QUIET RIOT – Quiet Riot (1977), Quiet Riot II (1978 CBS)
A while ago I talked about the rarities/remix compilation album, The Randy Rhoads Years. I recommended that album, but I am also lucky enough to own CD copies of the first two Quiet Riot albums. Over 13 months ago (!) I promised you that we would take a closer look at Quiet Riot I and Quiet Riot II. That day has come! LeBrain never breaks a promise to his readers.
In a 1993 Guitar for the Practicing Musician interview, Kevin DuBrow complained that producers Derek Lawrence and Warren Entner “didn’t know from guitars”. Quiet Riot I is ample evidence for that. Randy’s guitar is but a shadow of what it would later become under the wing of Ozzy Osbourne. Where later on, Randy would fill songs out with catchy, intricate licks, on QRI he tends to stick to riff-solo-riff song structures.
And this is one awful sounding album. The vocals of Kevin DuBrow are shaky, and the recording is muddy. There are very few standouts among its 12 tracks. Even the Small Faces cover “Tin Soldier” is rendered lackluster. You can hear Randy doing some neat tricks on the guitar, but it’s buried in the mix.
Lyrically, “Mama’s Little Angels” is beyond awful:
“As soon as mommy’s at work,
Out come the paint cans,
We start to spray it on the wall.
That’s getting boring,
Go get the bats!
Gonna have us some indoor ball!
…Well Randy’s up to bat, gonna hit me a home run!
Sorry ’bout that, outside! Ball one!”
“Look In Any Window” is better on the Randy Rhoads Years CD. Here, DuBrow is singing a completely different, annoying vocal melody. Shame, because this is QR’s slant on Alice Cooper, very much up the alley of “I’m Eighteen”. I’ll stick with the remixed/re-recorded version, thanks.
The best song on Quiet Riot I is easily the Dave Clark Five classic, “Glad All Over”. I remember growing up, Bob had a Randy Rhoads guitar book. It was loaded with transcriptions of his Ozzy classics, as well as “Glad All Over”. We had never heard of “Glad All Over”. To this day I don’t know why that seldom-heard song was included in a Randy Rhoads guitar book! Kevin’s vocalizing here is hilariously screamy. I love it. Randy’s solo is Nuge-tastic, with a little intricate lick at the end. Great stuff.
So that’s QRI. Quiet Riot II is marginally better in the songwriting department. The band wisely included only nine tracks on the second album. A few of these are standouts: “Slick Black Cadillac” would be re-recorded effectively by another lineup on the Metal Health album. To hear that song played by Randy Rhoads, the guy who co-wrote it, is cool. His take on the guitar is different from Carlos Cavaso’s, although Carlos obviously did copy some parts. If only it were better recorded, this version could easily supplant the hit Metal Health version.
Another familiar song is “Afterglow (Of Your Love)”, also originally by Small Faces. This song was rendered in an acoustic form on The Randy Rhoads Years. On QRII, it is full-on electric. I prefer the electric version, I just wish it sounded better. There are other decent songs on QRII, such as the melodic “Eye For An Eye”, “Trouble”, and “We’ve Got the Magic”. By the second album, Quiet Riot had gotten better at writing melodies. They had work to do on stitching catchy melodies together into complete songs. Most songs on Quiet Riot II have some really good parts, but are not necessarily great all the way through. The dead production does not help the situation.
Even though Rudy Sarzo (Tateryche) is pictured on the sleeve and credited, he did not play bass on Quiet Riot II. Kelly Garni played bass, as he did on the first LP. To this day, I don’t know if the CD copies I have are promos or bootlegs. While I don’t know of any promotional CD test pressings, these are definitely high quality for bootlegs. They even have the hilarious mis-transcribed lyric sheets that usually accompany real Japanese CDs. So, I really don’t know!
Quiet Riot I – 2/5 stars
Quiet Riot II – 3/5 stars