Kevin DuBrow (October 29, 1955 – c. November 19, 2007) was an American rock singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Quiet Riot from 1973 until his death in 2007. During Quiet Riot's commercial heyday in the 1980s, DuBrow was known for his on-stage charisma, black-and-white striped microphone stand, gravelly bluesy voice, and suspenders. On December 10, 2007, media reports stated that DuBrow was pronounced dead on the afternoon of November 25, 2007, and was later determined to have died of a cocaine overdose.
DuBrow grew up in Hollywood, California and attended Laurel Elementary School before settling in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys at age 13. DuBrow was raised Jewish and had the nickname "Butch" growing up. DuBrow's first band consisted of 11-year-olds that played only one gig to an audience of senior citizens who were not particularly fond of rock music. By the time he was in his mid-teens he had developed an appreciation for a number of British rock acts including the Small Faces, Slade, Spooky Tooth, Rod Stewart and Humble Pie. It was the latter of those influences that would leave the biggest impact on DuBrow and act as a compass in his musical career.
The original lineup of Quiet Riot was formed by Randy Rhoads and bassist Kelly Garni (who would be replaced by Rudy Sarzo) in 1973, who recruited DuBrow and drummer Drew Forsyth. This lineup disbanded in 1980 when Rhoads went on to join Ozzy Osbourne's band, with Randy personally enlisting Greg Leon (who would eventually leave the band to join an early incarnation of Dokken) as his replacement. For a time the band's name was changed to DuBrow, which had a rotating lineup of members including Leon,Chuck Wright, Frankie Banali, and brothers Tony and Carlos Cavazo. After Rhoads' death in a plane crash in 1982 while on tour with Osbourne, DuBrow changed the name of the band back to Quiet Riot, which his record company felt would allow the band to capitalize on wide name recognition in the wake of Rhoads' death. Rudy Sarzo left Osbourne's band and rejoined Quiet Riot shortly before the release of Metal Health, which stormed to the top of the charts, making Quiet Riot the first metal band to achieve number one status on their (U.S. release) debut album. Songs like "Cum on Feel the Noize" (originally written and recorded by English band Slade in 1973), and "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" then launched them into national fame. Nevertheless, when asked to compose more successful albums, they were unable to do so. This, coupled with DuBrow's diatribes against contemporary metal bands, the press, and eventually his own record company led to the decline of Quiet Riot. DuBrow at one point was even fired from Quiet Riot during a tour's end at Hawaii in 1987; he was abandoned in a hotel while the other members of the band left on an earlier flight.
On November 25, 2007, The Vegas Eye reported on its website that DuBrow had been found dead that day in his house in Las Vegas. Drummer Frankie Banali confirmed DuBrow's death in an email to Spain's The Metal Circus. Banali wrote:
“ Please respect my privacy as I mourn the passing and honor the memory of my dearest friend Kevin DuBrow." ”
Friends and former bandmates were said to be shocked. These initial reports were confirmed by local authorities and reported by major news outlets on November 26, 2007. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental overdose of cocaine. KTNV in Las Vegas reported that he had died about six days before his discovery, November 19, 2007. DuBrow was buried in Pacific View Cemetery in Corona del Mar, California, next to his stepfather, Harold Mandell. A rabbi presided over his funeral service on November 30, 2007.
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