Ike Reilly

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Ike Reilly (born Michael Christopher Reilly) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and writer as well as frontman and founder of the indie-rock band the Ike Reilly Assassination.


Michael Christopher Reilly was born at the United States Naval Hospital, Naval Station Great Lakes . He was raised in nearby Libertyville, where he continues to live. He graduated from Libertyville High School known for notable alumni Marlon Brando and Tom Morello and excelled in cross country running.

It was in middle school that he started writing songs and became adept at playing the harmonica, booking his first paying gig at age 13.[1] Reilly learned to play guitar while working at Ascension Catholic Cemetery, a job he held every summer through high school and college. He started by cutting the grass, and then moved on to digging graves.[2]

Following high school, Reilly attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he majored in Theology and enrolled in the Marine Corps. officer training school.[2]

In 1989, though still pursuing music, Reilly took a job at the Park Hyatt Chicago, where he remained until the hotel was torn down. He was the recipient of the “Employee of the Year” award by Hyatt Hotel just before his tenure at the hotel ended.

He pursued alternate paths, becoming a freelance production assistant and, in 1997, opened the Diamond City recording studio with engineer Blaise Barton. He continued to write songs and started recording them with engineer Ed Tinley.[2]

Music career[edit]

Reilly formed his first band, Captain Budget and the Loan Sharks, while a student at Marquette University. After graduating, he moved to Chicago and formed a band called the Eisenhowers, where he dropped the M from his first name and officially became known as Ike.[1]

He quit the Eisenhowers to join The Drovers and subsequently led the group Ike Reilly; Community (no.) 9; his band mates included Mars Williams (Liquid Soul, The Psychedelic Furs, The Waitresses) Phil Karnats (Secret Machines, Tripping Daisy), and Aidan O'Toole (The Muck Brothers) [3]

After taking a musical hiatus, Reilly continued to write songs and started recording in 1998 with engineer Ed Tinley, who had worked with Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins, and R. Kelly. “This marked the first time Reilly recorded without a band, depending more on samples and loops, starting with an acoustic take and then "building the song out." [2]

Those songs caught the attention of several high profile music industry veterans, resulting in a recording contract with Universal Republic Records, where he released his critically acclaimed debut album “Salesmen And Racists” in 2001. Reilly parted ways with Universal in 2003 and since been releasing music on the Rock Ridge Music label distributed through Alternative Distribution Alliance.

In total, Reilly has released six studio CDs and is in the midst of completing a seventh with a target release date of spring 2015.

The band is also well known by fans of TJ and Dave, an improv duo with Chicago actor and improviser David Pasquesi who perform regularly at the IO Theater in Chicago. TJ & Dave start every show by playing the original Ike Reilly song "I Don't Want What You Got (Goin On)" off of the album "Sparkle in the Finish"; they often begin shows in New York City with the Ike Reilly original songs "Commie Drives a Nova" from the CD under the Universal Republic Records label "Salesmen and Racists."

The Ike Reilly Assassination[edit]

Current members
  • Ike Reilly – lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitar (2000–present)
  • Dave Cottini – drums, backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Phil Karnats - electric guitar (2000–present)
  • Pete Cimbalo – bass, backing vocals
  • Adam Krier – piano, backing vocals
  • Tommy O’Donnell - guitar
  • Ed Tinley – piano (2000–present)


Artist Title Year Label Notes
Ike Reilly Salesmen And Racists Universal Records 2001
The Ike Reilly Assassination Sparkle In The Finish Rock Ridge Music 2004
The Ike Reilly Assassination The B-Sides Rock Ridge Music 2005 digital only release
The Ike Reilly Assassination Junkie Faithful Rock Ridge Music 2005
The Ike Reilly Assassination The Last Demonstration Rock Ridge Music 2006 digital only release
The Ike Reilly Assassination We Belong To The Staggering Evening Rock Ridge Music 2007
Ike Reilly Poison The Hit Parade Rock Ridge Music 2008
Ike Reilly Hard Luck Stories Rock Ridge Music 2009


  1. ^ a b Hess, Corrinne (5 February 2008). "A Rebel Rocker". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Pappu, Sridhar (23 December 1999). "Rocker's Revenge". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Ike Reilly: Community (no.) 9". 11 December 1999. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 




External links[edit]


  1. ^ Hess, Corrinne (2 May 2008). "A Rebel Rocker". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Pappu, Sridhar (23 December 1999). "Rocker's Revenge". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Ike Reilly: Community (no.) 9". 11 December 1999. Retrieved 31 March 2015.