“I play rock’n’roll for a livin’, I ain’t doin’ all that well,
I play rock’n’roll for a livin’, as if you couldn’t tell.
I’m a rock’n’roll man,
We’re just doin’ it ’cause we can”
– Ian Rilen, “Rock’n’Roll Man”, 1999
Ian Rilen was doing a short stretch at Long Bay in 1970 when he made the decision that changed his life. He decided he was going to be a bass player, and not just any bass player, but a great bass player. There were nights, later – and more than a few – when he was just that; when, in fact, he was one of the great rock’n’rollers. The story goes, as he’d told me, that when he was inside there was another young inmate there who wanted to be a drummer, and so the pair would run their exercise in the yard like a rhythm section, stamping out and mouthing their respective parts. (more…)
I knew Ian Rilen as well as some but not as well as others. In common with everyone that came into the Rilen orbit, however, I have a few stories. Many are about his penchant for living at or near that rock and roll place called the edge. Others that you won’t hear so often are about a loving father to four people, a de facto husband to another and a friend to many, many others. Read the full article at I-94 Bar.
A death that has been very lightly reported in the Australian media is that of Ian Rilen, who lost his life to cancer just 12 days ago. Ian was the original bass player for Rose Tattoo, and author of Bad Boy for Love, a song that tends to get wheeled out whenever some advertising creative wants to show that the product being sold is as tough as nails. Read the full article on Sydney Morning Herald.
Jen Jewel Brown, Sydney Morning Herald, November 25, 2006
Ian Rilen, 1947-2006
WHEN a man has lived as wild a life as the rock’n’roll musician and songwriter Ian Rilen, it might come as no surprise to hear he has checked out early. Yet his far-flung admirers are shaking their heads over his loss to bladder cancer at 59. Read the full article at Sydney Morning Herald.
Of all the misfortunes that could have taken founding Rose Tattoo member Ian Rilen from this earth, few in Australia’s music community would have been laying bets on cancer. Notoriously hard-living, Rilen was often compared to Keith Richards, Iggy Pop and Motorhead’s Lemmy – both for his authentic rock ’n’ roll spirit and for his freakishly robust constitution. He seemed genuinely indestructible. (more…)
T J Honeysuckle, Last Tram Home, 2nd November, 2006
My older brother was 16 in 1976, and an early fan of punk rock. He would go visit his new friends and bring home cassettes of local alternative radio station 3RRR- their signal wasn’t strong enough to pick up out where we lived- and I’d sneak into his room and borrow them. On one tape, sandwiched between the Boys Next Door doing “A Catholic Skin” and the Little Murders’ “Things Will Be Different” was X doing “Delinquent Cars”. That clanging guitar, the bouncing bass line, the strange lyrics in that deadpan voice…I was intrigued and got hold of more, a whole album’s worth in fact, including “Present”, “Suck Suck”, and the anthemic “ I Don’t Wanna Go Out”. Read the full article at Last Tram Home.
Hard-living Australian rock band Rose Tattoo have suffered another loss, with the death today of former bassist Ian Rilen. Read the full article at The Age.