Bill Rieflin, who performed with scads of divergent bands: Ministry, King Crimson, Lard, nine inch nails, R.E.M., Robyn Hitchcock, KMFDM, Robie Williams, Minus5 has died, according to a statement posted online on March. 24, 2020.
We learned of the deceased through the following tribute posted on social media.,
I feel very sad about Bill Rieflin’s passing. He had a rough time in the last few years: during the later stages of his long fight with cancer (and Bill certainly fought) his beloved wife Frankie Sundsten developed lymphoma and passed away last March. Bill was deliciously un-American in his outlook: there was no “It’s all good” for him. He saw human life in all its bleakness, and was happiest at home with his cats – or playing music.
Music was his superpower. He had an almost photographic recall of any song that he heard: he could work out the chords to the most intricate composition, and play it back to you on keyboards, bass or guitar. Though best known for his drumming (especially in Ministry and REM) he latterly played bass and keyboards with a number of acts, including King Crimson. He endeared himself to me by saying that he took his cues and the timing from the vocalist on stage, rather than from the bass player or guitarist. When we played shows, Bill would slip a weird little fill into a different song every night, as a way of saying “hello” to me: I’d turn around from the mic, and we’d smile at each other.
He was also insistent that every run-through of a song in the soundcheck had to stop before the end: that way the night’s performance would be the only complete one, and therefore had to be the best. Bill was a very particular guy, and anything from a recording to a hotel room that he found inadequate had to be replaced with a better one. In many ways, he was quite rigorous, but, bless him, he enjoyed a drink when he needed to, and we did a fair amount of grooving together across the map.
Just before his first operation for prostate cancer in 2012, Bill and I were playing a festival at the Norwegian fishing town of Egersund. We visited each of its three funky Chinese restaurants and imagined how they might be trans-dimensional portals. Enjoy the fried rice, Bill, and don’t go hoping too much from the prawns. I’ll see you out there…
Cause of Death.
We have no information at the moment on of caused death . This post will be updated as soon as we have that information.
The following are some tributes posted on social media to honor the life and the legacy of the deceased.
The great Bill Rieflin has changed hotel rooms for the last time – after a long battle with cancer he checked out and left us today. Musical genius and bleak perfectionist, Bill graced me with his drumming, harmonies and laser-sharp insight between 2005 and 2013. RIP dear boy.
Bill Rieflin has died. What a kind & generous soul. Spanned the gulfs between Pigface and REM and King Crimson — a truly agnostic drummer, if ever there was one. Safe travels, Bill.
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Hey #billrieflin remember when FF did KEXP and you felt terrible but showed up anyway to play the piano beautifully and awfully and make us all laugh and cry at the same time? I know you’re jamming with the greats now.
alles in allem
Rest in Peace Gabi Delgado-López and Bill Rieflin. We have lost two industrial giants within a few days of each other. Listen to some DAF or some of the countless projects Bill has worked on Purple heartPurple heart.
Just this month we’ve lost Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV), Gabi Delgado (DAF), and now Bill Rieflin (Ministry, KMFDM, Pigface)…
I am so saddened to hear that Bill Rieflin (who I know from KMFDM, Ministry, and Pigface; but was also in REM and King Crimson) has passed away from cancer. Really tragic. 🙁
Sad to hear that Bill Rieflin has passed. He was involved with so many bands and artists that are all greatly important to me; Ministry, REM, Robyn Hitchcock, Rev Co, KMFDM, The Minus 5 and many more. Such a loss. RIP Bill.
Tankie Teardrop (AKA J. Brodsky)
There are some people you look at with your own two eyes and immediately become overwhelmed by the sense that they’re a nice person. I was only ever in a room with Bill Rieflin once, but he came off like that in a big way.
Rest in peace, man.
Never was a huge fan of the Revolting Cocks, but was always a huge appreciater of their name. Spent many a summer’s day on my friend Jay’s trampoline as Beers, Steers and Queers played. RIP Bill Rieflin. You had moxy.
Fucking Bill Rieflin. One of the good ones. Im sorry I mocked your boring blog, but glad to have met you and shared fun times.
Bill Rieflin died and that sucks. Great drummer who made a lot of my favorite songs. Bummed.
@ambivalentRIP Bill Rieflin. An incredible musical resumé: NIN, KMFDM, Ministry, REM, Swans, King Crimson and many more. A life in music.
DJ Thermal Detonator
Man, this is really a shitty year for Industrial music. one of my favorite drummers, Bill Rieflin of MINISTRY (and many others) has just passed away. RIP
Dani MLT (ASCP) Rainbow flagFire
Bill Rieflin played drums at one point for so many bands that I love — KMFDM, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, NIN, REM, and more. RIP good sir, you brought joy to me in many, many forms. 2020 truly sucks.
RIP Bill Rieflin, an amazing musician, a part of the three-drummer King Crimson, still one of the best things I’ve ever seen on a stage. Got to see him host a Q&A with KC fans and he was hilarious and kind with every question.
RIP Bill Rieflin: Peter Buck, who takes pride in being punctual, told me about meeting Bill. They were both there 11:30 AM setting up for a noon session. Peter thought, “Hmmm…. I could be in a band with this guy.” After 2 measures. That was that. #REM #RIPBillRieflin
RIP Bill Rieflin. Bill was a refined dude. With a masterful touch. On any instrument. Bill played on Night Surfer. Showed up with one of those synthesizers that fit in a briefcase ala Brian Eno. Lovely guy. Gone too soon.
A Kino Runner for the DDR
Genesis P and then Bill Rieflin almost back to back. 2020 sucks shit
Very sad news about Bill Rieflin – a great drummer and a really important and largely unsung part of the final R.E.M. line-up – plus of course Ministry and more recently King Crimson. RIP.
I once saw R.E.M. in Atlanta. Bill Berry lingered at the side of the stage for the entire show and I kept hoping he would join them for a tune or two… but I think he had too much respect for Bill Rieflin to do it. It was the right move.
fan there’s a clear moment for me when the band, post-bill berry, found their musical balance again. i always equate it 2 bill rieflin joining. he was a monster drummer & just fit that band like a glove. i’m so sorry to hear of his passing. a sweet man. RIP
Its very strange timing that tonight i went back thro my old ministry bootlegs, and ive just logged on to find that Bill Rieflin died today.
Requiescat Bill Rieflin. Monster drummer, made every band he played in way better. He was held in the highest regard by our mutual acquaintances, as a guy and a player
RIP Bill Rieflin, drummer in many fine acts including the awesome final incarnation of King Crimson. Loved that dude.
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RIP Bill Rieflin, legendary drummer with a resume that included Ministry, King Crimson, KMFDM, Nine Inch Nails, Pigface, Swans and R.E.M., to name a few. Taken too soon.
Really torn up about Bill Rieflin passing. I’d tell you the story about being on tour with him and coming down with norovirus, but that involves too much vomit. You will be missed pal personally and professionally. #BillRieflin
Who’s Dan Cleary?
If you’re an industrial music fan… you’ve heard Bill Rieflin play drums. Major part of KMFDM, Ministry, Pigace & countless others. Thanks for your slamming parts. RIP
Reverend Rob Rat
One of the things. That’s been bothering me quite a bit lately, and I haven’t really had the thought fully crystallise until the sad news about Bill Rieflin, is simply this:
We’re losing way too many of the people that give ‘us’ a voice ‘they’ will listen to.
As the biggest post-Berry R.E.M. fan you know, I’m glad Bill Rieflin filled in as good as anyone could, and kept the band going for some albums I truly love and some of the best shows I’ve been too. RIP.
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