QUIET RIOT Drummer FRANKIE BANALI
Submitted By Cassie on
This is James and Cassie and we're pleased and honored to have Mr. Frankie Banali, with us. How are you doing today?
Doing great on another beautiful southern California morning!
We guess we'll pull a Sludge and start out by asking you to talk about your current project which would be the new album ‘Rehab’ and your recent appearance on ‘Butchering The Beatles A Headbashing Tribute’. So, tell us a little something about both, if you could.
For the new recordings Kevin DuBrow and I were joined by Tony Franklin on bass (ex-The Firm and Blue Murder), top session guitarist Neil Citron, and the voice of rock, Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple and Black Sabbath) who performed a vocal duet with Kevin on the 1969 Spooky Tooth song "Evil Woman" and also contributed the bass track for that song.
"Rehab" is available throughout the United States and issued through the independent label Chavis Records (CR) and a worldwide release of "Rehab" will be available and issued by UK based Demolition Records internationally with a Japanese release date is soon to be announced.
The US release has 11 songs, while the European/South American, etc., release will have the same track listing but will also include a additional bonus track. The Japanese release will include a bonus track that is different from the other international releases.
For the "Butchering The Beatles CD, I played drums on the track "Magical Mystery Tour" along with Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen / Soul Sirkus), vox; Yngwie Malmsteen (Rising Force / Alcatrazz), lead guitar; Bob Kulick, (Meat Loaf / Paul Stanley Band), rhythm guitar; Jeff Pilson (Dokken / Foreigner), bass.
Following on from the above, Quiet Riot is back together and has a new record coming out called ‘Rehab’. We've been listening to some of the tracks that you have posted on your site and it sounds like you guys made a conscious effort to be have a diverse sound on the disc. Are we accurate in that assumption?
Rehab is the best QUIET RIOT material that we have released in nearly two decades. It is the best musical and lyrical material we've ever attempted. You have songs here that differ from anything we've done in the past. Songs like "Free" and "Blind Faith" which are both "modern" and heavier than anything we recorded in the past. There are also songs that showcase both Kevin's incredibly powerful
vocal abilities such as in "Old Habits Die Hard" and my own love of steady and heavy grooves as in "South of Heaven" and "Evil Woman" which features the amazing vocal and bass talents of Glenn Hughes formerly with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. It is a solid group of songs.
There is one song that is similar in style and approach to songs of the older style in the Kevin DuBrow penned track "It Sucks To Be You" which is just a fun song. When Kevin played me the demo for that song we agreed to record it to see how it turned out. When we mixed the songs and were deciding what would be on the US release and what would be "bonus" tracks for international releases I wanted to have the song "Wired To The Moon" which seemed stylistically a better fit as part of the US release and have "Sucks" as a international bonus track, but Kevin disagreed. It's a fun album track.
Having the pleasure to record with Tony Franklin on bass who is my favorite bass player, and the incredibly talented guitarist Neil Citron made it possible to make this record. No other combination of musicians that Kevin and I have worked with in the past could have achieved what we achieved on Rehab due to the variety of the material and styles.
Glenn Hughes is on the cover of Spooky Tooth’s ‘Evil Woman’ on the new CD. That track sounds really exceptional. How did Glenn Hughes end up paired with you guys for this one?
I worked with Glenn on the 1982 cult classic Hughes/Thrall, so I already knew Glenn, but the credit goes to Kevin for getting Glenn to participate as he and Glenn have become good friends.
Early in the creative process for the new album, Tracii Guns was imported to the band and didn't last too long. What happened between you guys and Tracii that saw you part ways so quickly?
I spoke with Tracii at Kevin's suggestion, as he thought that Tracii would work out great in the band. I agreed that musically, he could. The discussions between Tracii and myself (and Tracii's manager) were difficult.
We had one rehearsal with Tracii. Tracii really is a great rock guitar player so there were no issues there. I had mentioned to Kevin after that rehearsal that I would not be surprised if Tracii wanted out. The next day he was gone. There were no issues, it was just simply not going to work.
Losing Tracii may have been a blessing in disguise as Alex Grossi entered the band. We are big fans of Alex Grossi from his Beautiful Creatures/Bang Tango work. How important was Alex in the creative process?
He wasn't as far as the recording of Rehab since he didn't play on the record, however he co-wrote with Kevin two very good songs "Free" and "Strange Daze" which turned out fantastic.
A few of the tracks we’ve heard (and I’m sure there’s a lot of goodies we haven’t yet) sound like they could be radio quality. Are you guys going to try to put anything out as a single?
Initially the track that is receiving the most exposure is "Free" although we are getting very good feedback on the second song on the record, "Blind Faith" which is a song that Neil Citron and I wrote the music to and Kevin and Glenn did a phenomenal job on lyrics and melodies.
As a musician, does it ever get under your skin when you turn on a rock radio station and hear a song that isn't as good as something you've recorded yet gets a lot more air play?
No because I haven't heard anything on the radio that appealed to my tastes in so many years, I don't bother to listen to the radio at all. I tuned out a long time ago.
You also are appearing on ‘Butchering The Beatles A Headbashing Tribute’. You’ve done quite a few of these tribute discs and a lot of them turn out to really bring new life to some of the old classics. What is the musicians psyche about doing tributes? Is it simply a labor of love or is there any grand expectations?
I just like to play my drums and if the song appeals to me or I can add a little bit of me while taking home extra cash, why not?
It wouldn’t be a Frankie Banali interview unless we cover some old school stuff! So, lets take a trip back and discuss the peaks and valleys of Quiet Riot. First, did you realize the potential heights Quiet Riot could reach when you first joined?
I joined the band because in the beginning it was a fun band to play in, but I never expected that it would be successful, certainly not to the extreme that it became initially.
When you guys covered ‘Cum on Feel the Noize’ by Slade, it became a huge hit. Is that why you guys did the same with ‘Mama We’re All Crazy Now’ on ‘Condition Critical‘?
We didn't want to do "Noize" although in retrospect I'm glad we did. It was a mistake to do "Mama" as a direct follow up.
We liked both ‘Metal Health’ and ‘Condition Critical’ but seem to recall a lot of pompous critics calling the latter a ‘carbon copy’ of the former. Are, or shall I say were, you offended by the critical reviews of that record?
It's hard to take criticism seriously about Condition Critical when it still sold 2 million records, now isn't it?!
There was a time when you guys threw Kevin DuBrow out of Quiet Riot. Now, two decades later, has that all been sorted and have you guys buried the hatchet?
Kevin and I are the best of friends. It's all in the past.
I am a fan of the 2001 release of ‘Guilty Pleasures’. But, the single off that disc, ‘Rock the House’, has an awfully familiar sound to it. As the drummer on that track, did you notice any similarities to Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’?
No, but I notice similarities in things that Twisted Sister did in comparison to Cum On Feel The Noize.
I, James, had tickets to go see you guys here in Arizona at the (no longer existing) Mason Jar in 2003 when the band’s site magically went away and the tour was canceled. What in the world happened?
We broke up when certain ingredients in the mix boiled over and became unmanageable.
There’s some battling going on between Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis over who owns the rights to L.A. Guns. Is the trademark of Quiet Riot in grasp and is everyone playing nice or will we be seeing another nasty metal battle in the court room one day?
QUIET RIOT is Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali.
Recently, some idiot from System of a Down took a shot at you and Quiet Riot which you fired back on your web site. Does it tick you off when there is seemingly so little respect shown to a lot of the bands from the 80’s?
Personally it makes no difference to me except when someone publicly makes incorrect statements. I just pointed out the inaccuracies of what was said with all due respect.
We're interviewing some up and coming rockers like a new band called Kid Ego. Any words of advice for any aspiring musicians trying to get into the business?
Do the best you can, don't abuse the musicians you are playing with because in this business they may be as close to real friends as you may ever have and always listen to your instincts.
After Metallica blew the whistle on music downloads, a lot of bands came out both for and against the ability of downloading music on the Internet. Do you think that the ability to download music has hurt the music industry?
I think big record companies and inept managers have done more damage to musicians than the downloading issue.
You’ve done so much in your career that we’d love to ask you about every little bit, and we have to some degree. But, we’ll sum up your W.A.S.P. years in one question. Was it difficult working with Mr. Blackie Lawless and would you ever play with them again if the opportunity presented itself?
I'm very proud of the work that I did for Wasp and will always hold Wasp fans with a great deal of respect. I have no intention of participating with Wasp on any level in the future.
If you were to put one song you performed on in a time capsule to be preserved for people to hear 1,000 years from now, what song would you pick to sum up your contribution to rock 'n' roll?
I've yet to record it. Let me get back to you later!
By the same token, what song, if any, do you wish you hadn't performed and wish you could erase from your catalog?
It's all been a positive learning experience even when things go terribly wrong. Then you just don't do that again. Win/Win situation!
What's next for Frankie Banali the man and Frankie Banali the musician?
To continue to tour in support of Rehab and to make more music.
If you have a one word answer that sums the person up, that will do. If you'd like to share a thought or memory, we welcome that as well!
Jeff Scott Soto
And, if we may, Frankie Banali yourself?
We'd like to thank Mr. Frankie Banali for spending this time with us at the Metal Epicenter. Do you have any closing words you'd like to share with your fans, site links, or anything like that?
The fans and the love of music are reasons enough to keep doing this.
Please visit me and say hello:
Click here: ::: FRANKIE BANALI OFFICIAL WEBSITE! :::
Once again, thank you for doing this.
Thank you for the interest and taking the time to ask the questions!
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