By PAUL ANDERSON
City News Service
Throughout Regina Russell's film career she always wanted to shoot a documentary, but hadn't come across the right idea until tragedy struck her boyfriend, Frankie Banali of heavy metal band Quiet Riot.
"I have been in the film business for 20 years and always wanted to do a documentary," Russell told City News Service as she prepared for the premiere of her documentary, "Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back," at the 15th annual Newport Beach Film Festival, which opens Thursday.
"I kicked around a lot of ideas, but all of a sudden this story started happening all around me, so I picked up a camera and started following it," Russell said.
That story was the cocaine overdose death of Quiet Riot singer Kevin DuBrow in November 2007.
Quiet Riot hit the charts in 1983 with the band's cover of "Cum On Feel the Noize," followed by another hit, "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)," from the debut album.
The documentary covers "the entire history and present day of the band, but it is seen through the eyes of Frankie Banali, the longest-running member," Russell said.
"He was at a crossroads when Kevin died, and he mourned the loss of his best friend and the band, and then he had to grapple with putting the band back together," Russell said.
The documentary features "never-before-seen" personal and performance footage from Banali, the director said.
"There's a little bit of performance, but a lot of hanging around, goofing off with the other guys and the things they got up to in the '80s as rock stars," Russell said, adding with a chuckle that some of it had to be "heavily censored."
The documentary also features testimonials about Quiet Riot's place in rock history from original MTV VJ Martha Quinn, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider and former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum.
"At that time, record companies were not signing metal bands, they were signing new wave bands," Russell said of the band's origins. "They got a (record) deal by the skin of their teeth."
After the band's "monster hit," record companies rushed to sign metal bands, leading to an era in the late 1980s of so-called hair bands such as Poison.
Russell recalls meeting the band growing up in South Carolina and hanging out with them for a few days.
"I was a kid with braces and I had a crush on Frankie," Russell said. "And then we lost touch and reconnected many years later."
Russell bumped into Banali at a Whole Foods store and reminded her of the time she met the band. Now the two are engaged and will soon plan the wedding with the movie finished, she said.
Also playing roles in Russell's movie are DuBrow's younger brother, Terry, a noted plastic surgeon who is married to Heather DuBrow, a cast member of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."