Published Jun 13, 2014Dealing with the death of a friend is hard, but when that friend happens to be a business partner and co-leader of the '80s hair metal band Quiet Riot, things can end up being a lot worse.
Such is the case with Frankie Banali. An accomplished drummer of the John Bonham variety, Banali rose to fame after years slaving away in the L.A. music scene thanks to the success of his band's third studio album, Metal Health. Buoyed by the celestial vocal cords of friend and frontman Kevin DuBrow, as well as the band's breakout single, "Cum on Feel the Noize," the long-running sunset strip act became a walking VH1: Behind the Music, specializing in cocaine, boobies and having a good time.
Kurt Cobain and co. quickly made the previous decade an afterthought for those looking to rock and roll all night and party every day, but Quiet Riot raged on, performing at whichever dive bars or state fairs would have them (The Simpsons even made a joke about it).
But while reality and adulthood caught up with Banali and the band's long list of previous performers, Dubrow continued to party on, ultimately passing away in 2007 after an accidental overdose.
Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back catches up with Banali shortly after his friend's death, capturing his attempts to move on from the loss while subsequently hunting for a new singer to take his place. In the process, the film manages to perfectly document the often untold truths of a life in the entertainment industry.
Filmmaker Regina Russell, predominantly known for her acting roles in '90s blockbusters (Hook) and vaguely erotic sounding features (something called Sex Court: the Movie) offers the most intimate portrayal of the popular '80s act. With such heavy subject matter, she even manages to inject a healthy dose of humour into the proceedings by showcasing the band's Spinal Tap-esque revolving door of performers, as well as the band's bruised egos. (One such scene depicts current bassist Chuck Wright, desperate to receive the respect he deserves years after performing bass on Metal Health's titular track, offering a young German fan to sign their copy of the album, only to be rejected for not having his name on the CD reissue or "officially" being an original member.)
A rather low-key affair compared to other rock'n'roll biographies, Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back is a must-see for all '80s rock aficionados and fans of the decadent decade.
Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back plays at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto on June 15 as part of NXNE. (Independent)