Powerline magazine recently conducted an interview with Mark Reale, guitarist for the legendary U.S. metal band RIOT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Powerline: I thought “Thundersteel” was a remarkable comeback album when it came out in 1988. The same can be said for this new album, “Immortal Soul”, too …no?
Mark Reale: “Immortal Soul” is basically the follow-up to “Thundersteel” (1998) and “Privilege Of Power” (1990) 20 years later. The sound of the “Thundersteel” lineup is so identifiable and the songs on the new CD have the same feel and sound but with more of a modern power metal twist. This lineup’s writing and performing skills have the same kind of magic we had back when we recorded the “Thundersteel” album. I couldn’t have asked for more. This CD is definitely a great comeback for us, and everyone gave it their all and brought their “A” game on “Immortal Soul”. I’m very proud of the way it came out. The guys did an amazing job and Bruno Ravel did a great mix and production job.
Powerline: Since “Thundersteel” the band has moved into more of a power metal style. How did this evolution occur? Was it at first due to Tony Moore‘s style of singing?
Reale: The “Thundersteel” lineup had a certain kind of formula for writing songs and a sound that people loved. Don [Van Stavern, bass] was responsible for a lot of the changes of the sound of RIOT during that period because of his background in heavy metal. He wrote most of the songs on “Thundersteel” and you will hear some of his recognizable style on “Immortal Soul”. Everybody participated in the writing on this CD. Mike [Flyntz, guitar] did a lot of excellent writing and lead playing and Bobby [Jarzombek], of course, did his usual awesome drumming and Tony outdid himself lyrically and vocally on this effort. I pretty much took a producer standpoint for a lot of this. I am very proud of these guys and could definitely not have done it without them.
Powerline: How did Tony Moore come back to the band? Why did he leave in the first place?
Reale: When the “Thundersteel” lineup broke up over 20-some-odd years ago, Don left first due to managerial conflicts, shortly followed by Tony. We kept the lineup going with the remaining members. During that period, Don continued on in various projects, touring and recording, whereas Tony kind of left the scene and was doing stuff on a more grounded level. So I think after 20 years of that, and a home life, and then getting thrown back into the fire, it was a little overwhelming at that time for him. We all didn’t know how this was going to turn out. But it ended up going from reunion shows to an overwhelming outcry for permanence. He had to step back and re-evaluate his stance during this period. I think he just needed time for this to sink in and that there was such a demand for the group. He had to arrange his personal life’s schedule to give it some priority that it was requiring. He also was seeing the people commenting on him singing, everyone wanted a new CD with him on it. After his short departure, we had a band pow-wow and we decided to give it a shot again. Tony‘s vocals are a big part of this sound and we were exciting to have him back. You will hear on “Immortal Soul” how lucky we are to have him back. The vocals sound better than 20 years ago! It’s amazing. Hell, the whole band blows me away. Hopefully we can keep this unit together for years to come, God willing.
Powerline: How is Moore after his emergency surgery? How will it affect his vocal range?
Reale: Tony had emergency oral surgery about three weeks ago and is still recuperating, but is in good spirits and doing well so we should be back up and running within a couple months. We were really bummed that we had to cancel (shows) but (it was) something we had to do for Tony. He had an infection in his jaw bone that required a bone graft which complicated the use of the mouth, and as you know, he needs to be 100% to sing this new stuff. His doctor said he will be fine and able to sing normal again, which is amazing, because his vocals still sound great after all these years. I can’t apologize enough to the fans;, we were as disappointed as they were. Actually, we are looking into re-booking a European tour at the top of next year, so it’s just kind of just postponed.
Powerline: RIOT thrives onstage … What will the tour to support this album be like?
Reale: The cool thing about RIOT is that we have never relied on a giant stage production or gimmicks. We’ve always been about the music and performance. Joe Perry said it best when he stated, “Let the music do the talking.” You will see five awesome musicians doing what they love which is playing from the heart and that are passionate about the live delivery. I can tell you it will be loud and fast with lots of Marshalls. These guys are top-notch players and am very confident every time I hit the stage with them. You will leave satisfied. We will play a few songs from each album, even some very early stuff that we haven’t played in awhile.
Read the entire interview from Powerline.
“Sins Of The Father” audio stream (courtesy of AOL‘s Noisecreep):
“Still Your Man” audio stream: