Monday, November 26, 2007

Truly A Quiet Riot: Lead Singer Kevin Dubrow, dead at 52

Las Vegas, Nevada--You know, I'm certain there are a lot of really mean things being said about this man right now, and as far as I can tell, it's probably unfair. Granted, Quiet Riot were not a particularly good band, and they were part of a pungent wave of truly lousy heavy metal during the 1980s, but they were pretty funny and entertaining. I miss the fun of that period, even as bad as it was, and it was pretty bad. But at least it wasn't the way things are now. It's going to sound cliched, but things really were simpler during the eighties, and even if they didn't make much sense there was a fun to the dumbness of the decade.

There was more than wink and a nudge to Quiet Riot, I saw them at the age of 16 (yes, I was THAT bored), and by far, the worst band at that festival I attended in Michigan (circa 1984) was the truly wretched Europe. There is no worse song than 'The Final Countdown,' making anyone with a clue who's heard it wish that the entire band was strapped-to-a-rocket (no helmets) destined for the sun.
The opening synth-melody has to be the dorkiest musical inexpression and was a waste of studio time, but at least it was funny on 'Arrested Development.' It was worth it for that. Even the late Frank Zappa made fun of Quiet Riot, and so did a whole lot of people. But really, compared to so many others, they were pretty innocuous, tame. What most didn't notice is that they were making it clear they thought all of it was goofy too, they got the joke that rock had become by the early-1980s. I'm certain they understood the humor of 'This is Spinal Tap.'

What is interesting about them, however, is that Randy Rhodes played for the group for a short time--well, he played for everyone for a short time, but that's not important now. And yes, the original Slade songs were done better by Slade, it's just true. I won't make excuses for Mr. Dubrow, but as a kid, I was entertained briefly by him and his death sounds unfortunate. If he died of an overdose, it's his own fault, death by misadventure, but it doesn't sound likely. Dubrow was known to take care of himself, especially in these later years. All said, he'll be missed, even if I really never liked the music of Quiet Riot for more than a few months when I was half-mad--as we all are as teenagers--from raging hormones. Yes, I owned the picture disc of 'Metal Health,' satisfied? Hey, I liked the Sex Pistols, DEVO, and the Talking Heads then too, so gimme a break... ;0) There was much worse then, much worse.

[Ed.-Breaking news, the Vice President's heart rhythm is now normal, running at a steady 'bossa nova.' Tah-dah!]