Bill Rieflin, Drummer for REM, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and King Crimson, Dead at Age 59

Bill Rieflin, who had a four-decade career as a drummer across Punk, Alternative Rock, Industrial Metal, and Progressive Rock has died. He was 59. Initial reports of his passing made no mention of a cause of death, but his Wikipedia page reported a battle with cancer, confirmed by his friend, session drummer Kevin Chamberlin. Most recently Bill was the drummer for King Crimson and the news was reported by KC founder Robert Fripp in a very sad and touching memorial via Facebook. Fripp wrote that Rieflin’s wife, Tracy, called him with the news. “Tracy told Toyah (Fripp’s wife) 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.” Rieflin’s career began in his hometown of Seattle, where he drummed with a variety of local acts, notably the punk rock group The Blackouts. The band’s final EP was produced by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, with whom Rieflin became friends with. Jourgensen recruited the Rieflin to join Ministry when Blackouts broke up, and Rieflin played on the band’s 1988 album The Land of Rape and Honey, an industrial music iconic album in the genre. He continued as a member of the group through the mid-90s, contributing to five of the band’s LPs. Following his departure from Ministry in 1996, he played with KMFDM, New York experimental band Swans and folk group Angels of Light. Rieflin also played on Nine Inch Nails’ 1999 double album The Fragile. Also that year, he released his debut solo album, Birth of a Giant. It was during this time that a publicist introduced him to R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. The drummer would then join and contribute to R.E.M.’s final three albums — 2004’s Around the Sun, 2008’s Accelerate and 2011’s Collapse Into Now. Rieflin had previously collaborated and remained friends, announced that the drummer had joined King Crimson in 2013. Rieflin would tour with the group and appear on five of their ensuing live albums, released between 2015-18. He had been absent from the group since taking an indefinite sabbatical in 2019. Bill was an incredible drummer and kind soul. Not many artists can say they wrote and performed with three Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acts (King Crimson, R.E.M., and Nine Inch Nails) as Bill did.  Many artists paid tribute to Bill, including fellow Seattle musician Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. We send out condolences to Bill’s family, friends and many fans at this time. Continue reading

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Dead Letter Circus, Hellions and Orpheus Omega Added to Download Australia

Download Festival Australia is coming up soon and has added three more bands, to the already stacked bill. Dead Letter Circus, Hellions, and Orpheus Omega have joined with the likes of My Chemical Romance, Deftones, Jimmy Eat World, Ministry, In Flames, Testament and more. Download Australia takes place Friday, 20th March at Showgrounds, Melbourne, and Saturday, 21st March at Parramatta Park, Sydney. Moshtix is the official partner for tickets for both the Melbourne and the Sydney leg of Download Festival and are on sale now. Continue reading

Rock and Shock Festival Disbands

Sad news on the Festival and Convention front as the long-running Rock and Shock Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts has disbanded after 15 years. The announcement was made in a post to social media about the festival canceling all further festivals. The fest paired the best Horror convention and concert series in the USA and made use of both the famous Worcester Palladium venue and the convention center at the DCU Center up the block. Ghost Cult covered many Rock N Shock fests which featured incredible conventions, horror celebrities, amazing vendors , indie films,  headliners such as Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Disturbed, Danzig (including a pre-reunion Misfits headline set with Doyle), ICP, Ministry, GWAR, King Diamond, Type O Negative, Lordi, Disturbed,  Mushroomhead, Voivod, Amorphis, Twiztid, Dark Tranquility, Hatebreed, Devildriver, Motionless In White, Death Grips, Superjoint, Wednesday 13, Sabaton, Prong, Witch Mountain, Sanctuary, Soilwork, OTEP, Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Cavalera, Conspiracy, Anthrax, Overkill, Misfits, and more! Continue reading

Slayer – Primus – Ministry – Phil Anselmo and The Illegals: Live at Madison Square Garden

The lights came up… and it was all over.

This has been the scenario for thousands of shows I have seen. Maybe 6,000 plus shows that I have attended or performed in since I was a small child. The final bow, thunderous applause, and the blinding lights of the house coming on, our shared experience ending as we gather ourselves to go to the bar, or home. Except this was different. This was the last time I would ever see Slayer. It was definitely hitting me, long before the final notes of ‘Angel of Death’ rang out and the final jets of pyro screamed across the top of the band in a way that would excite Beavis and Butthead to no end. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Jon Zazula & Harold Claros-Maldonado: Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived by Jon Zazula

I wish I could say I knew Jonny Zazula back in the day, but I wasn’t quite old enough. Sure, I had heard all the stories. As a major Metallica and Anthrax fan, Jon and his wife Marsha’s life stories are Metal history as much as any riff, album or chorus. I bumped into Jon about twelve years ago at Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. I was there to see a Testament headline show. Jon and Eddie Trunk, who owes his career to Jon and Marsha to an extent, walked right by and I totally fanboyed out. I’m pretty sure I blurted out something lame like “Holy shit, Jonny Z! Thanks for everything!”, since that what was in my heart. He gave me like a half-pat on the arm, half a “hey dude I need to get by you” move and slipped past me on his way backstage. Trunk just smiled. That was my in-person brush with him, until a recent phone interview (coming soon) for this book release. The book is a memoir about an enterprising music lover who put a genre or two on his back and raised up everyone around him toward greatness.

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Ministry Announces Visual History Book, Tour Dates Incoming with Slayer

Ministry has announced Ministry: Prescripture, a visual history book with exclusive details shared via Rolling Stone. The book includes ling notes, never before seen graphics and photos, and anecdotes from members of Smashing Pumpkins, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, NWA, Ramones, Nine Inch Nails and more. Plus it comes with ‘(Every Day Is) Halloween (Acoustic)’ 7-Inch. Released December 6 with Pre-Orders are live today! Headline dates and Slayer’s final Farewell World Tour. Continue reading

Slayer Plays Final European Show in Germany, Final US Tour Dates Incoming

Slayer played their final show ever in Europe last night (Saturday, August 3) at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, Germany. The band has spent all summer performing at European festivals and headline shows, such as last night with Anthrax and Alien Weaponry. Slayer’s “The Final Campaign”, the seventh and final leg of its farewell world tour will kick off in November. This tour starts at the ExploreAsheville Arena in Asheville, North Carolina, and see the band taking its goodbye bow at the Los Angeles Forum on November 30. Primus, Ministry and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals performing a “vulgar display of Pantera”, will be the support acts on all dates. Continue reading