Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Riot guitarist Mark Reale dead at 56

Mark Reale
June 7, 1955- January 25, 2012

Mark Reale, guitarist and founding member of New York hard rockers Riot, has passed away. He was 56 years old. Reale had been entered into a San Antonio hospital on January 11 after suffering from a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, which put Reale into a coma. Along with this, Reale had been battling with Crohn's Disease for his entire life. With gigs to play, the four other members of Riot continued without him in promoton of their latest album Immortal Soul

Reale was one of the co-founding members of Riot when they formed in 1975 in New York. Despite numerous line-up changes, singer Guy Speranza was the lead singer for the band's first three album. The third, Fire Down Under, is considered by many music critics to be one of the most overlooked albums of the hard rock genre. Speranza would leave in 1981 and was replaced by singer Rhett Forrester. With Forrester, the band made Restless Breed and Born In America. The band went on hiatus for a few years but around 1986, Reale had put together a new version of Riot. This power metal oriented Riot released Thundersteel in 1988 and have been active ever since. Throughout the band's history, Reale has been the only stable member in the band. In 2011, the Thundersteel line-up released the album Immortal Soul

I'm very saddened by the news of Mark's passing. He was a great guitarist and was the guy who kept Riot going. This isn't a first for Riot: Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester have also died. Guy died from pancreatic cancer in 2003 while Rhett was tragically murdered in 1994. As for the future of Riot going on, that's up to them. I mean, Mark was the last original member left but Immortal Soul was such a great album. Perhaps the remaining guys in Riot can continue to perform but not under the Riot name. Still, I would think Mark would want the guys to go on with the tour. No matter what happens, we have lost a great guitarist. 

Rest in peace, Mark. 

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