STEEL PANTHER singer Michael Starr has has reflected on the passing of QUIET RIOT drummer Frankie Banali. Banali, who joined QUIET RIOT in 1982 and played on its breakthrough album, 1983's "Metal Health", the first heavy metal LP to top Billboard's album chart, died in August after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Speaking to Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio, Starr said (hear audio below): "It was so sad to hear that news [of Frankie's death]. He was one of the founders of heavy metal. QUIET RIOT are the ones that were coined heavy metal back in the day. I don't know if you know that, but at least in America, in my experience, that's how it went down. And I knew Frankie. We weren't super-close friends, but we were professional friends. And I also toured with them. I played in a band for a while called L.A. GUNS, and we toured with QUIET RIOT. We did two legs with them, so we did a total of 12 weeks together. And I got to know him and Kevin [DuBrow, original QUIET RIOT singer] really well. Kevin was very helpful to me, 'cause I was just learning how to tour. And Frankie was really cool. And also SLAUGHTER was on that tour as well. It was great to get to know him, and then to hear of his passing was just like… I don't know. I don't know how to put it in words. It just sucks. Such a bummer."
QUIET RIOT announced on Wednesday that it will carry on touring following Frankie's death. The band, which now features drummer Johnny Kelly (DANZIG, TYPE O NEGATIVE), will play a couple of shows in October as well as and a string of dates in 2021. "It was Frankie Banali's wish that the band continue and we keep the music and the legacy alive," the group wrote on Facebook.
At some of QUIET RIOT's 2019 and 2020 shows, Banali was replaced by Kelly or Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.), depending on each musician's availability.
QUIET RIOT's shows last year with Kelly and Dupke marked the first time ever that the band performed without any of the members from its classic lineup: Banali, singer Kevin DuBrow, guitarist Carlos Cavazo and bassist Rudy Sarzo.
QUIET RIOT initially featured the late guitar legend Randy Rhoads and went through some early lineup shifts before securing the musicians that recorded "Metal Health".
Bassist Chuck Wright has been a part of QUIET RIOT, on and off, since 1982, having initially been involved in the "Metal Health" recordings (he played bass on the tracks "Metal Health" and "Don't Wanna Let You Go"). Guitarist Alex Grossi was in the last version of the band, from 2004 through 2007, before Kevin passed away, and was asked by Banali to return in 2010.
QUIET RIOT went through two vocalists — Mark Huff and Scott Vokoun — before settling on Jizzy Pearl in 2013. Pearl announced his exit from QUIET RIOT in October 2016 and was briefly replaced by Seann Nichols, who played only five shows with the group before the March 2017 arrival of "American Idol" finalist James Durbin. Pearl returned to QUIET RIOT in September 2019.