Paul Shortino Talks 1988 Quiet Riot ‘QR’ Album – full in bloom Interview Excerpt
Vocalist Paul Shortino
Rough Cutt / Quiet Riot / Badd Boyz
Played “Duke Fame” in the Movie Spinal Tap
full in bloom: How do you end up joining Quiet Riot?
Paul Shortino: After I left Rough Cutt, I went in to cut some tracks with Quiet Riot. Initially, they were trying to keep me secret from Spencer Proffer. We were recording at Pasha, but the entire time we were recording there, it was without Spencer being around. He would come in and they would hide me. They only had one more album to do on Pasha and they wanted out of their record deal because Spencer owned all of the publishing. So, when Spencer made space, we go into record “Stay with me Tonight,” “Your Time is Going to Come,” which is a Russ Ballard tune, and another song…..and then we went into litigation for a year. It cost me $30,000 of my own money to join Quiet Riot, to get their publishing back. It cost Frankie (Banali) and Carlos (Cavazo), between them, $24,000.
full in bloom: Why does it cost you more?
Paul: It was my attorney making the deal, which it should have been like a $54,000 debt as a band, not my debt for getting something back that they never had. They didn’t have any publishing. Spencer’s sitting at a table next to me going, “Listen, they’re fucked. They have a deal and they have to honor it. Whatever deal you want, I’ll make it with you” and I said: “No, this is a band. I think I’ll hang with these guys”…We’re the entity and you are the outside entity. But if I would have done it, it would have saved me $30,000.
full in bloom: Spencer was going to just give you your publishing?
Paul: Yeah. He was sitting there in a meeting telling me, “I own the name Quiet Riot; they don’t even own the name. You’re the new Quiet Riot. You don’t even need them when it really comes down to it.” And I’m thinking, “I’m not going to buy this, we’re a band.” Well, this goes on for a year and then we get all that crap sorted out with the managers, Quiet Riot’s manager and my manager, Wendy Dio, have to get some paperwork together and agree on and sign it. So now, Quiet Riot gets their publishing back because of me.
full in bloom: Just for the upcoming record, right?
Paul: Well, any record from that point on.
full in bloom: Sure, but not for the previous records, right?
Paul: No. No records before that; they weren’t getting any money, and our managers got from 20% to 15% and we had two managers. And I’m going, “This is great.” So now, they are ready to sign their paperwork. And I was going to the gym in the morning and going to private lessons from a guy who did the choreography for Cats, because I wanted to do some really cool moves that were different, and weren’t sissy-looking. So he showed me some stuff. This was my everyday routine – by three o’clock in the afternoon, I had worked out, went to a dance class, and then went to private choreography lessons. Then I go to rehearsal at 3 o’clock and no one is there. They’re having a meeting without me. It was all over my manager, Wendy. So nobody talks to me for two weeks.
full in bloom: What happened at the meeting?
Paul: Wendy says, “look, I manage Paul, I manage Jimmy Waldo”, the keyboard player, who had been in Alcatrazz. I got him into Quiet Riot. Sean McNabb, they didn’t want him to sign with Wendy because there would be three guys in Quiet Riot, signed with Wendy and their manager would have the two original guys…It was all political. In the year that I hung out with Frankie and Carlos, I have worked on both of their cars, moved both of them into different homes, as a friend. Well, now all of a sudden, no one in the band would talk to me, including Sean McNabb who they went to and made him sign a piece of paper…that I didn’t even know about at the time…that said if he were to sign with any other management, he was out of the band. He was a sideman and he wasn’t in the band. Either sign this piece of paper or he was out. During this time, we had already gone to Japan. Sean had been in the band two weeks and we went to Japan and did a concert there. Dio was on the bill and the headliner was James Brown. Anyway, we did a couple of festivals, made some money, and came back home, still in litigation. Like I had said, I went to rehearsal one day and they were having the band meeting without me. So now the money and publishing is finally all cleared up and now it’s down to the managers signing an agreement because my manager is saying, “What am I supposed to do with my client if I can’t participate in the management of Quiet Riot.” Their manager didn’t want anything to do with her. So she says, “what am I supposed to do, get him his own solo deal,” so their manager goes back to the band and tells them, “Paul is only in this to get his own solo deal.” So now, all of a sudden, no one is talking for two weeks. I’ve got Spencer calling me, I’ve got the head of…….. Tommy Mottola from CBS is calling me and he’s asking me just settle everything and let’s get this record out. The reason Tommy contacts me is Quiet Riot’s manager had gone to the record company and said “we’re having problems with the singer,” well, that’s why they got rid of Kevin because they had a problem with the singer. So now, all of a sudden, they think they have a problem with the singer and it really didn’t have anything to do with me…I had nothing to do with it. We finally have a meeting and sort everything and now we’ve got to do a video together, the “Stay with Me Tonight” video, after all this drama….and it’s like I’ve seen everyone’s true colors. So to make a long story endless….we went back into the studio, made a great record, and when it was all said and done….after the blow-up…..what they don’t understand is that they wanted to change the name of the band to Delinquent Dogs, right when the record was released because Quiet Riot had such a bad name. We didn’t do that, which would have been a better thing to do because it didn’t sound anything like Quiet Riot. That’s pretty much the story of the Quiet Riot thing. It was all political, they got their money’s worth.
full in bloom: What happens after that?
Paul: We release the record. Everybody makes up. We did a video. We shoot the video and everybody is happy with it. Now we book the tour and we do South America and Japan and come home and they are putting together a huge tour for us, a bunch of 500 to 1500 seaters. Frankie’s mom is really sick at that time. He didn’t want to tour because it would cost money. So he goes out with Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P., while we sit home all year and watch our record just die. Then they call me to do another record, and I kind of wish I would have done it for the money, but I quit. We formed Badd Boyz and Spencer picked us up as an act, but everyone in the band didn’t want Spencer to have anything to do with it. So we spent another year and a half in litigation.
full in bloom: How did you sort out the manager ordeal?
Paul: She just wasn’t a part of anything. They signed the papers and Wendy just couldn’t be a part of it.
full in bloom: Was she still your manager?
Paul: Yeah, she still managed me but she didn’t have anything to do with the band. Before that, the band was letting Wendy run with it. She was buying everybody new clothes and giving us a place to rehearse. Where Warren, their manager, wasn’t putting a penny out. Before they even got to the paperwork, Wendy had already spent about ten grand on Quiet Riot because she thought she was a part of the management. But the bottom line was she was my manager, as far as they were concerned, she had nothing to do with Quiet Riot. At first, we had two people working for us and what I didn’t understand from Frankie and Carlos’ view was since I had joined the band, you’ve got your publishing back, something you never had and we have two managers for 15%, instead of one for 20%. What’s wrong with this picture? It really just comes down to power.
full in bloom: They were probably so sensitive about everything because they got so screwed in the past.
Paul: Oh yeah, they were screwed. When Kevin signed the deal…..they all go on about what a bad deal they got. They signed a deal with Spencer Proffer and he gave him a contract. They had an attorney and they agreed on what they ended up with. Here was a guy who had a studio and was taking a long shot and said, “I’m going to make you guys rock stars. I’m going to put up my money, my time, my studio and sign you guys and if something happens with it, then I am going to own this, I’m going to own that.” When they signed the deal, they didn’t care. They wanted to get out there. When you watch the Behind the Music, you see Kevin bagging on Spencer and the bottom line was Spencer didn’t do anything that a lot of other record companies weren’t doing. You give us everything; we give you just a little bit. That’s just the way it works. The smartest guy in the business was Ray Charles. He said, “Hey man, I’ll record anything you want, but I get to keep my masters….I want to own my masters.” He was the first artist to do that. If Quiet Riot owned their masters, the CBS / Sony couldn’t continue to release records with their shit on it and put my stuff on it….you lose the power and Ray had something to say about it.
full in bloom: Did you guys get along in the studio, while you are recording the Quiet Riot record?
Paul: Oh yeah, we got along great. Until we were done with it, and then, like I said, we had that big meeting and after we were done with the record, we had the meeting and…..
full in bloom: So all the manager shit went down after the recording of the record?
Paul: Yeah after. We were in litigation for a year just on the band signing the deal with Pasha. Once we got through that….
full in bloom: Then you start recording the record?
Paul: Yeah. We had already cut three songs and “Stay with Me” was the first one. It was the only one we picked out of the first three we tracked. Then we recorded the rest of the record after that. Me and Jimmy Waldo actually wrote most everything, but because of our deal, I had to give credit to everybody. I realized, after the fact, that I didn’t have to give them writing credit, where I could’ve kept the writing credit and just give them a piece of the publishing. They definitely wanted the publishing….they had gotten so screwed, well, they thought they had gotten so screwed. I didn’t think they got screwed. I think they agreed on what they got. They could’ve always renegotiated that contract after they made it huge. They chose not to and make another record and move on and they were unhappy with the deal. They made millions of dollars….let’s say they made 2 to 3 million dollars apiece, while Spencer made 6 or 7 million. So as far as they were concerned, they got ripped off. They were still doing well and were making good money, but he was making more. It takes everybody to make money. You shouldn’t worry about this guy making more….that’s what everybody seems to get locked up in. It just seems like it’s human nature, almost. You just need to go, “ok, I’m content with what I’m getting.” If they would have taken all the money they made from their records and had invested it properly, they would all still be quite wealthy. But they didn’t and they’re all scrambling to make a living. It’s just the way it goes. You get a shot at the title or success and it’s how you portray yourself and take the money around and make it work for you. I mean, Carlos bought a Lamborghini Countach and had a beautiful home. He still has that Countach, but he doesn’t have a home. When I was with him, he should have sold the car and kept the home that he had, but he didn’t.
full in bloom: How was it working with Spencer Proffer? It sounds like you had a good experience with him.
Paul: I think he’s a great producer. He brought out some of the best things in me. He’s just a good businessman. He’s Jewish and they know how to make money and they know how to work money. I don’t have anything bad to say about Spencer, other than the year we spent in litigation.
full in bloom: What did you think of Kevin (Dubrow)?
Paul: I knew Kevin back then. I didn’t really have anything bad to say about him. When I joined Quiet Riot, it was really weird. I hear all these horror stories about Kevin and I had never experienced that with him. He was always nice to me and I was always nice to him. Then I hear all these stories about him bagging on people…..people from the radio industry. Interview people are just bagging on Kevin and they wanted us to bag on him as well. But I didn’t jump on that bandwagon because I didn’t have that experience with him.
full in bloom: Why didn’t the record you did with them do better?
Paul: I think what killed that record was the fact that we didn’t tour and their manager going to CBS and telling them that Quiet Riot is having problems with their singer because they were so ecstatic about that record. They wanted to put everything into that record. That’s why they thought about changing the name. They thought maybe we’ll screw ourselves if we use the name. Of course, we didn’t.
full in bloom: Any idea how many copies sold?
Paul: I have no idea, probably a couple hundred thousand or so.
full in bloom: Wow, I would’ve thought it sold more. I remember “Stay with Me Tonight” getting a ton of airplay.
Paul: They were playing it on the radio, but then it stopped because of the politics involved.
full in bloom: Any idea what the budget was for that record?
Paul: No, because we couldn’t ever find out anything with Spencer. He was charging $150 an hour for his studio. We could’ve picked another producer but we had to use his studio and he’d have to ok it. Just stupid stuff with contracts. It’s like they own the hemorrhoid and the ass that goes along with it. They cover every aspect when they get the lawyers involved. It’s a shame it has to be the music business. If they kept the business out of it, it would really be something special; it would be creative and beautiful. As soon as the business part gets in there, it really gets ugly.
full in bloom: So you are offered to do another Quiet Riot record and you just quit?
Paul: I said no because we had been working on a Badd Boyz record with Sean McNabb, Mitch Perry, and Rich Carlton. And at that time we were working with James Kottak (Kingdom Come, Scorpions). We were recording some stuff with him and then we actually went on tour with them and Quiet Riot came to me wanting to do another record and I said no. Like I said, I should’ve done it for the money…..and to see where we would’ve gone with it. I was just pissed off that Frankie was out touring with W.A.S.P. and we were sitting at home. Actually, right when we were recording the Quiet Riot album, Carmine Appice asked me if I’d be interested in joining Blue Murder and I said no. They were trying out singers. They tried out Derek St. Holmes and Jeff Scott Soto. And then Sykes ended up doing it himself, which was smart because he was a good singer.
Paul Shortino: Actually, right when we were recording the Quiet Riot album, Carmine Appice asked me if I’d be interested in joining Blue Murder and I said no. They were trying out singers. They tried out Derek St. Holmes and Jeff Scott Soto. And then Sykes ended up doing it himself, which was smart because he was a good singer.“
full in bloom: Yeah, but that would have been a cool album for you to be on.
Paul: Oh yeah, that was a great album. “There’s a Riot Goin On” and what was that….”Jelly Roll”
full in bloom: I could never understand why David Coverdale fired John Sykes. He was the complete package.
Paul: Oh man, if Coverdale would’ve sung on that album, it would have been the next best Whitesnake album. The would have been one hell of a Whitesnake album.