Frankie Banali Dies: Quiet Riot Drummer, Key Part Of First Metal Band To Top Album Charts Was 68

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Frankie Banali, the drummer for Sunset Strip legends Quiet Riot, died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday. He was 68 and his death was announced by his family.

Banali was a public presence on his disease’s progress since his initial diagnosis in April 2019. Although he missed several shows during treatment, he was active on social media. A GoFundMe page was created to assist Banali with his battle, raising more than $47,000.

A statement from his family said that Banali “put up an inspiringly brave and courageous 16-month battle to the end, and continued playing live as long as he could. Standard chemotherapy stopped working, and a series of strokes made the continuation on a clinical trial impossible. He ultimately lost the fight at 7:18 PM on Aug. 20 in Los Angeles, surrounded by his wife and daughter.”

Katherine Turman, the co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, remembered Banali as “always energetic, upbeat, and positive, as evidenced in his powerful drumming, and the massive amount of musician peers who cited him as a friend and influence. A cool, much-loved guy and super-hard worker and drummer, he’ll be missed by so many in the LA scene and around the world.”

Banali was born in Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 14, 1951, moving to Los Angeles in the mid 1970s. He was first a drummer in the revived New Steppenwolf, led by former bassist Nick St. Nicholas. He left that gig in 1979 and began working with singer Kevin DuBrow, whose Quiet Riot disbanded when guitarist Randy Rhoads and bassist Rudy Sarzo left to join Ozzy Osbourne.

The band was originally called DuBrow, but changed back to Quiet Riot after joining forces with bassist Chuck Wright and guitarist Carlos Cavazo in 1982. Sarzo returned after leaving Osbourne’s group following Rhoads’ death.

The group released the album Metal Health in early 1983, and achieved massive success. The group’s cover of Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” were giant hits, making the album the first heavy metal album to top the Billboard albums chart. It went on to sell more than six million copies. They also opened the US Festival Heavy Metal Sunday that year in front of an estimated 400k attendees.

That success was the group’s high water mark, and numerous lineup changes – including DuBrow leaving in 1987 – ensued before 1989’s final breakup. Banali then joined Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P., moving later to Faster Pussycat and Heavy Bones.

In 1993, Quiet Riot formed again, with Banali also serving as manager in addition to drumming. The group lasted this time until 2003, broke up again, then returned in 2004. DuBrow died in November 2007, with Banali working with assorted lineups through 2019.

The group’s story was memorialized in the 2015 documentary Quiet Riot: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back. The film was directed by Regina Russell, who married Banali.

Donations in Banali’s name are requested by the family to,, or

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