QUIET RIOT's FRANKIE BANALI Looks Back On Making Of W.A.S.P.'s 'The Headless Children'

QUIET RIOT's FRANKIE BANALI Looks Back On Making Of W.A.S.P.'s 'The Headless Children'

In a recent interview with Tom Leu of Sound Matters Radio, QUIET RIOT's Frankie Banali spoke about his session-drummer appearance on W.A.S.P.'s fourth album, 1989's "The Headless Children".

"It's funny, because Blackie [Lawless, W.A.S.P. leader] and I have known each other for a very, very long time," Frankie said. "We actually knew each other before I was involved with DUBROW, which was the precursor to QUIET RIOT. And what happened is he asked me if I would be interested in doing his new record, which became 'The Headless Children'. And at the time, I was recording the fourth QUIET RIOT record. Blackie wanted me to record the record and tour, and I said, 'Listen, I'm happy to record the record. I can't commit to touring. And if you have to find somebody that's gonna do the record and tour, then fine. But if you don't find somebody that can do the record, let me know — which is exactly what happened. So I was basically doing both those records in tandem, at the same time. And it was a pretty amazing experience.

"Blackie is a great songwriter," Frankie continued. "And it's really funny — a lot of his stuff is rooted, believe it or not, as far as melodies are concerned, in THE BEATLES. And he knew what I could do, and I immediately embraced all the material. And it was a blast doing it. I already knew Chris Holmes, who I think is a great guitarist and very underrated. And Johnny Rod, for as crazy as he is, he's an amazing bassist. So that was a lot of fun."

Frankie added: "The interesting thing about that record is Blackie said, 'What would you think about doing a cover of THE WHO's 'The Real Me'?' And I said, 'I love THE WHO and I love that particular track and I love Keith Moon.' So, unbeknownst to anyone… This was the last track that we recorded, and I said to myself… And I was pretty tired at that point. And I said, 'Okay, the only way to capture a little bit of that craziness that Keith Moon brought to the table, in my mind, was to drink a half a pint of cheap bourbon called Head High. Which I did, and I, immediately after downing that — in one sip; half a pint — after downing that, I said to the engineer in the talkback, I said, 'Roll tape.' And we recorded the track. There's no click track, and that is one take. Thank God it worked out, because I don't think I'd have another take in me. So 'The Real Me' was done under the influence and without a click track."

Holmes told Eonmusic in a 2018 interview that Banali "always treated" him "like a roadie" when they played together "because I roadied for a band when I was 16 that he played drums for. His guitar player was a guy that gave me Blackie's number to join SISTER when I was 17, so he always treated me like a roadie," Chris said.

Two years ago, Banali told XS Rock that he was "really proud" of his association with W.A.S.P. "I've played on seven of their records which is quite a few records to do with an outside artist," he said. "Would I work [Blackie] again? Yeah. If the opportunity presented itself. I see no reason why not. We're friends, we get along and we have similar taste in music. I still think the first record that I did with W.A.S.P., 'The Headless Children', is one of the greatest conceptual rock records. I like that one even more than 'Crimson Idol', which I also recorded drums for. I think 'Headless Children' was the first record that Blackie did that took a step away from the blood and guts, raw meat and all of that. It had a lot more substance to it."

As for Holmes, Frankie said: "I love Chris! He's crazy. He's as crazy as the day is long. I did a solid year of touring in Europe for 'The Headless Children' and at the beginning of it, he stuck me rooming with Chris. After about a week, I said to Blackie, 'You get me my own room or I'm going home.' He's a nut. [Laughs] He's doing great… People see him as a a bigger-than-life creature, which he is…but he's also a really, really sweet guy."

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