Steve Riley was an American rock drummer who passed away on October 24, 2023, at the age of 67 after battling a severe case of pneumonia for several weeks.
He was best known for his work with Keel, W.A.S.P., and L.A. Guns.
Riley was born on January 22, 1956, in Revere, Massachusetts, and after graduating high school in the 1970s, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career.
He joined a revival of Steppenwolf in 1979, but the lineup broke up later that year.
Riley also starred as Billy the Bartender in the 2021 American horror slasher film, Blackstock Boneyard directed by Andre Alfa.
He was a widely acknowledged master of the Cajun accordion and its singularly powerful sound.
In addition to having recorded and performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, and Paul Simon, Riley was also a founding member of the Lil Band o’ Gold and the Band Courtbouillon with whom he, Wayne Toups, and Wilson Savoy won a Grammy award in 2013.
Steve Riley cause of death
Riley passed away at the age of 67 on October 24, 2023, due to a severe case of pneumonia:
His wife Mary Louise and son Cole were by his side during his final moments, according to a report on The Thaiger.
There were speculations on social media that he died in a car accident or due to a heart attack, but these are not true.
Steve Riley career
Riley’s career spanned over five decades, and he was best known for his work with Keel, W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns.
After graduating high school in the 1970s, Riley moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career.
He briefly joined a revival of Steppenwolf in 1979, but the lineup broke up later that year.
Riley’s next stop was the heavy metal band Keel, where he played on the group’s 1984 sophomore album, The Right to Rock, produced by Kiss’ Gene Simmons.
Soon after its release, Riley left Keel to replace Tony Richards in the band W.A.S.P.
Riley’s W.A.S.P. tenure lasted three years, covering most of the group’s rise to fame.
The drummer played on two studio albums during that time: The Last Command (1985) and Inside the Electric Circus (1986).
Riley spent most of the years between 1987 and 2016 drumming for L.A. Guns (and the post-lawsuit band Steve Riley’s L.A. Guns).
He played on several of the band’s albums, including Hollywood Vampires (1991), Vicious Circle (1994) and Waking the Dead (2002).
In 2013, Riley won a Grammy with the band Courtboullion.
Apart from his music career, he also starred as Billy the Bartender in the 2021 American horror slasher film, Blackstock Boneyard directed by Andre Alfa.
Riley’s 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.
His 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.