Skip to content

RIOT- Outlaw, c/w Rock city (live) 7″ (Elektra, USA, 1981)

Listen, I know what you’re thinking. “What the hell is this?! This 7″ never had this sleeve!” And you’re totally right being surprised. So was I when I found me a promotional copy of RIOT‘s “Fire down under” LP, bearing a sticker which said that this would include the bonus 7″. I can only speak for myself, of course, but I’ve had no idea about an initial press of the band’s by far best album,  containing a bonus 7″.

I’ve always been under the impression that RIOT was a NWOBHM band and although being from N.Y. and having put together in 1975 already, this is isn’t totally non-accurate to suppose. The first two albums were good, solid, a bit AC/DC influenced Hardrock. Back in my teenage years, I used to fancy the 2nd LP, “Narita”, but to tell the truth, it sounded a bit too tame to me. That’s maybe why I made the mistake to never check out the follow-up, “Fire down under” (which I order you to buy right now! CD edition available). Almost two years in the making and recorded in the winter of 1980, it first must have seemed like a nightmare to the band when their record company Capitol turned the recordings down: “Totally unacceptable” was the verdict, “too heavy!”. And indeed, “Fire down under” (on which a longer version of “Outlaw” appears) is of a different caliber than the two previous albums. Heavy riffing, sometimes fast and always very memorable and thrilling. Songs like “Feel the same”, although balladesque, have a really dark and somewhat existential feeling (don’t laugh, but for some reason I always think of the Dead Boys when I hear this particular song). And all in all, RIOT sound exactly like every NWOBHM out-of-the-garage band wanted to sound: Clean, tight and with a great, great singer (who died in 2003).
RIOT broke up in 1983 and came back with a great album, called “Thundersteel” in 1988. You might want to keep your eyes open for that one too.

Rock City (live).mp3

Those who “like” Goodbadmusic on Facebook have seen this already, but it’s too great to be missed here. My fave song from “Fire down under” and a heartwarming live performance: