L.A. GUNS singer Phil Lewis says that he was "very shocked" to hear about the passing of the band's former drummer Steve Riley.
Steve died on Tuesday (October 24) after "battling a severe case of pneumonia for several weeks," his family confirmed in a statement. He was 67 years old.
Earlier today (Friday, October 27),Phil released the following statement via his personal Facebook page: "Very shocked to hear about Steve Riley's passing today. He was a good guy and an excellent drummer. We toured the world together many times and countless adventures both good and bad. Unfortunately we were never truly friends in 30 years I never once visited his house and apart from band stuff we never hung out or went to dinner together. I think he valued his privacy and kept work and family very much separate.
"My condolences to his wife of over 40 years Mary Louise and son Cole.
"Journey on mate."
Steve is survived by his wife and son, as well as his brothers Michael and Daniel.
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, 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.
In November 2021, Riley told Waste Some Time With Jason Green that Tracii and Phil "do not like each other. I don't care what anybody says; I know what I know. I was the only one constant factor in L.A. GUNS through all the changes. I know how they talked about each other. I know how they got along when they were together, and they do not like each other."
Steve went on to say that he knew from the get-go that Phil "was making a bad call" be reuniting with Tracii. He added: "To call that an L.A. GUNS reunion with just the two of them… First of all, it's not a reunion. And then second of all, to do it with him and know their past relationship, know how they tore each other up in interviews and in the press and just said the worst things about each other, I just couldn't understand it; it wasn't registering to me. Why would you wanna do this when you could, at this age, at this point in your career, don't you wanna be comfortable and do it around people that you really dig? So it wasn't really registering why he would wanna do it. I guess they saw big dollar signs, and that didn't happen.
"The thing is you've gotta build a machine," he continued. "I know that the machine that they have around them right now is not good. I know that they have some people working for them that probably don't know how to direct them, how to get the most out of what they have. So the thing is gonna stall, and it has stalled."
Photo courtesy of Frontiers Music Srl
Very shocked to hear about Steve Riley’s passing today
He was a good guy and an excellent drummer. We toured the world...
Posted by Philip Lewis on Friday, October 27, 2023