“Cum On Feel the Noize”: Remembering Quiet Riot’s self-sabotaging lead singer Kevin DuBrow

By on October 18, 2019

Now streaming in our collection of “Night Flight: Take Offs” — we’ve got so many of them that we’ve split them up into two sections on Night Flight Plus —  is our “Take Off to Metal 2” from 1984, which features Quiet Riot‘s video for their cover of Slade’s 1973 glam epic, “Cum On Feel the Noize.”

They were led by self-sabotaging lead singer Kevin DuBrow, who would have turned 64 this month on October 29th had he not been found dead in his Las Vegas home on November 26, 2007, from a cocaine overdose.

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Quiet Riot’s MTV-friendly video from 1983 features a young teen — playing their Metal Health album in his bedroom — who is rocked out of his bed and dumped down in front of the band in concert … or was it all just a nightmare/dream?

The video made them something of an “overnight sensation,” but Quiet Riot had actually been knocking around L.A.’s hair metal club scene for several years by that point.

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Burbank, CA-born lead guitarist Randy Rhoads had originally formed Quiet Riot back in 1975, along with bassist Kelly Garni (later replaced by Chuck Wright), drummer Drew Forsyth, and an 18-year old singer from Van Nuys named Kevin DuBrow.

Like Rhoads, DuBrow — who’d previously sang with the band who would morph into the Dickies — was a big fan of UK glam-rockers like David Bowie and Slade.

Quiet Riot’s first two Japan-only albums — Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II, released in 1977 and ’78, respectively — were expensive imports that didn’t attract much attention.

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DuBrow, however, attracted too much attention for frequently spewing his hate for rival Sunset Strip bands like Mötley Crüe and Van Halen.

DuBrow’s opinionated rants from the lip of the stage — not to mention his laughable skin-tight zebra-striped rock ‘n’ roll trousers — earned him a bad reputation, turning off a lot of the people who might have championed the band, from managers to club bookers.

At their gigs, hair metal fans frequently told Rhoads he was a great guitarist, but they always wanted to know when he was going to dump their obnoxious ego-maniac singer.

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At least thirty-two different record companies scouted Quiet Riot, but none of them wanted anything to do with DuBrow, who became a rock ‘n’ roll pariah.

Read more about Quiet Riot below.

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Randy Rhoads ended up splitting from Quiet Riot to join Ozzy’s band in October ’79, which ended up leaving DuBrow as their leader.

DuBrow reportedly wasn’t a Black Sabbath fan, and didn’t know who Ozzy Osbourne was, and he reportedly couldn’t figure out why Rhoads would leave his own band to join Ozzy’s.

He probably figured it all out after the success of Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz (1980) and Diary of a Madman (1981), which saw Rhoads being singled out for his incredible guitar-playing.

For awhile, DuBrow — who’d replaced the irreplaceable Rhoads with Carlos Cavazo — changed the band’s name to DuBrow, but after Rhoads was killed on March 19, 1982, in a tragic accident while on the road with Ozzy, he changed their name back to Quiet Riot, partly in memory of their fallen former comrade.

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Bassist Rudy Sarzo split from Ozzy’s band to take Wright’s place in the studio, bringing with him Ozzy’s drummer Frankie Banali.

They’d both been bandmates together in New York before re-locating to L.A. (Sarzo would quit Quiet Riot again in ’81, returning again just a few years later).

It’s with this classic lineup — Dubrow (lead vocals), Cavazo (guitar), Sarzo (bass) and Banali (drums) — that Quiet Riot were finally signed to CBS in September of 1982.

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After its release on March 11, 1983, Quiet Riot’s third album, Metal Health — released through Pasha Records, a subsidiary operated by their producer Spencer Proffer — stormed up the Billboard album charts, the first heavy metal album to reach #1.

“Cum On Feel the Noize” — suggested by Proffer, who though covering it might produce a potential hit  — made it all the way to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On Sunday, May 29, 1983, a still-relatively unknown Quiet Riot appeared during “Heavy Metal Day” at the US Festival at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernadino, CA.

They shared the stage with rivals Van Halen and Mötley Crüe, as well as chart-topping metal acts like the Scorpions, Triumph, Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne, who DuBrow thought sounded “like a frog.”

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By the summer of 1984, Metal Health had sold six million copies in the U.S., but Quiet Riot had by then become the most vilified metal band in L.A., all because of DuBrow’s ugly rants.

Sarzo would quit Quiet Riot once again in 1985 — due to DuBrow constantly bickering and insulting fellow metal bands — and was replaced by a returning Chuck Wright.

Quiet Riot were pressured by Pasha to come up with another hit for their next album, 1984’s Critical Condition.

To achieve this, they even recorded a second Slade cover, “Mama Weer All Crazee Now,”  but it failed to crack the U.S. Top Forty.

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Quiet Riot released several “comeback” albums between 1986 and 1996, but none were able to duplicate the chart-topping success of Metal Health.

DuBrow was finally kicked out of the group in 2004 — he tried a solo career, releasing his In For The Kill album — but he was eventually invited back for what turned out to be their final album, 2006’s Rehab.

Watch “Take Off to Metal 2” — which also features videos by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Accept, the Scorpions, Rock Goddess, Girlschool and more bands we just know you secretly love — on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.