One of the most versatile—and arguably most underrated—drummers in modern rock has died.
Bill Rieflin died after a battle with cancer today. He was 59.
Throughout his career, the Seattle-born drummer played with an astonishing and diverse array of artists. Rieflin initially made his name in the industrial-music scene, serving stints with Ministry, RevCo, Pigface, and KMFDM. He went on to play with everyone from R.E.M. to King Crimson.
R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe shared his memories of Rieflin in a moving Instagram post, along with a photo of the drummer and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye:
View this post on Instagram
A forever memory is decades old, when I first met Bill at a late night Policeman’s bar in Seattle, sat at a greasy table drinking scotch, and we listened to ‘Birdland’ off the jukebox in reverent silence and awe. His attentiveness to that song then and there indicated a lot to me about what it would be to work with Bill— which commenced to create some magical and beautiful collaborations and life long friendships.
And so to Bill now, he is among all the fine points of the stars and we are looking up with love—and with our own reverence for his beauty, his humor, his relentless curiosity and of course his incredible musical ear, his time here with us so precious and golden.
Others who knew Rieflin took to Twitter to share their reactions to the news of Rieflin's passing: