Author's note: This blog was originally part of 411Mania's Year End Tributes. It can be found here:
hen Kevin DuBrow passed away on November 19th, the condescension was palpable. The elite music magazines and websites acknowledged DuBrow's death, but you could almost see the smirk on the writer's face as he was typing the obit. After all, Kevin was the lead singer for Quiet Riot, and Quiet Riot was a living, breathing Spinal Tap. It was as if they couldn't fathom why anyone would care.
Quiet Riot never had much credibility to the rock elite. They were never the heaviest band or the sleaziest band. Other bands had much cooler frontmen than the balding, cartoonish DuBrow. However, Kevin DuBrow and Quiet Riot deserve much more respect than they are given. Quiet Riot was the first metal band to hit number one on the Billboard charts, and their success paved the way for dozens of bands. Def Leppard, Metallica, Guns n' Roses and Pantera all owe Quiet Riot a debt of gratitude, because they cemented metal as a commercially viable genre. For many people, Metal Heath was their first exposure to the genre.
I saw Quiet Riot a few years ago at the Recher Theatre in Baltimore, MD. The club was half full, but DuBrow performed like he was onstage at Madison Square Garden. After the show, he stuck around and signed autographs for anyone that wanted one. He was grateful for every fan that came out to support him.
Kevin DuBrow never set out to be a serious rock musician. All he wanted to be was a rock star, and for a few fleeting years he was one of the biggest. He might not have made any "important" albums, but he certainly had a lot of fun. I think that is one thing that music has lost, and will never get back.
Rest in peace my friend.