Bill Rieflin, drummer for King Crimson, and who’s worked with bands including R.E.M. and Robbie Williams has died aged 59 following a battle with cancer.
As well as King Crimson, Bill had most recently played with iconic 90s rock band R.E.M. and Ministry, as well as having worked with Chris Cornell, Nine Inch Nails, and many more in the 90s, during his illustrious career.
The multi-instrumentalist passed away in Seattle, with King Crimson’s frontman Robert Fripp announcing the news on his Facebook page.
Adding he had received a call from Rieflin’s widow, the 73-year-old musician said his life was made ‘immeasurably richer’ for knowing Bill, in the touching tribute.
He wrote: ‘RF: 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. (sic)’
Rieflin, who started out as a drummer in the band before becoming their keyboardist, was a versatile musician who also played drums on Robbie Williams’ 2012 LP Take The Crown.
Following the news of his passing, tributes flooded in, as Toyah Willcox said: ‘Our dear wonderful Bill Rieflin flew from this world today. Much loved HUMAN and member of King Crimson. Family by his side. Forever in our hearts. #billrieflin (sic)’
R.E.M’s frontman Michael Stipe penned a touching Eulogy to honour his legacy and life on R.E.M.’s Facebook.
Bill Rieflin (1960-2020)It is with heavy hearts we acknowledge the death of our dear friend and consummate drummer,…
He wrote: ‘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. [sic].’
Ministry – who he began drumming for in 1986 – tweeted: ‘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
‘R.I.P Bill Rieflin#MinistryBand #WeAreMinistry #Ministry #Revco #BillRieflin #RestInPeace (sic)’
Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic wrote: ‘So sorry to hear of Bill Rieflin passing away. A straight up person and excellent musician.’
Bill began his career in Seattle playing with The Telepaths and The Blackouts in the 70s.
He first came to work with Ministry’s Al Jourgensen in the Revolting Cocks, before joining Ministry, and he featured on some of the greatest records, including The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs.
He then became a member of R.E.M. in 2003, playing drums and occasionally guitar and keyboards, until 2011, featuring on albums Around The Sun, Accelerate, and Collapse Into Now.
In 2013, Robert unveiled Bill as one of three drummers for progressive rock group King Crimson, he later became their first full-time keyboardist, before going on an indefinite break in 2019.
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