Big Black Bassist Dave Riley Dead at 59

Longtime Big Black bassist Dave Riley has died. The news was confirmed on Facebook by his partner Rachel Brown, who wrote that Riley had been fighting throat cancer since August and after an extended battle, died at his home in Chicago on December 24, 2019. He was 59 years old.

Best known for his involvement with Big Black, Riley joined the band in 1985, playing alongside Steve Albini and Santiago Durango on the band’s two full-length albums—1986’s Atomizer and 1987’s Songs About Fucking—in addition to the band’s Headache EP. Like Albini, Riley was an active studio engineer and record producer in the Chicago community, working with bands like End Result and Parliament-Funkadelic throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

Riley suffered a stroke in 1993 and as a result, began using wheelchair. In her social media post, Brown said that Riley “never let his disabilities get in the way of what he wanted to do in life” and that he continued to write, travel, and make music until late in his life. “Rest in peace my dear friend, you shall forever be in my heart,” she wrote.

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