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27th October 2010

hunny claire moat

I'm still convinced that drummers are magical beings. I spoke to Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot yesterday and he confirmed unwittingly that drummers are also psychic. Worrying for me, given that I'm married to one!

I'll explain; last week at the end of my column I wrote 'something to mull over in the rain' and Frankie tells me that he "listens to the rainfall to find its rhythm". I'm thinking occupational basket weaving classes at this point, with me obviously.

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Frankie, skin beater extraordinaire for the band that is Quiet Riot jokes happily with me and he tells me quite directly he does not wear stripey socks. "Nope" he confirms.

I remain unconvinced and let the matter drop. Drummers are notoriously connected with all things stripey. I will prevail.

'Frankie beats the drums like they owe him money'. If that's the case then his long suffering kit must be hopelessly in debt!

frankie banali

He beats them hard, not unlike Cozy Powell. We chat about Cozy Powell and Frankie chirps away about him and tells me "it was a drum lesson every night for me when Whitesnake opened for Quiet Riot in the USA in 1984."

Cozy thumped a mean beat and his death was a sad loss to the industry. Cozy and Randy Castillo. Frankie agrees with these sentiments.

The conversation turns again to influences. Frankie's list is endless and they are notoriously good drummers. Ringo, Charlie Watts, John Bonham (Led Zep are his fave band), Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Dennis Chambers and Ginger Baker. The list continues. It's definitely not the 'naughty list'. This sets me thinking on a tangent... again.

I ask when Frankie first picked up sticks and he tells me "I started rather late at fourteen years old". Not that you'd know or care. He plays with passion and power. He tells me "my favourite contemporary drums are made by Canopus Drums, a small Japanese company."

Small they may be but the drums appear to sound awesome. Frankie has numerous kits to boot, sorry hit... too many Christmas presents if you ask me!

I ask him, as I asked Franklin Vanderbilt, about female drummers and without hesitation he quips "Cindy Blackman. Many know her through her tenure with Lenny Kravitz."

(Note to self - must ask her about her choice of socks).

"She is without doubt a fantastic jazz drummer." I like that Frankie recognizes her talent and includes her in his conversation. This endears him to me, because he knows and cares.

My suspicions are aroused when I ask Frankie a leading question. I ask him what he drinks on stage - he says "water and diet Pepsi". He's good; very believable. I was certain he was going to say milk.

He obviously eats cookies, but I don't ask that because he may sense my thinking... also his stature doesn't suggest a biscuit eating drummer.

I ask if he believes in Santa... I'm in for the kill.

"Yes I believe in Santa", replies Frsnkie. "I know him so well that I go shopping with him every Christmas". Bingo!!

Frankie Banali is connected with all things stripey: "The North Pole. I've seen Santa Clause the movie, I'm well educated on these things."

I then feel obliged to confess to Frankie that I once left my husband's Quiet Riot albums on a train after Gary gave them to me for safe keeping - Guess that's me on the naughty list for the next ten years... Frankie laughs... but I don't hold out much hope for my Christmas list.

Quiet Riot should hopefully be in a town near you next year. Just listen for the jingling bells and the pulsating drums, especially if its raining...

Blessings, and thanks Frankie - you were a star!


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