The surviving members of the legendary American hard rock band RIOT have released a statement defending themselves against accusations of “cashing in” on the group’s name following the passing of RIOT‘s founding guitarist, Mark Reale.
Reale died on January 25 in a San Antonio hospital due to complications of Crohn’s disease — an ailment he had battled for most of his life. He was 56 years old.
Writing on the official RIOT Facebook page, the band says, “To all the people and other ‘so-called’ pages that dont know what the real true story is and what’s going on with RIOT…
“First off, we are NOT cashing in on the name. RIOT has never really made lots of money, not even Mark. He lived with his parents until the day he passed AND we all have day jobs! We do it for the love of music and have to take time off to play.
“Mark was our brother and he lived with us and we took care of him up until his untimely passing and we are still deeply saddened by the death of a family member.
“[RIOT guitarist] Mike [Flyntz] did ALL the guitar work on the [last RIOT album] ‘Immortal Soul’ except four rhythm tracks that Mark laid. Because of his illness, [Mark] was too shaky to play [the rest of the tracks] correctly and it did frustate him.
“Don [Van Stavern, bass] wrote most of the songs, like he did on ‘Thundersteel’ and ‘Privilege Of Power’, and has been with Mark since he co-wrote songs on ‘Restless Breed’ and ‘Born In America’ back in the early ’80s.
“Mark was at the studio and was pleased with how it was coming out and was proud to call it a RIOT record.
“This is NOT the ‘Rock City’ lineup, this is NOT the ‘Fire Down Under’ lineup; it is the ‘Thundersteel’ lineup, with the original members of that era.
“We were ALL fans of the early stuff with [late RIOT singers] Guy [Speranza] and Rhett [Forrester].
“Mark and his estate’s wishes were us to go on and most people want us to!
“We play songs WE wrote or co-wrote and play a few of Mark‘s songs in tribute to him and the early years!
“There are bands out there playing songs and performing with ONE original guy in the band and some didnt write any of the music — QUIET RIOT, GUNS N’ ROSES, GREAT WHITE now QUEENSRŸCHE! And, of course, THIN LIZZY (well, a couple of guys, but NOT Phil [Lynott]) but people come out to hear songs they love.
“Mike Flyntz has been taking care of Mr. Reale [Mark‘s father] since Mark‘s death because [Mike] is like a son to him now.
“Have a little compassion and get the real story before you post anything you have NO clue about! Opinions are welcome, but vicious uneducated posts and comments [on our Facebook page] will NOT be tolerated and will be removed and blocked.
“A press release will be issued soon to let you know what’s coming!”