Drummer Bill Rieflin (MINISTRY, KING CRIMSON, NINE INCH NAILS) Dead At 59

Lawrence Kim
March 25, 2020

The news of Reflin's passing came from King Crimson founder Robert Fripp, who received a phone call from the drummer's wife, Tracy. "Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you", wrote Fripp.

"A call from Tracy Rieflin in Seattle". By Tuesday evening, social media was flooded with tributes from fans and Rieflin's musician friends sharing warm memories of the in-demand drummer for hire, who got his start in the '70s with Seattle punk bands the Telepaths and the Blackouts.

Rieflin played on the Ministry studio albums The Land Of Rape and Honey (1988), The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste (1990) and Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed And The Way To Suck Eggs (1992).

In a 1999 interview with I.N.K. 19, he answered as his "impetus for leaving Ministry" was that "there was no good reason" for him "to continue on".

Rieflin grew up in Seattle, where he began playing in bands as a teenager. He ended the question by reiterating he was never in Ministry, so he never left the band.

Ministry have also paid their respects to the late drummer via Twitter.

It was in Ministry, though, that Rieflin first made his impact, joining the industrial unit in 1986. He parlayed that into a long relationship as a player, singer, and producer with other acts connected to that band and the Wax Trax! label out of Chicago, among them Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, and Pigface. Rieflin played with artists like Chris Cornell and Peter Murphy as well. Later that year, he was introduced to another of his most associated acts - R.E.M. He would be credited for the drums in the band's last three albums - "Around the Sun" in 2004, "Accelerate" in 2008, and "Collapse into Now" in 2011.

The talented star became a member of R.E.M.in 2003 until 2011, playing drums and occasionally guitar and keyboards. From here, Rieflin joined King Crimson in 2013, initially drumming alongside Gavin Harrison and Pat Mastelotto before switching keys in 2016.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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