O.B. James 1 p.m., March 7
RIYL: Quiet Riot
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Influences: Van Halen, Quiet Riot, Deep Purple
“I’ll know in a couple of weeks how my schedule is gonna roll for me,” said Mark Huff in September 2010, shortly after he was announced as the new singer for ’80s headbangers Quiet Riot. (Original vocalist Kevin DuBrow died from a reported cocaine overdose in 2007.) Huff is a veteran of two local tribute bands, OU812 (Van Halen) and Deeper Purple (duh). He also sings for L.A.-based VH tribute Atomic Punks and their spin-off, Sammy Hagar–era salute 5150.
With former members such as the late Randy Rhoads and star bassist Rudy Sarzo, Quiet Riot was the first metal band with a song in Billboard’s top five, a cover of Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize,” while their 1983 LP Metal Health was the first metal album to top the charts at number one. Having last performed in 2007, founding drummer Frankie Banali reunited a latter-day version of the band this year, along with fellow former Rioters Chuck Wright (bass) and Alex Grossi (guitar).
46 years old in 2011, Huff lives in Carlsbad and still maintains his local day job as foreman for a house-painting company. “If you go to the official Quiet Riot [web]site, you can hear the rerecordings that I did for three of their hits. We did ‘Cum on Feel the Noize,’ ‘Slick Black Cadillac,’ and ‘Bang Your Head.’ It was awesome.... We recorded up in L.A.” According to the group’s website, the rerecordings are “not intended as replacements for the original versions. They will not be used for commercial exploitation.”
Huff and bassist-singer John Osmon left OU812 in 2010, though both still occasionally play with Deeper Purple. “We only do it a few times a year,” says Osmon, who doesn’t anticipate any scheduling conflicts. “Right now, even with Quiet Riot, they’re not out on tour yet.”
Regarding Huff’s new gig, Osmon says, “They announced it a couple of weeks ago, but he’s been working with them for a while.... Even when they had Kevin DuBrow...they were kind of playing smaller venues. I don’t know how cool it’s gonna end up. But, you know, at least he’ll be able to say that he sang with Quiet Riot.”
A documentary about Huff joining the band was being filmed when Quiet Riot appeared at the Ramona Mainstage on Friday, January 28, 2011,planned for release the following year. A YouTube trailer for Well Now You’re Here There’s No Way Back features Lita Ford, Rudy Sarzo, Eddie Trunk, Alice Cooper, Steven Adler, and Glenn Hughes. The film was written, produced, and directed by Regina Russell.
After just over a year with Quiet Riot, he was sacked in early 2012, in favor of former Montrose singer Keith St John (who himself was soon replaced by Scott Vokoun).