Rockbrat Remembers: Kevin DuBrow (October 29, 1955 – November 25, 2007)

It’s almost 3 years since Quiet Riot’s irrepressible front man died. Mr. Rockbrat and Cowboy Col were big fans of QR in the early to mid 80’s, and QR were the FIRST LA metal band to break out of the West Coast in a massive way in 1983 with ‘Mama Were All Crazee Now’. Whilst other LA bands like the musically limited Motleys went on to surpass QR in terms of success, it needs to be remembered that QR were groundbreakers of that scene.  I still have great memories of hearing ‘Cum On Feel the Noise’ on the radio back in 1984. Along with Twisted Sister, these were the only metal bands that were breaking into the commercial radio scene in a big way in Australia, but unlike Twisted Sister, QR never toured here. I remember back in 1984 when Mr. Rockbrat purchased a QR tee shirt at Odeon Records at Narrabeen, I think he’s still got it. If there’s ever been a cooler name for a rock band than Quiet Riot I’d sure like to know what it is. Born Kevin DuBrow on October 29, 1955 DuBrow grew up in Los Angeles, California, and eventually settled in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Van Nuys at age 13. He learned to play guitar, and by the time he was in his mid-teens he had developed an appreciation for a number of British rock acts including the Small Faces, Slade, Spooky Tooth, Rod Stewart and Humble Pie. It was the latter of those influences that would leave the biggest impact on DuBrow and act as a compass in his musical career. Quiet Riot was formed by Randy Rhoads and bassist Kelly Garni (who would be replaced by Rudy Sarzo) in 1973, who recruited DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth. This lineup disbanded in 1980 when Rhoads went on to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band, with Rhoads personally enlisting Greg Leon as his replacement. For a time the band’s name was changed to DuBrow, which had a rotating lineup of members including Leon, Chuck Wright, Frankie Banali, and brothers Tony and Carlos Cavazo. After Rhoads’ death in a plane crash in 1982 while on tour with Osbourne, DuBrow changed the name of the band back to Quiet Riot. Rudy Sarzo left Osbourne’s band and rejoined Quiet Riot shortly before the release of Metal Health, which went to the top of the charts, making Quiet Riot the first metal band to achieve number one status on their (U.S. release) debut album. Think about that for a moment. That is quite an achievement. Shortly after his February 1987 departure from Quiet Riot, (which was decided during a Japanese tour in December 1986), DuBrow formed and began recording with a new band named “Pretty Women.”  In 1991, DuBrow regrouped with his Quiet Riot bandmate Carlos Cavazo in a new band called Heat. (Quiet Riot had continued on in 1988 with new singer Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt but by this time were disbanded.) By 1993, Heat had renamed themselves Quiet Riot and rejoined with Frankie Banali on drums. Quiet Riot continued through the 90s in several different incarnations. They released several albums including Terrified, Down to the Bone, Alive and Well and Guilty Pleasures. In 2004, DuBrow recorded a collection of cover versions for his first solo album, In for the Kill. The album was recorded in DuBrow’s hometown Las Vegas, Nevada. DuBrow also worked as a DJ for the Rock Station in Las Vegas, KOMP 92.3. During 2006, Quiet Riot worked on a new studio album that was expected to be released in either 2006 or 2007. The band stated that they had set no timetable for the release of the album, that they were financing the project themselves, and that it would be released when they saw fit and on their terms. That album, Rehab, was released on October 3, 2006. The lineup on the album was DuBrow, Frankie Banali, Tony Franklin, and Neil Citron. Singer Glenn Hughes also made a guest vocal appearance on the album. Kevin DuBrow was  52 years when he died  at his home in Las Vegas. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental overdose of cocaine. Go listen to ‘Thunderbird’ off the Metal health album, or watch a video of QR at the US Festival 83 and pay your respects. Today we honour the memory of the late, great Kevin Dubrow. May his memory and music live on. Fly on, thunderbird fly. (click here to read a previous post on DuBrow’s sacking from Quiet Riot, with Australia’s Craig Csongrady in the running to replace him!)

3 thoughts on “Rockbrat Remembers: Kevin DuBrow (October 29, 1955 – November 25, 2007)

  1. I bought Metal Health when I was about 16 from Batman Records in Melbourne. I loved that album. Carlos Cavazo is a killer Guitarist. My favourite tune on Metal Health was Breathless. It was Frankie that did the drums for that “we are stars” metal get together for charity with loads of different singers and a long solo. with Yngwie, Jake E Lee, Vivian Campbell, etc Kevin Was Brilliant.. QR!!! At least Carlos is playing with Warren de Martini in Ratt now.. and he sounds great trading off with Warren. The new Ratt album is a treat as far as Guitar goes. IMO

  2. Totally agree Marc – and I am indeed just as fond of Metal Health and Condition Critical as the early Rhoads albums. Anyone who hasn’t heard DuBrow’s great vox and lyrics on these albums should make the effort to do so. “I’m like a laser – 6-streamin’ razor – I got a mouth like an alligator
    I want it louder – More power – I’m gonna rock ya till it strikes the hour !

  3. I was a huge fan of the first two albums “Metal Health” and “Condition Critical”. Carlos was a monster on those albums, still remember the “Bang Your Head” video with him playing the black Washburn A20 guitar. And Kevin was no slouch on the vocal front either. Re the Glen Hughes connection, Kevin sang backgrounds on the “Soulfully Live in the City of Angels” DVD that was released in 2004.

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