In Memoriam: Dave Riley

Dave Riley with Big Black

Sad news to report: bassist Dave Riley has passed away from throat and lung cancer. He was 59 years old.

Riley grew up in Detroit and played in a band called Static while also working as a sound engineer for bands like Parliament. He moved to Chicago in the 80s and joined Steve Albini’s punk rock band, Big Black. The band would release two studio albums, two live albums, and more through independent record labels. They had a brash sound and politically charged lyrics, but they also had a significant impact on the development of underground music via their do-it-yourself attitude.

Big Black disbanded in 1987. Riley went on to work in music until a massive head injury and stroke confined him to a wheelchair. His partner Rachel Brown wrote on Facebook that Riley “never let his disabilities get in the way of what he wanted to do in life. He created music, wrote, traveled, ran an online store and helped take care of the cats in our rescue-cat sanctuary.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dave Riley.

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