Catching Up With…
Quiet Riot’s drummer is a poster boy for pushing through adversity. A new documentary tells the tale, warts and all.
by Patrick Berkery
When Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back, a documentary chronicling the rise, fall, and attempted comeback of ’80s headbangers Quiet Riot, debuted on Showtime earlier this year, there wasn’t much buzz. Then, slowly, word of mouth started circulating about the film, which chronicles drummer Frankie Banali’s humbling quest to keep the band going following the death of frontman Kevin DuBrow. Now the film can be streamed at QuietRiotMovie.com, releases are pending on DVD and iTunes, and there’s renewed interest in the band at the box office.
“It has reinforced the longtime fans—they feel validated,” says Banali, who also manages Quiet Riot’s business affairs, including grunt work like booking flights. “It’s also introduced the band to a lot of people that either didn’t care or weren’t aware of it. I think you’ll see a lot of bands from our era making documentaries now, because it’s a good way to promote. Radio won’t play any new music from us. And there’s no MTV as we once knew it to get the band in the public eye.”
Directed and produced by Banali’s fiancé, Regina Russell, Well Now You’re Here has its share of Spinal Tap qualities and cringe-worthy moments, like Banali firing a singer—a middle-age house painter—because he can’t remember the words to “Cum On Feel the Noize.” But beyond the requisite rock-doc drama, there’s substance. Banali’s determination to keep Quiet Riot going in the face of some grim circumstances is compelling. And the film’s performance sequences show that Frankie remains a big-grooving beast on the drums.
“My passion in continuing Quiet Riot has everything to do with the fact that drumming is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Banali says. “I worked very hard and struggled a lot to get to the point that we did with Quiet Riot. To end up throwing it away was not part of my DNA. That’s the thing I wanted most in my life, so I chose to continue.
“I may be doing the business of the band for twenty-two hours a day,” Banali adds, “but those two hours on stage, I turn into that kid that still loves to play the drums. It’s the most joyous thing in my life, other than my family.”