An Interview with Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot

Header image credit: Loudwire

In stepping into the shoes of, and continuing on a legacy of some of heavy metal’s greatest in Randy Rhoads, Carlos Cavazo, and more, guitarist Alex Grossi has taken the reigns as the guitarist for the current iteration of an over forty-years-strong, Quiet Riot.

Quiet Riot continues to bang heads with the resurgence of 80s metal, glam, and hard rock, and a hard-hitting lineup, which finds Grossi Joined by Rudy Sarzo on bass, Jizzy Pearl on vocals, and Johnny Kelly on drums.

As Quiet Riot sweeps the nation throughout 2022 and even a cruise in early 2023, they truly are a revitalized band, poised for success. All touring info can all be found here.

Anthony:
Alex, thanks for taking the time to do this today. How have you been these past couple of years? As a burgeoning musician, what first gravitated toward the guitar?

Alex:
Thanks for having me, I am doing great, getting ready for a very busy summer. I started out playing piano and then I joined a school band, but once I got into MTV and got a copy of Appetite for Destruction and went to Rock concerts, it became pretty clear that’s what I wanted to do. Then, like most kids do and got a fun job and got my first guitar, and ended up sticking with it.

Anthony:
What was your first guitar?

Alex:
My very first guitar was a Yamaha nylon-string acoustic. Well, technically there was a friend of mine that lived in my old neighborhood who gave me this Harmony guitar that didn’t really work, so that was my very first guitar. Then I got the Yamaha nylon acoustic, so either a Harmony electric or a Yamaha acoustic, depending on who you ask.

I have been a Paul Reed Smith endorser now for twenty-five years. They are family to me and, in my opinion, the best guitar money can buy, and the best people you could ever want to work with.

Anthony:
One of your first gigs was with a band called Angry Salad. What was your indoctrination into that band?

Alex:
After I finished high school, I went to Berklee College of Music up in Boston. Angry Salad was a very popular local band that toured incessantly and I ended up joining the band and making the record that led to a deal with Atlantic Records. We toured with bands like the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20, Sugar Ray, etc. In 2001, we, along with many others, lost our deal due to the AOL/Time Warner merger, and that, as they say, was that.

In 2002, I moved to LA and joined Orange County legends Ignite. I played on their album Our Darkest Days and did several world tours. Some of the things that went on during one particular tour would make The Dirt look like fucking Glee, and I don’t mean in a cliche way. This was a flat-out complete disregard for everything. I am talking about absolutely appalling behavior, of which there was no reasonable excuse for whatsoever. We were deplorable before it was cool.

Anthony:
You were with Beautiful Creatures for a little bit. If you can, speak on your time with the band.

Alex:
I was hired by Joe Leste to replace DJ Ashba and help write the band’s sophomore album Deuce. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the track, “Freedom,” off of Deuce ended up getting used in Sons Of Anarchy and The Proposal, both of which are now constantly aired and streamed. So, even though the band’s first record got far more exposure, it was the second that ended up growing legs. Crazy how things work out. I had a great time with Joe, Anthony, and Kenny. We are all still friends. I love those guys. Plus, the mailbox money, as they say, is great.

Anthony:
After Beautiful Creatures, what was the sequence of events that led you to join Quiet Riot?

Alex:
I met Kevin DuBrow when he was doing a solo tour in support of an album called In For The Kill. We really hit it off not only musically but as friends. When they decided to put Quiet Riot back together in 2004, I got the call and have been here since.

Anthony:
Were you hesitant to rejoin Quiet Riot in 2010 when Frankie decided to start auditioning singers? It was pretty rocky at the start.

Alex:
No, I wouldn’t say I was hesitant at all because I was playing with Frankie and Chuck Wright again. It is such a gift to be able to play with people that inspired you. As far as “rocky” – every band is “rocky.” The only difference is that we had cameras rolling. [Laughs].

Anthony: 
The first Quiet Riot album you appeared on was 2006’s Rehab. You’re credited as a songwriter on the tracks “Free” and “Strange Daze.” Take me through your writing relationship with Kevin.

Alex:
Kevin had a very unique approach to the guitar. He was very specific and I always appreciated the way he would explain what he was hearing by translating it musically to a level that you could relate to. Not too many people have the musical vocabulary to be able to do that.

Anthony:
Quiet Riot’s most recent album, Hollywood Cowboys, was released in 2019. Since then, Jizzy Pearl and Rudy Sarzo have rejoined the band alongside John Kelly on drums. Was there a divide or mixed reaction to the band’s new lineup?

Alex:
Any time something changes, people are gonna have an opinion, and that’s cool – If you don’t like it, don’t buy a ticket. We have been getting a really good response so far, it’s really been great and we are all very grateful to be out doing this. As for the internet snipers and their reactions, I always laugh when these guys say that we should,Call it a day” and Nobody cares,” and then discuss us to get clicks on their Wayne’s World level Metal Classic Show Podcast.” It’s hilarious. if you look at John Kelly, and Jizzy Pearl and say, “That’s not a good lineup of players,” you need to get your eyes and ears checked. [Laughs].

Anthony:
What makes the current lineup strong enough to hold water to the band’s earlier Incarnations?

Alex:
I wouldn’t say it’s about “holding water.” We are simply continuing a legacy, and I’ve got news for you – if Kevin Dubrow’s and Frankie Banali’s passing hasn’t stopped Quiet Riot from successfully carrying on, and celebrating the legacy, whether you like it or not, I don’t think anything will.

Anthony:
With Jizzy Pearl and Rudy Sarzo back in the fold, and a new drummer in John Kelly, what’s next for Quiet Riot, Alex?

Alex:
All I am going to say is that we made very good use of the pandemic downtime and that fans are going to be very happy, and pleased with where things are headed. We’ve got a bunch of new music ready to go, we’re just picking the right time to release it.

Interested in learning more about Quiet Riot? Hit the link below:

Be sure to check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/a-m-radio-archives/

About Post Author

Anthony Montalbano

Anthony Montalbano grew up in New York and North Carolina. Anthony is a baker by day and a contributor to the Vinyl Writer cause by night. With a passion for podcasts, Pop Punk, video games, and more, Anthony brings a unique and fresh perspective to the team. Anthony's column is a catch-all for the things he loves most, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
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