RIOT V heads to Italy for a string of tribute dates starting in Brescia, Italy, ending in Thessaloniki, Greece, then returning home to start recording the new record slated for a summer 2014 release. The touring band for these tribute dates are longtime members Mike Flyntz (guitar), who has been Reale's guitar partner for over 25 years, and bassist/songwriter Don Van Stavern ("Thundersteel", "Privilege Of Power", "Immortal Soul"), new vocalist Todd Michael Hall (BURNING STARR, REVERENCE) and RIOT's "Army Of One" drummer Frank Gilchriest (VIRGIN STEELE, LIEGE LORD), who will be stepping in as Bobby Jarzombek is fulfilling his duties with FATES WARNING and SEBASTIAN BACH.
Although Reale can never be replaced, RIOT V has recruited former student-turned-teacher at Mike Flyntz's guitar school in Long Island, New York, 26-year-old guitar virtuoso Nick Lee, to handle the lead-guitar duties on the upcoming tour.
Says Flyntz: "I have decided to have guitarist Nick Lee join us on the live shows in Europe.
"The decision whether to add a guitarist or try it myself was very difficult. We did play some shows without Mark when he was sick. Although they went as well as could be expected given the circumstances, I felt it was better for the music to add a second guitarist, as Mark added me in 1989.
"It is very important to me that everyone knows that Nick is not Mark's replacement. Mark Reale can never be replaced. I will be taking on Mark's parts and Nick will be doing most of my parts. "Nick studied with me weekly from ages 9 to 17.
"Nick has always been a perfectionist and has always poured his heart into his music. He is a great writer and performer. I am very proud of him. He lives and breathes music and is one with his guitar. He has met Mark and saw us play live.
"Nick and I are sitting and practicing in the same room at my school where Mark and I practiced and wrote for 19 years.
"I know there is no one else better matched to come in and help us recreate the RIOT sound. After the first rehearsal, I was convinced that we are doing the right thing by carrying on Mark's music and legacy.
"Mark's dad Tony has been involved and has advised me with every step and in all the decision-making and it has been crucial to us that we have his blessing.
"At our first rehearsal playing our opener 'Narita', I actually shed a tear hearing the song that I had played so many years side by side with Mark, but know the band will shine on in his honor and not disappoint the diehard fans."