Quiet Riot – QR III (1986, CBS/Pasha)
- Main Attraction
- The Wild And The Young
- Twilight Hotel
- Down And Dirty
- Rise Or Fall
- Put Up Or Shut Up
- Still Of The Night
- Bass Case
- The Pump
- Slave To Love
- Helping Hands
Chuck Wright – Bass
Carlos Cavazo – Guitars
Kevin DuBrow – Vocals
Frankie Banali – Drums
John Purdell – Keyboards and Programming
Total Time – 42:19
So the decline began with CONDITION CRITICAL falling a few million units short but the musical intergrity stayed intact. Looking back, the idea to keep the same formula for the first two albums worked: two records gaining at least Platinum status. Rudy Sarzo is out, Chuck Wright is in, the first of many personnel changes over the years. I remember reading that the band had worked up material for QR III, presented it to the record company, and it was flatly rejected. Back to the drawing board but it’s not a carbon copy of the previous two albums. QR III is keyboard heavy and extremely slick in production, almost over-produced. Producer Spencer Proffer making the band go in a more AOR/Pop Rock direction.
Keyboards open ‘Main Attraction’. Right away you know this isn’t the Quiet Riot you knew before. While it isn’t a bad song, it’s missing the cunch and punch of the previous openers. ‘The Wild And The Young’ is the new teen anthem and first single. And it’s not a Slade cover! Very good song, big sound, sing-a-long chorus but very clean. No rawness like previous singles, very clean production, good nontheless. ’Twilight Hotel’ is my favorite song on the album, a great ballad that has a haunting sound. Granted it’s keyboard laden and very AOR oriented, almost like low grade Journey, but it’s very good. This was the second single and video following the MTV-formula: release a rocker, then a ballad.
‘Down And Dirty’ is a good song but the keyboards kill it for me, makes it sound like New Wave or Pop until the chorus kicks in. Tone down the keys and bring up the guitar and you make it better. ‘Rise Or Fall’ is sugary uptempo filler, a wimp rocker. The main riff of ‘Put Up Or Shut Up’ harkens to TURBO era Judas Priest but not as heavy. Is that even possible? That riff sounds like a slower version of the ‘Locked In’ riff. Still, it’s a decent song that retains some of the original Quiet Riot feel.
‘Still Of The Night’ is ballad #2 and it’s not bad but where is the guitar besides the solo? All keyboard and Kevin, even Frankie’s drums are missing. ‘Bass Case’ is a throw-away instrumental, I never understand the practice putting an instrumental to record to fill space. Chuck Wright is a fine bass player but is this really necessary?
Everytime I listen to ‘The Pump’ I hear that Geddy Lee style keyboard a la ‘Tom Sawyer’ but not as ballsy. I always sing the first line of ‘Tom Sawyer’, laugh, and skip it. Bad filler. Out of nowhere comes ‘Slave To Love’ giving off a Survivor feel with a catchy chorus. This is definitely radio friendly but still to sugary sweet compared to the METAL HEALTH days. If you’re going to change your sound then you do it this way…..with keyboards complementing the guitars. The first crunchy guitar shows up on ‘Helping Hands’ but it’s gone as quickly as it comes as the keys take over for the guitar until the solo.
A departure from the traditional Quiet Riot party sound. More a combination of AOR, Pop, and Hard Rock than traditional “in your face” Hard Rock. Obviously, the band searching for a direction in a more diverse Rock scene. There are some good songs here: the first four, ‘Down And Dirty’, and ‘Slave To Love’ but they could all use a bigger sound on guitar and drums. The keyboards need to be toned down.
Personally, I like this album due to nostalgia rather than the actual material. I was a big Quiet Riot fan back in the day and I remember reading about the new album coming out in Circus Magazine. I checked the record store every week until it came out. One look at the cover and you think it’s going to be a great album. ‘The Wild And The Young’ got heavy rotation on MTV so I got into it right away. I spin this a few times a year but this album does mark a time of change and a huge downward spiral for a band that were kings of the Rock world 3 years earlier.