QUIET RIOT – QRIII (1986 CBS)
A short while ago, longtime LeBrain reader Deke and Jon from E-tainment Reviews brought up QRIII as a contender for Worst Quiet Riot of All Time. Digging into the discussion, I mentioned 1995’s Down to the Bone as another possible contender. Jon also mitigated QRIII by reminding us of the teriffic single “The Wild and the Young”; the only reason to own it. So the jury is technically still out….
QRIII certainly sucks. I knew that I could do one of two things for its review: Take a shit on the album cover and post a picture of that as the review, or lambaste it verbally and harshly. Unable to decide between the two approaches, I instead decided on a first for mikeladano.com: the very first Choose Your Own Review!(™) Choose A) The Short One, or B) The Long One!
REVIEW A: The Short One
REVIEW B: The Verbose One
QRIII (actually Quiet Riot’s fifth album) did nothing to revitalize their career. DuBrow was fired shortly after, leaving no original members. Quiet Riot soldiered on for one more album and tour anyway (with Paul Shortino on the creatively titled album but redeeming QR), before breaking up. In ’93 they finally reunited with Dubrow intact, on the decently heavy Terrified CD.
QRIII, released in 1986, was a sign of desperation closing in. Rudy Sarzo was out, and in was Chuck Wright. The band had flatlined commercially, so what did they do? They copied everybody else’s formula for success. That means they incorporated an overabundance of keyboards, buried the guitar way down in the mix, sampled everything, recorded sappy and faceless ballads, glossed it all up, and basically snuffed out any spark that this band once had. I felt that they also copied Kiss somewhat in image, with bouffant hairdos and sequined gowns that looked like hand-me-downs from Paul Stanley’s Asylum wardrobe. DuBrow’s new wig didn’t help things.
There is the one song that rises above the stinky, putrid toxic morass that is QRIII. “The Wild and the Young”, despite its reliance on samples, is actually a really strong hard rock rebellion. On this track, the studio techno-wizardry did its trick. The song is irresistible, and remains a personal favourite. The drums kill it, and the gang vocal chorus is catchy as hell. The song was accompanied by a creative video, so I was suckered into buying the tape. If I had only known there was just one good song, I wouldn’t have spent my hard earned allowance on QRIII. More to the point, if I had known just how bad the rest of the album actually was, I would have steered way clear. Everything is choked down in a mechanical slop of keys and samples. These songs are so nauseating, so tepid, so embarrassing, that I really can’t say it with enough vigor.
The lyrics: mostly pathetic nonsense. “The Pump”:
Well let’s pump pump pump pump,
Strike it rich what you’re dreamin’ of,
Let’s pump pump pump pump,
We’re gonna hunt for gold, Gonna dig for love.
Then, throw in a Plant-esque moan of “Push, push, push, oh! oh! oh!.” Serious.
Lastly there are the sadly misguided attempts at a “soulful” direction, which crash and burn gloriously. I’m sure in the studio, producer Spencer Proffer assured Quiet Riot that he was producing a hit album. This would get them on radio and MTV, he might have guaranteed. Meanwhile, the real situation was more like, “Let’s throw anything and everything to the wall and see what sticks, because this band’s asses are on the line this time.” But it was the band who wrote this slop with Proffer, so they bear equal responsibility for the calamity. I’m sure there were so many drugs in the air that “The Pump” actually seemed clever at the time.
QRIII will be remembered not as the album that knocked Quiet Riot down, (that honor goes to Condition Critical) but as the album that flat-out buried them. They would never be a serious commercial property again.
Do you enjoy the crash and burn of an astonishing train wreck? QRIII is for you.