Steve Riley, Drummer for W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns, Dead at 67

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Drummer Steve Riley, a classic member of the bands W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns, has died at the age of 67. The veteran musician passed away after a severe bout with pneumonia.

Riley’s passing was confirmed by his family, who issued the following statement via Facebook: “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. 24, succumbed to the illness. His wife Mary Louise and son Cole were by his side in his final moments.”

Riley was a member of W.A.S.P. from 1984 to 1987, appearing on the metal band’s gold-certified sophomore album, 1985’s The Last Command, and its follow-up, 1986’s Inside the Electric Circus, as well as their popular 1987 live album, Live… in the Raw.

In 1987, he joined L.A. Guns, and was part of the glam-metal band’s classic lineup from 1987 to 1992. After being fired from the group, he rejoined in 1994, and remained in the band until 2016. From there, legal issues resulted in two incarnations of L.A. Guns, with Riley creating his own version of the band in 2019, eventually performing as Riley’s L.A. Guns.

Riley’s L.A. Guns unveiled a new single, “The Dark Horse,” last month, with intentions to release an album by the same name in early 2024.

The full statement from Riley’s family continued as follows:

“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.”

Earlier this year, Riley told Audio Ink Radio in an interview, “I was lucky enough to get hooked up with W.A.S.P. in 1983 and do that for three or four years and three or four albums with W.A.S.P., and then again, luck and timing in this business. I mean talent is one thing, but luck and timing is such a big thing, and I lucked out again, timing-wise where I could go right from W.A.S.P. to L.A. Guns in 1987. So, it was such an exciting time, because the whole industry was geared towards what was coming out of L.A.”

Our condolences go out to Steve Riley’s family, friends, and bandmates during this difficult time. See his work in W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns, as well as a live version of the recent single “The Dark Horse,” below.

Steve Riley, Drummer for W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns, Dead at 67
Spencer Kaufman

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