Metal HealthMy earliest musical memories are listening to disco on Kasey Kasem’s America’s Top-40 in the late 1970s, but I really started to form my own musical taste in the early 80s, which meant two things: New Wave and Hair Metal.  While I had friends who were devoted fans of Ozzy, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi, I was then and remain today far more attracted to the sunnier side of music.  One inexplicable exception was one of the very first albums I ever bought: Quiet Riot’s smash 1983 album Metal Health, featuring their only hit, a cover of Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize”, an undeniably great song, catchy and hard-rocking.  (As an aside, my only memories of the hottest girl in my grade 7 class, Tracy Ulch, are her whooping to a fellow classmate’s mention of Motley Crue in a speech, and her replacing the line “Girls rock your boys!” in “Cum on Feel the Noize” with “Girls f**k your boys!” but doing it in a totally adorable way far removed from her normal haughtiness.)  Some of my favourite things about Metal Health?  That drummer Frankie Banali is credited with “Drums, Percussion, Car Horn, Bevies”, Guitarist Carlos Cavazo plays “Guitars, Guitars and more Guitars”, and best of all, singer Kevin DuBrow takes care of “Lead and Backing Vocals, Mike Stand” (DuBrow’s mike stand was memorable, a black and white-striped pole that he swung with authority).  The band’s hair, each a distinct version of the type of hair no one wants to be reminded that they dreamed of having in 1983: Rudy Sarzo’s feathered beauty, Frankie’s curly Italian ‘fro, Carlos’ piled-high lion’s mane, and Kevin’s thin-on-top mullet.  The cover, which depicts a lunatic clad in electric green pants, shiny red leather straightjacket, and the rough-cut metal mask from which his left eye glares, as if pleading “buy me, take me home!”  I didn’t need to be asked twice.  The music!  The title song, urging you to bang your head, because “metal health will drive you mad!”  Side One’s “Slick Black Cadillac” and “Love’s a Bitch”.  Although I haven’t listened to this album in many years, writing this memoir has convinced me to drop it on the turntable again, partly because I have absolutely no memory of any of the songs on Side Two.

Trivia: Randy Rhoads was the band’s original guitarist, and although his tribute from Ozzy Osborne is more well known, Quiet Riot does their part for their fallen bandmate by dedicating Metal Health to his memory.