Quiet Riot Drummer Frankie Banali Dies
Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali has died at the age of 68.
In April 2019, he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer - information he'd share publicly several months later. Banali's treatments caused him to miss several shows, though he continued to keep fans up to date about his health on social media. As medical bills piled up, a GoFundMe page was created to assist Banali with his battle, raising more than $47,000.
In announcing the drummer's death, an official statement from his family noted that Banali "put up an inspiringly brave and courageous 16-month battle to the end and continued playing live as long as he could. Standard chemotherapy stopped working, and a series of strokes made the continuation on a clinical trial impossible. He ultimately lost the fight at 7:18PM on Aug. 20 in Los Angeles surrounded by his wife and daughter."
Born in Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 14, 1951, Banali moved to L.A. in the mid-'70s and spent about a year in New Steppenwolf, an offshoot of the hard-rock legends led by their former bassist Nick St. Nicholas. He left in 1979, and soon began working with singer Kevin DuBrow, whose band, Quiet Riot, had disbanded shortly after guitarist Randy Rhoads and bassist Rudy Sarzo left to play with Ozzy Osbourne.
Originally calling itself DuBrow, the band changed its name back to Quiet Riot after picking up bassist Chuck Wright and guitarist Carlos Cavazo in 1982. Sarzo returned after leaving Osbourne's group following Rhoads' death. The quartet signed a deal with Pasha Records, an indie label distributed by Columbia, and released Metal Health in early 1983. On the strength of their cover of Slade's "Cum On Feel the Noize" and their own "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)," the record became the first heavy metal album to top the Billboard albums chart and eventually sold more than 6 million copies.
But success at the top was short-lived, and subsequent releases failed to sell the same numbers. DuBrow was fired in 1987, and Quiet Riot released one more album with Paul Shortino on vocals before breaking up in 1989. Banali moved on to W.A.S.P., drumming on The Headless Children; he also played with Faster Pussycat and guitarist Gary Hoey in Heavy Bones.
A few years later, DuBrow and Cavazo re-formed Quiet Riot with Kenny Hillery on bass and drummer Pat Ashby, who was soon replaced by Bobby Rondinelli. But before sessions for 1993's Terrified were completed, Rondinelli left for Black Sabbath; Banali came back and also took on the role of Quiet Riot's manager. Sarzo also returned in 1997, reuniting the Metal Health-era lineup until 2003, when they broke up again.
Banali and DuBrow brought back the band in 2004, with guitarist Alex Grossi and the return of Wright, marking the bassist's third stint in the band. When DuBrow died in November 2007, Banali declared the end of Quiet Riot. But after speaking with the late frontman's family, Banali created a new Quiet Riot that included Grossi, Wright and singer Mark Huff. The group would go through several more singers, with James Durbin providing the vocals on 2019's Hollywood Cowboys, Banali's final Quiet Riot album. Most recently, Jizzy Pearl took over vocal duties for his second stint in the band.
The group's story was told in the 2015 documentary Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back. It was directed by Regina Russell, who married Banali later that year.
In addition to being a spokesperson for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Banali was a passionate advocate for animal rescue. Donations in his name are encouraged for Fixnation.org, Aspca.org, Pancan.org or Children.org.