RILO KILEY FAQ
Q. How do you pronounce Rilo Kiley's name?
A. Long I's... rilo like "high-low", and kiley like "smiley".
Q. How did they get their name?
A. There are a few theories on this, but not really a definitive answer. Pierre and Jason both insist that "Rilo Kiley" has no real meaning, but most fans suspect it does and they just wanna keep it secret. Some say they just picked it randomly and liked the way it sounded. Some say it's a switch-a-roo on the common Irish name Kyle O'Riley. Dave Rock once claimed during a radio interview that Rilo Kiley was the name of a pair of siamese twins from the early 20th century.. and that they picked it as the name due to something about the bandmembers being so close and never being separated (ironically, he left the band not long after!). Another theory is it was the name of a Scottish architect. Some say it's named after an imaginary pet dragon Blake had as a child. Okay, I made that last one up.
An article in Performer Magazine (2001) said this..
[T]he band got their name from a the tragic tale of two exiled, gay, high school football players, Ben Rilo and Stephen Kiley, who committed suicide in 1909 on the railroad tracks just outside of their mid-western town after making love for the last time. As a tribute to the two young men the band members adopted the name Rilo Kiley, which is also the name of the crossing where the two young men met their end.
Huh? Seriously? Who knows. That's a sad story.
Here's a another little story, this from Rilo fan, Eric..
At the Westwood in-store show we asked [what the name meant]. Jenny actually. She started to say how it was about some dream Blake had had once, he was packing up equipment on the other side of the stage, overheard, and yelled over not to listen to her, that she was just messing with our heads. So she said, she'd wanted to name them after her parent's band in the 70's "Love's Way", but that we'd have to ask Blake about Rilo Kiley. So we marched over to him a little later, and he claimed it was after some innovative architect he'd gotten into at the time. I like the dream story better myself.
And Lauren adds, "I think jenny often makes up stories when people ask her about where the name Rilo Kiley came from. I asked her at a show about a year ago, and she told me that they got it from a Jethro Tull song!"
|Members of the band
|Jenny Lewis - She sings and plays guitar, bass, or keyboard... Sometimes even
some harmonica and other various things. Jenny was born in Las Vegas before
moving to the Los Angeles area when she was young. She found moderate
success as a child actress, landing parts in films such as Troop
Beverly Hills and The Wizard, as well as spots on several TV
shows in the 80s and early 90s. When she got older, she left acting to focus
on music. She met Blake Sennett through a friend and eventually they started
writing songs together. By 1997, the two had started Rilo Kiley and began
playing shows around LA.
Over the years, Jenny has guested with lots of artists and been a member of the band The Postal Service. In 2006, she released a solo album, Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, and toured extensively. 2008 saw another album, Acid Tongue.
|Blake Sennett - He plays guitar and sings sometimes. He's got a side band called The Elected.
They've put out a couple albums so far. Blake scored the film Don's Plum a few years ago.
He's also tried his hand at filmmaking. His Super8 short film
entitled America the Beautiful was shown at Los Angeles City College
in May, 2004. It's been described as a hysterically funny pseudo-documentary
on the "American Fruit Ninja." Little else is known about it and it doesn't
seem he has any plans of releasing it. He did some acting when he was young,
including regular spots on the shows Salute Your Shorts and Boy Meets World.
Blake is also a decent drummer, playing in a local band called The Caustic
Truth in his early days.
After touring for Under The Blacklight, Blake spent time working on a short film he wrote and directed called Water Pills. More info on it can be found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1196957/ There's also been talk of a new "weird dance music" project called Oaxaca (pronounced "woah-HAWK-uh"), and perhaps a new Elected record someday.
|Pierre de Reeder - Also known as "Duke," he usually plays bass, and sometimes guitar or keyboard
or even percussion.
Blake and Pierre went to high
school together in San Diego. The two were in a goth band called The Caustic
Truth. Blake got kicked out and eventually the band broke up. When Blake and
Jenny had written a few songs and were ready to start playing live as Rilo
Kiley, Blake asked Pierre to join the band.
Pierre also does music of his own sometimes. He's got some songs up on his myspace page, http://www.myspace.com/pierredereeder and he's also put out a split 7" with the band Acute in October 2006, with an album of his own called The Way That It Was following in 2008. He occasional performs solo shows in the Los Angeles area.
When not making music, Pierre enjoys the family life with his lovely wife and daughter. He's also involved in various charities and actively supports causes such as animal rights.
|Jason Boesel - He plays drums and percussion. Sometimes keyboard and backing vocals. Prior to joining Rilo Kiley in the autumn of 2001, Jason played drums in a couple other bands: Evergreen, a three-piece emo band from Southern California in the early 90s, and The Lassie Foundation, an indie-pop band out of Los Angeles, 1996-2006. They put out a few albums and EPs, never really having a permanent drummer. Jason plays on 2001's The El Dorado LP. In 2004, he joined Blake for the first Elected album. A couple years later he was in the backing band for Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins. Jason has also played frequently with Bright Eyes, as well as other artists such as Michael Runion and Johnathan Rice. When asked about his influences, he once said, "Jon Theodore from the Mars Volta is my current drumming hero. I really liked the first PJ Harvey record and the first Porno for Pyros record. Bob Dylan's the best there will ever be, and Townes Van Zandt is a close second."
|Mike Bloom - Also known as "The Caveman," Bloom began as an
original member of The Elected in 2003. He and Blake had known each other for
a while, and in fact Mike contributed a song to the film Blake scored in 2001,
Don's Plum. His involvement in Rilo Kiley came about organically through
friendship. When the band wanted to fill out their live sound with an
additional guitar player, they brought him into the fold. That was around late 2003/early
2004. For the More Adventurous tour, he was basically in the band, but not a 100% full-fledged member, so
not always included in group photos or interviews. Mike was not involved
much with Under The Blacklight and did not tour with the band for
that album. He may still work with the band again in the future, however.
In addition to regular guitar, Mike is a proficient lap steel player and can also handle a lap top, often controlling effects with his Mac. When needed, he can also play keys, harmonica, and sing backup.
Mike writes and records a lot of music on his own, usually mellow acoustic stuff. He's currently working on making a record and occasionally plays solo shows around the Los Angeles area. You can check him out on his myspace: http://www.myspace.com/mikebloom
Mike has also worked on several independent films and shorts, including scoring the 2001 independent film Mergers & Acquisitions.
As for how he got the nickname "The Caveman," it's been said he got it because he "caves" himself away in his little home studio working on songs for hours on end. He also grows his beard out somewhat bushy sometimes, another possible reason for the nickname. In a recent interview he revealed it actually came about years ago when Blake was helping him record some songs. One of Mike's songs had a metaphorical line in it about being a caveman. The line struck Blake, and he took to ribbing Mike about it, and the nickname stuck.
Fans who don't know better sometimes mistake Mike Bloom/The Caveman for another "Mike," that being Mike Mogis, famed producer for Saddle-Creek Records, who, like Bloom, has worked on albums by both Rilo Kiley and The Elected.
|Dave Rock - The original drummer. He split with the band sometime around September
2001. Since departing Rilo Kiley, Dave has been involved in the production of
independent films as a producer/writer/editor at Workaround Films in Los
Angeles along with his partner Jon Hoffman. He has edited a wide variety of
projects from bits for "Sesame Street" to the Sci-Fi Channel, commercials to
feature films, including 2005's
Scarred, a low budget horror movie he
co-wrote/co-directed/co-produced/edited. He also co-wrote/co-produced/edited
Scream Bloody Murder, a horror spoof from 2003. Recent projects
include editing the films Good Time Max starring James Franco, and
Liberty Kid, a feature by writer/director Ilya Chaiken. For Dave's
check here at
Originally from New Jersey, he resides in Los Angeles, and often travels to New York for projects.
In addition to being a talented drummer, Dave is also an accomplished cellist.
In 2003, he married Jessica Kaminsky, a writer who has worked on TV shows such as "Hope & Faith" and "So noTORIous".
|other guest players - [under construction]
Q. Has Rilo Kiley broken up?
A. Well, at the time of this writing (September 2008), Jenny Lewis is completely focused on her solo career. While there's been no official announcement, there have been several hints that the band will effectively be on hiatus for the indefinite future. That could possibly mean a new album in a couple years, or in several years, or never. Who knows? There's no feuding or internal conflict between band members other than usual stuff that may come from months of touring together, as far as us fans know, and they're still friends and all that.
So for now, yeah, Rilo Kiley is inactive.. but we'll just have to wait and see what the future holds for the band.
Here's an excerpt from a Jenny interview with thedailytimes.com (September 2008):
Is Rilo Kiley still together?
"It is," she said. "But in between every record, we don't know if we're going to make another one. Those relationships are tough ones, because we're like family. We get along, and then we don't get along, and then we get along again and make another record. So I don't know when or if we'll do another one."
Q. Does Under The Blacklight suck?
A. Again, the answer to this query is unclear. Many fans say they were disappointed in the release, noting the decidedly "pop" sound of the album and absence of intelligent, introspective lyrics that helped the band's earlier releases stand out. Other fans, though, loved the band's fresh new direction and see the album as an unabashed collection of catchy, danceable songs.
Months after touring for the record, Jenny reflected back on UTB in interviews:
“The truth is, I turned myself into a fake pop star for ‘Under the Blacklight,’ ” Lewis says. “People like to think Warner Brothers molded us into this pop band, but that’s what we really wanted to do, and at the time I thought that is what I wanted for that record. I was very capable of singing pop songs and strutting around in hot pants. That’s one aspect of my personality. But do I think that personality best suits the songs I write? No way.” (Chicago Tribune, September 2008)
"We thought we had recorded a good commercial album and nobody heard of it. When you record an album like that it's not enough to be happy with the result, it has to reach the people. And it didn't happen. I looked at the charts and thought: 'Where the hell are we?' My last solo album [Rabbit Fur Coat], which was intentionally anti-commercial, had much more impact. I think we should reconsider things in Rilo Kiley." (from a Spanish newspaper, September 2008)
Q. Why did Dave Rock leave the band?
A. Another unsolved mystery, sorry. But at the time, Blake released the following statement:
Well, it's true. Drummer, Dave Rock and Rilo Kiley have sadly parted ways. The rest of us felt it was time to move on when some stuff came up that we couldn't resolve. This desicion has no impact on how any of us feels about Dave as a person. I love Dave Rock and wish him the best of luck in everything he does.
Q. What's with the opposum pic the band uses as their logo sometimes?
A. Possums are supposed to be the most nervous animal, which Jenny says represented the band well at the time they started using that picture (around 2001). Since then they've used images of birds and scary bears and wolves, and most recently, owls, so I'd take that to mean they've grown more confident as a band over the past few years. But what do I know?
Q. What music videos have they made?
A. Their first video was for "The Frug", made back before they even had a CD out or a record deal! The song was on the soundtrack to a movie called Desert Blue, and was chosen to be the emphasis track from the movie/album (though it wasn't properly released as a single). The video featured the band playing, with Jenny up front signing to the camera, mixed in with footage from the movie. While not a huge hit, the video did get some late-night play on MTV and was mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine. The video is available on the DVD of Desert Blue.
Then they had video made for "Bulletproof" from Take Offs And Landings, which was available on their website for a while. It doesn't feature the band, but rather is a computer animated story of a little girl trying to talk Satan into not squashing her. The video was made by Liam Lynch, who some may remember from the late '90s MTV series "Sifl & Olly" (He was the voice of Olly and also did music for the show). He put out a CD called Fake Songs in 2003 and has found some success with the song "United States of Whatever".
Lynch also made a video for the song "Always", although not many people have seen it. It's been described as "Jenny rocking out and looking adorable, as always..." and, "In the keyboard part... before jenny appears, Liam Lynch is wearing a skull mask and kinda poses that change when the note of the keyboard changes." Unfortunately, the band has objections to this video getting out, so very few fans have actually seen it.
But in good news, December 2007 saw the appearance on YouTube of another rare video that no fans had theretofore even heard of! The video, for the song "Wires and Waves", was shot in the spring of 2001 in and around the Mojave Desert. It was directed by Morgan J. Freeman (the guy who did the Desert Blue film).
Then, for More Adventurous, a video was made for "It's A Hit". It was a cute, yet somewhat sad video that made use of the old kids' toy Lite-Brite and stars a porcupine-like creature called a Unipine that goes on a strange, harrowing adventure.
They followed up that video with one for "Portions For Foxes", which featured the band rocking out along with lots of taxidermy images... apparently going for a statement against cruelty to animals.
For the Under The Blacklight album, the band made videos for "The Moneymaker" (featuring amateur porn stars) and "Silver Lining" (featuring a sad wedding with cameos by some of their friends).
All of these videos (with the exception of "Always") can probably be found by searching YouTube.com.
Q. What bands have they been in before RK?
A. Rilo Kiley is Jenny's first band. Blake used to play drums for a San Diego goth/hardcore band called The Caustic Truth. Pierre was also in The Caustic Truth. Jason was in a band called Evergreen and another one called The Lassie Foundation.
Q. What about other non-Rilo Kiley work?
A. Check the Jenny Lewis, The Elected, and The Postal Service discographies on this site for other guest appearances and whatnot.
Q. Wait-- what's up with Jenny and that Postal Service band?
A. The band Postal Service has a CD called Give Up released on Sub Pop (2/18/03). It's an electronica-meets-indie-rock supergroup featuring Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel and Figurine and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard; Jenny Lewis and Jen Wood provide backing vocals. It's sometimes tricky to tell the two apart. Jenny sings on "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight", "Sleeping In", "Recycled Air", "Clark Gable", "We Will Become Silhouettes" and "Brand New Colony". There's also a single for the song "Such Great Heights", which includes the b-side "There's Never Enough Time", featuring Jenny.
From a Lazy-i interview with Ben Gibbard:
"I thought it would be cool to have a girl do the harmonies," Gibbard said about making his acquaintance with Lewis. Though her band now records for Omaha's Saddle Creek Records, back when it first formed it shared the same label as Death Cab for Cutie -- Seattle's Barsuk Records. "So I knew her from our label connection. She lives in L.A., and so does Jimmy, so I cold-called her and she said she'd love to do it. We met the first time last July and hung out."
Jenny also went on tour with the Postal Service in April and May 2003. Jen Wood did not tour with the band so Jenny filled in on the parts Wood sang on the album, as well as playing some keyboard, guitar, and other assorted noise making devices. Though it was the band's first tour ever, they sold out everywhere they played! Hot damn! They also did some European gigs in June 2003.
Q. So.. Jenny used to act, right?
A. Yeah, she started acting when she was little and continued to as she got older, though less and less. Check with the IMDB for her full acting credits.
Here's an excerpt from an article with Houston Press (2/20/03):
Once upon a time, Lewis was a child star -- though she prefers the term "working child actress" -- made almost-famous by the role of Hannah Nefler in Troop Beverly Hills.
"To be completely honest, acting was never my choice," she admits. After her parents divorced, Lewis moved with her mother to Van Nuys, California, and played no fewer than two dozen film and television roles, the last of which was 2001's Don's Plum with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. "I was thrown into [acting] at a very young age. It took me a while, maybe into my early twenties, but when I was old enough to say, 'I don't want to do this anymore,' I did."
Q. And Blake? He used to act, too?
A. Sure did. Seems to be a similar story to Jenny's. His best-known parts were on the TV shows Salute Your Shorts and Boy Meets World. Again, you can check with the IMDB for his full acting credits. He used to go by Blake Soper.
Q. So what's up with their love life? Ever any hanky-panky between
Blake and Jenny?
A. Blake and Jenny both value their privacy, understandably, and don't like talking about their respective personal lives. However, they've recently revealed that, yes, they were a couple for a while in the past.
Q. What stuff has the band released?
A. check the disco graphy.
Q. What songs and rare tracks do they have?
A. check the song list.
Q. What shows have they played? What other bands were on the bill?
A. check the gigo graphy.
Q. How did this website come about?
A. This site was thrown together on December 1, 2002. Actually, at the time it was just a "disco graphy" list. See, there weren't any good discographies of the band out there at the time. The original list was basically made for personal use.. trying to answer the question, "What-all stuff has Rilo Kiley released?"
A lot was discovered.. and that turned out so good that it was decided to make the list into a webpage so that fans everywhere could benefit from it.
And eventually more sections were added to it... the song list, gigo graphy, faq... and it grew into the site it is now. It didn't really have a name, just being "untitled Rilo Kiley fansite" for a while. Then on December 1, 2006, the site's 4 year anniversary, it was revamped and rechristened Rilo Kiley Place, with new sections for Jenny Lewis, The Elected, and the Postal Service. Yes, I know "Rilo Kiley Place" is a stupid name, but everything else has already been taken, so it'll have to do!
Please email me with
any additions, corrections, or whatever. Thanks.
BTW, if you use info from here somewhere else (like Wikipedia), pretty please credit/link www.rilokileyplace.com
( page updated: November 30, 2009 )