QUIET RIOT – A Talk With FRANKIE BANALI (Drums)

Posted on August 7th. 2017

Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM



Jason: Frankie I just want to start off by saying that QUIET RIOT is getting ready to release the band’s first new album since 2006’s Rehab.  I’ve heard the new CD and I must tell QUIET RIOT fans that the band has really delivered the goods with this new CD. You had originally recorded the Road Rage CD with Singer:  Sean Nichols and once it was announced that Seann had been let go from the band it was announced that the band was going to release that version of the album.  Talk a little bit about your decision to rather than release the Road Rage CD with Seann Nichols to go back into the studio and re-record the album with new Singer: James Durbin?

Frankie: Glad to hear that you like the new and improved Road Rage CD! Mr. Nicols was dismissed after only five live performances and therefore it was pointless to release Road Rage as it was. There would be no reason to promote it. Since all the music was written by me, my writing partner Neil Citron as well as Alex Grossi and Chuck Wright, the logical progression was to have James Durbin write all new original lyrics and melodies to the existing music. The announcement from the label that we were releasing Road Rage preceded Mr. Nicols departure.

 

Jason: How different is the Road Rage album coming out on August 4th from the album that was recorded with Seann Nichols?

Frankie: Completely different vibe. Much more original due to the writing style that James brought to the table via his lyrics and melodies and his broad vocal range. Much more interesting and it perfectly suited the direction of the music all ready written in house making the sum more cohesive.

Jason: Do you mind talking a little bit about why Quiet Riot made the decision to split with Nichols?

Frankie: There is really nothing to discuss beyond the fact that it was clearly not working, the situation was not going to improve and it was put to a vote and the vote was unanimous. In these situations sooner is always better than later.

 

Jason: Like I said at the top of the interview Frankie I think Road Rage is a really fantastic album and after listening to the new CD from start to finish I can honestly say that James Durbin really is the perfect fit in regards to Quiet Riot finally being able to have a Singer that really has the ability to not only sing the Classic Quiet Riot material but that he’s also done a great job of really showing the influence that he has brought into the band on the new Road rage CD.  My question is how happy are you to have James Durbin in the band now and do you feel he’ll be the Singer for many years to come?

Frankie: James was always my first choice once Jizzy Pearl had given notice. When I reached out to James, he was really interested in coming onboard but had just entered into another agreement which at the time was open ended making it impossible for me to wait because I needed to start working on the record, but also to prepare for the 2017 touring cycle. My second choice was Jacob Bunton who wanted to write with us and do the record but had accepted a position in Los Angeles and didn’t want to tour. He’s a really great singer and songwriter, but I needed someone to do both the record and to tour. I was running against the clock and ultimately took the third option which didn’t work out. Fortunately at that juncture James was ready to come in and get the job done. I think James is fantastic as a singer, a performer, but especially a great person. I would be happy to continue with James as long as he wants to, as long as he’s happy, as long as he wants to be part of the QUIET RIOT team.

 

Jason: I know prior to joining Quiet Riot that James Durbin had recorded an album with Alex Grossi that they released just prior to James joining Quiet Riot.  Did you hear the album they had recorded and think after hearing that, that James would be the perfect fit for Quiet Riot.

Frankie: I heard a couple of the tracks that Alex Grossi played for me but that was not the catalyst or the deciding factor because I was already aware of James vocal abilities, so the Hollywood Scars project didn’t factor into it. However, I knew James could sing, but I wanted to see how his writing abilities and style might fit the new QUIET RIOT material. So I sent James and Alex the music for a song that I had written with Neil to see what he would come up with. I sent him the music only, so the canvas had the landscape via the music and I wanted to see how he would add to it. In less than 24 hours he had written great lyrics and vocal melodies and I got a great guitar solo from Alex at the same time. The song is “Can’t Get Enough” which is the new music video, the first for QUIET RIOT in 29 years.

 

Jason: Frankie I know with the song “Can’t Get Enough” that Quiet Riot has released a music video and it’s the first video the band has made in several years.  How much fun did you guys have making the video because I must tell you it really came out great!  Any chance we might get videos for any of the other songs?

Frankie: When we did the final mix for Can’t Get Enough, I felt that it had really great vocal melodies and a great hook and was convince that coupled with a straight ahead drum groove, skilled melodic bass lines from Chuck Wright and a really inventive guitar solo from Alex Grossi, it was the right song to make the video. The video was a lot of fun, a lot of work, nonstop filming in two different locations all in one day. Regina Banali did a great job with the concept of the video and working with her editor gave us a great vivid visual presentation. I’ve learned not to say no or never about anything anymore, but at this time there are no plans for a second video.

 

Jason: It’s hard to believe that this November will marks the 10th anniversary of the passing of Kevin Dubrow.  hard to believe it’s been that long.  Talk a little bit Frankie about what it’s been like for you from the minute you decided to put Quiet Riot back together to finally getting to the point of Quiet Riot finally returning with such a great album like Road Rage.  I mean as a Quiet Riot I know you’ve really gone through a lot to get to this point but now that Road Rage is finally being release do you feel like all that hard work really paid off?

Frankie: It’s still difficult to accept that Kevin is gone, but I have to accept it, though he’s always around me and never far from my thoughts. I will always miss him. I knew that to continue QUIET RIOT would be a most difficult thing to do. There would have been easier paths, but I chose this one. Even with all the problems, the false starts, the controversies, the changes with vocalists, it has been worth it because I have learned a lot about myself in the process. I’ve never taken the easy road. The difficult paths are the most rewarding and getting to this point where we are releasing the first official QUIET RIOT record Road Rage via Frontiers who have been very supportive of the band and me personally has been worth it.

 

Jason: I have to ask you Frankie that there are several Quiet Riot’s Cds that have been out of print for a while now and I understand that a lot of that has to do with the albums being released on different labels, have you ever given any thought to maybe putting out a Box set or re-releasing any of those albums that aren’t as easy to get your hands on as say Metal health?

Frankie: Possibly in the future. I would have to go through my archives for material that could be added, be it tracks, photos, etc., to make it more interesting. But my focus continues with touring QUIET RIOT and the release of Road Rage.

 

Get your own copy at: http://www.quietriotmovie.com/get-the-dvd/

Jason: In regards to the 10 album you did with Jizzy Pearl that you briefly had released digitally I have to ask could you talk a little bit about your decision to pull the album from the digital sites once you had released it and if there’s any chance that it may ever be re-released?

Frankie: When I released it I started hearing the disgruntled rumbles of it only being available digitally and unless I released it via physical copies the discontent continued. I didn’t want to invest further in that self financed release, so it was a case of careful what you ask for, so I deleted it from availability. Will I never re-release it maybe, maybe not. The only time I think about that record is when someone else brings it up which is not often.

 

Jason: Frankie you and I were recently chatting on FACEBOOK where I had told you one of my all time favorite Quiet Riot songs off of REHAB was “Old Habits Die Hard” and you had shared with me that was a song you had brought in and that you had originally intended to use that song for another project.  Do you remember what that other project was? I think you told me that it was Kevin who convinced you to record that song for the REHAB CD.

Frankie: The music was something that Neil Citron and I had written, it just had a working title at the time, and we were written songs to submit to other artists, but no one artist in particular. Kevin flew from Las Vegas to Los Angeles where we both were doing interviews and I played it for him when I picked him up at the airport. He asked what that was and I told him we were going to use it elsewhere. He said no you don’t, that’s now a QUIET RIOT song. It’s now of my favorite vocal performances from Kevin.

 

Jason: Frankie I know that Neil Citron who was the Guitar Player who played on REHAB Co-wrote the Road Rage album with you. I was wondering if you could share the story of how you and Neil first met and how big of an impact/influence do you feel he had on the new Road Rage album?

Frankie: Neil was working as a engineer for Steve Vai and came highly recommended to me. I had no idea that Neil was not just great behind the board, but he’s a phenomenal guitarist. We both share the same love for rock music of the 70’s but particularly by so many of the same bands. He and I speak a language all our own because of our shared musical tastes. Kevin and I had the same type of connection only much more deeper. Kevin and I wanted to make a record that was in keeping with the music we grew up listening to and loved and Neil was the perfect fit. So it started with Neil hiring me for some outside sessions, me bringing Neil to record and play guitar on Rehab as well as engineering my Led Zeppelin tribute CD which he also musically participated on that as well. We have continued to work together on numerous other projects. Neil is one of the most talented and nicest people on the QUIET RIOT team.

 

Jason: Frankie I’d like to ask you what’s the one album in your collection that you would say has had the greatest influence on you?  You know the album by another artist that you can point to and say that’s the album that really had a huge impact on me and really played a role in me becoming a professional Musician myself?

Frankie: There are many. It started with Meet The Beatles, then The Rolling Stones 12 x 5, The Jimi Hendrix Are You Experience, the game changer was Led Zeppelin I. But even before The Beatles I was already listening to out of the box drummers, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Tony Williams.

 

Jason: Thanks again Frankie for taking time to speak with Metal To Infinity, I know what a busy guy you are and really appreciate you taking time out of your very, busy schedule to do this.  Anything left that you’d like to say to all the Quiet Riot fans out there?

Frankie: I am forever grateful to the fans for giving me the opportunity to have a life in music and for their decades of support for QUIET RIOT, both the older fans and the newest fans! So thank you!

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