Steve Riley, the former drummer for L.A. GUNS and W.A.S.P., passed away at the age of 67. Riley’s son Cole confirmed his father’s passing to BLABBERMOUTH.NET, stating that Steve died away on Tuesday, October 24.
In a statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET, the Riley family said, “We are heartbroken to report that Steve Riley died away at the age of 67. After fighting a serious bout of pneumonia for many weeks, Steve passed away on Tuesday, October 24. In his last moments, his son Cole and wife Mary Louise were by his side.
Riley’s death was originally announced by Metal Sludge, and it was later verified by his longtime buddy Jason Green. In a recent video that he posted on his Waste Some Time With Jason Green YouTube channel, Green said that Riley had experienced a number of health problems before dying away.
Cause Of Death
Riley’s close friend informed Metal Sludge that the drummer passed away during a recent hospital stay. In recent months, he had also taken to walking with a cane.
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From 1983 until 1987, Riley accompanied W.A.S.P. on their four first albums and global tours as their drummer. Riley joined L.A. GUNS in 1987 after departing from W.A.S.P., contributing to the band’s most commercially successful albums.
Riley was absent from the 2016 reunion of guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis as L.A. GUNS. Later, Steve started his own version of L.A. GUNS, which had its stage debut in May 2019 at the Maryland M3 Rock Festival.
Riley, Guns, and Lewis came to an out-of-court agreement in April 2021 about the band’s name rights. As per the terms of the settlement agreement, Riley and his bandmates from the previous iteration of L.A. GUNS continued to perform under the name RILEY’S L.A. GUNS, while Tracii and Phil continued to use the L.A. GUNS trademark.
The new song “The Dark Horse” by RILEY’S L.A. GUNS was published last month via Golden Robot Records. The song was supposed to be on the group’s planned, self-titled sophomore album, which is anticipated to be released in early 2024.
Riley, guitarist/vocalist Kurt Frohlich of Orlando, Florida, guitarist Scott Griffin, who played bass for L.A. GUNS from 2007 to 2009 and again from 2011 to 2014, and guitarist Nickels were all members of Riley’s L.A. GUNS.
Riley said that he was “blessed to be involved in both waves of hard rock and metal in 1980s Los Angeles” in a 2011 blog post for Modern Drummer. He clarified, saying, “The MÖTLEY CRÜE, RATT, W.A.S.P., and DOKKEN movement was the first of the two. Then came the L.A. GUNS, GUNS N’ ROSES, and FASTER PUSSYCAT group. I am among the select few drummers who have been a part of two successful bands from different waves. Pretty awesome thing.
“I’ve said it in many interviews, W.A.S.P., RATT, MÖTLEY CRÜE, DOKKEN, GREAT WHITE, that first wave of metal out of Los Angeles, we were working so much, we were on the road all of us so much that we never really even noticed what was happening in Los Angeles because we’d only be back for a few weeks or a few days actually sometimes,” the native of Massachusetts Riley reminisced about his early years on the Sunset Strip rock scene three years ago, as he spoke fondly to Antihero Magazine. Thus, we were blind to the second wave of L.A. metal that included bands like GUNS N’ ROSES, L.A. GUNS, FASTER PUSSYCAT, and JETBOY. Thus, once Blackie [Lawless] acted appropriately and dismissed Randy Piper, he also fired me and, ultimately, Chris [Holmes]. He broke up that fantastic band. However, I was merely lucky when it occurred with me in 1987 and he let me go. One day, these men from L.A. GUNS contacted me. They were ardent W.A.S.P. supporters. The guys in GUNS N’ ROSES were, like, massive fans too. They contacted me and asked if I wanted to join, but I had no idea that they were all ardent W.A.S.P. fans. And I did a sort of abrupt transition from doing a small performance with L.A. GUNS to opening for Long Beach Arena. I thus had no actual idea of the second wave of metal, and I was really lucky to transition from W.A.S.P. to L.A. GUNS.”