“Riley was a friend, a brother, a son,” the surviving members of the Texan band said in a statement at the time. “Riley was both a larger-than-life rock star and a humble and giving friend. He touched so many lives through his lyrics and through his huge heart. He treated everyone he met as a friend.”
One of those friends, rapper and Body Count frontman Ice-T pays tribute to the late singer in the new issue of Metal Hammer. Gale guested on the track Point The Finger on Body Count’s Carnivore album, released in March, and Ice-T’s touching tribute to the singer is a poignant reminder of both his talent and the metal community’s loss.
Ice-T recalls first hearing about Power Trip when his band and the Texan thrashers were both booked for an event hosted by the metal website Loudwire in 2017.
“Everybody was telling us, ‘Power Trip have got the big, heavy riffs like Body Count’,” the rapper recalls. “The first time I saw them, I knew they were badass. The group was tight, he was crazy – he looked like a little wild man, like he would be hunting or some shit. He didn’t look like the normal metal guy. He had a trucker hat on and was jumping around and stuff. But he had crazy energy, and the band was dope.”
Speaking about Gale’s appearance on Point The Finger, Ice-T notes, “Personally, I like to collab with groups that I like. A lot of times, people want you to collab with somebody [and it’s] more political than you just liking the band. We just liked them, and I guess somebody in my camp overheard me saying I dig Power Trip – I was wearing the t-shirt and stuff like that – and next thing I know [Carnivore producer] Will Putney had made the connection and we were in the midst of making a record together.”
“Riley wrote the outline for Point The Finger. A lot of Power Trip songs are about injustice, and standing on the right side of issues. And he wrote that song, and I came in and I did my side of it; we kind of worked together. But the hook was written by him [‘And then they point the finger at you’], and that really is pretty much how we felt, that a lot of times people get killed by police, and then they vilify the person.”
The rapper goes on to express his shock about hearing about Gale’s death via an online news story.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he admits. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, I was just talking to this dude last week.’ We had just done the video for Point The Finger, which we all had to film ourselves, on iPhones, and I was talking to him, and he was on point, and, ‘Ice, let me get this done.’ Then I got a text from his father, who kind of told me what had happened.”
“Riley was just a kid out of Texas that was doing really good. He was making his way, the band was building power, and it’s sad when somebody’s legacy gets cut short. He was gonna do big things. That band was one of the hottest new bands coming out. I’ll just always remember him as a cool- ass dude, just the easiest person to meet. I knew we were gonna tour together eventually, and do things together, so it’s extremely sad, and a huge loss for the new metal community, and his family and people that loved him. He was a very loved person.”
To read Ice-T’s full tribute to Riley Gale, pick up the new issue of Metal Hammer, which is on sale now (opens in new tab).
The new issue features our review of 2020, including new interviews with Metallica, Deftones, Trivium, Puscifer, Evanescence, Bury Tomorrow, Code Orange and many more of the bands who defined your year.
Plus, we reveal our 50 best albums of 2020. And because it’s Christmas, this issue also comes with a ton of gifts – a 2021 calendar, a brand new heavy metal activity book and a CD featuring the best songs of 2020.