Following recent reports about the reformation of Quiet Riot, I’ve decided to look back at the life of their former, and late, vocalist Kevin DuBrow.
Kevin Mark DuBrow (October 29, 1955 – November 25, 2007) was an American rock singer best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Quiet Riot from 1973 until his death in 2007. On December 10, 2007, media reported that DuBrow had been pronounced dead on the afternoon of November 25, 2007, and that the cause of death was cocaine overdose.
DuBrow grew up in Los Angeles, California, and eventually settled in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys at age 13. At some time, he learned to play a twelve-string guitar. DuBrow was raised Jewish and had the nickname “Butch” growing up. DuBrow’s first band consisted of 11-year-olds that played only one gig to an audience of senior citizens who were not particularly fond of rock music. By the time he was in his mid-teens he had developed an appreciation for a number of British rock acts including the Small Faces, Slade, Spooky Tooth, Rod Stewart and Humble Pie. It was the latter of those influences that would leave the biggest impact on DuBrow and act as a compass in his musical career.
Quiet Riot was formed by Randy Rhoads and bassist Kelly Garni (who would be replaced by Rudy Sarzo) in 1973, who recruited DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth. This lineup disbanded in 1980 when Rhoads went on to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band, with Rhoads personally enlisting Greg Leon as his replacement. For a time the band’s name was changed to DuBrow, which had a rotating lineup of members including Leon, Chuck Wright, Frankie Banali, and brothers Tony and Carlos Cavazo. After Rhoads’ death in a plane crash in 1982 while on tour with Osbourne, DuBrow changed the name of the band back to Quiet Riot. Rudy Sarzo left Osbourne’s band and rejoined Quiet Riot shortly before the release of Metal Health, which went to the top of the charts, making Quiet Riot the first metal band to achieve number one status on their (U.S. release) debut album. Their singles included “Cum on Feel the Noize” (originally written and recorded by English band Slade in 1973), and “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)”.
Shortly after his February 1987 departure from Quiet Riot, which was decided during a Japanese tour in December 1986, DuBrow signed with Kim Richards for personal management. With Richards’ help, DuBrow formed and began recording with a new band named “Pretty Women.” Richards, who was working on the soundtrack for the Blake Edwards directed movie “Switch” at the time, arranged for the DuBrow penned “Slam Dunk” to be included on the movie’s soundtrack.
In 1991, DuBrow regrouped with his Quiet Riot bandmate Carlos Cavazo in a new band called Heat. (Quiet Riot had continued on in 1988 with new singer Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt but by this time were disbanded.) By 1993, Heat had renamed themselves Quiet Riot and rejoined with Frankie Banali on drums.
Quiet Riot continued through the 90s in several different incarnations. They released several albums including Terrified, Down to the Bone, Alive and Well and Guilty Pleasures.
In 2004, DuBrow recorded a collection of cover versions for his first solo album, In for the Kill. The album was recorded in DuBrow’s hometown Las Vegas, Nevada.
DuBrow also worked as a DJ for the Rock Station in Las Vegas, KOMP 92.3
During 2006, Quiet Riot worked on a new studio album that was expected to be released in either 2006 or 2007. The band stated that they had set no timetable for the release of the album, that they were financing the project themselves, and that it would be released when they saw fit and on their terms.
The album, Rehab, was released on October 3, 2006. The lineup on the album was DuBrow, Frankie Banali, Tony Franklin, and Neil Citron. Singer Glenn Hughes also made a guest vocal appearance on the album.
When Dubrow was 40, he lived in Newport Beach, California as he waited for his Las Vegas home to be built. During this time, Dubrow was quiet offstage. He spent a lot of his spare time cooking and shopping.
“Kevin wasn’t one of those flashy guys,” said Susan Emmett, general manager of the Villa Nova restaurant in Newport Beach. “Sometimes celebrities are so high-maintenance, but Kevin was so unpretentious, warm and friendly.”
Dubrow’s brother described him as always active and upbeat.
On November 25, 2007, The Vegas Eye reported on its website that DuBrow had been found dead that day in his house in Las Vegas. Drummer Frankie Banali confirmed DuBrow’s death in an email to Spain’s The Metal Circus, Banali wrote:
|“||Please respect my privacy as I mourn the passing and honor the memory of my dearest friend Kevin DuBrow.”||”|
Initial reports were confirmed by local authorities and reported by major news outlets on November 26, 2007. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental overdose of cocaine. KTNV in Las Vegas reported that he had died about six days before his discovery, November 19, 2007. DuBrow was buried in Pacific View Cemetery in Corona del Mar, California, next to his stepfather, Harold Mandell. A rabbi presided over his funeral service on November 30, 2007.