R.I.P. Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot Dead at 52 (11/26/2007)

Photo - Kevin DuBrow

On Monday, November 26th the sad announcement hit the Metal news wires like a rapidly firing machine gun that legendary Heavy Metal singer Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot had been found dead in his home. The initial report was that he had passed away the previous day and the full details were not disclosed but it was only days after the public announcement that we found out that it was determined that Kevin had been dead for at least six days before he was found. The singer was always surrounded by controversy/news/wild stories and with his passing the online mediums were bombarded with music personality recollections about their own experiences with him. As you might expect some of these tales were very interesting and I have yet to read a bad one. I was a fan of Quiet Riot since the beginning, well, I mean since the album Metal Health came out and did its whole blockbuster thing for Hard Rock and Metal music on the nation’s airwaves. I even played a lot of their music in the bands I had in my youth and I even find myself listening to those old records every so often. Based on this I decided to offer up my own recollections as they relate to the band and the singer.

Tale 1: It’s 1983 and the band was coming to New York to perform at the legendary L’Amour’s – The Rock Capitol Of Brooklyn; and if you don’t know the name let me explain that during the eighties this was THE PLACE, the Metal Mecca and every band who was someone would perform here. The club access policy of the day was not as liberal as it is today and in 1983 the legal drinking age was 19, but me and my friends were 18, so gaining access tonight was going to take some work. I remember going in and not really being sure why I was let in because they were giving people shit about it, and my friend Rizzo who I still know some 28 years later, was one of them. He made it in somehow which was a good thing. QR would be supported by a band called Talas that evening and this is the group that gave us the one and only Billy Sheehan, and if you can find any of that old stuff by them I suggest you search for it since it kicked ass. Eventually it was time for Quiet Riot to come on and I remember it being late, being hot, and being super crowded. You see, L’Amour was always known for late headliner start times and was often guilty of packing everyone in like sardines. This practice is not really done anymore to my knowledge based on everyone fearing fire code violations and potential problems. Back in the day it seemed like no one cared much about it. Certainly not the audience who were huddled so close together that you ended up getting to know people a little too good in some cases. I also remember being super excited for while I had enjoyed Metal music for a few years by this time this would be my very first club show ever. I remembered Quiet Riot hitting the stage like a hurricane and of course time has clouded my recollection of the set list but suffice it to say they would focus and play almost all of Metal Health and while it had not yet been released, the band would feature a couple of numbers from their second album Condition Critical. They definitely rocked and left people in awe with the thunderous and very loud presentation. If you were in that audience and didn’t have the record beforehand you were no doubt going to hit the local record store and buy it the following day. As a band they were a tight until with DuBrow’s bluesy rasp over the shredding of Carlos Cavazo while a second to none rhythm section of Frankie Banali (drums) and Rudy Sarzo (bass) provided a crushing combination. At the time I was just learning to play two bass drums so Banali was really impressing me with the apparent ease that he approached this manner of playing. Quiet Riot was one of the original vanguards from the Hollywood Hard Rock scene and through their own success ended up paving the way for the bands that followed. Having lived and purchased music when this was all happening I cannot tell you how much I spent on records and tapes as well as trying to see the shows and purchase equipment as a young musician. The memory of my first club experience with them as the headlining band is still one of my personal highlights that I talk about when everyone compares their own Rock & Roll notes. I didn’t meet the band that night or remain at the club late enough to find them rolling out but that was cool and the night fun-filled enough. The night also started a new practice of hitting the shows at L’Amour like many of the other Metal youth with friends as we supported the heroes of the genre for many years to come. The dream was to play at this venue one day and eventually this would come true but that is for another blog at some future date.

Tale 2: This one fast forwards us to only a couple of years ago and I would like to think its about early 2003 when it occurred. The band was appearing at a club called Don Hills down in lower Manhattan and my friend Kevin had won tickets on Eddie Trunk’s show to see them and he asked me to join in for the fun. I had not yet begun my US Representative Role for The Metal Circus (this would happen in late 2003) so no back loaded review is present on PiercingMetal.com for me to send you to. I remember that the night was cold but who cared it was the full original lineup of the band that I remembered from years ago and the set was bound to feature more of the hits than less and what better way to spend an evening than with friends, Heavy Metal, and other rockers. It would be the first time I ever went to Don Hills and its a trek to get to since its all the way down on the West Side but once you find it you see that it is a fairly decent place to check out a band. The stage is to the front of the house and roomy yet intimate and there is no real photo pit. At this time such things didn’t matter much to me but now the do based on the writing for the site. Eddie Trunk was walking around and I got to meet him which was cool for he has a great Metal radio show and has been doing the best he could for the genre for years. We need more die hards like him in place to be quite honest.

As expected the show kicked many levels of ass and the guys showed that they still had what it took to be a great Heavy Metal band. They were supporting the release of a live CD and DVD to my knowledge and for the most part played every single song that I wanted to hear during their set. Personal highlights were of course the main hits of “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)”, “Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Slick Black Cadillac”. They were selling shirts and photos and I didn’t jump on purchasing one of the photos since I hadn’t realized that they planned on hanging around after the show to meet and greet the crowd in attendance. So I did the next best thing and made them sign napkins which I one day hope to find again. It was great to talk to them for a few minutes and Kevin especially, since he noticed that I was wearing a Type-O-Negative logo button and asked me if it was in fact the bands pin. I told him yes it was and he said how he didnt know too much about them but had liked what he heard. I then asked if he would like the button since I was sure I could find another one like it and he quickly said yes he would. He then placed it on his shirt, signed the napkin and gave me a hearty handshake and big smile. He seemed quite the humble individual and I guess this comes over time when one experiences the roller coaster lifestyle of the music industry. I also enjoyed talking to Frankie and letting him know how he inspired me to some degree when I first saw him. When he asked what gig it was since he had done so many that he forgot most of them I mentioned that it was the L’Amour show. He then had instant recollection and remembered it like it was yesterday.

Kevin DuBrow’s passing away will clearly leave an irreplaceable void in the lives of those he left behind but luckily we all have our memories and the stories that we have read about online from his dearest friends. I am proud to say that Quiet Riot was a part of my own Rock & Roll beginnings as I think many who are in my age group can say the same thing. They did the job and set the ball moving a little faster than it had been rolling. For that and for his accomplishments as a singer we thank and raise the horns high in his honor. As the representative of a journalistic medium like PiercingMetal.com, I extend the most heartfelt sympathy to his loved ones, and pretty much anyone who was a fan of what he did for music. He left us far too early, and will never be replaced. Thank you Kevin DuBrow for being a one of a kind personality that no one will easily forget.

Update: After all the tributes and accolades that the singer received upon his passing we got the sad news from the medical examiners that DuBrow had overdosed on cocaine and passed away some six days prior to his being found. I wasn’t going to update my views and recollections but then felt I should when it was broadcast that we lost him based on such useless shit as drugs. I’m not a fan nor an advocate of that stuff and cannot stress enough to anyone out there that this is not the road to take. If you indulge, please try to stop and find something less lethal to amuse yourself because the outcomes are far too often fatal. Nobody wants that believe me.

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