RANDY RHOADS: THE QUIET RIOT YEARS
“Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years”, a new book from QUIET RIOT‘s personal photographer/lighting director Ron Sobol, will be available for pre-order starting around April 1 from GuitarWorld.com.
Rock photo books are a dime a dozen with a parade of shutterbugs presenting images of iconic performers caught in their prime. But photographer Ron Sobol is one of the rare few who captured that elusive lightning in a bottle magic. As a perennial fifth member of hard rock band QUIET RIOT since their inception, Sobol‘s involvement lasted beyond the success of their multi-platinum masterpiece, “Metal Health”. Intuitively aware of capturing the band’s striking visual appeal, on and off stage, Ron quickly became a part of the group’s trusted inner circle. Ron was not only QUIET RIOT‘s personal photographer, lighting director, and co-writer, he was also their dearest friend.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. To achieve musical respect and international stardom, aspiring rockers must be tireless in their quest, endlessly perfecting their craft as musicians, songwriters and performers. Even then, there’s no guarantee of grabbing the brass ring and succeeding in the music business. Still a truism today, making it in the music business is a “one-in-a-million” crapshoot. It’s a chosen few, inspired by a passionate love of rock and roll music and driven by an unyielding passion to strike a chord in the hearts of music fans, who stay in the game. Los Angeles-based rockers QUIET RIOT had hard rock music coursing through their veins. After seven long years of banging their heads on the local club circuit, recording two albums released only in Japan, and ultimately replacing three of its four original members, QUIET RIOT eventually achieved world domination.
In 1975, lead vocalist Kevin DuBrow and a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads served as the nucleus of the lineup, forged in a tight bond of friendship and aligned with a burning desire to make it. QUIET RIOT made their mark playing parties and small local venues before being transformed into the premier rock band on the Sunset Strip. By 1977, they were anointed reigning local rock icons, routinely selling out Hollywood’s hottest clubs, The Starwood and The Whisky-A-Go-Go. Bound on a fast track to fame, the rising stars were foiled at every turn by the grinding corporate machinery of a mercurial record business.
Disco, punk and new wave were soaring, leaving passé hard rock purveyors in their wake. With record labels regularly passing on signing the band, the group’s prospects grew dim. QUIET RIOT ditched their first manager and were on the brink of replacing their second, when they inked a deal for two albums with the Japanese division of CBS–Sony. Signed to the record label on the saleable visual merits of a promotional live photograph, shot by Ron Sobol, the band’s two albums, “Quiet Riot” and “Quiet Riot II”, met with moderate success in Japan. Back in their homeland, prospects for a breakthrough were even bleaker.
At the apex of their frustration, the band staged a coup. Along with a group of their most loyal fans, QUIET RIOT raced through the streets of Los Angeles on a flatbed truck, picketing every record company. Unfortunately, this proactive measure elicited minimal media coverage, prompting one key member of the band to declare it was time for a radical change.
In October 1979, Randy Rhoads was given the break of a lifetime. Packing his trusty Gibson Les Paul, he moved to England to form a new band with former BLACK SABBATH vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Randy‘s new band, BLIZZARD OF OZZ, went on to achieve massive worldwide success leaving behind his old friend Kevin DuBrow and their beloved QUIET RIOT. Kevin made several half-hearted attempts at replacing Randy and even temporarily changed the name of the band to DUBROW. Fronting this new incarnation, DuBrow stubbornly continued to follow his dream of rock stardom.
Finally, in 1982 Kevin DuBrow‘s luck changed when he signed a deal with Pasha Records, and resurrected the name QUIET RIOT. “Metal Health”, the group’s American debut, was released on March 11, 1983. This album signaled the first warning shot; a new brigade of brash heavy metal warriors were born. An explosive cover of SLADE‘s ’70s classic “Cum on Feel the Noize” became a hit, rocketing to #5 on the Billboard chart. The fist-pumping title track served as the defining metal anthem of the fledgling ’80s generation. Also included on the album was “Slick Black Cadillac”, which held honors as the most requested song from their early club days. A somber ballad, “Thunderbird”, featured a dedication to original guitarist Randy Rhoads who tragically perished in a plane crash on March 19, 1982.
With “Metal Health” going on to rack up more than six million copies in sales, QUIET RIOT had finally arrived. QUIET RIOT became the first heavy metal band to land a number one album on the Billboard chart. By this time, Kevin DuBrow‘s larger-than-life personality landed him on the covers of rock magazines worldwide, earning notoriety for his outlandish and bratty behavior. Naturally verbose and outspoken, DuBrow‘s “shoot-from-the-hip” attitude eventually soured relations with the press and drove a wedge among his bandmates who fired him from QUIET RIOT in February 1987. Half-heartedly assembling a few solo projects, DuBrow repaired his relationship with the band and was reinstated among the ranks of QUIET RIOT in 1991.
Throughout the ’90s and into the new millennium, QUIET RIOT continued to record albums and play small clubs and theaters, sadly, they never recaptured their early whirlwind success.
Tragedy struck the QUIET RIOT family on November 26, 2007 with the untimely death of Kevin DuBrow. Working in partnership with Ron Sobol, Kevin envisioned chronicling the colorful history of QUIET RIOT with either a film or book. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to fulfill his vision.
Enhanced by a rich collection of Ron Sobol‘s evocative photographs, rare video footage and moving personal memories, coupled with a raft of Kevin DuBrow‘s original memorabilia, this is the captivating story of QUIET RIOT‘s near-impossible journey to superstardom, a story that first began on March 3, 1975 with legendary guitar icon Randy Rhoads in tow. Rocked by adversity at every turn, refusing to give up, resolute that it was their way or the highway, QUIET RIOT truly epitomize the word survivor, by eventually becoming one of the most popular bands in heavy metal history.
“Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years” is being published by Red Match Productions, with exclusive distribution through Guitar World. As a bonus, this book comes with a 90-minute DVD documentary of the QUIET RIOT years with Randy, containing interview footage telling the story of the band. The DVD will also feature the song “Hymn 11” from French-Algerian artist Pierre Bensusan, globally known as the “Mozart of Guitar”, taken from his “Altiplatos” album.