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Dave Riley is most famous as the bass player with [a=Big Black] from 1985 until they split in 1987.
Riley was born in Detroit in 1960. Before joining Big Black he had worked as an audio engineer for [a=Parliament] (credited on the 'Trombipulation' album from 1980) and had played bass with the Chicago punk band [a=Savage Beliefs]. His background interest in funk is cited as giving Big Black an unexpected melodic undertow and his confrontational, yet often drily humorous, audience interaction was a feature of their live shows.
Having borne the scars of a serious road accident from his youth, Riley was to suffer more ill health after Big Black's demise when he experienced a major stroke in 1993, which left him in a coma for 6 weeks. Incorrect rumours attributed this to a failed suicide attempt (much to Riley's disgust) but it was actually due to a genetic condition inherited from his mother's side of the family. He documented the aftermath of the stroke in a pseudonymous online blog, summing himself up in 2008 by saying "Yeah I use a wheelchair and talk funny, but ... I'm doing quite well thank you...".