Neil Citron

REVIEW: Quiet Riot – Rehab (2006)

Part 2 of my 2-part review of the Quiet Riot Twin Pack set.  Twin Pack bundled the band’s final two releases:  a retro live album, and the final studio album, Rehab.

QUIET RIOT – Rehab (2006 Demolition)

I love Quiet Riot, even more than I have reason to. Metal Health was the first “metal” album I ever bought, on cassette, and I’ve re-bought it three more times since. I just love that album, and I admit it’s probably 60% music and 40% nostalgia. Since it came out, I’ve managed to collect a lot of Quiet Riot.  Prize possessions are my CD copies of Quiet Riot I and II.  This Twin Pack set was important to me because the version of Rehab contained herein has the European bonus track, “Wired To the Moon”.

It turns out, however, that Rehab kinda sucks. It has its supporters who enjoyed the heavier, bluesier sound.  Rehab unfortunately repeats the problem that Quiet Riot have had for many years:  they don’t write very many good songs!  Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali were reduced to a duo after the departures of Rudy Sarzo (who went on to Dio and is now in Tateryche) and Carlos Cavazo (now in Ratt).  Rehab had the right ingredients in place, with the awesome Tony Franklin on bass and Glenn Hughes providing backup vocals, but it was not to be. I give them an A for effort, as I am usually in favour of heavying up the sound and adding blues elements.  They get a D for execution.

The concept was to leave behind the glam rock, but the songwriting is so underpar.  Choruses and verses don’t mesh, melodies don’t stick in the head, and riffs don’t hit you where it hurts. The best song, “South of Heaven”, is a really good Zep-ish tune though.  “Strange Ways” features an incredible solo by Neil Citron, like a cross between jazz fusion and Eddie Van Halen.  Jazz Halen?  On the other hand, “Old Habits Die Hard” is one of the more colossal failures.  Aping Joe Cocker’s “With A Little Help From My Friends”, DuBrow sinks this one all by himself with his overwrought lead vocal.

There are some good moments.  Pretty much all the guitar solos and instrumental sections are incredible.  The drums are good.  A song called “Beggars and Thieves” is one of the better songs, because it is anthemic and memorable like old Quiet Riot.  Unfortunately, that cannot be said of most of this material.  Glenn Hughes classes up the place by several notches when he shows up at the end, but this also highlights Kevin DuBrow’s limitations.

I dislike the cover art and packaging.  DuBrow’s wig, oh my God.  Seriously? The old Quiet Riot logo is also gone, and the masked mascot dude is barely visible.  The album was self-produced by Kevin and Frankie, but they really should have spent some money on a producer with a decent set of ears.  These songs would not have passed muster with any serious producer.  The title of Quiet Riot’s final album is now a sad irony, considering DuBrow’s overdose at age 52.

2.5/5 stars

And sadly, almost unbelievably, the band’s legacy has been tarnished even further with Banali’s hack version of the band currently touring without any original members.  And Kevin rolls in his grave.


REVIEW: Quiet Riot – Live & Rare (2005)

Part 1 of my 2-part review of the Quiet Riot Twin Pack set.  Twin Pack bundled the band’s final two releases before DuBrow’s untimely death:  a retro live album, and the final studio album, Rehab.

QUIET RIOT – Live & Rare (2005 Demolition)

I will tell you right off the bat, the only reason to own Live & Rare by Quiet Riot is if you are like me (obsessive collector), and must own everything. That’s it. There are no other reasons. This is a terrible, terrible CD. Awful. It is so cheaply and carelessly put together that it truly is the definition of “cash grab”.

The original pressing of this CD had a major flaw, a 2 second gap between the songs.  This amateur mistake caused the audience noise to cut out and then start again in a way that was just jarring and unpleasant. They partially fixed the problem on my second printing…but only partially. The 2 second gap is gone, but it is replaced by a quick split-second pause — think about the way a live album sounds when you play it on an mp3 player. It’s not nearly as bad as the 2 second gaps, and it makes the album so much more listenable.   At the end, the live portion doesn’t even finish with a fade-out.  Just an amateur abrupt silence.  Lastly, the three demo tracks at the end aren’t even listed in the correct order on the CD sleeve.  I have a hard time imagining how these flaws made it past quality control — twice!!

I can remove the gaps using Audacity, and re-burn the thing using Nero, but really what’s the point?  If the album was decent, it might be worth the effort.  Unfortunately, Live & Rare is pretty poor.  You wouldn’t expect this to be the case upon reading the track list.  Live performances from the 1983 Metal Health and 1984 Condition Critical tours, the golden years with the classic lineup.  Throw on three bonus tracks from the 1981 DuBrow demo and it should be a pretty satisfying listen, gaps or no gaps.

Musically the songs are fine, but the recordings are terrible! Basically this sounds like a bootleg, and I have heard far better bootlegs.  I’ve heard audience bootlegs that were better quality than Live & Rare.  It’s nice that there are some rarely played tracks on here (“Gonna Have a Riot” and “Danger Zone”) plus a drum solo, but otherwise the CD is close to unlistenable. What’s the point of a drum solo if it sounds this terrible?  The only, and I mean only, saving grace on this CD are the three unreleased DuBrow demos. They date from a time when Quiet Riot was actually broken up, and Kevin was  recording under the name DuBrow. Banali was a part of the DuBrow lineup. They were eventually renamed Quiet Riot and they recorded Metal Health and made metal history. These demo tracks are historically significant to fans, and it’s nice to finally have them.

Buyer beware. I was not at all impressed with this CD, and I think Quiet Riot should have been embarrassed to release it. The liner notes state that it was “produced and mixed by Neil Citron and Frankie Banali”. I wonder exactly what they did to produce and mix it. I speculate that they adjusted some levels on a home PC and burned a copy to CD…without removing the 2 second gaps! Not very pro at all.

1/5 stars