Since news of Quiet Riot singer Kevin DuBrow’s death broke this week, there has been an outpouring of memories of the fallen rocker from the band’s fans, as well as from musicians and friends who worked closely with the outspoken frontman.
DuBrow was found dead at age 52 inside his Las Vegas home Sunday evening; an official cause of his death has yet to be determined, pending autopsy and toxicology results. According to police, there were no signs of forced entry at DuBrow’s home, and investigators do not suspect foul play.
“Today is a sad day,” Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx told SavioursofRock.com. “I was thinking about sitting in Kevin’s apartment in 1979. I had just been over to [late Quiet Riot/ Ozzy Osbourne guitarist] Randy Rhoads’ learning some of their songs. Randy called Kevin while I was there and told him they should get me to be the bass player in Quiet Riot. I passed … ’cause we all had a destiny. [Kevin] always did what he loved most — music — and always said what was on his mind. And that is the measure of a man. He will be missed. I’m grateful to have those early memories … before the fame, just kids with dreams.”
Poison drummer Rikki Rockett first met DuBrow 20 years ago, and the two formed an immediate friendship. Rather than focus on his personal memories, Rockett’s statement on his Web site hailed the singer’s contributions to the heavy-metal realm.
“Quiet Riot put metal on the radio in the early ’80s, in spite of the vanilla new-wave surge of Duran Duran clones at the time,” Rockett recalled. “However he died or why, let’s just remember the colossal contributions that he made. Rest in peace, my brother.”
Glenn Hughes, the vocalist and bassist best known for his contributions to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, told MelodicRock.com that he and DuBrow “were [like] brothers” who spoke on a daily basis.
“The Kevin that I knew was a beautiful human being,” Hughes continued. “He was kind, giving, nurturing and generous. He would stay at my L.A. home when he was in town. I never saw Kevin loaded. He respected my sobriety. He always spoke about the change of my lifestyle and how he also wanted to change his. The last conversation I had with him 10 days ago was about this subject; he said he had to make some life changes. I was so happy and elated to hear this.”
Hughes said the last time he spoke to DuBrow was November 16, when the two friends discussed travel arrangements for a party Hughes was having November 23.
“Then, there was nothing. No communication. Zero,” Hughes said. “Come Thanksgiving, I knew something was strange. At the house, Kevin’s room was prepared as always. I thought, ‘He’s [going to] come jumping through the door any minute and demand to play the winner of the pool game between [Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer] Chad Smith and myself.’ As the party ended, Gabi [Hughes’ wife] and I spoke of his absence. She was very upset. All along, I felt something [was] seriously wrong.”
On Sunday, Hughes — who performed a guest vocal spot on Quiet Riot’s last studio offering, 2006’s Rehab — said he called DuBrow’s ex-girlfriend, who had no information concerning the singer’s whereabouts. “I asked her if she knew a paramedic who could go over to Kev’s house and investigate,” Hughes wrote in his statement. “Dana, the medic, got in the house only to find my sweet brother at peace. I am completely shell-shocked. We were planning to go to Hawaii for some relaxation in the new year. For those of you that didn’t know him, he was a true, true friend. I’m going to miss our dinners at the Palm in Beverly Hills. I’m going to miss his loud voice bellowing through my house. I’m going to miss those oh-so-corny jokes. We all will miss him. Sleep well, brother. Your legacy is in good hands with me.”
Former Warrant guitarist Billy Morris, who’d played guitar with Quiet Riot occasionally during the band’s later years, issued a statement to the Cleveland Scene, in which he expressed utter disbelief at DuBrow’s passing.
“This blows me away,” Morris wrote. “No one would ever imagine this happening to Kevin, especially me, after knowing him for the past eight years. During our tours together, he would really take care of himself, eating well (certainly better than the rest of us). He’d take his vitamins every day, and always kept his body and voice in check. One thing about Kevin was that he was always so thankful for what he had. Performing live and creating music were his passions, and he was grateful for the time he spent with his friends and fans. The rock scene has lost an icon, an individual who brought it every night.”
Annihilator’s Jeff Waters also chimed in on his own site, discussing DuBrow’s impact on the musical genre he’d lived for.
“Quiet Riot had an impact on me when I was a teen, and when I wasn’t listening to their music, I was playing it or seeing a cover band that was playing it,” he explained. “Their music was rock and metal and party music all in one. It is a sad day for metal, as DuBrow and Quiet Riot helped, in their own way, make metal what it has become today. You will be missed by many, and thanks for the memories and the music.”
But no one knew DuBrow like his bandmates, many of whom broke their silence Monday night in online postings.
“I really don’t know where to start,” wrote guitarist Alex Grossi on his site. “Kevin was a beautiful soul, and I feel more than fortunate to have known, worked and learned from him. Kevin was always a positive influence in what sometimes can be a very negative business. I am proud to have called him my friend, and always will be. [He] was a true lover of music and was extremely dedicated to his craft. I am honored to have been part of a band that changed the face of hard rock forever and to have been given the opportunity to play, write, and most importantly, be part of his life. He will be forever missed.”
Bassist Chuck Wright told MelodicRock.com that he’s “shocked and devastated” by DuBrow’s death and feels he’s “truly lost a brother” in the singer.
“It’s a very sad loss for the world of rock and roll,” Wright said. “I’m so very fortunate to have been a part of his life these past 26 years. I have so many fond memories, and it’s a blessing that these recent few years have been so great with the band. There is no reason to say, ‘I wish we could have …’ [because] we did. I still can’t believe I won’t be sharing the stage with his larger-than-life presence ever again. The man left a mark wherever he went, and I’m heartbroken that he is no longer with us.”
On MTV’s Headbangers Blog, former Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo said that he, too, was shocked by the news. “The last thing you expect when you get up in the morning is something like this,” he said. “He was somebody who really loved life. He loved to have fun and have a great time. Every day to him was like a party — that’s what it was like when I played with him. I think he’ll be remembered for being a hell of a rock singer. He was definitely one of the best singers of the ’80s.”
In a statement to CNN, drummer Frankie Banali said he’d “lost [his] best friend,” and said that, “out of respect for both Kevin and his family,” he wouldn’t comment further on the situation. “There’s going to be a lot of speculation out there, and I won’t add to that. I love him too much.”
Fans reached out to MTV News with their thoughts on the passing of a musical icon.
“Kevin … was very rich in the way people loved him as a lead man in a rock band,” said Twig, a 31-year-old fan from Greensboro, North Carolina. “That, my friend, is worth more than anything. We will always remember that crazy guy onstage that gave you what you paid for — a good time.”
“I will never forget the first time I heard Quiet Riot,” offered John from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. “I was like, ‘What is this?’ It was the door opening for heavy metal and me. So sorry to the family and friends of Kevin. I will forever ‘Feel the Noize.’ ”
“One of the greatest voices in metal has been silenced, [and] I will miss him,” said Robert of Springfield, Illinois. “I am glad I got to see him live within the past five years. He was as great then as he was in [his] prime.”
“This guy had more talent in his wig than Britney Spears has in her whole body,” said Sydney from Redwood City, California. “Godspeed, Kevin. Bang your head eternally with the good ones.”
“I feel as if I lost an old friend,” said Johnny, 38, of Austin, Texas. “It’s kind of like we grew up together, as music and songs remind us of our teen years. … Take it easy, Kevin, and thanks for the music and energy you shared through your voice.”
“Kevin’s passing makes for quite an impact,” said Gypsy from Tacoma, Washington. “The metal world will never be the same without him.”
See what other distraught fans are saying about DuBrow in You Tell Us, and send along your comments too.