Riff Police! Pull Over! #126: Riot Vs Iron Maiden!

Origninally formed in 1975 as Riot and then rebranding as Riot V with Todd Michael Hall as their fifth official vocalist and none of the original line up; bassist Don Van Stavern has been in the band since 1986 as the oldest representative with guitarist Mike Flyntz three years behind having joined in 1989. Original vocalist Guy Speranza and his replacement Rhett Forrester have both tragically passed away, as have guitarists Louie “L.A.” Kouvaris and Mark Reale. 1981 saw the band release album “Fire Down Under” with “Swords and Tequilla” as its opening salvo, Speranza and Reale credited with the lyrics and guitar work respectively. Recorded at Greene Street Recording in New York City the year prior it’s been released no less than five times with additional tracks.

Three years after “Swords and Tequilla” made it’s mark it seems that the influence of Reale was felt by Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith. One of two writing credits he received on the bands critically acclaimed 1984 album “Powerslave” was for “2 Minutes to Midnight” by Iron Maiden, a track on which the same riff can be heard. As one of the leading proponents of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement at the time, accidentally borrowing from an act of similar ilk that you just happened to be listening to around the same time is one of those things that just… sort of happens really. If no-one notices in the entourage (and Iron Maiden are big enough to have one) then it slips unnoticed onto the record; which is where the fans and critics notice. After all, there are more fans and critics than there are members of the entourage; this is Iron Maiden we’re talking about, not BeyoncĂ©.

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