For the criteria for bands and artists to be considered "deep cut artists," click here.
Band or artist: Riot
Where from: USA (New York)
Years active: 1975–1984, 1988–2012, 2013–present (as Riot V)
Number of studio albums: 15
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100: N/A
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200: Fire Down Under (#99)
Riot -– not to be confused with Quiet Riot -– is one of those hard rock bands from the late '70s and early '80s that put out some great music, but just never quite broke into the big time. They formed in NYC in 1975 and put out their debut album Rock City in 1977. The band had mild success over the next six years, touring in support of bigger artists like AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, and Sammy Hagar. Their trademark was a weird mole-like animal head on a human body that appeared on several of their album covers. For example:
Lead singer Guy Speranza left the band after their third album, 1981's Fire Down Under (the band's most successful album), and the band put out two more albums before breaking up in 1983. They reformed a couple years later, although guitarist Mark Reale was the only member who stayed on. Their sound morphed from straight-ahead hard rock and metal to more of a power metal and speed metal sound. The band has continued to put out albums, and released an album as recently as 2014. However, Reale died in early 2012, and the band has since renamed itself Riot V.
My favorite Riot song is "This Is What I Get" off of their first album, Riot City (which is a great hard rock album, by the way). In 2006, this song randomly came across one of my Pandora stations. I hadn't heard of Riot before then, and I certainly hadn't heard this song, but it just seemed so familiar. When I heard it, I was immediately transported to the late '70s, and I saw all the colors of the '70s rainbow: brown, light brown, beige, burnt orange, pea green, mustard yellow. I know I've mentioned this before, but there was this underlying feeling that I had memories associated with the song, like it was "our song" from a high school girlfriend that never existed -- or would have been in her late teens when I was born, so my mom wouldn't have let me date her. I seriously get goosebumps every time the song starts. Rock City was released not long after I was born, and I can't imagine any circumstance under which either of my parents would have ever been listening to this song or any other Riot song. I don't know what's going on, but it's weird. Bottom line, though, is that I'm a big fan of this song, and it makes my soul happy and comfortable, were I to have a soul.