Quiet Riot – Metal Health

Quiet Riot - Metal Health
Released in 1983 (Pasha) and reissued in 2001 (Sony/Legacy)
Billboard Chart Position #1

Track List:
01. Metal Health
02. Cum On Feel The Noize
03. Don’t Wanna Let You Go
04. Slick Black Cadillac
05. Love’s A Bitch
06. Breathless
07. Run For Cover
08. Battle Axe
09. Let’s Get Crazy
10. Thunderbird
11. Danger Zone (*2001 remastered version*)
12. Slick Black Cadillac (live *2001 remastered version*)

Band Members:
Kevin DuBrow – vocals
Carlos Cavazo – guitar and vocals
Rudy Sarzo – bass and sythesizer
Frankie Banali – drums, percussion and vocals

Additional Musicians:
Chuck Wright – bass and vocals
Pat Regan – keyboards
Riot Squad – background vocals
Tuesday Knight – background vocals
Spencer Proffer – background vocals
Donna Slattery – background vocals

Produced by Spencer Proffer.

If you were alive and aware of popular music in 1983, chances are you remember the first time you heard “Cum On Feel The Noize” and the band, Quiet Riot, who was responsible for the incredibly infectious and impossible to resist Slade cover song.

How important was this song, and more importantly the album it came from, Metal Health? It was the first debut album (purists might argue that this was not QR‘s debut album as, if I am correct, they had released an album or two over seas prior to Metal Health) to reach #1 on The Billboard Charts. If I am correct, it was the first heavy metal album to reach #1, period. In order to do so, it knocked The Police album Synchronicity from the #1 spot. Not bad. Not bad at all.

In 1983, there were several bands helping to lead the heavy metal/hair band charge including Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Dokken and Ratt. In music timing is often everything and it was only a matter of time before one of these bands broke through to the mainstream with a smash hit. That hit was “Cum On Feel The Noize”. To this day if you utter those words in a social setting someone is bound to respond, “Girls rock your boys!” I can’t think of any other song more perfectly suited to ignite the sensation that would become hair metal.

More impressive than “Cum On Feel The Noize” is the album from which it came. Metal Health is truly one of a handful of metal albums that people who weren’t fans of the genre owned. This album was bigger than the genre and the band itself. This was one of those “must have” albums. Fueled by an interesting album cover that fed into the album title’s play on words and one of MTV’s first truly memorable videos, Metal Health went on to sell more than 6 million albums.

The reason for all of this? It’s a fucking awesome album from start to finish. Solid song writing and great musicianship coupled with slick production make this one of the genre’s top albums.

The album opens with a battle cry, “Metal Health”, that truly foreshadowed a music phenomenon. “Metal Health”, the song, instructed a generation of kids hungry for something to sink their teeth in to BANG YOUR HEAD! Headbangers had finally been justified. The album doesn’t stop there. Metal Health was not a two hit wonder. It was solid from start to finish with help from songs such as “Slick Black Cadillac”, “Breathless”, “Run For Cover” and “Let’s Get Crazy”.

Quiet Riot never again achieved the success they enjoyed with Metal Health. The band suffered the same fate that many of the hair bands did, including frequent line-up changes and misguided musical directions. I know that some of you may contend that they had several worthy albums, but this is without a doubt the bands best.

Metal Health aside, there is no doubt that Quiet Riot is often remembered for the band’s mouthpiece, Kevin DuBrow. DuBrow was both a mouthpiece on and off stage. In the early years, Kevin was known for being difficult to get along with and unruly in his dealings with the press. In later years a more humbled DuBrow became a mouthpiece for an entire genre of music. Frequently featured on VH1’s hair metal documentaries, Kevin DuBrow always appeared with an infectious smile and memorable insight to a genre of music many wanted to ignore, yet was impossible to forget. In telling his stories, Kevin adopted a surprisingly self deprecating sense of humor. He’d done something few musicians or celebrities had done before or since. He was truly humbled having lost his celebrity status and seemed to have a sincere appreciation for the fans of his music. In his later years he was prouder than ever, yet more importantly, respectful of the legacy he helped to create. Kevin DuBrow helped ignite the hair metal flame and continued carrying its torch until his untimely death. Some may label Quite Riot a one-hit wonder, yet how many of us can claim to having a #1 album? While it may be hard to call him a hero in light of many of the worlds sobering events, those of us who are passionate about music know how important people like Kevin DuBrow are. May he Rest In Peace.

Reviewed by Hairspray Hero for Sleaze Roxx, November 2007.

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