Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kevin Dubrow

Note: The following words were originally published in a Herostratus MySpace bulletin.

For those who haven't heard. Kevin Dubrow, singer of Quiet Riot sadly left this earthly realm last night (November 25th 2007).

Some of you don't know me that well, but those that do know that Quiet Riot's Metal Health album was the first album I ever owned. It was the album that made me a metalhead. It was the album that maintained my sanity as I rebelled against oppressive and rather insane parents. It was also THE album that gave me the desire to play guitar. If not for Quiet Riot and Kevin Dubrow, Herostratus would certainly not exist and neither would I.

Ironically, it was an anti-rock convention at a church my parents dragged me to that helped cement my faith in Quiet Riot and Heavy Metal. At this convention the speaker condemned all Heavy Metal of course, but curiously he didn't say anything about one of the bands he had plastered all over his anti-rock sign-boards. This band was Quiet Riot.

So after his warped presentation I confronted him and asked why he had pictures of Quiet Riot and Stryper included with all the other bands he claimed were satanic. He told me that he didn't know anything about Quiet Riot and that Stryper were satanic because they used God's name to make money. This is when I realized that my parents, my school teachers and the church were completely off their rockers.

Not long before this, a combined effort from my parents, teachers and pastors had me convinced that I was going to burn in Hell if I kept listening to Heavy Metal. I walked home from the bus stop after a day of Lutheran elementary school listening to Quiet Riot on my walkman and crying because I 'knew for a fact' that I was very definitely going to burn in Hell (which at that time I believed was very real). And it just didn't seem fair.

In my youth I listened to Quiet Riot's Metal Health so often I wore out five albums on cassette (each copy I paid for mind you). Happily I got to tell Kevin this on one of the three occasions I got to meet him. Very definitely one of the coolest big time rockers I've ever met. He came across as a very sincere person and even thanked me for asking for his autograph on my sixth purchase of Metal Health (on CD finally) which he hilariously ended up signing twice in the throes of autograph mania.

Furthermore, I'm proud to have regularily played and talked about Quiet Riot on the Metal Storm, a radio show (R.I.P.) that I used to produce on KRPR 89.9. I'm also proud to have seen the classic line up three times.

One of those times was at the Medina Entertainment Center in Medina MN, where afterwards Kevin jokingly told me he would kill me if I didn't write a good review. Anyway, during the show, between songs I started screaming "Love's a Bitch" when I didn't see it on the set list; a few others joined in and almost before we knew it the song took flight with the audience screaming the chorus as loud as possible. How awesome is that?

That all said. I am very thankful that Kevin, Rudy, Carlos, and Frankie reformed and recorded and toured for Guilty Pleasures (the album I am listening to right now) as it gave me a chance to finally see and meet childhood friends I had never met but were always there for me. Friends that are ever present throughout my memories of digging 5 ft deep holes in a city park, of lighting my action figures on fire (and almost burning down the house in the process), of taping bottle rockets to model airplanes, of building tree forts that sometimes fell out of the tree, of driving my parents car through the garage door when it was down (and before I had my license or permit), and of course Kevin and Quiet Riot were always there during the many hours spent reading comic books. In fact there are probably very few memories of my youth in which Quiet Riot weren't present.

Rest in Peace Kevin. You deserve it.

- Ace Herostratus Warloch