When the famed metal band Quiet Riot takes the stage later this year for the first times since 2007, a The Dalles man will be center stage.
Mark Huff, a 1981 The Dalles High School grad, has signed as lead singer for Quiet Riot, succeeding Kevin DuBrow, who died in 2007. He joins drummer Frankie Banali, bassist Chuck Wright and guitarist Alex Grossi.
Banali decided to revive the group while going through video material for a documentary on the history of the band, which formed in the 1970s. He quickly recruited former band mates Wright and Grossi. Pondering how to fill DuBrow’s large shoes, he remembered Huff’s singing in videos by the Van Halen tribute band 5150 and invited him to a cattle call audition.
“The first thing that strikes me, is that I know it’s going to be an uphill deal with the fans,” Huff said Tuesday from his San Diego home.
Acknowledging he faces an “uphill journey for sure,” Huff says the opportunity is a dream come true. “I knew this was going to be an emotional thing on a lot of levels,” he said. “Music is an emotional thing anyway. I’ve dreamt of an opportunity like this since I was a teen in The Dalles.”
Huff had always hoped to hit it big in the music industry. While playing at night, he has made a good living as a foreman for a custom house painter by day and continues that work as plans form for Quiet Riot’s return. Letting go of the big dreams opened the way for this opportunity, he said.
“I’ve matured as a vocalist,” he said. “I’m probably just now ready for this opportunity.”
Huff’s gutsy, gravelly tenor is classic heavy metal, though he said the ability to sing in the upper registers gives him the flexibility to cross many musical genres and cover many different artists.
“I’ve been a voice impressionist of sorts,” he said. “Now I’m going to get a chance to put my stamp on things. I’m excited about that.”
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BW&BK recently received the following press release regarding Huff joining Quiet Riot:
After the tragic passing of co-founding Quiet Riot singer Kevin DuBrow in 2007, many figured that the band was over. But while going through the vaults of vintage video material for an upcoming documentary of the band's history, the spark was reignited once more for drummer Frankie Banali to kick QR back in gear. The easy part was filling the guitar and bass slots - as former members Chuck Wright (bass) and Alex Grossi (guitar) promptly signed on. However, having to fill DuBrow's large shoes was no small task.
A longtime fan of heavy metal, singer Mark Huff came to Banali's attention while fronting a California-based VAN HALEN tribute band (that focused on the SAMMY HAGAR era). A true Cinderella story, Huff auditioned via a cattle call audition, promptly blew Banali away, and got the gig. After getting the blessing from DuBrow's mother to carry on with Quiet Riot (and to celebrate her son's music), the group was ready to rock once more.
Quiet Riot hit mega-success with their first-ever US release in 1983, the classic Metal Health. Spawning two hit singles that have gone on to become synonymous with heavy metal - 'Cum On Feel the Noize' and 'Metal Health' - the Metal Health album went on to become the first-ever metal US debut to hit the #1 spot on the Billboard album charts, and resulted in a solid year of sold-out arena shows and non-stop MTV video airplay. However, it was the DuBrow-Banali-Wright-Grossi line-up that proved to be DuBrow's favorite touring line-up (and also, most stable).
Quiet Riot is currently firming up plans for a full US tour - their first in three years. And with the aforementioned documentary on the horizon, and the band's music being used in hit films (The Wrestler, Tropic Thunder), video games (Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s), and even musicals (Rock Of Ages) - as well as QR being name-checked in songs by WEEZER and BEN FOLDS - Quiet Riot remains a major force in heavy metal. And soon, you will get a chance to bang your head once more to Quiet Riot, at a concert venue near you!
More on Quiet Riot, including new recorded versions of a few of the band's songs, with Mark Huff on vocals, can be found at this location.