Kevin Dubrow: Quiet Riot lead singer

Kevin Mark DuBrow, singer and songwriter: born 29 October 1955; died Las Vegas 25 November 2007
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The Independent Online

The Eighties hair metal band Quiet Riot are best known for their over-the-top cover version of Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize", a hit in the US and UK in 1983. Their gravel-voiced lead singer Kevin DuBrow more or less matched Noddy Holder's hollering performance, and also did a great version of Slade's "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" on Condition Critical, the fourth Quiet Riot album, which charted in 1984, and was the follow-up to their breakthrough album, Metal Health.

Packaged in a striking sleeve, which featured DuBrow in a lurid red straitjacket and wearing a hockey mask – a reference to Jason Voorhees, the murderous villain in the Friday the 13th horror franchise – Metal Health sold six million copies and was the first metal album to top the US charts, knocking the Police's Synchronicity off the number one spot in the process. But despite supporting Judas Priest on a tour of the British Isles, Quiet Riot found little critical favour.

DuBrow had formed the band back in the mid-Seventies with the guitarist Randy Rhoads, and the original line-up issued two albums in Japan before taking a break when Rhoads went to play with Ozzy Osbourne, before dying in a plane accident in 1982. DuBrow started anew and was critical of other hair metal bands like Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Poison and Cinderella who followed Quiet Riot. This attitude didn't endear him to others in what was a rather incestuous scene centred around Los Angeles. He also wasn't much keen on the Slade covers which had made Quiet Riot's name, famously admitting that the band never rehearsed them. "It was the record company's idea to do 'Cum on Feel the Noize'," he said. "They conned us into doing it. It's a pop song. Our influences were much more in the Led Zeppelin vein."

The singer grew up in Hollywood and in the San Fernando Valley and was drawn to the sleazy rock scene on LA's Sunset Strip. DuBrow relished the rock'n'roll lifestyle but he partied so much that in the late Eighties he was fired from Quiet Riot and replaced by Paul Shortino for the 1988 album Quiet Riot. He subsequently rejoined and was still fronting a version of the band alongside the long-serving drummer and manager Frankie Banali.

Last year, Quiet Riot issued an album entitled Rehab and had recently been touring. Despite selling millions of albums, Kevin DuBrow had amassed huge debts. He blamed the deal the group had signed in the early Eighties for their lack of royalties. But, "when push comes to shove, I get to do what I love for a living," he said.

He was found dead at his home in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Pierre Perrone

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