According to Billboard, James Durbin of American Idol has replaced Seann Nicols as the lead vocalist for Quiet Riot. Nicols, who was formerly with Adler’s Appetite, was with Quiet Riot for a few months — long enough to record vocals for the upcoming Road Rage album, due Friday April 21 — but apparently the writing was on the wall.
“After doing all of five live shows [with Nicols], it became apparent to everybody that it really wasn’t going to work,” Quiet Riot’s Frankie Banali says. “There were some serious creative and personal differences. I’m not the type of person who will stay in a bad marriage for the kids — the kids in this case being Quiet Riot. It was unanimous it could not go any further.”
The vocalist shuffle sets up a strange situation for Road Rage. “There’s no comfortable thing about this situation,” says Banali. “I think the record turned out great. But it’s not that band anymore, so we have to deal with it. Is it troublesome? Absolutely. Is it risky? Absolutely. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely.”
But Banali is fired up about the band’s latest addition, who he saw performing Judas Priest‘s You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ during season 10 of American Idol. “I said, ‘This guy is really talented’. “He was so passionate about the whole metal [scene], the whole rock scene. At the time, I didn’t have a crystal ball that told me, ‘You’re going to be working with him in the future.'”
That future is now-ish for Durbin and the band. Fourth-place Idol finisher Durbin will make his live debut Saturday March 18 in Wichita Kansas at the Cotillion, with the band doing a few North American gigs over the next two months. Durbin was actually the singer Banali pursued a couple of years ago when Quiet Riot was lacking a vocalist — but Durbin wasn’t available because he was under contract to do the One Epic Night residency in Las Vegas. In a bit of serendipity, Durbin met current Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi there, and they started writing songs. The result was the five song EP Maps To The Hollywood Scars: Volume 1.
In Durbin’s estimation, Quiet Riot was the band which brought metal to the masses. “Quiet Riot was the first band that made metal accessible back in ’83,” he says. That was when the Metal Health album punted The Police‘s Synchronicity out of the number one position on the Billboard 200. Durbin wasn’t yet born at the time; he first heard Quiet Riot during the early naughts on the Legends Of Wrestling soundtrack — which featured Bang Your Head (Metal Health). “The game sucked, but I kept the disc because I wanted to listen to that song. Then years later, as I started to develop my singing voice and stage personality and everything, I was compared to two people: Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot. That always stuck with me, so this makes total sense.”
Durbin says the band probably won’t perform any of the Road Rage songs live — instead, they’ll concentrate on the band’s fan favorites, around which he’s looking forward to wrapping his vocal cords. “I think there’s some really awesome gems in the Quiet Riot catalog that are really overlooked,” he says. “I love Put Up or Shut Up. I love Condition Critical and Thunderbird, even the song It Sucks to Be You from the Quiet Riot documentary [Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back]. I’m really looking forward to putting my spin on it as a singer. I feel I’m much more melodic in my singing than some of the singers Quiet Riot has featured in the past, so I’m looking forward to soaring those vocals over the crowd.”
The Durbin-iteration conceptualization process for Quiet Riot will also start soon-ish. “Alex and James have been working on some songs together that are not in the Quiet Riot style, but it showed me clearly that James is a very prolific writer, and he’s really good,” says Banali. “He’s really quick, and he really pours everything he has into every time he does a track. I expect to start writing soon. I don’t know if we’ll do another record next year or not. You can’t predict, but we’re certainly going to start writing probably in the next month or so in preparing for another record.”
Love, Dr. Scott James
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