Another mentally diseased musing from desk of:
Wes Dodson

So, I was watching Crank recently…

You know… the 2006 film, starring Jason Statham and Amy Smart?
A song in the opening soundtrack captured my attention, forcing me to
reconcile with a long forgotten moment of my childhood and bringing me to
terms with the fact that…

… Goddamn, I am old.

Those of you who share this distinction with me might recall the mainstream
acceptance of American heavy metal as a viable entertainment commodity during
Ronald Reagan’s first term in office.

In addition to cracking the Billboard 200 Album Charts, RIAA multi-platinum
status opened the commercial floodgates with the likes of Motley Crue’s
sophomore offering, Shout At The Devil (September 1983), the debut album from
Ratt, Out Of The Cellar (March 1984), and the third Twisted Sister album, Stay
Hungry (May 1984).

These were also national, name making times for studio mogul, Tom Werman, who
had the distinction of being credited as producer on both Shout At The Devil
(west coast) and Stay Hungry (east coast), respectfully.

Successful national tours with headlining NWOBHM acts of the day would couple
Twisted Sister in support of Iron Maiden’s World Piece Tour (Piece Of Mind,
May 1983), while Motley Crue landed the opening slot for the American leg of
Ozzy Osbourne’s crazed, Bark At The Moon (November 1983) tour.

However, the album responsible for unleashing this commercial, testosterone
laden soundscape on 13 year old American youths was without question the March
1983 release from Quiet Riot, Metal Health.

Metal Health was released just eight days shy of one year to the day that
founding Quiet Riot member, Randy Rhoads, guitarist for a then-fledgeling solo
venture of former Black Sabbath front man, Ozzy Osbourne, was killed in a
tragic airplane crash in Leesburg, Florida.

Following a brief cancellation of tour dates, which permitted for Randy’s
funeral and auditions to fill the guitarist vacancy, Osbourne touring bassist,
Rudy Sarzo (also an early member of Quiet Riot), along-side guitarist Brad
Gillis (Night Ranger), drummer Tommy Aldridge, keyboardist Don Airey, and a
dwarf credited as John Allen, would see Osbourne’s Diary Of A Madman tour to
its completion.

This lineup recorded a double live album of Sabbath covers at The Ritz in New
York that September, resulting in the obligatory release, Speak Of The Devil
(November 1982).

Those of us old enough to remember this record might also recall rumors that
Speak Of The Devil was negotiated by Osbourne’s record label as a ploy to
profit off the anticipated success of a soon to be released Black Sabbath
double-live album, Live Evil (December 1982).

Following the conclusion of the fateful Diary tour, Gillis would return to his
band, Night Ranger, who was on the verge of their own commercial success with
the album, Midnight Madness, the following year.

Sarzo, on the other hand, returned to Los Angeles to rejoin Quiet Riot for the
recording of Metal Health.

The band recorded Metal Health at a small Hollywood studio during after hours,
as to not interrupt the paying clientele.

A little known fact is that in return for this studio time, Quiet Riot quite
literally signed away the rights to any and all potential future proceeds from
the album.

That is to say, that when Metal Health was released in March 1983, setting an
astonishing record by not only selling one million copies in the first week
alone (all said, over 6 million units), but also becoming the first heavy
metal album to EVER reach #1 on Billboard, the band didn’t see one thin dime
in royalties!

And that kiddos… that is showbiz!

In retrospect, apart from the title track, "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)"… the
Smells Like Teen Spirit of 1983, and a cover of Slade’s "Cum On Feel The Noize",
the remainder of the record is for the most part… unremarkable. So was the
case with the next album… and the next album… and every Quiet Riot release to

In this, I reckon it is quite reasonable to pigeonhole Quiet Riot as a one hit

Albeit, it is also fair to say that they opened up the arena to the modern
American metal mainstream. They somehow managed to make themselves a distant
step-father to the music we love and cherish today.

Quiet Riot.

Go figure.

27 July 2013

The Editor's Desk