FIB MUSIC: Sure, but it might be cool to have an official release of the first two Quiet Riot albums, as is.
You know how collectors are.
Kevin: I suppose, but then again you can
understand why I don't concentrate on it, you know?
FIB MUSIC: Are the other Quiet Riot cd's still in print? Like QR III?
I don't know. (laughs) You'd have to ask Frankie. I'm not that in touch with that part of my past. Again, I live my life,
in a, you know...........when someone looks at the history, it's kind of a neat thing I guess. Some people can view us as being
a cheeseball band from the 80's, that happened to play with Randy Rhoads.....I've seen that written.....I mean, I read everything
that is written down, I don't take most of it
seriously at all, because I live my life like every other human being, in the moment. I don't get all caught
up in it, you know?.......I do get caught up in the history and the perception people
have of it. I mean, Glenn Hughes has the toughest thing, he admits in public to being a good friend of mine. (laughs)....and
he's got a lot of credibility and that's no necassarily a credibility launcher. (LAUGHS) And he always says I'm one of the most
misunderstood people, but he's Glenn Hughes....he has a lot of credibility in this business...as a musician.
FIB MUSIC: We actually have original cd's of the Glenn Hughes release, "Incense and Peaches", not the bootleg 2 on 1 cd either.
Kevin: Ok. I have that. I collect Glenn stuff. That's a collection of demos and things from different things.
I have an original too. If you go on what used to be Napster, now it's like Limewire....you put in Glenn Hughes and you get some pretty
good stuff. I mean, aside from maybe Tori Amos, I think Glenn Hughes is the most searched for when it comes to
wanting to find rare, or obscure recordings. Tori Amos, Glenn, Sheryl Crow....you put in their names and you can find some really badass things. I'm
a big Sheryl Crow fan too, so for somebody who really likes her, you can find some really great songs that aren't on her records. Glenn's the
same way...there are acoustic versions of songs that haven't been released. So if you're a Glenn fan there is a lot out there. Acoustic versions
and live versions...that's the shit with Glenn.
FIB MUSIC: You'll have to excuse my ignorance on some of the history, but did you form Quiet Riot with
Randy, or was the band already functional when you came on board.
Kevin: There was no band. They were looking to put a band together....Randy and Kelly Garni and they
were looking for a singer. You know, they didn't give a shit about what the singer sounded like, they just needed somebody that was
going to be the singer. So what I brought to the table wasn't vocals, it was basically motivation that I wanted to be a singer in
a band and I would do the job of more than just singing. I would get things together for the group; I was a motivator. I found
managers and stuff like that. And you know, these guys were just out of high school, but it was barely.....I mean, their attitude was
just still.....Kelly Garni would tell you know that they were.....kind of, still a mess.
FIB MUSIC: How long does it take before you have a complete band?
Kevin: Pretty much within two months we had the drummer.
FIB MUSIC: And you guys are out playing gigs?
Kevin: Yeah, we're out playing dumb gigs.
FIB MUSIC: Now before you joined the band you were a photographer, right?
FIB MUSIC: That was in the early 70's?
Kevin: Correct, yeah. I shot Rod Stewart in 1970 and that made me want to become a singer. I wanted
to get on the other end of the lens.
FIB MUSIC: Who were some of the other musicians that you photographed.
Kevin: Ummmm. Jeff Beck a number of times.....I mean all the stuff I listen to today, I was
photographing back then. Robin Trower, Mott the Hoople.
FIB MUSIC: Were the photos being published?
Kevin: Yeah. Guitar Player Magazine....Rock Magazine, it was just called Rock. I was
a photographer from like '69 through '75 and I started playing with Randy Rhoads in '75. So when I started playing with him, I ceased
being a photographer.
FIB MUSIC: Any cool memories stand out from those days as a photographer?
Kevin: Not really. An aftershow party for West, Bruce and Lang, they were all
really rude to me. (laughs) Leslie West was really rude and I have met and jammed with him since then and I never mentioned it
to him. (laughs) But nothing really, I was a kid. I was just sneaking backstage at concerts. Security was a lot different back then.
FIB MUSIC: What was the songwriting process between you and Randy Rhoads?
Kevin: It was really more Randy than anything else. I didn't really consider myself a
songwriter in the original band.
FIB MUSIC: But you were writing lyrics, right?
Kevin: Yeah. But the first couple of songs we played had lyrics already written. They were
given to me. Yeah...that's how it was and then Randy said, "you're a singer, so you got to be a songwriter too", so then I started
writing out of necessity. I mean, one of the reasons I sing so loud is because I had to get over the volume of Randy Rhoads. (laughs)
It's one of those things, you know?
FIB MUSIC: So Quiet Riot actually comes before Van Halen, right?
Kevin: Yes, it was before Van Halen.
FIB MUSIC: Is Randy considered a guitar hero at that time?
Kevin: Ummm. They kind of came up in the clubs around the same time. When we first started
in '75, that was before Van Halen, but they both started to get known locally about the same time.
FIB MUSIC: How would you describe Randy Rhoads?
Kevin: Great. He was really funny....he was a good guy....real personable, very
sarcastic, which I find really endearing. Not the way everybody thinks of him now, that's for sure. I mean, I think of him the
way he was and it has nothing to do with what is being said about him.
FIB MUSIC: Like what kind of stuff? How sweet and nice he was?
Kevin: Yeah. He was sweet, but not like sugar sweet. He was a nice guy, but he
was sarcastic and smart aleck-y. I mean, very smart aleck-y.
FIB MUSIC: So Quiet Riot is your first "real" band?
Kevin: Yeah, it was my first band pretty much. Like I said, I was playing with Stan Lee
from the Dickies, but that wasn't really a band. He was just learning how to play guitar.
FIB MUSIC: You know, we had a family friend that worked at A&M Records back in the 80's and I remember him
telling me about a time when you guys played in front of the building when you were trying to get signed.
Kevin: We didn't actually play, we had a bunch of our fans get on flat-bed trucks and picket the
label, saying "SIGN QUIET RIOT".
FIB MUSIC: Oh, ok. And the cops came and shut it down?
Kevin: Yeah....made the picketers move on.
FIB MUSIC: I still remember him telling me that he wished he would have signed you guys.
Kevin: Yeah, but you know, he's in the music business. It disqualifies you from having any ears. (laughs)
Offense intended....I mean, they all had a chance to sign us ten times over.....and even the people who did sign
us didn't know what they had.
FIB MUSIC: How does Quiet Riot sign with Sony in Japan?
Kevin: The management we had......it's kind of a long story. We were signed in '76 and we did
a showcase for Casablanca Records, Neil Bogart, loved the band, said he was going to sign the band and changed his mind a week later.
We went and played before every other label; they all passed. Then Neil Bogart came and said "I changed my mind, I am going to sign
them" and we went ahead and started to record the record and Neil Bogart changed his mind again. So, in the middle of recording the
record we went to a label called Buddha and they said they were going to sign the band and they ended up going bankrupt. So, we
are stuck in the middle of recording this record and management put up the money to finish making the record. They couldn't get
any American label to sign it, so they went to Japan, because they also managed a band called Angel, who was very big in Japan and they
got CBS Sony to put up the money for it in Japan. We tried to get get an American label to sign it and they wouldn't, so we made
the second one just for CBS / SONY Japan. Then eventually, Randy left the band and joined Ozzy.
FIB MUSIC: But they came out in the 70's, right?
Kevin: Yeah. They were released in '76 and '77.
FIB MUSIC: Did you guys tour over there?
Kevin: Never went over there.
FIB MUSIC: So, they were released over there and then that was it?
Kevin: That's it. Yeah. A lot of legend, very little action. We were very frustrated.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you record Quiet Riot I & II?
Kevin: Ummmm. The first one was done at the old Wally Heider Studio in Hollywood and the
second one was done at the legendary Record Plant in Hollywood.
FIB MUSIC: Anything cool stand out from those recording sessions?
Kevin: The Record Plant stuff was neat. They were rebuilding the studio, because they
had a fire. It was the same time.....we were recording the second japanese album and they were mixing the Cheap Trick -
"Live at Budokan" in the same place and I remember those guys being over there and they were adding all the stuff to it, because
the original tapes of "Live at Budokan" were not recorded well.....that's all I really remember about it. I mean, if you have
heard the stories or the rumors.....they had what they called the Rack Room, these were rooms with jacuzzi's and all kinds of stuff
in the old '70's....pretty neat, you know? For the rock stars that come do all their drugs and stay all night....they encouraged
rock stars to do drugs and stay all night, because they would build up a big studio bill.
FIB MUSIC: I guess they would even bill the drugs to the musicians as well?
Kevin: I don't know, you know? This was way before any drug use on my part. I was
so naive on what was going on....these guys were all staying up all night and I was eating Winchell's Doughnuts and staying up.
I didn't know what anyone else was doing; it was years later that I realized what was going on. I once said to Randy, how come
I never saw anyone doing any of this and he said, "everyone always knew how much you hated drugs, no one ever wanted to do it in
front of you". That's so weird to hear.
FIB MUSIC: You hated drugs back then?
Kevin: Oh Yeah. I frowned upon them.
FIB MUSIC: So how do you end up having your legendary cocaine habit?
Kevin: You know, my cocaine habit was nothing compared to other peoples.
FIB MUSIC: Then how do you get involved in it; do you remember when you first tried it?
Kevin: We did a show at the Starwood and someone said, you wanna do some blow and I said
sure, fuck it. It was really that simple. But my use of cocaine was no greater than any members of Motley Crue or Van Halen. It was
less if anything.
FIB MUSIC: At what point in your career do you start using?
Kevin: The year before we made it is when I first started to get high, because it was getting
frustrating having the record business not getting what we were doing. Any person with any common sense understands that this business is
not built on winners.
FIB MUSIC: What was the music scene in LA like at that time?
Kevin: Terrible. Van Halen got signed a couple of years prior and we thought maybe we
were going to be the next ones, but we weren't. We were the only hard rock band, pretty much, in town at that time. Motley Crue had
just got started, so they were pretty much coming out to the clubs. We had been out there as Quiet Riot for a number of years. A lot
of bands like that Knack.
FIB MUSIC: Do you remember the band London?
Kevin: I remembered them....they were just awful....oh God.....I mean, nice guy, Lizzie Grey, but the
worst guitar sound of all-time. I remember he could peel wallpaper it was so treble-y and bad. He's a really nice guy and he's still
hanging out there....God Bless him.....I don't know how he earns a living after all these years. The drummer Dana ran into him about
two years ago.....I knew all the guys.....I mean, they had Nigel Benjamin from Mott the Hoople and I was a big fan of Mott. They were
never very good. Nikki stumbled onto a real good thing with Motley Crue image-wise. Because Motley Crue started in the image of
London, which was very pop.....really pop.....and then Nikki realized that wasn't going to be the thing that was going
to crack it for them.
FIB MUSIC: Well, Nikki also borrowed some things from....
Kevin: Blackie (Lawless). Absolutely. But he took a much darker, evil hard rock thing as
opposed to the REAL light pop thing of London, because it was REAL pop. It was trying to be a mix between the Rasberries and
the New York Dolls and musically, really light.
FIB MUSIC: So you guys are pretty much the first hard rock band on the scene?
Kevin: Well, Quiet Riot predated London by years. London was around about the same time
as Dubrow. But remember Nikki Sixx auditioned for Quiet Riot, when Kelly left in '77.
FIB MUSIC: You're kidding.
Kevin: No. We predated these bands by at least four or five years. Long years, let me tell
FIB MUSIC: Was Nikki any good at that time?
Kevin: No. He didn't know the names of the notes. Yeah, so Randy couldn't sit there and
teach him how to play bass and we really liked him as a person, but he just didn't know how to play the instrument...that's not an
insult, it's just a fact. I mean, in 1977 he did not know the instrument.
FIB MUSIC: But he actually sat down and jammed with you and Randy?
Kevin: Not really. We said the song is in the key of F and he said, "where's F?". So we
couldn't get as far as jamming, to be honest with you.
FIB MUSIC: Speaking of other bass players, we have done a 3 part interview with Rik Fox, who also
has some history with you, right?
Kevin: He auditioned for Quiet Riot himself.
FIB MUSIC: Now he seemed to think that he had the gig.
Kevin: That's what his problem was, he thought he had the gig, without even playing a note. Then he
started to have issues with the terms of his deal, before he had even played a note with us. We said, "you're way blowing it, because you
haven't even played a note yet". He started to take too many liberties, to the point where we were.......we were not in the mood after
what we had just gone through with Sarzo for the fifth time. We were not in the mood to hear it and we said, "you know what, take a
walk". Another nice guy, but we didn't want to hear it, we didn't want to negotiate a deal, when the
guy hadn't even played a note yet.
FIB MUSIC: I think Rik had mentioned that he thought he had the gig, but was instructed
to keep it quiet and somehow it got leaked.
Kevin: Ohhhh yeah. That must be what it was. He didn't have the gig yet and
he let it leak out.
FIB MUSIC: At what point was that? Was it after Condition Critical?
Kevin: Yes it was. It was between Condition Critical and QR III, before we got
FIB MUSIC: So why didn't you just go back to Chuck Wright in the first place?
Kevin: If I remember correctly, he was with Giuffria, so it wasn't as simple as that. But
he got to the point where he hated Greg Giuffria, so at the time it was easy to get him out of the band. Remember Giuffria had a hit
single and we had a tour of South America and we needed somebody. Rik Fox's name was in it and so was a kid named, Chelle Benner, who did the tour, another kid who was talented, but completely in over his head. I mean, the one thing
about Frankie and I is....if you don't have your wits about you, we will eat you for lunch. One thing about our guitar player Alex Grossi....we
have basically hazed this kid. This kid has put up with more shit from these two old guys and he still comes through. We have eaten
a lot of guys and spit them out....we have no patience.
FIB MUSIC: Why did Kelly Garni leave the band?
Kevin: He had an alcohol issue and him and Randy got in a fight about me and then there
were some guns involved, I wasn't there, but he had to go (laughs). He was going to kill somebody. Either me or Randy. But now
we are really good friends, he's actually the guy who takes care of my house when I go out on tour. The new Quiet Riot promo photo
was photographed by Kelly. We played in Las Vegas three weeks ago and I picked him out of the audience and mentioned he was there.
FIB MUSIC: So he's the photographer now.
Kevin: Yeah. Strange turn around there, huh?
FIB MUSIC: How do you guys find Rudy Sarzo?
Kevin: He was somebody that we used to see at the Starwood and understood what we were
trying to do. He seemed like a nice guy at the time, so that's how he got the gig. He had the right image and those years, he
was a great bass player back then. I'm not saying now......but I can tell you that back then, he was a wonderful player in 1977 and '78......wonderful player.
FIB MUSIC: What happens to Drew Forsythe?
Kevin: He was in the band all the way up until Randy joined Ozzy. When Randy joined Ozzy I changed the
name of the band to Dubrow, because you can't continue to call it Quiet Riot without Randy Rhoads...in LA. Then we continue as
Dubrow, but I realized that Drew was not the right type of drummer for what I was trying to do and was not the right drummer for me as
a singer, trying to get better as a singer.......Many people have told me this before.....So what happens was that I got Frankie Banali, who was
the best session guy in Los Angeles. He played on Billy Idol's Mony Mony record, played on everybody's records, as a silent session guy.
FIB MUSIC: So, then you guys go back to Quiet Riot.
Kevin: Right. The name was a better name for a national group than Dubrow. We only
couldn't call it Quiet Riot as a local band. But once we were a national band, that stigma of Randy Rhoads had nothing to do
with anything anymore. That was only a local issue.
FIB MUSIC: Just to lay any doubt to rest.....Was it Dana Strum that introduced Randy Rhoads to
Kevin: Correct. He hooked that whole thing up.
FIB MUSIC: How does it all go down when Ozzy takes two of your members?
Kevin: Well, he didn't really take two of them, he took Randy to make the records and they did
the records with Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley and then when it came time to tour America for whatever reason they had, they decided to
fire the rhythm section........and they wanted Tommy Aldridge for a long time, so he already had the gig......and they auditioned a
bunch of bass players.......and Randy set it up so that Rudy could audition for Ozzy. But Rudy was not in Quiet Riot at
that time. He was not a member of Dubrow, he was just sleeping on my couch
FIB MUSIC: Why wasn't he in Dubrow?
Kevin: Ummmm. He was playing in Angel....he auditioned for Eddie Money.....he wasn't really.....
the writing was on the wall about him a long time ago, as far as a long term relationship with him. You know, he was very upfront about
the fact that he wanted somebody who had a record deal. Not a good guy to come up through the bars with. Very impatient.
FIB MUSIC: He has bounced around to several bands throughout his career.
Kevin: Exactly. Well, he's not a songwriter, he's not a contributor in that way, so he's got to
do what he can to continue to earn a living.
FIB MUSIC: How do you feel when Randy joins Ozzy?
Kevin: Very....very hurt. Very unhappy. But I had to carry on. I was glad for him....you know, I
was always his biggest fan.....I loved his guitar playing......I only wanted to see good happen to him. I didn't to want see.....myself.....ever
hold him back. But I was unhappy about it.
FIB MUSIC: Was there ever a plan to work together again?
Kevin: We discussed it, but it was all in that discussion phase. I think Randy would have
said to everybody, what everybody else wanted to hear......I always felt that way about him. He was just a nice guy and was always saying what
everybody wanted to hear. We talked about it many, many times.
FIB MUSIC: Did you talk to him much while he was in Ozzy?
Kevin: Everytime he was on break, he would call me and we always got together.....yeah, we always
got together. I mean, when they played their first time at the Long Beach Arena in Los Angeles.....we had a Dubrow gig and he somehow
found me after the show....I'm at a party and the phone rings at this party and someone says it's Randy Rhoads on the phone for you.....he
says "My pedalboard is broken, will you fix it?".....I said, "Fix it?" (laughs) "I don't know anything about it" and he says,
"You made my old one" and I said, "Yeah, but it was velcro and L brackets". So he finds me at 2 in the morning and has me look
at his pedalboard. So, I always saw him....We always kept very close. He was a great guy. He wasn't a fairweather guy at all.