Ian William Rilen (12 August 1947 - 30 October 2006) was an Australian musician, he was bass guitarist and songwriter with Rock N' Roll band Rose Tattoo and led punk rock group X also providing lead guitar, rhythm guitar and vocals. Rilen was born in Bendigo, Victoria, started his musical career in Sydney and later lived in Melbourne.
Rilen was a member of 1970s progressive blues group Band of Light and other bands including, Space, Blue Aliens, Blackfeather, Sardine v, Hell to Pay, Skindiver and Illustrated Men. Rilen wrote one of Rose Tattoo's biggest hits, "Bad Boy for Love", and co-wrote "Stuck on You" with his first wife Stephanie Falconer, which was covered by Hunters & Collectors. Rilen was diagnosed with bladder cancer early in 2006 and died on 30 October, aged 59. He had five children Alicia Ann Macfarlane, Jay Jay, Gentilla, Tallulah and Romeo.
Ian William Rilen was born on 12 August 1947 in Bendigo, Victoria to Jean and William Rilen, he grew up in Torquay and became a surfer. After various jobs including window dresser, screen printer and sign writer, Rilen turned to a career in music. He played in progressive rock band, Lotus including at the Myponga Festival in January-February 1971. He then joined Space during 1971-1972. Rilen was bass guitarist for Band of Light during 1972-1974. The progressive blues group formed in Sydney but relocated to Melbourne, they released two albums Total Union (1973) and The Archer (1974) both on WEA Records. They had a No. 18 hit single on the Go-Set top 40 with "Destiny Song" in July 1973.Total Union peaked at No. 14 on Go-Set's top 20 albums chart in September. Rilen left in mid-1974 and the band broke up by year's end. During 1975, he teamed with former band mate, slide guitarist, Norm Roue (ex-Lotus, Band of Light), in the short-lived Blue Aliens with Roy Johnson. Late in 1975, he joined Blackfeather which previously had hits with "Seasons of Change" (No. 15, 1971) and "Boppin' the Blues" (No. 1, 1972).
Rose Tattoo was formed in Sydney in 1976 with Leigh Johnston on rhythm guitar, Tony Lake on lead vocals and were led by Peter Wells--who had just departed as bass guitarist of heavy metal band Buffalo--drummer Michael Vandersluys completed the line-up. Rilen joined on bass guitar to allow Wells to concentrate on his slide guitar. Rhythm guitarist Mick Cocks, soon replaced Johnston; Lake and Vandersluys were substituted by former Buster Brown members Angry Anderson and Dallas "Digger" Royall respectively. Rose Tattoo's hard-rocking sound quickly earned a devoted following in the Sydney area. Members of AC/DC were fans and recommended them to their label, Albert Productions. The band's debut single "Bad Boy for Love" was written by Rilen, who left to form punk rock group, X, prior to its release in October 1977. "Bad Boy for Love" was produced by Vanda & Young (ex-The Easybeats, AC/DC's producers) and peaked at No. 19 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. Cocks switched to bass guitar to cover Rilen's departure, then Chris Turner (ex-Buffalo) was brought in.
Ian Rilen on bass playing his unique fast down stroke style, formed X with Steve Lucas on guitar and vocals, Ian Krahe on guitar (who used to literally have blood on his hands from his thrashing playing style without a pic, by the end of a show), and Steve Cafiero on drums in the late 1970s. During X's history the line up changed twice, firstly on the sad death of Ian Krahe reducing the band to 3 members before they recorded their first album X-Aspirations (1979) in 5 hours at Trafalgar Studios in Sydney. The lineup changed a second time on their first Melbourne tour when the band reformed in the early 1980s. The tour was organised by then manager Nick Chance with booking agent Gerrard S (last name?) at Premier Artists in Melbourne, another long time fan of X. Cafiero had always said he would not go to Melbourne, yet being rock n' roll no one listened, and when advised of tour dates, he stuck to his word and would not go citing family commitments, and his career choice of real estate in the balance if he did. Cathy Green who replaced Cafiero on Drums was based in Canberra. She was known to booking agent Gerrard who suggested her to Nick Chance after getting latter's call to advise of Cafiero's decision not to go. Gerrard knew Green was a huge fan of X, so knew the songs, and was a great drummer in her own right who could fill in to save the Melbourne tour - and luckily Cathy agreed to do it, on a few days notice. There were two hastily organised rehearsals prior to the Melbourne shows - that turned out to be a huge success, and Cathy bought a new fresh yet solid feel to the band. Tragically, not long after that, Cafiero died when injected with a dye prior to an X-ray for a back complaint and Cathy became a permanent final member of X. The At Home With You (1985) album recorded in Melbourne included new songs Cathy was a part of inspiring, was made at Richmond Recorders and was engineered by Tony Cohen. The X And More (1989) followed also produced by Lobby Loyde as with two previous albums, (briefly a member of Rose Tattoo in 1979-1980).
During X's first hiatus (1980-1983), he formed the post punk outfit Sardine v, with his then wife, Stephanie Rilen (née Hancock) on keyboards and lead vocals. According to Rilen, "I didn't know Stephanie played until I bought a keyboard for the kids and I was writing songs in my room at the house. She just walked by and played a line on the keyboards. I said: 'Do that again'". Sardine v's debut single, "Sabotage" (1981) was followed by "Sudan" (written by Falconer) which was shown on ABC-TV's Countdown in 1982 with Rilen on guitar, Falconer on keyboards and lead vocals, and Johanna Pigott (ex-XL Capris) on bass guitar. "Stuck on You", co-written by Rilen and Falconer, was covered by Hunters & Collectors on their 1986 album, Human Frailty; Stephanie Rilen later married Doug Falconer from the band. Rilen reinstated X in 1983, which included drummer, Cathy Green from 1984 --they later formed a domestic partnership. During 1984-1985, Rilen also joined with ex-Rose Tattoo members, Cocks, Georgie Leach, Royall and Wells to form Illustrated Men. This was followed in 1990 with The Big Rider (with Green) then Hell to Pay (1991-1993) and a return to X thereafter. Rilen worked with Ian Moss (Cold Chisel) during recording of Petrolhead (1996), playing bass and co-writing songs for the album and later, also toured for a short time with Moss. Rilen rejoined Rose Tattoo in 1998 for the All Hell Breaks Loose Tour with fellow Australian band, The Angels.
Rilen's solo album was Love is Murder (2001), while Passion, Boots & Bruises (2004) is credited to Ian Rilen & the Love Addicts. A second album with the Love Addicts, The Family from Cuba, was recorded shortly before his death and released in 2007.
Rilen was invited to the Jack Awards in 2006, to play in an all-star tribute band for his departed Rose Tattoo band mate Pete Wells who had died of prostate cancer on 27 March. Rilen was diagnosed with bladder cancer early in 2006 but left his hospital bed to attend Rose Tattoo's ARIA Hall of Fame induction on 16 August. Two tribute concerts were held for him on 5 and 6 October--he died at the age of 59 on 30 October 2006. He was married twice, first to Stephanie Falconer and second to Sofia Fitzpatrick, his domestic partners included Cathy Green and Brigitte. Rilen had five children, Alicia Ann Macfarlane, Jay Jay, Gentilla, Tallulah (with Falconer) and Romeo (with Brigitte). Two further Rose Tattoo members have died of cancer, Loyde (also producer for X) in 2007 and Cocks in 2009.
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