Drummer Bill Rieflin (Ministry, King Crimson, R.E.M.) Dead at 59
Drummer Bill Rieflin, best known for his decade-long tenure with industrial pioneers Ministry as well as high-profile stints with R.E.M. and King Crimson as well as Pigface, KMFDM, Swans and others, has passed away at the age of 59 after battling cancer.
The news of Reflin's passing came from King Crimson founder Robert Fripp, who received a phone call from the drummer's wife, Tracy. In a post on Facebook, Fripp wrote, "A call from Tracy Rieflin in Seattle. Bill Rieflin flew from this world c. 18.50 Pacific, 18.50 UK. Tracy told Toyah and me that the day was grey, and as Bill flew away the clouds opened, and the skies were blue for about fifteen minutes. Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you."
King Crimson, who welcomed Rieflin into their ranks in 2013 not only as a drummer, but as a keyboard and synthesizer player, confirmed that the drummer had fought a "long battle" with cancer.
It was in Ministry, though, that Rieflin first made his impact, joining the industrial unit in 1986. He made his studio debut with the band on the pivotal The Land of Rape and Honey and remained in Ministry through 1995, contributing to the classic records The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69.
He was also a frequent contributor to Ministry leader Al Jourgensen's side projects, such as Revolting Cocks, Lard and 1000 Homo DJs.
In a farewell message, Ministry wrote, "Today we lost a wonderful artist, tremendous human being and an integral part of Ministry's developments and success... Safe travels my brother on the way to your next universal gig."
During his time in Ministry, Rieflin also made time for the indsutrial supergroup Pigface, playing drums on a handful of tracks off their 1991 debut, Gub.
Upon his exit from Ministry, he linked up with electro-industrial outfit KMFDM, which offered a bit of a natural transition. After leaving the band in 1999, Rieflin rejoined from 2002 though 2003 and again for a brief stint in 2011.
Rieflin was generous with his talent, performing on one song off Nine Inch Nails' Fragile album and made appearances with Swans as well as Swans visionary's Michael Gira on his solo music and his Angels of Light project. Additionally. the drummer joined American rock group R.E.M. in 2003 and performed on their three most recent studio albums, having left in 2011.
Our thoughts are with the Rieflin family and all of the drummer's many bandmates throughout the years.
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