avid Alexander De Horne Rowntree is the oldest member of Blur.
His musical ear comes from both his dad, who had commuted
for 40 years to his job as a BBC sound engineer, and his
mother, who had played in the London Orchestra. The
parents made him play bagpipes, but he fell in love with
the drum kit at school.
The young Dave had been taught to play drums
the hard way - by a gargantuan Scotsman who taped a
sixpence to the drum skin and smacked the pupil across
the back of the head if his stick ever missed the target.
By a coincidence, Dave had also attended some of the
Saturday morning jazz classes run by Graham Coxon's father.
Before he joined the other lads, he worked as a computer programmer after studying for a HND in Computer Science at
Dave had also played with Graham in various
shabby groups in Colchester, the most worthy of which was
Idle Vice. Other bands that he played in were The Curious
Band and Hazel Dean And The Carp Enters From Hell. Just
like Graham, he became a protest vegetarian for a while,
but failed due to malnutrition. For a couple of months, he lived in London as a punk
with a mohawk and
played at various squat gigs. After that, he moved to France and made a meagre living busking and
playing in small-time clubs.
In autumn 1988, Damon Albarn asked Dave to
join the band Circus. Later, when Graham and Alex James had joined the
band, they changed their name to Seymour.
Dave has divorced with his Canadian wife
Paula and is currently in relationship with Michelle de Vries. In
the spare time, he flies around in his aeroplane and
plays with computers. Thanks to Dave and his techie pal Ant Cauchi, Blur were
one of the first bands in the world to have a website as early as in 1995.
Law and politics
In 2009, Dave Rowntree graduated as a lawyer from BPP Law School
in Waterloo. Three years later, he qualified as a solicitor from the same
school. Dave is also a Labour Party activist and stood as the party's
candidate in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
In recent years, Dave has become involved in composing film
and TV scores and has already co-written scores for many films and
Mo Farah: No Easy Mile and Bros: After The Screaming Stops. In 2008, his
drumming talents were featured on the Easy Virtue soundtrack.
Dave is currently interested in
DJing and has to date performed around fifty
DJ sets mainly in the UK,
Italy and Spain.
In 2014 and 2015, he presented his weekly radio show on XFM where he
played his favourite music.
In 1999, Dave founded his now-defunct
animation company Nanomation, where he did, for example, an animation
for the Beagle 2 project. Around the same time he also made animations for MTV, The South Bank
Show and The 11 O'Clock Show.
The world's first
interactive animation series Empire Sq
is directed by Dave. The BAFTA nominated series
made its TV debut in 2005
and has been released on DVD afterwards.
- In the mid-2000s, Dave was the
drummer in the band called The Ailerons, which also featured the
long-time Blur concert musician Mike Smith. The band has been
largely inactive since 2007 due to its members' other commitments.
- Dave is a committee in The
Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC) and one of the founders of the
digital development label Transistor Project (apparently
non-functioning as of 2017).
- In 2015 and 2016, Dave organised
Star Boot Sale, a celebrity memorabilia auction raising funds for
refugee health clinics in Jordan.
- He played drums for Fat Les and on
a Gary Numan tribute album on a track called "We Have A
Technical". He also played drums in Graham's live band in the summer
For more details about Dave's
musical appearances outside Blur, see
Dave Rowntree Discography.