Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot, H&B Interview – Covering The Zombies + More

2021-02-09

Pictured: Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot and H&B. Interview: Alex Grossi discusses Quiet Riot and more with Anne Erickson in this in-depth interview.

Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot and H&B – Story by Anne Erickson, photo credit Tammy Lynn

Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot, H&B and more joins Anne Erickson to talk about his work with Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses in H&B, new cover tunes and more in this in-depth interview

Alex Grossi has performed in numerous bands and projects over the years, from ’80s heavy metal kingpins Quiet Riot to big, 2000s rockers Beautiful Creatures. Now, Grossi is releasing a bevy of cover songs with Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed as part of their Hookers & Blow band. The group’s most recent cover offers a fresh interpretation of The Zombie’s hit “Time of the Season,” and a full album of covers is on the way.

Grossi sat down with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio to discuss the cover of The Zombie’s “Time of the Season,” the memory of Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, what’s next with all of his projects and more. Watch the full interview via the YouTube player below, and subscribe to Audio Ink Radio on YouTube here.

Anne Erickson: Alex, it’s great to talk with you. How have you been doing during this crazy time?

Alex Grossi: All things considered, I’ve made the best of this whole pandemic thing, between recording new music and finishing up old music that I previously had not had time to do, because of all the touring I do. I’ve made the best of it. I do miss playing, but at the same time, it’s been nice to be able to be creative without the pressure of having to constantly leave the house to go work. So, it is what it is. We’re all in the same boat.

You guys have a cover song out, putting your stamp on The Zombie’s “Time of the Season.” What made you and Dizzy Reed want to cover The Zombies?

Well, Dizzy, obviously, is a keyboard player, and the keyboardist of The Zombies was a big influence on him. When we first started Hookers & Blow, we put it in the set, and we played a live version of it. It was never really all that good in the beginning. When we got in the studio and decided to record, I said, “Why don’t we try that song?” We put it down, and it kind of morphed into a newer version. What you hear now is not what it was. He really went all out with all the keyboards and everything in it, and his wife, Nadja Reed, who sings in the band– this is the first song she’s singing leads on. So, it’s a cool thing for us. I think it’s a good choice. It’s a good dichotomy between the other stuff we’ve released so far.

When the full record comes out, will there be any original music on there, or will it exclusively be covers?

No. Not on this record, but we are also working on a solo record from Dizzy that he wrote, and it’s all his own original material. We kind of keep the two separate. We do play some of it live, but Hookers & Blow has always just been a cover band– just a party. The whole point of it was to not work. I’m in Quiet Riot, he’s in Guns N’ Roses, Johnny (Kelly) is in Danzig and Mike (Duda) is in W.A.S.P. Those are gigs that require you to be responsible and on time and sober. When you get Hookers & Blow together, it’s kind of like going on a camping trip with your buddies and getting away from work. So, writing music and actually putting time and effort into it, that would constitute work. And, that’s not what we want to do. We’re trying to avoid work! (Laughs)

It was so sad when we lost Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot last year.

Yeah, that was absolutely devastating, because, I mean, I’ve been in the band for 17 years now with Frankie, and the guy pretty much raised me. Like, when I moved to Hollywood when I was 25, I didn’t know anybody. There’s not much in the way of people trying to keep you responsible out there. When I met up with Kevin DuBrow and Frankie, they kind of took me under their wing and looked out for me, not only as a musician, but as big brothers. Yeah, devastating. I mean, it’s horrifying. And for him to have to go through what he went through, I mean, 16 months of fighting that f***ing disease. Just horrible. But, I do take solace in the fact that, A) he’s out of pain now. He’s– I don’t know, wherever he is, he’s probably in a much better place. And, B) he left the earth at just the right time, because s***’s going crazy.

I miss him every day, but I feel him around me, and I think with the band continuing on and with the band being his baby, the way it was, I think that that’s how you are immortal. You’re still there. I mean, he’s not here, but he is here. We’re talking about him right now, and some radio station in Wisconsin is playing “Mental Health” right now, I guarantee it.

What do you miss most about Frankie?

I miss just having the day-to-day text message exchanges and just jokes and laughs. I mean, the music’s one thing, but when you’re in a band with someone, it’s like you’re married to them. It’s like you’re having a brother or three brothers. It’s like we lost a brother, literally. I mean, because, it was every day. If something really funny happened, I’d have to call him and tell him about it. If something really bad happened, a tragedy. We shared a lot– we went through a lot together, good and bad. With Kevin dying and then getting the band back after Kevin died, and then burning through all the singers, you know, everything. I don’t know if you saw our movie or not, but we have a documentary that documented the whole process.

I’ve actually seen the Quiet Riot documentary.

Yeah. Oh, so you’ve seen it. That was shot over five years of our lives. We went through a lot together, and I miss having that. He was always the anchor and the rock in Quiet Riot. I mean, he held everything together. If Kevin had some sort of issue or Kevin went sideways or the promoter went sideways or the airlines went sideways, Frankie fixed it. He was the guy. He was like the Wolf in “Pulp Fiction.” … But, I just miss him. I mean, he was a great person, and the world is definitely a little bit of a quieter and not as cool of a place without him, for sure.

Do you feel like you’re carrying on Frankie’s legacy by keeping Quiet Riot going?

Well, yeah. I feel that it’s his legacy. It’s Kevin’s legacy. It’s that whole genre’s legacy. I mean, listen, 10 out of 10 people are going to die. That’s a fact. So, when the time comes when a lot of these guys are no longer around but that music is still out there, people are going to want to hear it. Especially ’80s metal. Those bands were so big and so iconic. You’re still going to see a version of Kiss or probably a version of Motley Crew out there 20 years from now. Who knows? Because, at the end of the day, it’s a brand name. It’s a license to print money, and people want to hear it. Why wouldn’t you?

You have so many different projects. Is there anything new with Beautiful Creatures?

I just saw Joe Lesté. He came out to Vegas to visit with me a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about some new music. Right now, it’s weird, because no one is touring, and it’s just– to put out new product now, it’s a moot point. It would really fall on deaf ears. But, we’re still together. The band originally had DJ Ashba on guitar before me, and this is the 20th anniversary of when the first record came out, and our plan was to do a big 20th anniversary party in Hollywood and celebrate and have DJ play, as well, if he was available. But, then the pandemic hit… so, at some point we will do something, though.

What’s ahead for you with all of your bands and projects?

Well, Quiet Riot, we actually, believe it or not, have shows coming up. Quiet Riot’s got a socially distanced, big theater show in four weeks at a place called The Landis Theater in Vineland, New Jersey. It’s limited tickets, but that’s going to happen. And then, from there, I’m flying to Texas to do a run with Hookers & Blow, socially distanced, COVID-19 compliant. Everyone’s sitting down with masks on, but we’re doing dates. Other than that, I’m working on some new stuff with Dizzy. We’re talking about doing some acoustic stuff. Once the pandemic hit, we had to start recording virtually. I’ve done everything in my studio here. Every track you hear on the record, I would say about 50 percent of them were done here, right in my studio. We have not been in the same room for months, you know? So, we’re going to definitely keep moving forward, but we have to pick and choose what we put out. Because, like I said, with everything going on, who knows what’s going to happen with touring. I mean, I think, already, this summer is going to fall apart. I don’t think that Motley Crue tour is going to happen or anything like that.

I kind of feel that way about concerts and festivals this summer, too. It’s too soon.

It’s too soon, and, I mean, if they’re canceling 2,000 to 3,000 seat shows, there’s no way they’re going to put 50,000 people in a football stadium, with a vaccine coming out yet. So, it’s not going to happen. But, of course, they’re not going to tell anybody that, because they don’t want to give their money back. But, they’ll keep postponing it. So, in 2027, the arena tour with Def Leppard and Motley Crue, you’ll have that ticket from 2020 and 2027!

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