; it's part of who I am. I can't get tired of that.
That's the problem I had with Quiet Riot at the end there, that the way the line
up was [with Sarzo's involvement], it took any musical aspect of the band away.
I hated it, so I had to leave. But now that I've got the whole musical thing
back and how much I love the musical aspect, I'm having a great time again.
- What are some of your own favorite recording moments?
- I really like 'Don't Know What I Want' [from Alive & Well] because I
really love the song. It turned out so great. 'Love's A Bitch' was great. We did
'Metal Health' because it turned out so much different than we expected it to
turn out. 'Bang Your Head' was probably one of my greatest moments because it
sounded like I envisioned it to sound when it was done.
- Your album's not so much 'metal'. Do you perceive yourself getting away metal
stuff and doing more things like blues-rock?
- Yes, hard-rock / blues-rock - like Free and Humble Pie. But, if Quiet Riot got
back together next year we would do a very metal record. And if Quiet Riot ever
does get back together I want to continue doing solo stuff because Carlos Cavazo
is not a very bluesy guitar player. He can't do the bluesy stuff I want to do -
which is OK, because he sounds right for Quiet Riot. I'd like to do other
things. You see, when it came time to recording with Sarzo in the band we all
dreaded it, because we knew what a problem it was going in to the studio with
him, so I don't want to get in that situation again where I'm dreading doing
something I love. I want to learn from the past and continue getting really
- Are you still obligated to go with the same 4 guys [in Quiet Riot]?
- That remains to be seen. We all are equal owners of that name. But having said
that, let me put it this way - if someone said to me 'Kevin, the only way you
can earn a living is if you play in a band with Rudy Sarzo playing bass', I'd
say 'I'm changing careers!'
- How did you get along with him back when Randy was still around?
- It was difficult then. He had his own agenda. Some people just aren't meant to
work together and the older you get the more true you find out it is.
- Can you tell me any of Randy's guitar influences?
- Yes, Bill Nelson from Be-Bop Deluxe; he loved him. He loved Johnny Winter,
Leslie West, Glen Buxton from the Alice Cooper Group, Mick Ronson.
- What did you think of the 2 albums he did with Ozzy?
- I thought they were produced badly, I didn't think they sounded good [I still
don't]. I think the guitar playing was great. I think some of the songwriting's
- What did you think of that original line-up with Bob & Lee?
- It was good. I think that Bob's a great bass player, a really inventive
songwriter, and Lee is a great basher drummer and plays what's right for the
songs. That was the band to me.
- Were you a bit baffled when they were put out of the band?
- I really had no reaction to it. I didn't know what was going on behind the
scenes; I was just a third party observer. I had no feelings about it one way or
the other. I didn't really know anything about it.
- What's your take on all the latter treatment of Randy by Ozzy & Sharon and
how they go on about how close they were and stuff...?
- People like to re-write history, but again, I'm a third party observer so I
don't have any feelings about it one way or the other. It doesn't affect me or
my life. So for me to make a comment is pointless. I might have an opinion if it
affected me somehow, but Randy's not here to say anything one way or the other,
- Are you familiar with Bob & Lee's stuff with Uriah Heep?
- I know Lee's still with Uriah Heep. I saw Uriah Heep a million times. I got to
meet Lee and Trevor Bolder. When Metal Health came out in 1983, we were in
France and the French record label took us out to dinner and Heep was playing
the same city. And Trevor Bolder was a HUGE hero of all of our's, being with
Bowie, and he was in Uriah Heep. So, we took Lee, Bob and Mick Box out to dinner
with the French label. And, it was great! I saw Uriah Heep open for Deep Purple
in like 1971 and they blew Deep Purple off the stage! So, we loved the guys. And
Randy Rhoads adored Lee! He thought he was the greatest guy. And he's the one
who told me Lee wrote all the vocal melodies that Ozzy sang. I've not met Bob
Daisley in person, but I have had correspondence with him over the e-mail, he
seems like a really nice guy.
- Do you have any favorite old Heep songs?
- We almost did one for this [solo] album. We were going to do 'Tears In My
Eyes', but when I went to sing it, it really wasn't in the register for me. I
really wanted to do 'Stealin', but Mike Varney wouldn't let me do it; he thought
it was too down tempo. So, I'll do it the next time.
was a huge Uriah Heep fan. I loved all the bass players - Mark Clarke, Gary
- Yes, Mark Clarke went on to Billy Squier and was in to a bunch of stuff...
- He was in to a band 'Tempest'; I loved the. With Allan Holdsworth and John
Hiseman. I'm a huge collector of that stuff.
- What are you listening to these days?
- I just got the Jeff Beck 'Live At BB Kings' in the mail today [because you can
only get it from the web-site]. I love that; it's really recorded well. I love
Jeff Beck. I've been listening to some Type O Negative. I don't buy too many
records. I don't like much new stuff that comes out, doesn't really interest me.
- Do you find yourself [like me] looking for older bands with new albums?
- Kind of...a lot of older bands have new albums, and I don't like their new
albums. Jeff Beck's 'Beckola' album with Rod Stewart, they've re-released it
with 4 new songs on it, so I've got to buy that.
- Lately I've picked up a bunch of Glenn Hughes solo stuff....
- I got all of it his solo stuff, pretty much.
- The one that got me back in to him was 'Crystal Karma'.
- I love Crystal Karma! That's my favorite solo album; that and 'From Now On'.
Midnight Meditated, Mojo - it's a great record! I like From Now On, The Way It
Is, I love the Burning Japan : Live. He has a DVD coming out, you know. It's a
live DVD and I sang back-up on it. And I also interviewed him for it.
- Is there any other people from your genre that you keep in touch with?
- No, not like Glenn. Glenn and me have a connection. We have a really common
sense of humor. Frankie Banali played drums on the Hughes/Thrall album, so I
knew Glenn from that. Nobody like Glenn, Glenn's a special animal.
- Is there anything you have to add about the new album?
- Check it out. It's got the best reviews of anything I've done in my career.
Interview: © Kevin J. Julie / Universal Wheels, July 2004