The Blackouts

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The Blackouts
Origin Seattle, Washington
Genres Punk rock, post-punk
Years active 1979–1985
Labels Situation Two, Wax Trax!
Associated acts Ministry
Past members Erich Werner
Bill Rieflin
Mike Davidson
Roland Barker
Paul "Ion" Barker

The Blackouts were a punk rock band formed in Seattle in 1979 by singer/guitarist Erich Werner, bassist Mike Davidson, and drummer William Rieflin, who were all former members of a local punk band, The Telepaths.[1] They were joined by Roland Barker, first on synthesizer and later on saxophone.[1][2]

Following a single and EP on small local labels, Davidson was replaced by Roland's brother Paul Barker in 1981.[3] This line-up recorded the "Exchange of Goods" single for English label Situation Two, and relocated to Boston in 1982.[4] There they met Al Jourgensen of Ministry, who produced their last recording, the Lost Soul's Club EP for Wax Trax! Records.[5]

The band next relocated their second time to San Francisco in 1984, and toured the East Coast with Ministry that year before breaking up.[5] Jourgensen recruited Paul and Roland Barker and Rieflin to the line-up of Ministry, playing a major part in the transformation of Ministry from a synth-driven dance band to one of the top exponents of industrial metal.[4] This started a long collaboration between Paul Barker and Jourgensen in Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Lard, and other projects. Rieflin released a solo album in 1999, Birth of a Giant,[3] worked with KMFDM, Pigface, Ruby, Peter Murphy, and Nine Inch Nails,[3] and was the studio and touring drummer for R.E.M.. Erich Werner went on to join the Toiling Midgets.[6]

In 2004, Olympia's K Records released History in Reverse, compiling the band's studio recordings.[6]


  1. ^ a b Gimarc, George (2005). Punk Diary: the Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock 1970-1982. Backbeat Books. pp. 416, 556. ISBN 0-87930-848-6. 
  2. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "History in Reverse Review". Allmusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  3. ^ a b c Gail Worley (1999-11-04). "Bill Rieflin - What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been: The Definitive Bill Rieflin Interview". Ink19. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  4. ^ a b Sutton, Michael. "The Blackouts Biography". Allmusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  5. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (2002). Alternative Rock. Miller Freeman. p. 497. ISBN 0-87930-607-6. 
  6. ^ a b Lumsden, Lee (Spring 2004). "The Blackouts were the best Seattle band you never heard of". K Records. Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 

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