Riot - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
237 W. 42nd St. (7-8 Aves.) - 212-997-4144
New York, NY 10036
Description: Riot could well lay claim to being the cult rock outfit of North America. Founded in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale and inexorably linked to the cuddly baby seal that has adorned many of its album covers (a strange mascot for a full-fledged hard rock band), the band made a big splash with its 1977 debut Rock City. After several membership changes and the 1979 release of Narita, the band's classic lineup crystallized, featuring guitarists Reale and Rick Ventura, bassist Kip Leming, drummer Sandy Slavin, and vocalist Guy Speranza. This lineup toured in support of AC/DC and Molly Hatchet before releasing the band's best-selling album Fire Down Under (1981). The next several years were tumultuous for Riot - frontman Speranza departed, Reale dissolved and reformed the group, and numerous additional lineup changes occurred. With 1988's Thundersteel, the group adopted a style more closely aligned with power metal than with its original hard metal origins. 1990's The Privilege of Power saw Riot push the creative envelope even further by augmenting its heavy metal sound with horns. Lineup changes and successive releases continued through the '90s as the band toured and gained additional fans, particularly in Japan. In 2006, Riot returned from another hiatus with the release of Army of One, which won praise from fans and critics alike. In 2008, the Thundersteel-era lineup of Reale, Tony Moore, Don Van Stavern, and Bobby Jarzombek embarked on a high-profile world tour. Now, that same lineup, with the addition of guitarist Mike Flyntz, released its newest album Immortal Soul on November 22nd, 2011, in the U.S. About the album, vocalist Moore declares: "Immortal Soul is an album that is 100% true to the legacy of [Riot's] 1980s recordings. It's also packed with evidence of how we've all grown and changed as artists. It was recorded in five studios, in three different cities, and it's absolutely a product of the most important changes in the recording industry over the last 20 years."