Former L.A. GUNS and W.A.S.P. drummer Steve Riley has died at the age of 67. Riley’s death was confirmed to BLABBERMOUTH.NET by his son Cole, who said that Steve passed away this past Tuesday, October 24th. The Riley family has released the following statement:
“We are devastated to share that Steve Riley has passed away at the age of 67. Steve had been battling a severe case of pneumonia for several weeks, and on Tuesday, Oct. 24th, succumbed to the illness. His wife Mary Louise and son Cole were by his side in his final moments.
Steve spent the past five decades building up a rich music legacy, touring the world countless times, selling millions of records, sharing the stage with incredible bandmates and bringing joy to fans across the globe. His style was unmatched, influenced by the greats like Buddy Rich, Ginger Baker and John Bonham, and his passion for the craft was evident until the very end. But Steve’s greatest legacy was his role as a loving husband and caring father. At home, he was more than just a rocker — he was a Boston sports fanatic, a World War II buff and an avid reader. As much as he loved being on the road, nothing brought him more joy than coming home to his family.
Steve is survived by his wife and son, as well as his brothers Michael and Daniel.”
The news of Riley’s death was first reported by Metal Sludge and was confirmed by his longtime friend Jason Green, who shared a new video on his Waste Some Time With Jason Green YouTube channel in which he said that Steve had suffered from various health issues prior to his passing.
Riley was the drummer for W.A.S.P. on the band’s second and third albums — 1985’s “The Last Command” and 1986’s “Inside The Electric Circus” — and world tours from 1984 to 1987. After leaving W.A.S.P., Riley joined L.A. GUNS and played on that group’s most commercially successful LPs.
In 2016, singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns reunited in a new version of L.A. GUNS that didn’t include Riley. Steve later launched his own version of L.A. GUNS, which played its debut concert at the M3 Rock Festival in Maryland in May 2019.
In April 2021, an out-of-court resolution was reached between Riley and Guns and Lewis over the rights to the band’s name. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Tracii and Phil continued to operate under the L.A. GUNS trademark, while Riley and his bandmates from the other version of L.A. GUNS carried on under the new name RILEY’S L.A. GUNS.
Last month, RILEY’S L.A. GUNS released a new single, “The Dark Horse”, via Golden Robot Records. The track was set to appear on the band’s upcoming sophomore album of the same name, tentatively due in early 2024.
RILEY’S L.A. GUNS featured Riley alongside Orlando, Florida-based guitarist/vocalist Kurt Frohlich, Nickels and guitarist Scott Griffin, who played bass for L.A. GUNS from 2007 until 2009, and then again from 2011 to 2014.
Rest In Peace, Steve …
Our sincerest condolences to all of Steve Riley‘s family, friends and band-mates.