NXNE 2014: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back – The Quiet Riot Movie – Documentary Review
Director: Regina Russell Runtime: 105 min Rating: STC
Poison, Ratt, Cinderella. These are names that most people who have lived through the eighties, or have been exposed to the music of the time have heard repeated for their legendary sound and style. Quiet Riot, however, is well remembered but less respected, as they have gone through numerous rough patches throughout their history, which has gained them fans and critics alike. Through Quiet Riot Movie, the spectator will gain firsthand insight inside the lives of those members who remain, and how to them Quiet Riot remains a dream and a life style.
Filmmaker Regina Russel follows Frankie Banali, drummer for quiet Riot, as he tries to bring the band back together, and as he explores the complicated history of his band and its impact in the music world and in himself. Through interviews with Banali, other members of Quiet Riot, and other musicians, a complete picture of what it was like to live the Rock Star dream comes together, only to show that the status comes with as much tragedy as it does satisfaction. The film uses the recent nostalgia trend in order to create a portrait of an era that knew no limits, in which young people found their voice, and people like Frankie Banali found their calling.
Since I personally am not very familiar with the history of metal bands in the eighties, and have never felt particularly close to the genre, I was very skeptical to believe this documentary was going to be even remotely entertaining. I was very pleasantly proven wrong however, as I was left with knowledge of something that was completely unknown to me, but which had elements of struggle and camaraderie that I found easy to relate to. The documentary is effective because it provides such a complete outlook into the inner workings of the band, and makes the spectator a firsthand witness to things like auditions (which taught me that auditions in real life can be as bizarre and outlandish as movies make them out to be), and the training of new members and the effect they have on the band’s morale and image. For fans of the band this will certainly be a very good opportunity to connect even more with the music that they love, but I also strongly encourage those with little knowledge on the subject to give the film a go, since it provides all different types of insight, not only into the music industry, but into the interpersonal relationships that are born through having a musical act.
I never thought I would get so severely invested in the future and well being of an eighties metal band that I barely even knew, but by the end of the whole thing I was seriously rooting for the future of Quiet Riot to be bright, and that really says a lot about how compelling the documentary is. Not only does it project a sympathetic light on the remaining members of the band, but it also provides an honest and earnest outlook into the actual lives of rock stars, which now that their prime has past live mostly in suburban homes with small dogs. It was very interesting to see things that challenge the common conceptions of what leading life as a musician really entails.