Mark Reale, a founding guitar player of the incredibly underrated 80s New York metal band Riot (not Quiet), died Wednesday due to complications of Crohn’s disease.
Though they had their ups and downs, the band’s “Fire Down Under” is considered by many (my friends and I) to be one of the greatest hard rock records of its time. And it still holds up. It was so great that, in an air-jam competition in high school, we did “The Outlaw,” with me so desperate for over-the-top heavy metal accessories, I actually took my mother’s cheese grater and hung it from my belt. And sliced up my hand trying to do fake windmills. I think I was also wearing a red shirt with Japanese writing on it that said something like “I’d like my sushi to go.”
I also saw Riot in 1984, I believe, at Berkeley Community Theater, on the same bill as KISS and Vandenberg. That’s right – KISS had to cram their stage in that venue.
Riot had maybe the strangest mascot of all hard rock mascots back then – a guy with the head of a baby harp seal. I think it was a guy – either that or it was a harp seal with the body of a guy. I still have my Fire Down Under LP – I think I may get it out tonight.