20 QUESTIONS WITH
QUIET RIOT/HOUSE OF LORDS/ex-GIUFFRIA bassist CHUCK WRIGHT!
After doing 20 Questions with ex-Beautiful Creatures and current Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi last week, we got bombarded with e-mail asking us, "Why in the fuck did you guys interview Alex Grossi instead of Chuck Wright?" Well, we don’t want to disappoint anyone, so you get 2 Quiet Riot-related interviews back to back. Neat!
Not only is Chuck the current bassist in Quiet Riot, but he’s also popped in and out of QR since its very early days, having recorded a good chunk of tracks for "Metal Health," but also appeared on albums like "QRIII" and "Down To The Bone." Plus Chuck also has been in bands like House of Lords, Giuffria, Impelliteri, Alice Cooper’s touring band, and a shitload of others. So we had lots to talk about. Well, enough chit-chat; here’s this weeks 20 Questions with Chuck Wright!
1. What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to plug your shit.
I’ve just completed seven tracks with the legendary Pat Travers and Carmine Appice for their new CD. I also have a couple of co-writes on the record. I’m heading to Spain with Quiet Riot at the end of the month to do a few shows, one of which is a big festival with Megadeth, then, we head to Latin and South America. Quiet Riot has a new live in the 80’s CD called "Live and Rare" just out that also has three pre-Metal Health demos I did with them. The version of "Thunderbird" is awesome. Ya gotta check this out. I’m looking forward to a very full year of fun concerts with them. This band kicks ass!! I also have a compilation CD just released on Cleopatra Records from the "Odd Man Out" projects. It has killer performances by Steve Lukather, Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver), Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey from Mr. Big, Lanny Cordola, Billy Duffy (of The Cult) and Derek Sherinian along with producer Pat Regan engineering, playing keys and co-producing. This past month I created a CD package for rock guitarist/singer Harley Krishna. I?ve also been writing a lot of material intended for a new Quiet Riot CD. Please check out my site at www.chuckwright.com for more info.
2. Back in the early 80s, you replaced Rudy Sarzo in Quiet Riot when he left to tour with Ozzy Osbourne. You had begun to record tracks for Quiet Riot?s landmark album Metal Health (it?s actually your bass playing that appears in the final versions of ?Metal Health? and ?Don?t Wanna Let You?), but then Rudy wanted back in the band, and so you basically were told to take a hike. Not long after that, Metal Health came out and shot up to #1 on the Billboard charts ? actually the first heavy metal album to attain that ranking ? allowing the other members of Quiet Riot to enjoy all the benefits of international success while you sat on the sidelines in relative obscurity. At the time, were you at all bitter about being bumped in favor of Rudy, or was it a mutually agreeable kind of thing?
I did all the demos with Keven and Frankie and was playing the local club circuit show casing for labels when producer, (or I should say reducer) Spencer Proffer caught us at The Country Club. He didn?t care for our guitar player so we got Carlos who happened to be on the bill that night in his band Snow. At this time I had my own band with Pat Regan called Satyr that had been headlining all the clubs. With Satyr, I was the main songwriter and leader. Yes, I was bummed when I got the call from Carlos but I understood that with Rudy in band they could now legitimately call it Quiet Riot. (Spencer wanted to call the band ?Wild Oscar?) Also with all the media attention surrounding Randy Rhodes? death and the popularity of Ozzy it made sense. As they climbed the charts and got to perform at the US festival, I started bummin?. It was bitter sweet, for sure. The first time I ever heard myself on the radio, I was driving and ?Bang Your Head? came on, the bass was crankin! To this day, so many out there think Rudy’s greatest contribution to the band was my bass work… read the small print people. By the way, I also sang background on every track which is how I ended up in the studio again with them on Condition Critical.
3. After the Condition Critical album, Rudy Sarzo again left Quiet Riot, and you were asked to return for the 1986 release QRIII. Similarly, you were brought in to play bass on the 1995 Quiet Riot album Down To the Bone, but by 1999, Rudy yet again came back to the fold in time for the recording of Alive and Well. Now in 2005, Rudy is no longer in the band, and once again, you?re back as Quiet Riot?s bassist. Don?t you feel like you keep having to deal with Rudy?s sloppy seconds every time he quits the band?
I use to get phone calls during the bands Condition Critical tour from Kevin saying how unhappy he was with Rudy?s playing and that one day he might ask me back. When I finally got that call, I had just completed a sold arena tour opening for Deep Purple and Foreigner playing bass with Giuffria. Kevin offered me an equal cut plus I could be a writer on all the new songs with them. In Giuffria, it was the Dave Eisley and Gregg Giuffria show. Craig Goldy quit Giuffria and joined Dio for the same reasons. It has been a bit of revolving door with me and Quiet Riot but it feels great to be back with them. Like hooking up with your long lost brothers. The vibe now is amazing.
4. How long do you think it will be before Rudy Sarzo wants back in Quiet Riot and you?re once again given the boot?
Well… he can "want" all day long but I really doubt that?ll ever happen… well, maybe if they were offered a Gazillion dollars and they traveled separately.
5. Rank the following bassists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being someone who truly sucks, and 10 being a god among bass players.
Kip Winger = I think Kip is a brilliant songwriter, especially on his solo release. Nice guy too.
Jerry Dixon = zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Barry Sparks = Great talent, lot?s of chops and another great guy to hang with.
Bobby Dall =zzzzzzzzzzzz
Gene Simmons = Gene is a friend and was producing Doro Pesch, as I was doing bass tracks? he walked and said ?Chuck..can you try..umm..what the hell am I trying to tell you anything for? he turned and walked out. He kicks my ass at racquetball though. He does the best bass slide, in fact, in the studio you say? so do ya want a ?Simmons? here going into the chorus. Varoooom….
Eddie Jackson = Love his band and he?s the perfect bassist for them.
Chuck Garric = We call him Chuck #2 at our softball games…I just can?t play my bass at my knees… how does he do it? Check out his band the Drutts… very Motorhead.
Chip Z?Nuff = Never seen him play…
Dana Strum = I went to high school with Dana… same Biology class? he had the longest hair in school. I think he wants to be Gene Simmons.
Rudy Sarzo = It?s hard to tell with the tone he uses.
6. This past summer, you were part of the ?Bad Boys of Metal? tour featuring Jani Lane, Kevin DuBrow, Steven Adler and Joe LeSte. Basically, all of those guys did their thing while sharing the same backing band, so you were pretty much playing bass all night. How did that go? Didn?t you get burnt out from playing 3 or 4 sets every night?
Yea, burnt would some it up. I was playing over 3 hours and at 110% for each act. I never skated. It was a good concept but the wrong cast of characters for it. Everyday was a new tid bit of buffoonery. We also went through 4 busses in 3 weeks…just disastrous. If it wasn?t for Kevin’s professionalism and being able to pull things together that tour would?ve ended the first week out.
7. Speaking of getting burnt out on the Bad Boys of Metal tour, why do you think Jani Lane up and quit 8 shows into the tour? We?ve heard all kinds of theories and speculation on this topic. Let?s hear your take on it.
Jani had a lot of problems handling the pace and personalities on this tour. He fell into some old bad habits and up and disappeared. It seems he?s dealt with them now. I just saw him a couple weeks ago and he sounded good and looked much better.
8. You guys also had to share the same bus on that tour. With so many different people and personalities riding on the same nasty tour bus, there was bound to be some kind of drama and conflict. How did you deal with the stresses of the road, and how close did you come to completely losing your mind on that tour?
If it was 15 years ago, a couple of those guys would?ve been in an ICU ward somewhere. Over the years I?ve really learned to not sweat the small stuff and even the ?not so? small stuff.
Chuck Wright in "DuBrow," 1981
9. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:
Leif Garrett or Edna Garrett = Chuck Garric
Backstreet Boys or N?Sync = I?m not into boy bands.
Craig Goldy or Lanny Cordola = They?re both so different and both so talented – Like apples and oranges really.
Sanford and Son or Chico and the Man = I usually don?t watch ethnically driven entertainment.
QRIII or Down To the Bone = QRIII, especially if we could eliminate some of the keyboards.
The Titanic or the Hindenberg = The Hindenburg… reminds me of Led Zep.
Jeff Martin or Jeff Scott Soto =Jeff Martin as a drummer, Jeff Scott Soto as a singer
Frosted Flakes or Froot Loops = Most things frosted are better? or glazed …
Hand jobs or rim jobs = Blow Jobs
Steven Adler or Matt Sorum =Are you kidding me????…there is no comparison.
10. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
11. Share with us your fondest memory of touring or being in the following cities:
Detroit = While on tour with Quiet Riot, we arrived early morning to a club and everyone was gathered around the chalk marks where a guy just had his head blown off… there was still brain matter on the pavement.
San Francisco = My first trip to Frisco was to audition for Sammy Hagar. I went to his house and jammed in his basement. I was only 18 and was way into progressive music at the time..not really his thing. I remember he had this photo of Ronnie Montrose in his
hall way that he would flip off every time he walked by. That?s all water under the bridge though now, Sammy recently had Ronnie join him for some shows with all the original Montrose members.
Houston = I remember playing at Reunion Arena in Dallas and David Glen Eisley (singer for Giuffria) said ?hello Houston? – a true Spinal Tap moment. I yelled at him? we?re in Dallas Dave.. he then covered his ass and said…Dallas, San Antonio, Lubbock… all of Texas..we love you!!
Cleveland = Being very disappointed in the Music Hall Of Fame there.
Munich = The beer, great architecture and the Christmas markets.
Philadelphia = Shopping on 5th street? my fondest memory I can?t say here… amazing!!
Ft. Lauderdale = College girls, wet t-shirt contests and jet skiing.
Moscow = So cold, I was there in the fall of 2002 with Alice Cooper. We arrived 10 days after the Chechnya theater incident. The vibe was heavy, you could see it everyone’s faces. One thing that stands out is that out of everywhere I?ve been in the world, Moscow had the most beautiful women I?d ever seen in one place.
Knoxville = Quiet Riot did the QRIII tour pre production in Knoxville. I remember we judged a calender girl contest and asked them all some rather rude questions. I think Carlos ended up with the winner.
Tokyo = An odd thing with a Japanese audience back in the 80?s is that they would applaud loudly for about 3 seconds and then there was silence. What do ya say??? They weren?t allowed to stand either. I think the catch phrase back then was ?take out, too big.?
Chuck Wright (left) in Giuffria, 1984-ish
12. It?s rumored that you once had a ?Motley moment? with Gregg Giuffria at an airport, in which there was some kind of scuffle between the two of you. What exactly went down? Did it actually come to blows?
Well, if you sucker punch me, expect to be flattened like a turd, run over by a bulldozer.
13. Speaking of Gregg Giuffria, he was originally slated to participate in the House of Lords reunion CD The Power and the Myth, yet he bowed out at the last moment. We heard things got ugly and he chose not to participate. What happened?
(Speaking of turds) Two months before completion, as we were still awaiting any ideas what so ever, keyboard parts anything from Gregg, he cut a solo deal with our label (Frontiers) and said, "now that I have my own deal I’m not doing this House Of Lords record". He didn’t seem into it anyway since he didn’t really partake in the compositions. He did have plenty of opportunity to contribute however – two years should be enough time to come up with a song idea I would think. He said he really hadn?t touched a keyboard in 10 years. Maybe he was intimidated by the music? who knows? After this, the label said our deal was now diminished by what they still owed us because Gregg was not on it so we had to finish the record asap and now being under budgeted, not being able to complete it the way we originally intended. Don?t get me wrong, I think it has some great songs and awesome perfomances on it, it?s just that we know what it could?ve been.
Chuck Wright (right) in House of Lords
14. For what amount was your largest music-related check, and what did you end up buying with all the cash?
I?ve always missed out on the big pay check. In House Of Lords I was to get a check for my end of the publishing… 42 grand, my manager at the time handed me 500 bucks… Lanny threw his drink and stormed out and promptly quit the band..he got screwed as well. Gregg knew what was going on behind the scenes… he took out his share months before. I once got a check for $12,000 but after paying new and past management
commissions, I had enough to buy some bed room furniture and live on the rest for a month.
15. Yes or No, has Chuck Wright ever done the following:
Panned for gold = Does looking through couch cushions for change count?
Grown a chia pet =Yes, Barbera’s Bush – it was a Christmas present. The grass grew out of the statuette’s crotch.
Wrestled an alligator = A snake ? I told you that story.
Set fire to a hotel room =Umm? I confess… I knocked a candle onto a pillow… didn?t notice it right away? you can guess why… it was ablaze, the alarm went off… I had the fire department, hotel security and management all at the door. Just before they got there and after sticking the pillow, while on fire, in the shower, I had the girl I was with light up a cigarette… I blamed all the smoke on that… they bought it.
Gone camping with Bruce Kulick = Does he camp?
Jacked off in a dump truck =Never been in one.
Shit your pants on stage = No
Spent the night in jail = No
Seen Jani Lane naked = Yea, I?m damaged for life? lol!
Touched another man?s penis = No thanks… hey but I have wrestled with a snake.
Chuck Wright and Quiet Riot at the Grammy Awards after-part, 1987
Note Stevie Ray Vaughn and Weird Al Yankovic in the picture!
16. Who?s idea was it to add that little ditty ?Bass Case? to the QRIII record? Was that yours? Some people seem to think it sounds more like something lifted from one of those Beaver Felton instructional tapes. What?s the deal?
Carlos was to have an acoustic solo prepared but he didn?t. I offered up my bass solo ?Bass Case.? Yea, it?s a little Jazzy, has 12 bass tracks going but not all at the same time. I think it?s a good set up for ?The Wild And The Young.? I actually get a lot of compliments for that piece and I?m doing it live now in the show. Frankie joins me which helps a lot since I can only play one bass at a time. Who would name their Beaver Felton?
17. Fuck, Kill and Marry: Of the following people, which one would you fuck, which one would you kill, and with which one would you want to enter into holy matrimony: Carmen Electra, Alex Grossi, Courtney Love
Carmen Electra – That?s obvious..F*ck her so hard that Dave Navarro walks funny.
Alex Grossi – Well, if I marry Alex I get to be with his amazing girl friend Krystal…yummy!
Courtney Love – Nuff said… I smell something funny.
18. Out of all the bands that you?ve ever shared the stage or toured with, which ones were the coolest to work with, and which ones were the biggest bunch of jackasses you?ve ever met?
This incarnation of Quiet Riot is the funest to play in and it?s very pro all around. I wouldn’t want to follow us.
House Of Lords was musically a great band and James was an amazing singer. Cheap Trick, Scorpions and Queensryche treated us great when we toured with them.
The Alice Cooper tour in 2002 was outstanding..killer band and what a great show to be involved in.
The Giuffria band had it?s moments…. Richie Blackmore was a complete ass to us when we toured with Deep Purple. After the opening date on the tour (our first ever performance) Richie Blackmore freaked out because of the amazing audience response and we had to make concessions i.e. shorten our set from 45 minutes to 27 minutes, take out our killer last number, take out Craig Goldy’s mind blowing guitar solo, go on 5 minutes before the announced show time and they cut the sound and lights 50%, took away all of our staging, took away the backstage crew meals, put down white gaffer tape where we could only go (do not cross this line etc.) and we weren’t allowed to stay at any of their hotels. Hey – but all that didn’t matter, we kicked ass to sold out crowds every night. Then after 6 weeks we jumped on the sold out Foreigner Tour. They had a huge hit and we had a hit at the time with "Call To The Heart."
Chuck Wright in Impelliteri
19. The Last of Chuck Wright:
Last book you read = A book about the making of Creams ?Disraeli Gears?. It was a tour gift from Frankie Banali at the start of the "Bad Boys of Metal?.
Last sporting event you attended = I played softball last Sunday – hit 2 triples and a home run. No sh*t!! Gilby Clarke, Bob Kulick, Nuno Bettencourt, Chuck Garric, Ricky Philips and others all play. We?ve been doing it since 1984. I go to Laker games sometimes
with Eric Singer or Jerry Best.
Last tribute album you appeared on = I did an Iron Maiden Tribute a couple months ago with drummer Chris Slade from AC/DC and Lemmy from Moterhead singing. We did ?The Trooper.? The recently Grammy award winning Bob Kulick was producing and playng guitar.
Last CD or DVD packaging you designed = Harley Krishna and Belly Of The Boom. One of my favorite packages is the one I did for ?Velvet Revolvers? Matt Sorum for his solo release Hollywood Zen… umm? I played bass on it too. It rrrrrrocks!
Last concert you watched from the audience = My friend EJ Curse from Silent Rage has a No Doubt cover band that?s fun..you get a hand massage, manicure and a Martini for 10 bucks.
Last new song you heard on the radio that you really dug = ?Fall To Pieces? by Velvet Revolver.
Last time you talked to Gregg Giuffria = Late Spring 2004 ? when his phone?s ?not? ringing it?s me.
Last time you boiled bass strings = I?ve had a Dean Markley endorsement for a long while so that?s not needed anymore. It does work though but they will break on ya.
Last time you got into a fistfight = 1991
Last time you barfed = I never barf? gezz I hate that ? so long ago I don?t remember.
20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association. We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.
Joe LeSte =Depends on the night and how much booze has been going down.
Frankie Banali = A close friend, a great father, (wish I would?ve had one like him), a consummate professional, the best manager I?ve ever had, the loudest, most driving and fun drummer I?ve ever had the honor to play with. We have a psychic connection
when we play together.
Ronnie Montrose =Can be amazing, loved jamming with him and I loved playing his music.
Spencer Proffer = No comment!
David Glen Eisley = Used to be my best friend. He does childrens music now.
Pat Regan = A great talent and friend. I?ve been lucky enough to work with him on many album projects and we had a couple bands together many moons ago.
Doro Pesch = I?d love to spend a week with her one night… look out!
Alice Cooper =A really sweet man off stage but when he becomes Alice..the gloves come off. Halloween 2002, Eric Singer had replaced the normal corpse heads on the stakes center stage with Kiss masks? something came over Alice and he destroyed Paul
Stanley?s head with a wooden crutch. I really had to keep my eyes open every night when he was wielding the Samurai sword around.
Billy Morris = Good guitarist, nice guy… real go getter… has his own club in Cleveland.
Ted Nugent = I was working on his record ?If Ya Can?t Lick em, Lick Em? and he has this full sized deer target that he?d go shoot at with a bow an arrow during our breaks… He carried around this stack of poloroids of animal heads he had killed. He had a photo of his then 5 year old son holding the head of a beautiful mountain ram…. Ted is what you think. Never a dull moment.
Thank you guys for having me here. See you on the Rock Never Stops Tour.
So there you go! Everything you ever wanted to know about Chuck Wright. Well, almost. If we forgot anything, we’ll be sure to ask him in his Rewind in a few years or so.
For more information about Chuck Wright and his vast array of never-ending projects, head on over to his official Web site at www.chuckwright.com