Thom (aka TheRooster) from Corporate Punishment records has a real nice blog entry about his time spent with and knowing David Reilly. Thanks for sharing your story with everyone Rooster.
Quoted below for posterity:
The Mantis and Rooster show. (aka Reilly’s Law)
By Thomas Lawrence Hazaert
It all pretty much began October 7th, 2005 in Milwaukee, WI. Almost ten years to the fucking day. KMFDM, Korn (a brand new band I was in love with), and God Lives Underwater were coming to the Rave. I loved Korn, had just gotten GLU’s debut record EMPTY from their label, American, and fucking fell in love. I interviewed Korn and God Lives Underwater, Korn was for Circus, God Lives, I think, was for a local Wisconsin rag called Maximum Ink.
Anyway, I ended up hanging out with the guys from GLU, David, the singer and Jeff and Drew, the guys who did everything else, smoking pot until their bus (i mean van) call. Followed them to Madison and Chicago, and me and Dave kept crossing paths and hanging out. We all had dreadlocks. Life was good.
(Little did the poor skinny fucker know he’d get stuck with me for the next decade, and our lives would intertwine in ways that would probably scare both of us if we ever really thought about it.)
The next time I saw GLU was LITSCSA tour at the Metro in Chicago (3 Hour Drive). Unfortunately, GLU had reached somewhat Rockstar status by now, with “From Your Mouth” all over radio and MTV, and the Metro security was pretty tight, so I didn’t even get to talk to them. Heartbroken, I drove back to Green Bay.
Fast forward 2 years or so, and i’d relocated to Los Angeles to get the fuck out of the Midwest. I somehow hooked up with Jeff (or David, I don’t even remember) while they were working at Jeff’s (or it may have been Gary Richard’s at the time) house on what was to eventually become their third record, Up off the Floor. Somehow me and David realized we lived like 6 blocks apart in Hollywood so we started hanging out. That was around when he met Seven.
Seven was a sweet local Hollywood punk-rock girl, (i’m fairly certain she shared David’s fondness for substances. In fact, don’t quote me, but I think they might have met at the Methadone Clinic). This was also about the time David’s excesses started to REALLY take their toll on Jeff and everyone else, and David for the first time since i’d known him, decided to try and kick.
Mind you, by this time, he was out of money, and had moved out of his apartment and was staying with me. So here he is, my secret idol, my favorite rockstar, in the flesh, detoxing from heroin on my couch. He told me everything, his life story, when he started using, why, how his family had given up on him, how Jeff had given up on him. Honestly, I don’t think i’ve ever known anyone as truly ALONE as David Reilly was. But I think that was also his essence, his tragic flaw. He NEEDED that. But at the same time, I think that hurt him more than anything.
This was also a time when he wrote a lot of what would become his lyrics for UOTF. “72 Hour Hold” was written after he disappeared for 4 days, finally to call me and tell me he’d gotten locked up in a mental institution in Pasadena for being a “threat to himself and others”. There’s just so many other little pieces of time captured lyrically in that record, that are still painted so vividly every time I listen to it. I can still see scrawny frail little David Reilly (he was probably about a buck 40 around this time) showing up on my doorstep with his Skateboard, telling me how he just came from the Methadone Clinic. Even in our fallouts and absences that are to come, listening to that record pained me, made me miss him. Made me love him. (Or maybe just realize how MUCH I did.) God forbid I try and listen to it now.
So that was pretty much the end and the beginning. David and Seven moved back to PA, got engaged. I didn’t hear much of him, or from him for a year or two. Once in a while, I’d get an update from Jeff or someone who would get a random phonecall, but that was pretty much it.
From then, my personal and business relationship with David was an interesting on and off affair that spanned the course of many years. He’d vanish for 5, 6 months, a year, show up via a random phonecall or yahoo message, tell me he was clean, or went to jail or rehab (apparently 2 of David’s favorite places, at least you’d think so, as he spent much time in both), or some halfway house. We’d make some halfassed attempt to revive his career, make big plans, then he’d get fucked up and frustrated and give up, and that would be the end of Thom and David for another year.
2002. David released the FLUZEE EP on his own, a brilliant if not horribly packaged and recorded independent affair that, I think, they actually SPRAYPAINTED the logo on the CD. (I might be starting a new rumor, but I swear David told me that, and that’s what it looked like.) The SEVEN EP as it was known, was 5 songs, including “Far From Home”, (which David would end up Re-Recording with Walt for the Universal release), and “Blaming the Truth” (David’s first collaboration with Jeff since the demise of GLU) both of which were to eventually end up on Inside. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)
But the beautiful thing about FLUZEE, was that David was making music again, and it lit the fucking fire. So sometime around there, David got in contact with me again (we always somehow managed.), and he was different. (I think I never even figured out until just NOW, what it was.) There was life in his voice, and in place of the utter and abject defeat that had always been there before, there was some things i’d probably never heard before. Hope, excitement, clarity. This was my happiest period with David. Post Fluzee – Pre Inside. The world was ours, and we fucking KNEW IT. I was The Rooster and he was The Mantis (that one will stay between us). And for the FIRST TIME, David was clean.
Of course we can’t talk about the SEVEN EP without talking about the senseless, horrible tragedy that spawned it. Seven, his cute little Hollywood punk rock girl passed away. And in true tragic, over the top David Fitzgerald Reilly fashion, she didn’t just pass away. She was struck by a moving train.
So over time, David’s lament over Seven began to subside, things returned to normal, and surprisingly normal at that. David was making music, AND taking a pretty damn good stab at keeping clean. Of course, I couldn’t babysit him in the fashion i’d have liked to, me being in LA and him in Philly. And I know he would fuck up from time to time, and have a binge. He’d disappear for a few days or a week, then show up somewhere and give me a call. I mean who in recovery HASN’T fallen off the fucking wagon. The difference THIS time was he didn’t let that spiral out of control and take over his life, like he would have in the past.
So I officially became David’s manager, and we shopped a couple of the Fluzee songs to some labels, without much reaction, and David played a couple shows around Philly. This was also the first time he’d really PLAYED live, at least with any degree of regularlity, since LITSCSA. (I told you motherfucker, he was BACK.) David got frustrated at the lack of label interest and momentum, and decided to stop playing music and become a drug counselor. Thankfully, it took me all of a week to talk him out of it.
So an ex-girlfriend had a mid-life freakout and ran off to San Francisco, and gave David her 4-track, and he started recording and sending me MP3’s. The first track he recorded was “Keep Dreaming”, a beautifully layered acoustic song that was pure and utter David. Still to this day it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Several more tracks followed, including “Spinning”, “Stay”, and the hauntingly ironic, “1 Foot in the Grave”. The tracks showed a remarkably different side of David, much more akin to the laid back acoustic tracks that would occasionally rear their misshapen heads on a GLU record. This was a new improved David Reilly, and the world was about to find out.
It was around this time the planets aligned, and many wrongs were righted in the universe, as David and Jeff started really TALKING again. And while this might not seem that big of a deal to most people, I guess you would have to understand the Dave/Jeff dynamic, which is something even I will probably never, ever come close to fully understanding, and I suppose no one, aside from Dave and Jeff. really will.
But I do know for a fact that was one of David’s happiest and proudest moments, was telling Jeff that he was clean, and Jeff believing it. I would see Jeff quite a few times over the course of those months, and he’d ask how Dave was, and every time it made me so fucking happy to be able to tell him that he was still clean, and making music, and see that huge fucking smile on his face. I felt it, and i’m pretty sure Jeff did too. It really was special. And EVERY time I would leave from being with Jeff, I would get a call from David, asking what we talked about, if he asked about him, what we said.
It meant so fucking much to David that Jeff knew that he was trying, even if a little too late.
So the time had come and David was ready to go out and full-on tour. So we started making arrangements, and I started booking shows. I put together a band for him, enter Dave Trusso, and Ben Juul, a couple guys from another band I had produced called Everything Ends. They were young and talented, and served the perfect foil to Dave’s quiet charisma. But this wouldn’t be the typical show that a GLU fan would expect. Instead of a full electric rock show like David had done the few times he had done solo shows, these shows were all acoustic, a mix of the new tunes, and a few GLU favorites thrown in. I had the immense privelage of seeing one of the shows in Detroit, and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.
It was around this time that David decided he wanted to press a CD to sell on tour. He had recorded a bunch of new songs, that we decided to throw together with “Blaming the Truth” and “Far from Home” from the Fluzee EP, and put together an EP for David to sell on the road. So I talked to my partner Eric, and we figured what, the hell, if we’re going to put together a CD this amazing, we might as well go the whole nine and start a label. Thus, Corporate Punishment was born. Inside was another gigantic milestone, in that Jeff Turzo mastered it, as well as working on“Blaming the Truth” with Dave, marking the first and only collaboration between David and Jeff since the demise of God Lives Underwater, and what would sadly prove to be their last.
But back to the story, David did the tour, it was a disaster, and he came home and promptly sent me the longest text I had ever seen in my life, firing me. ( Luckily he got over it the next day.) The most ironic part was the CD’S weren’t even ready for the tour, and ended up coming out a few weeks after it ended. But we HAD succeeded in something noone had EVER done, although many had tried. We had a solo David Reilly record.
So Inside came out, in somewhat limited internet release, on our nonexistent record label. And I thank my stars every day that this amazing, and classic release was dropped in my lap. (Little did I know it would become his last.)
So me and David plugged along, deciding if NOONE else would, we would just put out his goddamned records.
Over the months that followed, David and I drifted apart. I got busy with the label, that had actually become, well, a label. Meanwhile, I hooked him up with some production work, and he had a few more slips, and of course, horrible tragedies. (If ANYONE was the living embodiment of the phrase “can’t get a break”, it was David Reilly.) Finally he got his shit together, and hooked up with Walt Bass and Dave Sherman, and some other amazing people, who hopefully loved and believed in him like I did. (who I so wish I could have met under better circumstances.)
Honestly I just assumed it would be another of our lapses. When David was ready for me, i’d hear from him.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
RIP Brother. I love you.