Home » Steve Riley Obituary Who Was Steve Riley? What Caused Steve Riley Death?

Steve Riley Obituary Who Was Steve Riley? What Caused Steve Riley Death?

Steve Riley left an indelible mark on heavy metal music with his groundbreaking performances with L.A. Guns and W.A.S.P over five decades of his career. With his sudden passing comes both regrets from fans as well as other musicians for having lost such an extraordinary player from this industry.

Who Was Steve Riley?

Steve Riley (b. January 22, 1956) was an iconic figure of heavy metal drumming. He first gained recognition with W.A.S.P, joining in the early 80s and becoming integral to creating four albums and four global tours before making a switch in 1987 to L.A. Guns which enjoyed significant success throughout its existence (especially during late- and early-1990s success) where his style of drumming, often compared with that of legends such as Buddy Rich and John Bonham, was widely revered due to its intensity and precision.

What Happened to Steve Riley?

Riley’s career was not without its ups and downs. In 1992, he faced a major setback when he was fired from L.A. Guns. However, his resilience saw him returning to the band three years later. The turn of the century brought more challenges when L.A. Guns split into two factions. Riley became part of one, but following a reunion and subsequent split, he found himself excluded. Undeterred, he formed his own version of L.A. Guns in 2019, eventually securing the right to use the name ‘Riley’s L.A. Guns’.

What Was the Cause of Death?

Steve Riley’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 67 due to pneumonia. The news of his death came as a shock to many, highlighting the often-unpredictable nature of life and health. Despite his robust persona on stage, Riley succumbed to a severe case of pneumonia, an illness that he battled for several weeks before passing away.

How Did Steve Riley Die?

Riley’s battle with pneumonia was a private one, fought bravely alongside his family. On October 24, with his wife Mary Louise and son Cole by his side, he passed away. This solemn moment marked the end of an era for fans and musicians alike, who had admired Riley’s contributions to the music world.

Early Life & Career

  1. Early Life and Career: Detailing Riley’s formative years, early influences, and the start of his music career.
  2. Rise to Fame with W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns: Chronicling his major breakthrough and notable contributions to both bands.
  3. Challenges and Resilience: Exploring the struggles, including his firing and subsequent return to L.A. Guns, and the split that led to the creation of Riley’s L.A. Guns.
  4. Musical Style and Influence: Analyzing Riley’s drumming techniques, influences, and the impact he had on future generations of musicians.
  5. Personal Life and Legacy: A glimpse into his life off-stage, his family, hobbies, and the legacy he leaves behind in the music industry.

Steve Riley’s passing signifies more than just the loss of a musician; it marks the end of a chapter in rock history. His drumming style, marked by intensity and precision, influenced a generation of musicians. Riley was an inspiring role model, showing another side to life as a rock star. His legacy will live on in albums and tours he was part of, as well as those who loved and respected him.


  1. How did Steve Riley die?
    Steve Riley passed away from a severe case of pneumonia on October 24, at the age of 67.
  2. Was Steve Riley with his family when he died?
    Yes, his wife Mary Louise and son Cole were by his side during his final moments.
  3. What is Steve Riley’s legacy in music?
    Riley left a legacy as a dynamic drummer with W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns, influencing generations of musicians.
  4. Will there be a tribute to Steve Riley?
    Plans for tributes or memorials are expected, but specific details have not been announced yet.
  5. What happens to ‘Riley’s L.A. Guns’ after his death?
    The future of ‘Riley’s L.A. Guns’ remains uncertain following Steve Riley’s passing.

About the author

Jack Reuben Fletcher

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