As reported last week, GUY SPERANZA, the original voice for RIOT has passed away in a Florida hospital due to pancreatic cancer. Speranza fronted the band from their beginnings in Brooklyn, New York in early 1976. His unmistakable vocal style can be heard on Rock City (1977), Narita (1979) and the unsurpassed gem Fire Down Under (1981). Speranza was 47 years old. BraveWords.com passes heartfelt condolences to Speranza's family, friends and fans. Riot guitarist and torch-bearer through the years Mark Reale talked to BW&BK to offer his perspective. "It's just really daunting. I'm shocked. But I knew he was ill for quite some time now. I was speaking with his wife periodically. He was actually diagnosed last April, and I think I found out shortly after that. And I spoke with him numerous times on the phone. And a lot of old people came out of the woodwork, people I hadn't seen for over 20 years, people who used to hang out with us when we used to play in my basement in Brooklyn. But yeah, the last couple of weeks, the news I was getting was that he was in the hospital and things were looking rough." "But the thing is, when I think of him, I think of him from 1980, when we were young and all that stuff was happening. So aside from the fact that he sang in the band, everything I've done up until now, is based on what we did, that record we made (ed. Fire Down Under). It gave us some kind of cult notoriety so to speak, and I was able to carry on based on that foundation. So it's a big loss to me in that sense as well. First of all, as a singer, he was unique, and I thought he was a great singer. When we used to play back in the old days, we would have block parties on the weekends in the neighborhood where we lived, and they would have bands playing. And I saw him playing; he was in a different band and he was like a local hero. And I saw him singing at one block party and I saw the girls reacting to him, and he had the charisma, the look, the voice. And I turned to my partner, and said 'Hey, if we can get this guy, we can go places.'" Tragically, in closing, Mark revealed that the doctors had told Guy's wife that he thought there was a good chance his cancer was caused by the chemicals Guy had handled for 20 years in his profession as an exterminator. Guy is also survived by two daughters, aged 17 and 20. (special report by Martin Popoff)
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