A good movie is a good movie -even if its subject is a Heavy Metal Band.
My taste in music is as snobby as my taste in music; there are no Quiet Riot tunes in my library. So why would I deign to watch a movie about them?
Well, the movie’s imdb rating of 9.4 piqued my curiosity.
Also, I am not unfamiliar with their signature anthem “Cum On Feel The Noize.” I would wait hours watching MTV for a Kajagoogoo video (“Hang On Now;”I’m convinced it was played only twice) as Quiet Riot’s videos ran seemingly on the hour.
I knew their lead singer Kevin Dubrow had followed the Behind The Music trajectory up to his death from a drug overdose. Also, I’m sure many shared my astonishment learning that his plastic surgeon brother is the husband of a Real Housewife of Orange County.
I didn’t realize that Quiet Riot was the first Heavy Metal band to have a number one song on the pop charts. Dubrow was as driven as Madonna. His brother says he “willed himself” into becoming a singer (I would say “shouter”) despite lacking any musical talent.
Heavy metal music was being shunned in the early 1980s in favor of poppy New Wave. I don’t know if DuBrow ever realized it, but his band’s success came from his co-opting the brightly colored spandex outfits worn by the acts he despised. He can be credited (or blamed) for paving the way for all the hair metal bands that followed in their wake.
This movie isn’t an extended post-mortem episode Behind The Music.
Its focus is on the band’s drummer, Frankie Banali. Who knew a Heavy Metal band drummer could be familiar with the intricacies of a Japanese Tea Ceremony? Pas moi.
Frankie has had a hard life; he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter, and he’s still mourning Kevin’s death. They were more than bandmates, they were best friends. Kevin was the engine of Quiet Riot, as integral as Freddie Mercury was to Queen.
Queen went on, successfully or not, depending on whom you ask, after Mercury’s death. Could Quiet Riot? Should it?
The movie follows Banali on his quest to answer those questions, in real time. This detail is what makes this movie superior to the similar documentary of the band Journey’s quest to go on without its own ubiquitous frontman in Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey. In that movie, the drama of finding their new singer was covered in the first ten to fifteen minutes and the rest of the movie was a bore.
This movie is about Frankie and his band. It hasn’t been sanitized to make everyone look good. There’s drama here that rivals any episode of any franchise of the Real Housewives.
On that note, I laughed out loud when his brother is interviewed and identified as “Terry Dubrow, M.D.” I guess he charitably declined to promote his own reality show by not being referred to as “Terry Dubrow, ‘Botched’ Plastic Surgeon.”
Frankie Banali and the movie’s director Regina Russell will be at the screening.
U.S., 2014, 109 min. Saturday, November 15th, 8:00pm at KDHX