Steve Riley was born in Revere, MA (Boston) in 1956. He started to play drums at the age of seven. As a young boy Steve and his three brothers were known as troublemakers but his parents helped him a lot with his musical caréer. After finishing highschool Steve started to get bored so he decided to move to Washington.
Inspired by Led Zeppelin Steve started playing in his first band ”Rooster”. Later he moved to Indianpolis where he in 1975 played with a band called ”Roadmaster”. Steve left ”Roadmaster” to play with ”The Lawyers” until 1978 when he got a call from rock legends ”Steppenwolf” (most known for their rock classic song ”Born to be Wild”), asking if he wanted to play with them instead.
So Steve now moved to Los Angeles, where Steppenwolf had their headquarter. After a couple of years he left Steppenwolf and started to play with other bands, but he also worked with other bands in the studio. Like for example Keel who he, when he got a call from Blackie, had played with in the studio for a couple of weeks, and they weren´t very happy when Steve decided to join W.A.S.P.
In a few early W.A.S.P. interviews Steve said that he was going to start his own drum-school wich he also later did. Another interesting thing is that Steve was once in a band called ”The B/ZZ” wich (as you may be able to figure out) is pronounced The Beez, that along with his membership of W.A.S.P. made him more of an insect than any of the otherband members.
The WASP years:
Steve played drums in W.A.S.P. from their world tour 1984, and on their next three albums ”The last Command” (1985), ”Inside the Electric Circus”(1986) and on their first live album ”Live…in the Raw” in 1987. Then how did he become a WASP member? You can say that Blackie caught Steve´s eye by an accident. The story goes that the drummer who had played in Keel before Steve did an audition for WASP, and by some reason Steve´s name was mentioned. Blackie wasn´t very happy with the drummer so he decided to call Steve instead. And that was an offer that Steve couldn´t miss. Steve said, the same year he had joined WASP, that he thought that WASP was more than music, it´s theater too and it´s fun! Another thing he said is that he couldn´t understand how first drummer Tony Richards could miss such a chance, he must have regretted his decision a lot of times. The reason to why Steve left the band is pretty unknown, Blackie once said in an interview with The W.A.S.P. Morgue; "For Steve to come in and trying to fill Tony's shoes was an impossible task from the beginning. It would be almost like trying to replace the front man of the band, that's how important Tony was to W.A.S.P., and we didn't really get an handle on it until a few years later when Frankie Banalie joined the band". Tony Richards was very hard to replace and Steve wasn´t the right person to replace him with, but Steve is and have always been a great drummer and I'm sure that Blackie and the boys will agree with that statement. With otherwords, Steve's personality and music skills wasn't really what WASP needed at the time.
Steve Riley in LA Guns:
Almost imediateley after he left WASP Steve Riley met the considerable younger members in new L.A band LA Guns. LA Guns was formed by an early edition of Guns n´ Roses. The members were Tracii Guns (leadguitar), Kelly Nickels (bass, harmonica), Philip Lewis (lead vocal), Mick Cripps (rythm guitar, keyboards) and of course Steve Riley on the drums. LA Guns released their first selftitled album in 1988. They played, and still play, hardrock with a bit of a punky style. Steve is still in LA Guns but he took some pauses over the years.