BOOK REVIEW ……
Martin Popoff is a great writer who has written a ton of books about bands that normally would not have books written about them.(U.F.O/Accept & Max Webster) are three that come to mind)
Brooklyn’s Riot would be one of these bands who came Oh so close but due to record company/management issues and a great Lead Singer Guy Speranza quitting(just as they were about to go mega) fell a little short in making it to the Big Time! Shame really as Riot had a real good run of about 4 Albums and a Ep! (1979s Narita 1981’s Fire Down Under, 1983’s Restless Breed thru 1984’s Born In America)
Say what ya want but that’s a better run of albums than many an act you do know about! Hello Poison……!
Martin always does his due diligence on talking to pretty much members of Riot especially Riot guitarist Mark Reale who provides all kinds of real cool stories about recording (each classic album is reviewed with track by track commentary) with other interviews with former members like Rick Ventura,Kip Lemming and Manager Steve Loeb.
Some heat is put on Loeb in this book by the other Riot member’s for making them sign deals that were lopsided and by having missed opportunities. Loeb himself explain’s his side of the story to Martin. Even today Drummer Sandy Slavin has posted remarks about the dealings of Loeb and assistant manager Billy Arnell on his Facebook page not necessarily by name mind you but by “Management”.
1981’s Fire Down Under should have made these guys superstars.
Riot had all the Big League Managers at the time salivating to work with them! Managers from bands like Sabbath and Q Prime(Metallica/Def Leppard) but for reasons it always fell apart for these guys amongst record label turnover and Riot themselves switching labels they just could not gather up any real momentum and when they did finally get momentum Singer Guy Speranza got married/found God and packed it in with Rock N Roll! Also for all the accolades Riot received they were making no money this as well could wear and tear on you mentally as well.
Riot were in a lurch but they scored in the singer search and hired Rhett Forrester and released 1983’s Restless Breed (which back than was my first Riot Purchase) but once again Riot were dropped by their record company but it didn’t deter these fella’s as by 1984 out came the Real Good Born In America and touring the arenas with KISS but the fact that Riot was on a Canadian Disco Label didn’t do them any favours in the marketing regions of Hard Rock!
Eventually like all bands that struggle they break up and Riot did and kudos to them for struggling to survive for as long as they did!
1988 Riot was reborn with just guitarist Reale remaining and he put out the Thundersteel album which I had bought on Cassette tape but it did not catch on with me as I was looking for the Fire Down Under/Restless Breed/Born In America Riot and for me it wasn’t there! Full props though to Mark for never stopping…..
Riot to this day is still going and Martin does champion there cause.
I should also mention that Martin steps up with the book with pictures of the bands/record and tour adds. Stuff I have never seen before even back in the mid 80s when I was listening to these guys the first time around! The Book also has the whole Discography of the band which is very detailed and there’s a section of submitted Riot Fan Email’s explaining the passion they have for these guy’s music! Martin even talks to the guy that played with Rhett in a band from Calgary back in the late 80s when Rhett relocated there.
Remember what I said earlier about Martin doing his due diligence in regards to this book….
Riot is one of the few bands that have had its share to tragedy as well. Rhett Forester was murdered in an attempted Car Jacking back in 1994(Atlanta) and the case was never really solved while original singer Guy Speranza passed away from cancer in 2003. Mark Reale passed away from complications from Crohns disease in 2012.
Riot though are one of those Gems of a band that may have never hit the big time but for many out there they did!
Props to Martin for writing this book! Thanks Man! Also Thanks Martin for securing and sending me a copy of this Book!
Folks do yourselves a favour and support our local Canadian Homeboy’s Martin Popoff and Brent Jensen as they are fantastic writers! Search em out and tell them Deke’s sent ya!