Frankie Banali made it big with Quiet Riot when their 1983 album “Metal Health” became the first metal album to hit number one on the US Billboard charts.
Having also recorded with Billy Idol, Hughes/Thrall, Heavy Bones, Blackthorne and W.A.S.P., the drummer died of pancreatic cancer on August 20th, 2020, having spent some of his last few months on creating abstract visual art. His main influences as a drummer supposedly included John Bonham, Buddy Rich, Simon Phillips, Dennis Chambers, and Vinnie Colaiuta.
Banali had been diagnosed with stage-IV pancreatic cancer on April 17, 2019, something which he revealed in October of that year. Banali continued to keep fans up to date on social media, also raising more than $47,000 to keep up with rising medical bills. 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.” He was 68.
Born to Italian immigrants in Queens, New York City, on November 14th, 1951, Banali moved to Los Angeles in 1975. W.A.S.P. band leader Blackie Lawless (also born in NYC, as Steven Edward Duren in 1956) recalled the first time he met Banali:
“I met him July 17th 1975. It was my first night in Hollywood. I was scared to death and had no idea of what waited for me in this “Dream Factory” that promised so much, but at the same time had a reputation that proceeded itself of being astonishingly cruel to its naïve dreamers. He was outside leaning up against the wall at the Roxy on the Strip. Arthur Kane had met him on the last N.Y. Dolls trip to L.A. and he introduced me to him. I remember thinking, “I don’t even care if this guy can play. This guy’s an absolute Rock Star and nobody knows it yet”. I wanted to be in a band with him…BAD! Over the years, our lives crossed paths in many ways both personally and professionally, and I would go see the bands he was playing in, and he stuck out in all of them. His talent separated him from everyone else he was on stage with.”
Nick St. Nicholas (ex-The Sparrows, a band which John Kay joined in 1965) had been bass player for Steppenwolf (named after Hermann Hesse’s 1927 novel) from 1968 until 1970, having been fired after supposedly appearing in nothing but rabbit ears and a jock strap at the Fillmore East in April 1970. Band leader John Kay disbanded Steppenwolf in 1976, after which St. Nicholas formed “New Steppenwolf”. Banali spent spent about a year in this latter band, without recording anything. St. Nicholas stopped touring as Steppenwolf in 1980 due to legal actions by Kay.
Banali had left New Steppenwolf in 1979, soon joining the band “Dubrow” (replacing Skip Gillette, formerly of Ronnie Montrose’s band Gamma) with former Quiet Riot singer Kevin DuBrow. Banali was also briefly joined by Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo in a band called Private Army (1981-82), featuring former Cheap Trick (1980-81) guitarist Pete Comita and Bob James, the singer who replaced Sammy Hagar in Montrose. Having recorded “Worldwide Attraction” (1979) with Magnet (feat. drummer Jerry Shirley, ex-Humble Pie), Bob James had also been approached by Aerosmith manager David Krebs as a possible replacement for the drug-addled Steven Tyler.
Originally known as Mach 1, when formed by Randy Rhoads in 1973, the name was soon changed to Little Women before the name Quiet Riot (inspired by how Rick Parfitt of Status Quo pronounced “Quite Right”) was finally settled upon in 1975. It was around this time that Quiet Riot added drummer Drew Forsyth and Kevin DuBrow, a hobby concert photographer who had a change of heart after seeing Rod Stewart in concert. At a concert in 1970, he realized he wanted to be “on the other end of the lens.” Quiet Riot recorded two albums (1977-1978, only released in Japan) with co-founder Kelly Garni before being joined by bassist Rudy Sarzo.
Quiet Riot disbanded in 1980 after Randy Rhoads (urged to audition by future Slaughter bassist Dana Strum) and Rudy Sarzo left to join Blizzard of Ozz, the new project led by departed Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. In early 1982, having recruited Banali, bassist Chuck Wright, and guitarist Carlos Cavazo, DuBrow got the blessing from Rhoads and Sarzo to start using the name “Quiet Riot” again. Quiet Riot was thus reborn after a two-year hiatus. Rhoads died suddenly in a plane crash in March 1982, and Sarzo subsequently left Osbourne to re-join Quiet Riot. The lineup of DuBrow, Sarzo, Cavazo, and Banali wound up recording more than half of the “Metal Health” album, including the Randy Rhoads tribute song “Thunderbird”.
Becoming a prolific session musician, Frankie Banali made his first contributions as a recording artist in 1981. The debut EP by Billy Idol (born William Broad, formerly of punk band Generation X) as a solo artist, “Don’t Stop”, featured Frankie Banali on drums for three of the four tracks. “Dancing with Myself” had been recorded with Gen X but Banali can be heard on the Billy Idol compositions “Baby Talk” and “Untouchables” in addition to “Mony Mony”, a cover of a 1968 number one hit for Tommy James and the Shondells.
1982 saw Frankie Banali credited on albums by former Rainbow keyboard player Tony Carey (“In The Absence Of The Cat” – possibly playing on “Bella Vida” and “Marcie” which were recorded October 1981) and Billy Thorpe, the English singer who had scored success with the Australian band Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs (1963-1973) before relocating to the USA in 1976. Banali was co-credited as composer of the title track, “East Of Eden’s Gate”.
Banali also played on the 1982 album “Peer Pressure” by Noël & The Red Wedge, also featuring bassist Ricky Phillips of The Babys, later to play with Ted Nugent, Bad English, Coverdale/Page and Styx. Noël was a model-turned-singer who was promoted by the band Sparks.
Banali also played drums on two tracks on the 1982 “Hughes / Thrall” album, “First Step of Love” and “Hold Out Your Life”. After the break-up of Deep Purple, former Trapeze frontman Glenn Hughes had only produced one solo album, 1977’s “Play Me Out”, before teaming up with guitarist Pat Thrall, formerly of Automatic Man and Pat Travers Band.
Italian guitarist Vittorio “Vic” Vergeat had supposedly briefly been the original guitarist in the British space rock band Hawkwind, but tendered his notice after getting into creative and personal differences with Dave Brock. Italian drummer Cosimo Lampis and German bassist Werner Froehlich had both been members of the Belgian krautrock band Brainticket for “Cottonwoodhill”, their 1971 debut album. Lampis and Froehlich teamed up with Vergeat in Switzerland during 1970, forming the trio Toad. Mixed by the recently deceased producer Martin Birch of Deep Purple and Iron Maiden fame, Toad released two albums in 1971-72 and a final album in 1974. Born in 1951, Vergeat eventually relocated to the USA and formed the Vic Vergeat Band. They released one album in 1981, “Down To The Bone”, with Bobby Blotzer on drums. It also featured Tom Croucier Jr on bass, brother of Juan Croucier who Blotzer had played with in an early incarnation of Dokken. Blotzer and Croucier who left Dokken in 1978 both joined Ratt in 1982. Anyway, the Vic Vergeat Band also recorded an unreleased self-titled album in 1982, featuring Frankie Banali as the drummer.
After signing with Pasha Records in September 1982, Quiet Riot released “Metal Health” in March of 1983. Eight months later, it reached the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 charts (replacing “Synchronicity” by the Police), making it the first “heavy metal” album to go #1 on the charts. The success was largly due to a cover of “Cum On Feel the Noize”, a 1973 single hit for Slade.
In a Ludwig drums interview, Frankie Banali said that he thought Slade “were a little bitter about our success with their song. They had a hit with it in other territories but not in the US and later our version overshadowed theirs worldwide. Any real success in the US always seemed to elude Slade, so Quiet Riot having a major hit with “Cum On Feel the Noize” was bittersweet for them. When Quiet Riot played the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1983, we offered them an invitation complete with a limo service to attend the show, but they never responded. Later I was shopping in Kensington Market and ran into Jimmy Lea. I wanted to shake his hand and thank him for writing a great song. He looked into my face, and walked away leaving me with nothing in my hand but air! I look at the situation like this: Quiet Riot received a great measure of success with the help of that song, and Slade received a great deal of money for their trouble. Fair enough!”
Also featuring the title track (co-credited to Banali) and a re-recording of “Slick Black Cadillac” off “Quiet Riot II”, “Metal Health” eventually sold over 10 million copies worldwide, ushering in a decade of hair metal. Quiet Riot went on to support Black Sabbath on their “Born Again” US tour.
“I want to take a moment, to put into perspective, the contributions that this man has made to the Rock genre that we all now take for granted”, wrote Blackie Lawless. “In 1983 when Quiet Riot released the ground breaking Album “Metal Health”, the music business as we know it changed. There is no way I can over exaggerate this fact. That album gave birth to an entire movement, that later myself and many others would benefit from. “Metal Health” would go on to sell over an astounding 10 million copies in the U.S. and much more worldwide. This had never been done before by any so called “Hard Rock” or “Heavy Metal” band in the history of the music business. It blew the doors off all the conventional thinking of what a Rock band was capable of doing. Every Rock band, and I mean EVERY Rock band that came after Quiet Riot owes a debt to them that can never be repaid. Without that band, the genre we know and love today simply would not exist in the way it does now. It created a domino effect that showed MTV, all record companies, live music promoters, booking agents and every other fledgling, up and coming Rock group that this music would not only not go away, but to the contrary, was becoming massive!”
Quiet Riot went on to make three more albums with Banali before breaking up in 1989: “Condition Critical” (1984, featuring another Slade cover, “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”), “QR III”(1986) and “QR” (1988), the latter with bassist Sean McNabb (later with House of Lords, where he also replaced Chuck Wright) and former Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino (1987-89) rather than Kevin DuBrow. Banali was co-credited for the “Condition Critical” title track and all tracks off the latter two albums.
In 1985, Shortino had recorded lead vocals for “Stars” by the Heavy Metal benefit project Hear ‘n Aid. The single also featured lead vocals by Ronnie James Dio (who wrote the song with Dio bandmates Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Don Dokken, Kevin DuBrow, Eric Bloom (Blue Öyster Cult) and Dave Meniketti of Y&T.
Frankie Banali were among those providing backing vocals and he also played drums on “Stars” along with Vinny Appice (younger brother of Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge and Cactus), formerly with Rick Derringer, Axis and Black Sabbath. Also contributing to the recording of “Stars” was Rudy Sarzo who had left Quiet Riot in January of 1985, being replaced by Chuck Wright (ex-Giuffria) who had performed with the group during its tenure as “DuBrow”. Sarzo later resurfaced with former Ozzy Osbourne bandmate Tommy Aldridge (ex-Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers Band, Gary Moore) in Whitesnake, touring in support of the band’s 1987 album.
While in Quiet Riot during the 1980s, Frankie Banali also found time to do some session work for other acts. Banali played on a 1983 single (“Trouble At Home” b/w “The Monkey’s You”) by someone named Carl Stewart, a release also featuring piano playing by Nicky Hopkins, known for his work with The Rolling Stones, The Jeff Beck Group, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Kinks, The Who, the Jerry Garcia Band and former members of The Beatles.
Banali is also credited with playing drums on the track “Excuse Me” off the 1983 EP “Passion In The Dark” by Danny Spanos (ex-Redbone), a release also featuring Carmine Appice and Rick Derringer. The track was later included on 1985’s “Looks Like Trouble”, an album featuring bassist Dana Strum who’d soon join the former Kiss guitarist in Vinnie Vincent Invasion before forming Slughter with their second singer, Mark Slaughter.
1985 saw Banali playing drums on the Randy Bishop album “Underdog”, also featuring guitarist Earl Slick who had worked with David Bowie, John Lennon, Ian Hunter and the previously mentioned Danny Spanos. Slick also played on that Billy Thorpe album that Banali played on back in 1982. Randy was the older brother of Bartholomew Bishop who along with him and Spanos provided backing vocals on that same album. The brothers also provided backing vocals on 1982’s “Nugent”, Ted Nugent’s only release with Carmine Appice.
In 1986, Banali played on Yes vocalist Jon Anderson’s Christmas-themed solo album, “3 Ships”. Also featuring guitarist Trevor Rabin and a Gospel Choir, Banali shared the drumming duties with Ric Parnell (ex-Horse, Atomic Rooster) who had recently featured as Mick Shrimpton in the 1984 mockumentary “This is Spinal Tap”. With his character having died of spontaneous combustion, Parnell assumed the role of his “twin brother”, Ric Shrimpton, for the group’s live appearances subsequent to the film. Trevor Rabin (ex-Rabbitt), meanwhile, had joined Yes for “90125”, the comeback album from 1983 which was initially intended as a release by a new band called Cinema with former Yes members Alan White and Chris Squire.
Also released in 1986 was “Masque” by Kuni. Japanese guitarist Kuni Takeuchi was joined by both Banali and Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright for “When We Rock”, “Love Taker”, “East Meets West”, “Restless Heart” and “Hands Up”, the latter also featuring backing vocals by Quiet Riot’s Kevin Dubrow. The main vocalist on “Masque” was John Purdell (1959-2003) who co-produced and played keyboards on “QR III”, the Quiet Riot album from 1986. Purdell went on to work with Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner, Alice Cooper, Cinderella, and Dream Theater.
Other tracks on “Masque” featured bassist Billy Sheehan (ex-Talas) who joined David Lee Roth around the same time, going on to found Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs and Sons of Apollo. Playing keyboards on three tracks was Ryo Okumoto who’d join the progressive rock band Spock’s Beard after their album debut in 1995. Born in 1959 in Osaka, Okumoto released three solo albums in Japan before relocating to Los Angeles and becoming a respected session musician with artists like Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Eric Burdon, GPS and Asia featuring John Payne.
Frankie Banali also played on “Attack Of The Neon Shark”, the 1989 solo debut by Italian guitarist Alex Masi (ex-Dark Lord, Sound Barrier, Masi) which received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Rock Album. While the rest of the album was composed by Masi, the opening track, “Under Fire”, featured vocals by Talisman’s Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, later with Journey, W.E.T. and Sons Of Apollo with Sheehan, Sherinian, Portnoy and “Bumblefoot”), who also wrote the song. That track also featured a guest appearance from Allan Holdsworth (ex-Nucleus, Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty, U.K., etc.), playing “synthaxe”. The album also included a cover of “Toccata”, an adaptation of the fourth movement of Piano Concerto No. 1 (1961) by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, as made famous by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on their 1973 album “Brain Salad Surgery”.
Quiet Riot disbanded in April 1989, with Banali joining up with Blackie Lawless to record W.A.S.P.’s “The Headless Children”, the last studio album to feature guitarist Chris Holmes for nearly a decade. Also featuring Ken Hensley (ex-Uriah Heep) on keyboards, the album featured power ballad “Forever Free” and a cover of The Who classic “The Real Me” from the 1973 rock opera “Quadrophenia”.
“Us being kids from New York”, recalled Lawless, “we naturally had a love for baseball. During the ’89 Headless Tour on days off we’d go to every Major League Ball Park we could. One day we were in Cincinnati and the Reds were in town. We had a show that night, but we thought we could catch the first half of the game and then get down to the venue. Well, the game was getting really good, and we knew we were supposed to get going, or we’d be late for the show. We were sitting there talking, and he said: All those people are in the venue all excited and thinking, “oh man, the Band is backstage getting ready to come out and it’s gonna be insane!”. But there we were, sitting in a ball park watching the game, eating peanuts and laughing, and having a good ole time. Finally, we knew we were in trouble, so we got our butts up and made it to the show, and we were about a half hour late getting on stage. I’d turn around during the show and look up at him, and we’d both break out laughing, like a couple of little kids that were skipping school. It was one of those moments that only the two of you will ever know. We had some insanely fun times together and I will truly miss that. He could make me laugh more than almost anybody. He was one of those guys that was genuinely funny.”
Following his first album with W.A.S.P., Frankie Banali went on to fill in with Faster Pussycat – who had fired Mark Michals – during their 1990 tour in support of their album “Wake Me When It’s Over”.
“We experienced heartache together as well”, Lawless recalled. “Years ago he and I sat alone in a room having the wake for his mother. I hurt so badly for him and I couldn’t take the pain away from him. It’s those kinds of moments that make you “tight”.
After his mother’s death in November 1990, Banali formed a band called Heavy Bones with guitarist Gary Hoey (whose solo debut had featured Banali), bassist Rex Tennyson (ex-Hellion) and Joel Ellis, the vocalist from the band Cats In Boots.
Produced by Richie Zito (Elton John, Bad English, White Lion, Alice Cooper, The Cult, Eddie Money, Heart, Tyketto, etc.), they released only one self-titled album before disbanding in 1992.
Frankie Banali had previously played on Gary Hoey’s 1989 solo debut album, “Get a Grip” (re-issued in 1995 as simply “Gary Hoey”), also featuring bass player Nick South. The track “High-Top Bop” featured Tony Franklin (ex-Roy Harper, The Firm, Blue Murder) who’d also join Banali for Hoey’s next proper solo album, 1993’s “Animal Instinct”. The latter featured Claude Schnell (ex-Rough Cutt, Dio) on keyboards and a cover of “Hocus Pocus”, the 1971 hit by Dutch progressive rock band Focus.
The actor Edward Furlong released an album in 1992, “Hold On Tight”, having had his breakthrough as John Connor in 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. Anyway, the cash-in album featured a cover of The Doors’ “People Are Strange” and an all-star cast including Bill Champlin (Chicago, 1981–2009), Jason Scheff (Chicago, 1985-2016), Joseph Williams (Toto, 1986-1988, 2010-2019), Craig Goldy (ex-Vengeance, Rough Cutt, Giuffria, Dio) and Frankie Banali. In 1993, Furlong was also featured in Aerosmith’s music video for “Livin’ on the Edge”.
Banali continued to work with W.A.S.P. from time to time, appearing on the albums “The Crimson Idol” (1992), “Still Not Black Enough” (1995), “Unholy Terror” (2001), “Dying for the World” (2002) and “The Neon God: Part 1 – The Rise” and “Part 2 – The Demise” (both 2004), the latter uncredited.
Following the death of Banali, Lawless recalled how “One night in 1979 I ran into him at a burger joint and played him a demo of the songs I had just completed. We sat in my car and listened, and it was at that moment we started to really develop a friendship that would last us all of our lives. Those songs we listened to that night in my car would later become the foundation that both he and I would build from the ground up 11 years later. The record would be called “The Crimson Idol”. Over the years, we got to know each other well. His love for music and its history would lead us into countless hours of romancing the music and the bands we idolized. One of the things that impressed me was how much detail he knew about other instruments. Little things that usually only players who use those instruments, Frankie could discuss with them, and it would always get those players attention that a drummer could have that kind of detailed knowledge. But he was not your average drummer. He’d prove that over and over again to all he touched with his musical greatness.” “For myself,” continued Lawless, “there’s no way I can exaggerate the importance of his talent on my career. Of the many, many records we made together, the thing that was the most memorable to me was watching him find a way to interpret my vision of the things I was hearing. As a musician he was far superior to myself and he knew it, but what made our collaboration work was his respect for the songs. Because it was only the two of us in the studio I would use him as the lead instrument. I would push him to carry the arrangements in a way that is usually reserved for only lead vocals or lead guitars. It was remarkable to watch his mind work. I’d throw idea’s at him and then watch him run them through this extraordinary drumming filter.”
As mentioned in a recent Stargazed article on Bob Kulick (1950-2020), Banali and Kulick played together on “The Crimson Idol” and “Still Not Black Enough”. In between those two W.A.S.P. albums, the two also teamed up with vocalist Graham Bonnet (who after Rainbow had sung for The Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri and Forcefield) in the band Blackthorne. The group released the album “Afterlife” in 1993, featuring a cover of the Rainbow classic “All Night Long”. The other members of Blackthorne were Jimmy Waldo (ex-New England, Alcatrazz) on keyboards and bass player Chuck Wright (ex-Giuffria, House of Lords) who Banali had previously played with in Quiet Riot. Bonnet and Waldo had been in Alcatrazz together while Wright and Bonnet had both performed on “Stand in Line” (1988), the first studio album by Impellitteri.
Frankie Banali also re-joined Quiet Riot in 1993, in time for their comeback album, “Terrified”.
Having won the rights to the band’s name, Kevin DuBrow teamed up 21-year-old guitarist Sean Manning, bassist Kenny Hillery, and drummer Pat Ashby to reform Quiet Riot. Having co-written some of the tracks for “Terrified”, Manning left in 1990. Manning would later turn up in Hurricane, a band formed in 1985 by current Foreigner lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, Robert Sarzo (guitar) and Tony Cavazo (bass), the younger brothers of Quiet Riot’s Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo. Hurricane drummer Jay Schellen (who’d been in Badfinger and Stone Fury, also playing with original Yes and Flash guitarist Peter Banks) has also played with World Trade, Circa, Unruly Child (feat. Kelly Hansen 1998-2002, replacing former King Kobra and Signal vocalist Mark/Marcie Free), Asia and Yes.
In 1991, Kenny Hillery and Kevin DuBrow formed the band Heat with former Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo. Joined by drummer Bobby Rondinelli (ex-Rainbow, Doro), they reverted to the name Quiet Riot the following year. Rondinelli played on some tracks off “Terrified” but got replaced by Banali when asked to replace Vinny Appice in Black Sabbath for “Cross Purposes”, Iommi and Butler’s re-union with Tony Martin following the Dio-helmed “Dehumanizer” album.
The opening track, “Cold Day in Hell”, was co-credited to Banali but “Terrified” also featured a cover of the Small Faces’ 1967 classic “Itchycoo Park” and “Little Angel”, co-written by David Arkenstone (who also penned the title track) and former Sweet bass player Steve Priest, who also got a Stargazed article written about him after recently passing away. The Japanese version of the album also included a cover of Free’s “Wishing Well”, originally on their 1972 album “Heartbreaker”.
Chuck Wright re-joined on bass, replacing Hillery (who’d commit suicide in 1996) for the 1994 tour in support of “Terrified”. Having also become the manager for Quiet Riot, Banali recorded 1995’s “Down To The Bone” with DuBrow, Cavazo and Wright. Featuring an artwork inspired by progressive metal band Fates Warning’s 1985 album “The Spectre Within”, “Down To The Bone” featured mostly songs co-credited to Banali. Somewhat inspired by the grunge music of the day, Quiet Riot also recorded the Ron Day composition “Pretty Pack o’ Lies”. The album also included a cover of “All Day and All of the Night”, originally released by The Kinks in 1964.
Rudy Sarzo returned in 1997 (again replacing Chuck Wright), thus reuniting the “Metal Health”-era lineup until 2003, when they broke up again.
This line-up first released “Alive and Well” in 1999, featuring seven new songs (credited to all members of the band), six re-recordings of classic Quiet Riot songs (two of which were Slade covers), a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” (1979) and “Slam Dunk (Way to Go!)”, written by Kevin DuBrow and Harry Perris and first recorded in 1991 by Pretty Boy Floyd for the movie “Switch”. The same lineup released the album “Guilty Pleasures” in 2001. Featuring only original material credited to all four band members, this would prove to be the last Quiet Riot release to feature Cavazo and Sarzo as official members.
Having split up in September 2003, Quiet Riot (Banali, Dubrow and a returning Chuck Wright) re-united in October 2004 with new guitarist Alex Grossi (ex-Angry Salad), replaced in December 2005 by Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns for three months. Wright and Grossi both left the band in early 2006 and Quiet Riot went on with guitarists Billy Morris and Neil Citron, and bassists Sean McNabb (who’d previously been in Quiet Riot for their album with Paul Shortino) and Wayne Carver.
Ultimately, only Neil Citron would remain with the band for the recording of their next studio album, “Rehab”, their last to feature Kevin DuBrow before his death in November 2007. Tony Franklin (who’d played with Banali on the Gary Hoey albums) filled in on bass while former guitarist Alex Grossi can be heard on “Free” and “Strange Daze”, songs co-credited to him and DuBrow. Banali was co-credited for “Blind Faith”, “Old Habits Die Hard”, “In Harms Way” and “Don’t Think”. In addition to DuBrow and Citron, the first three were also co-credited to former Deep Purple member Glenn Hughes (who Banali played with on the “Hughes / Thrall” album) who plays bass and sings on “Evil Woman”, the Larry Weiss composition recorded by Crow and Spooky Tooth on 1969’s “Spooky Two”, the album featuring the original version of “Better by You, Better than Me” of Judas Priest fame.
Alex Grossi and Chuck Wright returned for the following tour but Neil Citron (ex-Lana Lane, Hero and Head Shaker, the latter fronted by David Donato who recorded some demos with Black Sabbath in 1984-85 before becoming member of former KISS guitarist Mark St. John’s band White Tiger) would later collaborate with Frankie Banali on two blues rock albums, “I’ve Got the Blues (And It’s All Your Fault)” and the Vanilla Fudge inspired cover album “Peanut Butter Fudge”, both non-label releases in 2012. Citron would later form the progressive rock group BangTower with virtuoso Welsh bassist Percy Jones and LA drummer Walter Garces. Their sophomore album, “With N With Out” (2016), featured guest performances from Frankie Banali. The digital-only BangTower EP “Hey, Where’d Everybody Go?” (2017) also featured Banali on acoustic percussion.
Banali also recorded with other acts during his second stint in Quiet Riot. In addition to his work with W.A.S.P., as already mentioned, Banali performed with Rudy Sarzo on two tracks off “Raid”, a 1993 album by the Atsushi Yokozeki Project. “Mama Again” was an instrumental with Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee (ex-Rough Cutt, Ozzy Osbourne) while “More Than Enough” featured Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane) on vocals. Atsushi Yokozeki himself is a Japanese guitarist who’d released a number of solo albums in the 1980s in addition to being a member of the band Bronx.
“Raid” also featured Tim Bogert, Carmine Appice (both formerly of Vanilla Fudge and Cactus), Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken), James Kottak (ex-Kingdom Come), David Glen Eisley (ex-Sorcery, Giuffria and Dirty White Boy), Greg Chaisson (Badlands), Bobby Blotzer (Ratt), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger, ex-Rubicon, Ozzy Osbourne), Kim Carnes, Craig Goldy (ex-Vengeance, Rough Cutt, Giuffria, Dio) and Ray Gillen of Black Sabbath, Blue Murder and Badlands.
Javier Mendoza released an album called “Tinta Y Papel” in 1998. Produced by Ken Hensley (ex-Uriah Heep) who played electric organ, it featured Banali on drums along with Steve Bailey (bass) and guitarists David Black and Steve Scott.
2002 saw the release of “Passion”, the second album by Julliet. Formed in Tampa, Florida, in 1985, Kevin DuBrow helped with the band’s debut. It’s supposedly material from these sessions which were issued as “Passion”. Produced by DuBrow, Banali played drums on the recordings.
Steve Fister released “Dodgin Bullets” in 2007. Banali played drums on the tracks “She Ain’t Lonesome”, “When Love Comes To Town”, “Master Plan” and “In A Past Life”. The album featured appearances Stu Hamm, Tony Franklin, Greg Bissonette, Tommy Aldridge, and others. Steve Fister has supposedly a history with Quiet Riot in addition to having performed with artists such as John Kay & Steppenwolf, Bon Jovi, King Kobra, The Pat Travers Band, Joe Satriani and Poison. He also served as musical director and guitarist for Lita Ford on tour.
Banali declared the end of Quiet Riot when DuBrow died of a cocaine overdose in November 2007. He then went on and formed another band with Tony Franklin. Also featuring Jeff LaBar (lead guitar, vocals), Freakshow released a self-titled album in 2009. Banali was co-credited for “Four Leaf Clover” with main songwriter Markus Allen Christopher, who also played guitar and sang lead vocals.
Despite his previous insistence that Quiet Riot could never return as a live performing entity, Banali sought the blessings of DuBrow’s mother and announced a new version of Quiet Riot in September 2010. Consisting of himself on drums, Chuck Wright on bass and Alex Grossi on guitar, the trio would remain together until the death of Banali. They’d go through a number of vocalist, however: Mark Huff (2010-2012, formerly of a Van Halen tribute band), Keith St. John (2012, ex-Montrose), Scott Vokoun (2012-2013), Jizzy Pearl (2013-2016), Seann Nicols (2016-2017) and James Durbin (2017-2019), before eventually re-uniting with former Love/Hate leader Jizzy Pearl. Through the years, Pearl (born James Wilkinson in 1958) has also sung for L.A. Guns, Ratt and Adler’s Appetite.
Jizzy Pearl’s only album with the band was “Quiet Riot 10”, produced by Frankie Banali in 2014. Pearl sings on the six studio tracks while the final four tracks are live performances from the band’s final shows with DuBrow in 2007. Rudy Sarzo guested on bass for “Bang for Your Buck” and “Backside of Water” while Tony Franklin did the same for “Rock In Peace” and “Back On You”. Sadly, none of the album tracks appears available on youtube.
The group’s story was told in a 2014 documentary, “Quiet Riot: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back”, directed by Regina Russell who married Banali later that year.
There was only one track released featuring Seann Nicols, a former member of Adler’s Appetite and Icon. Intended for 2017’s “Road Rage” album, the track “The Seeker” was withdrawn when Quiet Riot decided to fire Nicols and re-record the entire album with American Idol alum James Durbin.
Durbin eventually quit the band in September 2019, with the album “Hollywood Cowboys” coming out in November. It was to be Banali’s final album.
Having played with Bob Kulick in Blackthorne, Banali appeared on several of the tribute albums that Kulick went on to produce. Banali could be heard playing on covers of songs by AC/DC, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Metallica, Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Randy Rhoads.
Banali also appeared on Bob Kulick’s only solo album, 2017’s “Skeletons in the Closet”. Banali played on the track “London” which also featured vocals by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. Featuring recordings from 1992-94, 2016 also saw the release of “Don’t | Kill | The | Thrill”, a 2CD with 11 “new” tracks (a second studio album that never was), interviews and live recordings of Blackthorne.
Banali was forced to sit out several Quiet Riot shows throughout 2019 as he was receiving treatment for stage-IV pancreatic cancer, being replaced by either former Type O Negative drummer Johnny Kelly or former W.A.S.P. drummer Mike Dupke depending on each drummer’s availability.
In addition to being a spokesperson for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Banali was a passionate advocate for animal rescue. Donations in his name can be made through Fixnation.org, Aspca.org, Pancan.org or Children.org.
“Over the years he supported many orphaned children in different countries and saw those children through to adulthood. From time to time he would show me pictures of these children… children he would never be able to meet. He never spoke publicly about it. That’s who Frankie Banali was”, noted Blackie Lawless and mentioned that the last thing he wrote to Banali was that “you and I did a song called “Hold On To My Heart”, … hold on to mine… I’ll hold on to yours”. His reply: “Love You Brother”.
Selected Frankie Banali discography:
1981: Billy Idol – Don’t Stop (EP)
1982: Noël & The Red Wedge – Peer Pressure
1982: Billy Thorpe – East Of Eden’s Gate
1982: Hughes/Thrall – Hughes/Thrall (2 tracks only)
1983: Quiet Riot – Metal Health
1984: Quiet Riot – Condition Critical
1985: Randy Bishop – Underdog
1986: Quiet Riot – QR III
1986: Hear ‘n Aid – Stars (single)
1986: Kuni – Masque
1986: Jon Anderson – 3 Ships
1988: Quiet Riot – QR
1989: Alex Masi – Attack of the Neon Shark
1989: W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children
1989: Gary Hoey – Get a Grip
1992: Heavy Bones – Heavy Bones
1992: Edward Furlong – Hold On Tight
1992: W.A.S.P. – The Crimson Idol
1993: Blackthorne – Afterlife
1993: Gary Hoey – Animal Instinct
1993: Atsushi Yokozeki Project – Raid (2 tracks only)
1993: Quiet Riot – Terrified
1995: W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough
1995: Quiet Riot – Down To The Bone
1998: Javier Mendoza – Tinta Y Papel
1999: Quiet Riot – Alive And Well
2001: Quiet Riot – Guilty Pleasures
2001: W.A.S.P. – Unholy Terror
2002: W.A.S.P. – Dying for the World
2002: Julliet – Passion (archival recordings?)
2004: W.A.S.P. – The Neon God: Part 1 – The Rise
2004: W.A.S.P. – The Neon God: Part 2 – The Demise
2006: Quiet Riot – Rehab
2007: Freakshow – Freakshow
2007: Steve Fister – Dodgin Bullets (4 tracks only)
2012: Neil Citron with Frankie Banali – I’ve Got the Blues (And It’s All Your Fault)
2012: Neil Citron with Frankie Banali – Peanut Butter Fudge
2014: Quiet Riot – Quiet Riot 10
2016: Blackthorne – Blackthorne II: Don’t | Kill | The | Thrill (archival recordings)
2017: Quiet Riot – Road Rage
2018: Quiet Riot – Live in Milan
2019: Quiet Riot – Hollywood Cowboys