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Opinion: Santa Cruzan James Durbin Leans Into His Metal Roots

Durbin shows off his love of metal on his new solo album

James Durbin grew up playing in Santa Cruz hard rock and metal bands before fronting Quiet Riot. Now he has a solo metal album of his own. COURTESY PHOTO

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

I missed the first wave of James Durbin mania in Santa Cruz, which went down just before I came back to Santa Cruz in 2012 to be editor of Santa Cruz Weekly. The one thing I did see at the time was the clip of Durbin performing Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”—with Judas Priest—on the finale of American Idol’s 10th season. So I kind of always assumed he was a metal guy, despite the fact that his subsequent projects have covered musical ground from pop to hard rock to Americana. I was surprised that so many people were surprised to see him take over as Quiet Riot’s lead singer in 2017.

Still, I have to say that even I am taken aback by how hard Durbin has leaned into his love of metal on his new solo album—and I love it. In his cover story on Durbin this week, Aaron Carnes explains just how thoroughly that love comes through on the new album—right down to the fantasy tropes that are the hallmark of classic ’70s heavy metal. I got a genuine sense of glee looking through the photos for this story, too, as Durbin has committed to the part visually. This is the first heavy metal cover I remember GT doing since I’ve been here, and it’s long overdue. As Tenacious D sang, you can’t kill the metal—the metal will live on.

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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