INTERVIEW WITH QUIET RIOT / KEVIN DUBROW BOOK AUTHOR MISSY WHITNEY
Date: December 2, 2020
Photos: Missy Whitney (second and fourth photos)
MORE THAN 13 YEARS AFTER QUIET RIOT FRONTMAN KEVIN DUBROW’S UNTIMELY DEATH ON NOVEMBER 19, 2007, A BOOK TITLED ‘KEEP ON ROLLIN’ – MY FAN CLUB YEARS WITH KEVIN DUBROW AND QUIET RIOT’ WILL BE SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY. THE BOOK IS AUTHORED BY MISSY WHITNEY WHO FIRST MET DUBROW IN AUGUST 1979, ENDED UP FORGING A FRIENDSHIP WITH THE SINGER AND RAN THE QUIET RIOT SQUAD FAN CLUB AT THE TIME OF QUIET RIOT’S BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM ‘METAL HEALTH.’ PRE-ORDER FUNDING FOR WHITNEY’S BOOK ‘KEEP ON ROLLIN’ – MY FAN CLUB YEARS WITH KEVIN DUBROW AND QUIET RIOT’ CAN BE MADE VIA INDIEGOGO.
Sleaze Roxx: What prompted you to write a book about Kevin DuBrow and Quiet Riot after all these years?
Missy Whitney: Mainly at the urging of friends. My friends loved the stories I would tell while working with Kevin, Frankie [Banali], and the stories about the great Quiet Riot fans when ‘Metal Health’ hit the airwaves.
Sleaze Roxx: How long did it take you to put your book together and when did you first start it?
Missy Whitney: I had written pieces of the book over the past ten years, but with the 2020 stay-at-home situation, I had the time to finish writing it.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you end up getting involved with Mark Weiss and Ron Sobol for your book?
Missy Whitney: I’d met Ron several times back in the early ’80s as he was one of Kevin’s best friends, so we knew of each other. As for Mark, even though he is an iconic ’80s photographer, I didn’t know who he was until this year! I was searching the internet for the perfect book cover and came across Mark’s photographs. It turned out that he was friends with the band and did some of Quiet Riot magazine photoshoots. He asked questions about my book, loved what I was doing, and wanted to partner with me to get the book out into the world. My story, photos, and other memorabilia will be in the book, plus Mark and Ron’s incredible photos to accompany my story. Ron has some cool behind-the-scenes photos taken at the “Metal Health” video shoot, which are in the book.
Sleaze Roxx: Did the timing of Frankie Banali’s passing play a role in the timing of your book and how well did you know Frankie?
Missy Whitney: Actually, I met Frankie before he joined Quiet Riot while he was still in Monarch’s band [Michael Monarch, the lead guitarist from Steppenwolf]. Frankie approached me and my friends when we were in line at the Starwood when Monarch was opening for DuBrow. As for the book timing, I had been working on the book for some time but just lacked time to finish it. Frankie knew I was writing the book. I regret that he didn’t get to read it because he would have enjoyed the specific memories I wrote about him.
Sleaze Roxx: When and how were you first introduced to Quiet Riot?
Missy Whitney: I stumbled upon Quiet Riot by pure accident on August 30, 1979. I was 16 years old, and a local disco [Star Baby] was putting on a rock and roll night, all ages. That first show had Kevin DuBrow, Randy Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo, and Drew Forsythe. For several months, Kevin and I became pen pals before meeting. Copies of his letters are in the book.
Sleaze Roxx: How well did you know Kevin DuBrow?
Missy Whitney: Kevin and I started as fan and singer relationship, which developed into a steadfast and thoughtful friendship over the years we worked together. He and I were remarkably similar in that we were both motivated and had a laser focus on promoting DuBrow. He had a great sense of humor and always expressed his gratitude for my help.
Sleaze Roxx: You indicated on your Indiegogo website that you attended 105 of Kevin DuBrow’s solo shows leading up to Quiet Riot’s ‘Metal Health’ album. What was your favourite show that you saw involving Kevin DuBrow and if it is different, what was the most memorable one?
Missy Whitney: Yes! I saw 105 shows out of 107. I only missed two because I was underaged for the club. While I loved all the gigs, the one that sticks out the most was a show DuBrow did at the Troubadour in Hollywood after Randy Rhoads died in 1982. Kevin sang Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” After the show, Kevin said to me, “That was Randy’s favorite song. I only sang it for him tonight, and I’ll never sing it again.”
Blind Faith‘s “Can’t Find My Way Home” video from 1969:
Sleaze Roxx: How did you become involved with the Quiet Riot Squad Fan Club and how long was your involvement?
Missy Whitney: Being such a mega fan of DuBrow, I promoted and kept an unofficial mailing list that I developed on my own before DuBrow was signed. Once Kevin got the record deal with CBS/Pasha Records and they changed the name to Quiet Riot, Kevin asked me to run the Quiet Riot Squad. The address appeared on the ‘Metal Health’ album. I continued the fan club up until late 1984. I go into detail about all that in the book as well.
Sleaze Roxx: How would you describe Kevin DuBrow to outsiders?
Missy Whitney: Let’s see… larger-than-life, driven, career-savvy, gifted songwriter, and charismatic as hell!
Sleaze Roxx: Did you ever speak to Kevin DuBrow about the circumstances of the various band member changes over the years and if so, what did he tell you?
Missy Whitney: He did, to some degree, but matter-of-factly. He would be excited about a new guitarist or bass player one minute, then the next minute, someone was replaced, and now he was excited over someone else! I never questioned his judgment and just rolled with his choices although I did mention that Frankie was an incredible drummer, and a few weeks later, he was in the band. I knew he was searching for the top talent and band chemistry.
Sleaze Roxx: Kevin DuBrow ended up passing away due to an overdose combo of cocaine, painkillers and alcohol. Were you aware of Kevin’s partying / drug ways and if so, did you see any warning signs prior to his death? And how did Kevin’s death impact you?
Missy Whitney: Going to Kevin’s funeral was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. His untimely death also played a hand in the delay of my writing this book. I had difficulty wrapping my head around him being gone. He was a significant part of my life back in my teens and ’20s. When I worked with Kevin during the promotion of DuBrow, he wasn’t heavily into drugs that I knew of. I’ve never been one to party. It just wasn’t my thing and it would have put a strain on our relationship if he weren’t clear-headed. So, I’m grateful that it was never an issue between us.
Sleaze Roxx: What do you want people to take away / know about Kevin DuBrow after reading your book?
Missy Whitney: That Kevin wasn’t accurately represented in the media. He was known for speaking his mind and having controversial opinions but Kevin was a very loyal friend, a blast to work with, and most importantly, had a huge heart. His friends know this about him.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there any significance to the book title ‘Keep On Rollin” and how did you come up with it?
Missy Whitney: ‘Keep On Rollin” is the name of a song that Kevin wrote while in DuBrow. “I wrote a new all-out rocker, called Keep On Rollin'”, he said in a letter to me. And then when I heard it live for the first time, it was instantly my favorite song. Later, he changed the name of the song and rewrote the lyrics, and it became “Party All Night.” It appeared on the second Quiet Riot album, ‘Condition Critical.’ When I asked him about the changes, he said that it fit the overall theme of the album better. Still, I love the original version and have the original studio demo.
Quiet Riot‘s “Party All Night” video:
Sleaze Roxx: What are your top five Quiet Riot albums and why?
Missy Whitney: My five top favorite Quiet Riot albums are ‘Metal Health’, ‘Condition Critical’, ‘QR III’, and the first two Japanese import albums, ‘Quiet Riot’ and ‘Quiet Riot II’ [with Randy Rhoads]. These albums are my favorite because they were an integral part of my teenage years.
Sleaze Roxx: Where can people pre-order / purchase your book?
Missy Whitney: Pre-order funding is happening now and will continue until we can send the book to the press. Rudy Sarzo has graciously offered to do the foreword for the book. A portion of all book proceeds will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Cure Foundation in memory of our beloved Frankie Banali.
Video conversation between Rudy Sarzo and Mark Weiss about upcoming book Keep On Rollin’ – My Fan Club Years with Kevin DuBrow & Quiet Riot: