Mark Reale RIOT Founder Dies

Mark Reale, founding guitarist of metal icons RIOT has sadly passed away. He had been in a coma for the past 2 weeks, and died in a San Antonio hospital, as a result of complications from Crohns Disease, which he has been suffering with for most of his life. He was 56

Mark was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1955. He grew up listening to The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore and lists George Harrison as one of his greatest influences. After attending concerts by Ronnie Montrose, Rick Derringer and Edgar Winter he decided to become a rock guitarist, forming the band Riot in 1975 who are still active today. Many music magazines and critics have called him one of the most underrated heavy metal guitarists ever.

Mark Reale has been the principal songwriter and main creative force behind Riot starting with the band’s 1977 debut album Rock City. The group’s most acclaimed album was 1981’s seminal Fire Down Under, the last of three studio albums to feature original vocalist Guy Speranza. Other notable records include Restless Breed (1982), the band’s comeback album, Thundersteel (1988), and its follow-up, The Privilege of Power (1990). Riot’s most recent album was Army of One in 2006. Riot has toured all around the world and been a support act for major acts such as Kiss, AC/DC, Sammy Hagar, Molly Hatchet, and Rush while maintaining a particularly strong fanbase in Japan and Continental Europe.

After Riot’s temporary breakup following the Born In America (1983) release, Reale formed a short-lived outfit named Narita with former members of S.A. Slayer, including future Riot bassist Don Van Stavern. The band recorded a sole demo in 1984 before calling it quits. Reale decided to re-activate Riot which led to a new record deal with CBS Records and the Thundersteel album in 1988. In 1998, Reale co-founded the group Westworld with vocalist Tony Harnell of TNT fame. Westworld released three studio albums and one live disc between 1999 and 2002.

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