Steve Riley recalls being in Keel and getting offer and choosing to join W.A.S.P.
L.A. Guns‘ long-time drummer Steve Riley who is currently spearheading his version of the band (along with bassist Kelly Nickels) was recently interviewed by Sleaze Roxx contributor Ruben Mosqueda for KNAC. L.A. Guns (feat. Riley and Nickels) released a new studio album titled Renegades via Golden Robot Records just three days ago.
Riley played drums on Keel‘s sophomore album The Right To Rock (1985) and he was asked about the circumstances of his departure from that band to which he replied (with slight edits):
“I had spoken to Greg Chaisson, the bass player in Badlands, we had done a session together. He said that his brother Kenny Chaisson was in a band called Keel and they were getting ready to head into the studio to record with Gene Simmons and that I should give them a call. So I gave them a call, they liked me and they wanted me to join the band so I joined in time to record The Right To Rock. We did a couple of weeks of pre-production before we went in to record The Right To Rock. We did that one at The Record Plant in L.A., I had completed my drum tracks and was doing some background vocals with Gene. You probably didn’t know this, but Gene and I did most of the background vocals on The Right To Rock.
While I was working on background vocals in the studio, I received a call from Blackie [Lawless]. He said, “Hey, I’d like you to stop by my house so we can talk”. So, I stopped by his place after I got out of the studio. He told me that W.A.S.P. was working on their first album and they were going to have to let their drummer go. It was so ironic because that is what Keel did with their drummer! They had let him go right before they went into the studio to record The Right To Rock. He mentioned that they were getting ready to head to Europe in two weeks and he asked me if I wanted to join the band. I had a hard decision to make. On one hand I was in a great position with Keel, Gene Simmons and A&M Records… I loved those guys and I had to weigh one against the other. In the end I think I made the right call. I wound up playing all of the drums on The Right To Rock and then joined W.A.S.P. I did that about 2-3 weeks after I had completed my drum tracks. It was hard to tell the guys in Keel that I was leaving because they are such great guys. Can you imagine having to choose between two great bands like that? I went with W.A.S.P. and they were under the same management as Iron Maiden so they had this big machine behind them.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Steve Riley by Ruben Mosqueda at KNAC‘s website.