Share This Artist
Breaking new ground within the exploration of pure-styled rock & roll, Ike Reilly unveils an unusual ability as a songwriter, venturing to assault the ruggedness of hard rock tones and forwarding crude and fierce lyrics within his songs. Born in the little town of Libertyville, IL, Reilly has followed a trail separate from most of today’s singer/songwriters — unlike other such artists, Reilly prefers the harshness of intrepid rocking riffs, sustained by ingenious melodies and exalting words. A wave of enthusiasm within the indie music scene was motivated by his debut album, Salesmen & Racists, which hit record stores in 2001. Nevertheless, his path within the music world began years before in the late ’80s, while he was still in Libertyville. During that time, Reilly played with the Drovers, a Celtic rock band active in Chicago’s club scene. After the Drovers, he moved on and formed the Eisenhowers, by then enjoying reasonable success on the local club circuit. Following the Eisenhowers, Reilly assembled Community 9, dedicating most of the band’s activity to classic themes of punk rock.
At the beginning of the ’90s, Reilly decided to retire. During the years that followed, the musician worked on all kinds of jobs, from hotel doorman to cemetery worker, only to return to music almost nine years later. Reilly’s chance showed up when Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers listened to a demo tape containing some of his work. A few months later, Reilly signed a contract with Republic Records, and Salesmen & Racists, his successful debut album, hit record stores in July 2001, with recording credits including Reilly himself, Ed Tinley, and Mickey Petralia, previously responsible for the work of artists like Beck, Eels, and Luscious Jackson. Released in 2004, Sparkle in the Finish traded in the surrealist hip-hop of Salesmen & Racists for pure rock & roll swagger, while 2005’s Junkie Faithful adopted a dry-humored, Nick Lowe/Chuck Prophet-inspired style of pop/rock. The soulful, blues-tinged We Belong to the Staggering Evening arrived in 2007, followed in 2008 by the two-disc set of odd and ends Poison the Hit Parade and the Dylan-esque Hard Luck Stories in 2009.
He has recently completed his seventh studio recording, Born On Fire (Rock Ridge Music/ Firebrand Records) and his live performances both as a solo performer and as the leader of the ferocious Ike Reilly Assassination have garnered him a cult following and high praise from critics. David Carr of the New York Times said, “Ike Reilly is a kind of natural resource, mined from the bedrock of music. All the values that make rock important to people—storytelling, melody, rage, laughter—are part and parcel of every Ike Reilly show I have ever seen. One of the best touring acts in the country, Reilly’s band takes it as a personal challenge to upend and amaze every room they play in.”
Tom Morello founder of Firebrand Records said, “There’s something in the water in my hometown of Libertyville. Marlon Brando, Adam Jones of Tool, my humble self, and now Ike Reilly. Ike is not just a great, authentic songwriter of the highest caliber but he’s always ready to throw down at a union rally… or a bar fight. Ike’s songs are a poetic cracked window into the lives of the heartland heroes trying to get by, find and keep love, and carve a place for themselves with humor and dignity. But we love him most because at the drop of a hat he’ll travel 1,000 miles to play one song for a dying anti-war veteran. We are very proud to have heartland hero, Ike Reilly, on Firebrand Records.”