Geoff Tate’s Queensryche

REVIEW: Quiet Riot – Quiet Riot I & II (1977, 1978)

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!”

Whooboy.

“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.

QRI CDThe 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 I2/5 stars

Quiet Riot II3/5 stars

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REVIEW: Geoff Tate’s Queensryche – “Cold” (2013 single)

Geoff Tate’s QUEENSRYCHE – “Cold” (2013 single)

Oh, how I wanted to hate this.

I don’t hate it.  It has a catchy riff, a good vocal from Geoff Tate, a shredding guitar solo, and it’s not about spitting on people or knives. It sounds modern while still featuring a guitar riff or two.  I don’t hate it like I hated, say, Tribe.  I’m disappointed that it’s a little faceless and generic sounding.

The problem is that it doesn’t sound like Queensryche.  It sounds like a Geoff Tate solo track.  Probably the best Geoff Tate solo track that there’s been so far.  But just a Geoff Tate solo track.

The blockheaded drums do not sound like the textured complexity of Queensryche.  (Sounds like Simon Wright though.)

The piano is distracting, I kept thinking a phone was ringing somewhere in my house.  It sounds like, “Hey, we have a keyboard player in our band.”

I love the guitar solo.  It’s so tasty and good.  Who is this?  Kelly?  Robert?  Neither?  What will this sound like when performed live without guest stars?

I don’t know if the mix is worth the brew-ha-ha that’s being made of it.  It’s not to my taste personally but it sounds like they had a vision of a heavier than fuck sound and just kind of overdid it.

This track confirms that Tate is still capable of writing good music.  It does not confirm that Tate still is capable of writing good Queensryche music.  This is his Chinese Democracy.  It has a vibe of, “Let’s saturate the song with everything from the biggest sounding drums to the fastest solo to a guy playing piano.”  Let’s try anything.

Where the real Queensryche’s song, “Redemption”, sounded unmistakably like Queensryche, Tate’s reeks of contrivances.    In the Battle of the Ryches, Round One, the original band comes out on top.  Tateryche will have their supporters, but it is clear now that Queensryche is a band sound, not merely a singer.

2.5/5 stars

More Queensryche:

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part I

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part II

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part III

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part IV

TATERYCHE