Riley O'Connor

Drummer // Songwriter

2018 Year In Review + screenshots from music video premier “Running”

2018 was crazy but great! He’re how I spent my time in a nutshell…


Reflecting back on highlights of the year, it was a real trip to see the premier of the music video for my song “Running” screened at Hot Docs Cinema! 2018 was a big year for personal musical growth as I devoted more energy than ever to developing as a pianist, vocalist and songwriter. These efforts are finally culminating in recording sessions for a few of my original songs. I could see this leading to a full album’s worth of recorded material featuring a diversity of musical friends and collaborators in 2019. Much thanks to Christian Anderson @ Cerebral Studios for the generous use of his space for my creative endeavours. Alan Zemaitis provided some very valuable piano instruction.


Pro drumming highlights this year included sharing the stage with Buddy Guy along with the Chris Antonik band. The Bollywood Monster Orchestra and Jake Wilkinson’s “Brassed Up Big Band" shows were epic as well! I am thankful for some amazing moments on and off stage with talented and diverse artists such as Michael Schatte, Nick Maclean w Snaggle, Brownman Ali, Australia’s Steve Lane, Ilona, Bartosz Hadala, Carolyn T and others. On the showband front I’ve had some great times with the Vegas North Orchestra backing Frank & Dean and Neal Diamond shows.


On the rockin’ cover scene I shared some great times with Riff Raff, notably at The Coulson Nightclub Sudbury. Thanks Joe Delima for getting me out to his Copy Machine Jams. Thanks also to Trainwreck, Covered in Paint, Coveralls, Adams Rib, Candice Sand….

Looking forward to 2019, this summer I’ll be a married man! Lots of love to my fiance Courtney, who is also my creative partner in CR Extraoardinaire and shot the video from which the screen shots (above) are taken. I’m excited to release my original music to the world! Also I welcome further creative collaborations, recording and touring opportunities with world class local and international artists.

Its great to be back in the saddle with The Michael Schatte Band after a run of recent recording sessions. Filling out the trio is Ryan Spratt on bass.


Snaggle Fall Tour 2018

I’m excited to be hitting the road again with this high caliber band. Snaggle’s music contains all the elements I love in electric jazz fusion: big dynamics, odd meters, breakneck tempo changes. Most importantly Nick Maclean’s strong melodic compositions provide a fantastic platform for musical exploration and interaction.

READ's jazz journalist Alayne McGregor and her live show review of the group:…/11711-snaggle-s-dynamic-music-…


July 20 Debut Toronto modern jazz show with PROMETHIUM

PROMETHIUM is a highly unstable element - atomic number 61 - whose isotopes are all radioactive. This equally volatile all-star quartet explores collisions of 4 genres of music -- jazz, latin, funk & hip-hop, under the direction of award-winning trumpet player Brownman Ali. 
:: Brownman Ali - electric trumpet (Jay-z, Missy Elliot, Paul Simon)
:: Nick Maclean - keyboards (Snaggle, Akoustic Quartet, Ori Dagan)
:: Peter Eratostene - 6-string electric bass (Dirty B-Sides, Eric Flowchild)
:: Riley O'Connor - drums (Snaggle, Ali Bros, Scott Kemp Trio)


Spring/Summer 2018 debut with acclaimed blues rocker Chris Antonik

Toronto-based Chris Antonik is a three-time Maple Blues Award-nominee and one of Canada’s most acclaimed blues artists. Blending innovative, thoughtful songwriting with stunning guitar work, some music critics have drawn comparisons to Eric Clapton. Antonik will be returning to Buddy Guy's "Legends" in Chicago this summer featuring Riley O'Connor as part of his touring band May through September 2018. Please visit for dates and info...


Concert announcement Spring 2018

I'm thrilled to be supporting Polish/Canadian pop artist ILONA for her CD release concert May 4 2018 at the fantastic Mississauga venue The Living Arts Centre. Also featured in the band is acclaimed Polish/Canadian pianist Bartosz Hadala.


Introducing CR Extraordinaire's "The Muffin Man" in 2018

Very pleased to be presenting a very ambitious music video that recently came to fruition in addition to the debut EP from my original project "CR Extraordinaire" now available on CD Baby, Itunes, Spotify worldwide. In addition to drumming on this Zappa re-interpretaion, I am acting, singing and operating the camera for parts of this video! For footage of me drumming in other contexts please visit the videos page!

Happy 2017 Everyone, thanks for visiting the NEW

At this time of year I like to give a big thanks and shout out to all the great musicians, artists and producers I've had the pleasure of working with in 2016. 

At the top of my music list I'd like to congratulate songwriter/guitarist Michael Schatte who has successfully made the transition from small venues to festival stages and sold-out theater shows while building an ever larger grass roots fan base. He continues to be an inspiring and uncompromising recording artist. Its always a great hang and positive learning experience working with Michael and bassist Randy Cassidy.

I had some awesome moments both on-stage and in-session with hard rock acts Love Tapper and The Sole Pursuit. I was lucky to channel my aggression... intellectually... through their music and get a workout! Also amazing to get to record at the new Cerebral studio with Christian Anderson and at Phase One with Mike Langford.

It was a blast working with Brownman Ali, who pushed my chops to the max in the realm of jazz/funk/fusion. Thanks also to The Vegas North Orchestra for bringing us together and providing the opportunity to play some challenging big band jazz charts...

I spent several magic moments in the studio at Fine Productions along with bassist Mike Meusel over the course of the year working both on Harrison Fine's original project and with artists Matt Gerber and Derek Mok. I always dig the intimate Kensington studio vibe.

2016 saw the formation of "Meg and the Scene" featuring Meghan Parnell , Dave Barnes and many guests who hosted a weekly jam at The Antler Room. It provided a great opportunity to connect with great musicians including Josh Piché who I had the pleasure of playing with on NYE. Special shout out to Lauren KnowlesCarolyn Thompson and Derek Lathrop who also stepped up to the plate to host. Big thanks to Jason Schwitek for the opportunity!

I always have a blast working with Lynzie Louise and Electric Blonde. There were some memorable weddings (one on a remote wooden dock, very far north) and also a big show at the Royal York Hotel that kicked my butt! Thanks to Jeremy Kleynhans for calling me to sub.

I also had fun filling in with “The Orchestra” and “UBB” for a few dates with Charlie FinlayGareth D ParrySteve Lavery and others. Oh yeah and there was the "Monster Rock Orchestra" produced by Vikas Kohli.

Other memorable gigs come to mind last year with original artists: Christopher GostlingJordana Zahava, Jerome Godboo, 171...

And of course, there were a few less memorable gigs- or maybe just ones I want to forget!

Finally I'd like to give thanks and lots of love to my girlfriend Courtney Bruneau who has inspired me to continue with my own songwriting and even asked me to join her in a band!?! Yes this is happening! We plan to record and hit the open mics in 2017... stay tuned!

Fall/Winter 2016 Update

Hello friends, thanks for visiting! I'm very inspired to be back in Toronto after my recent visit to LA where I met Canadian drum star Randy Cooke and other word class players such as Gary Novak. Amazing musicians, venues and of course.... beaches! I kicked off the fall season with 3 exciting local shows all totally different: Love Tapper (prog/punk/experimental) hit The Horseshoe for Nuit Blanche, Jordana Talsky (jazz/pop/funk) @ U of T, TheMonster Rock Orchestra (rock/pop covers with orchestra+lasers!) live in Dundas Square.

After a very successful touring seasonI'm thrilled to be back in the studio with the 2015 TBS Talent Search winner Michael Schatte working on his 5th album project. We also do some fun acoustic duo gigs around the GTA.

Just wrapped up several recording sessions with 2014/2015 NOW Producer of the year Harrison Fine for his up-coming album project and music video.

On the corporate/wedding front, I was thrilled to work recently with Electric Blonde for a TheSpecial Olympics Gala held at the historic Fairmont Royal York. I also played with The Main Event Orchestra for a huge wedding at Steamwhistle and a couple of very fun Alleycatz club dates.

You can catch up with me every Sunday at The Antler Room hosting Toronto's weekly Industry Jam Night with Meg and The Scene...