The genre-pushing and politically outspoken singer Riley Gale, leader of Dallas thrash band Power Trip, died August 24, his band confirmed. He was 34. “Riley was a friend, a brother, a son. Riley was both a larger than life rock star and a humble and giving friend,” the band wrote in a statement, asking for privacy and donations to Dallas Hope Charities. “He touched so many lives through his lyrics and through his huge heart. He treated everyone he met as a friend and he always took care of his friends.” Power Trip released two acclaimed albums with Gale, Manifest Decimation in 2013 and Nightmare Logic in 2017. The band also released an early-recordings compilation, Opening Fire, in 2018, and a live album earlier this year.
Gale stood out in the metal scene for using his platform to speak for political and social justice causes. He was critical of President Donald Trump, and his band once tweeted a cease and desist to Fox News after the network used a Power Trip song. The Nightmare Logic song “If Not Us Then Who” was inspired by John Lewis, the late civil-rights legend.
“We will celebrate Riley’s life and never forget the great works of music, charity, and love that he left behind,” the band said. “You, the fans, meant so much to him, please know how special you are.” Musicians offered tributes on social media, from metal and hardcore bands to Ice-T, who performs with thrash band Body Count. “I’m devastated … Still don’t know how … I’m speechless,” he tweeted. Connor Donegan, who drums in bands including Red Death, tweeted, “Without Riley I’d legitimately be working some miserable office job instead of pursuing the things in life that I love. In 2016 he called me out of the blue and basically forced me to drop out of school to go on tour with Power Trip. That experience completely changed my life.” Hardcore band Fucked Up simply tweeted, “One of the best to ever ever do it.”