Ron Sobol’s access was unlimited. Having befriended Kevin DuBrow, after the two bonded over a shared interest in photography and Humble Pie, Sobol eventually became part of the Quiet Riot family – as the band’s personal shutterbug, as its lighting director, and simply as somebody they would pal around with. Along for the ride, through all the ups and downs, Sobol watched the early version of Quiet Riot, featuring a young Randy Rhoads on guitar, tear up the Sunset Strip and garner a following rivaled locally only by Van Halen.

This was long before Metal Health made Quiet Riot a worldwide phenomenon, however. Back in the late 1970s, Rhoads and Quiet Riot – despite their colorful stage garb and charismatic live shows – couldn’t get any American record label to take a chance on them. The showcases they performed for label executives led to nothing but false promises. Even the well-publicized demonstrations they organized outside record companies in Los Angeles, where supporters pleaded for them to sign the band with well-meaning placards and chants even as the police tried to silence them, fell on deaf ears. Sobol had his camera trained on Quiet Riot, and the circus surrounding them, the whole time.

For years, Sobol, the ultimate band insider, has been sitting on a mountain of hundreds of behind-the-scenes still photos and mountains of super 8mm concert footage he compiled while running with DuBrow and the rest of the Quiet Riot pack. And it’s all here in Randy Rhoads – The Quiet Riot Years, undoubtedly the most comprehensive and candid biography of that period in Quiet Riot’s history that’s ever been compiled. Packaged together as a vividly illustrated coffee table book + a revealing DVD, Sobol’s collective work – he directed the DVD and authored the book – revisits the halcyon days when Quiet Riot ruled The Starwood and other Hollywood hot spots, such as the Whisky A-Go-Go and The Troubadour, while also performing before thousands of people who showed up to bask in their pre-glam metal glow at local colleges and festivals. And yet, that major American record label deal eluded them.

The frustration was palpable, as Sobol’s documentary illustrates in such heartbreaking fashion. Everybody associated with Quiet Riot were pulling their hair out trying to figure out how to break this band. Fan club president Lori Hollen did her part, hauling a boatload of friends to go see Quiet Riot, and Jodi “Raskin” Vigier, the one-time girlfriend of both Rhoads and DuBrow, and Laurie MacAdam worked on the band’s image – MacAdam’s fashion sketches for the band’s completely over-the-top stage clothes are shown in both the film and the book. Then, along came Ozzy Osbourne, and the party was over, as he took Rhoads as his new guitarist and his musical salvation. Unfortunately, that meant the original Quiet Riot, fronted by the indomitable DuBrow and Rhoads, his very close friend, would never hit the big time together, as they’d hoped they would.

Watching and reading Randy Rhoads – The Quiet Riot Years, it’s impossible not to get a full sense of the abject disappointment everyone associated with this version of Quiet Riot felt when their career stalled. In a DVD full of wide-ranging, completely open and honest interviews, drummer Drew Forsyth – with some bitterness – relates how a disinterested producer torpedoed the band’s first album, 1977’s Quiet Riot, and details how management failed them on numerous occasions. And there was drama within Quiet Riot, as DuBrow knocked heads with bassist Kelly Garni, which caused tension between DuBrow and Rhoads, who’d been friends with Garni since childhood. Of course, Garni’s time in the band ended, however, when in a drunken rage he pulled out a gun during an argument with Rhoads, an incident thoroughly hashed out in a film that captures the youthful joie de vivre and DIY spirit of Quiet Riot and its closest allies. At the same time, it deals with the crushing disillusionment that comes with seeing one’s dreams go unfulfilled – this despite visual evidence here that shows a swaggering Quiet Riot knocking ‘em dead in live shows that betrayed their arena-rock ambitions. Big issues, such as Rhoads feeling stifled creatively by DuBrow’s domineering ways, drive the story and make it a gripping yarn, but there are other individual moments of greatness, including a thorough dissection of the mind-blowing solo Rhoads used to play at Quiet Riot gigs from his guitar tech Brian Reason. And this is just half the story.

Edited and laid out skillfully, with particular attention paid to attaching bite-sized pieces of text with compelling graphics, the book is jam packed with beautifully shot color and black and white images, augmented by scraps of memorabilia as well as moving tributes from its senior editor – and one of Rhoads’ guitar students – Peter M. Margolis and DuBrow’s mother. Among the treasures from Sobol’s archives are mesmerizing portraits of Rhoads, leftover pictures of the band taken during a football locker room photo shoot for the Quiet Riot II cover, stolen scenes of backstage high jinks – including one section with the boys parading around in dresses – and an endless stream of highly visceral, electrifying close-ups of the band’s two lightning rods, Rhoads and DuBrow, giving it their all onstage.

Accompanied by an informative, if somewhat skeletal narrative, the photography is stunning, and it’s not just because there is so damn much of it to sift through. The product of inspired intuition, fly-on-the-wall observations and a true cause – namely, the advancement of Quiet Riot – Sobol’s images catch members of the band and their entourage at their leisure, having a fantastic, carefree time in sunny Southern California before they lose their innocence.

You can purchase the book at