Remembering Bill Rieflin

R.E.M., Mike Patton, Ministry, Robert Fripp, Krist Noveselic and more honor the passing of a modern rock giant

Bill Rieflin (Art: Ron Hart)

As a member of such groups as Ministry, KMFDM,  Swans and the Revolting Cocks, Bill Rieflin helped provide the sturdy spine of an unrelenting industrial rock movement throughout the last 30-odd years. And that’s not even mentioning his pivotal roles with such legendary acts as R.E.M., Robyn Hitchcock and King Crimson to boot!

So it is no surprise when news broke that Rieflin had lost his battle with cancer today, gone at the age of 59, artists from all eras of the drummer’s history in music took to their social media pages to express sorrow for the loss of their friend and bandmate. 

I got to interview Mr. Rieflin once when he was still touring with R.E.M., and he was so candid and open about being an official member of this iconic American pop band and the deep respect he had for Bill Berry. I will dig out the tape and broadcast the unreleased interview very soon. Watch this space.

In the meantime, take this moment to listen to this arresting interpretation of Robert Wyatt’s “Sea Song” performed by Rifelin on piano with lead vocals by fellow industrial innovator Chris Connelly. Its off the 2001 album Largo the pair did for the First World Records label, and is well worth seeking out.

Godspeed, Bill Rieflin. You leave behind a deep and generous legacy in music that will be discovered and enjoyed for generations to come.


AUDIO: Bill Rieflin and Chris Connelly “Sea Song”

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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