Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rod De'ath: My Favorite Rory Gallagher drummer

I'm a little OC, so I'm on a kick lately about the late great Rory Gallagher, the famed Irish Blues-Rock guitarist.

Not to take anything away from the other drummers who played with Rory, both in Taste and all forms of Rory bands thereafter, but Rod De'ath was my personal favorite. One strong reason for this is because when I was coming of age, so to speak, playing the drumset, I was listening to, and playing along with, Rory albums. When I was first learning to play the kit, songs like "Tattoo'd Lady" were excellent fodder for a drumset drummer to learn the basic beats of the mixture of rock and blues.

We played along with other stuff too, like the Stones, the Beatles, Creedence, Santana, the Woodstock albums and some of the other bands of the early seventies.

But no one in Houston that I knew had ever heard of Rory Gallagher, nor did they care. The fellows in the drum section at my school marching and concert bands thought he was an oaf compared to Buddy Rich, Carl Palmer, John Bonham, Billy Cobham, Lenny White and so many other flamboyant and talented drummers of that time period.

Billy Cobham was pretty much the shizizz to the guys in my drum sections, guys who were monsters already on the drumset at 13 years old. Cobham was the guru, and they'd spend hours and hours copping his solo's not only note for note, but with the exact sticking and correct rudiments he used.

I'm no Buddy Rich, but I'm considered to be a good drummer. But I got lucky in that the music I listened to in my childhood/teen years was stuff that moved me, or rather, I sought out music that wasn't necessarily being played on the radio. For me, drummers like Charlie Watts, Don Henley, Ringo Starr, Mitch Mitchell, Hal Blaine, Al Jackson and so many others were the groove inspiration for my sort of drumming.

And then came Rod De'ath, somewhere in '74. I read about Rory in a Rolling Stone or Circus magazine article, a blurb more likely about the offer to audition for the Stones, and began listening to him.

Rod ultimately left the band, and as I understand moved to America and had a family and later was involved in some sort of traumatic accident that caused him serious injuries.

I'd be curious to know whatever became of him. I've read conflicting web stories of various sources, none seeming too definative, about him losing his memory or an eye and his ability to play the drums. I don't know which if any are true, but whereever he is, I just want to acknowledge the great admiration and inspiration I have found in his drumming.

It always moves me. But in all fairness, so did the drumming of Wilgar Campbell and the other drummers who played with Rory in the 70's and 80's. There was just something for me in Rod's playing.


  1. Rod D'ath was in deed a good drummer. His story was a sad one. I'd like to see his life story on the big screen. All we can enjoy for now are the youtube videos of his glorious days. Rock on, Rod!

  2. Im a big Rory Gallagher fan and like you I think Rory's line up of Lou martin,Rod D'Ath ,Gerry McAvoy and himself were the best line up he had .Not just for the ability but if you watch them THEY LOVE WHAT THEY ARE DOIN !!! you can feel the passion in thier playing something that lacks in a lot of bands.
    David MIller

  3. Thanks for stopping by, MG and David. We're a small but loyal group of Rod fans. I can't get enough of watching that guy blaze on the drums.

  4. Anon..Rod is alive and well and living in North London.

  5. I hope Rod knows the tremendous influence musically that he has been on myself and others.

  6. I Too am a huge Rory fan, and like all the other comments made Rod indeed was the best drummer for Rory, so tallented and with passion was Rod.
    Its an absolute travesty about his traumatic accident but he leaves a fantastic legacy in the music and now easy to get dvds.
    Have a look at him, the master Rory, and the rest of that great line up on the Rockpalast dvd collection, 1976-1990, covering most songs of Calling Card on the first dvd, "Brilliant".
    God Bless Rod and the boys.


  7. I'm glad there are more and more comments on Rod. It shows I am not the only one who googles him and other great drummers.

    Hope Rod is doing well and I'd love the opportunity to interview him via email over this blog. So many questions!

  8. Rod is also my favorite drummer from Rory
    His story is quite sad though, I hope he is doing well

  9. Rorys best drummer, Rorys tough touring schedule got too much for him. Great line up and Rory so amazing (the best) gerry woods Dublin