I heard lately in previous posts from those of you who know that Rod De'Ath is a great drummer who once drummed for the late guitar legend Rory Gallagher. More about drummer Rod De'Ath and Rod D'ath: My Favorite Rory Gallagher drummer. Yes, I know that I mispelled one of the versions of his name, but I've encountered both in my research of him. I believe that "De'Ath" is the proper version.
Like many other drummers, he was a profound influence on my playing, and although I can't hold a candle to his drumming from back then, I did learn a lot about groovin' on the drums to blues and blues rock music. I learned about making my drumming as much about FEEL as about TIME, and that may have been the most profound result of my studies of Rod's drumming.
When I "discovered" the blues thanks to guitarist/bassist Little Screamin' Kenny Blanchet out of Houston about 1982 or 1983, I began going through all of my seventies blues rock greats like Al Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Clapton, The Stones and Rory and "re-listening" for the things I missed in the drumming of these great drummers in my teen years.
Recent posters in the above linked posts have indicated that he is alive and well and possibly frequenting a certain London pub. I don't want to go stalking him, the man certainly deserves his privacy. But some part of me would love to go jump on a plane, find him, buy him a drink and thank him sincerely for the influence he's had on my playing for over 30 years.
Since my early teens, his drumming was instructional as well as entertaining. For many and many hours I played drum set along with recordings of Rory and Rod, trying to cop the feel that Rod had on the kit. I listened to many other drummers of course, but Rod was always one of my favorites. Rod was somewhere between Mitch Mitchell and Ringo and Charlie Watts in his playing, and I still hear new things in recordings I've listened to for decades
So from Rod, I learned that sometimes less is more but that there is a time and place for a killer fill. I also learned about "trademark" riffs used to transition or segue back in forth in blues rock music, particularly slower and more emotionally intense tune with heavily emotional and moving guitar solos. Less is more, and guys like Al Jackson, Bonzo, Jim Gordon, Charlie Watts and Rod learned that a long time before I did, but you can hear it in nearly everything and everyone they play with.
So I'd love to hop a plane and take Billy Ray on a fact-finding mission. I do have some friends who live "somewhat" near London, but if the research was to take place in pubs and bars looking for Rod, we would be best served at a "in town" hotel or lodging.
IF THERE ARE ANY TRUST FUND KIDS OUT THERE READING THIS WANTING TO HELP A COUPLE OF FELLOWS OUT ON A PAID LONDON/IRELAND TRIP, OR PUBLICATIONS THAT WOULD LIKE TO FUND THIS TRIP IN EXCHANGE FOR AN EXCLUSIVE STORY, OR MERELY A VERY GENEROUS MILLIONAIRE THAT WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE DREAM OF A COUPLE OF MIDDLE AGED TEXAS GUYS COME TRUE IN A QUEST TO MEET ROD De'Ath, THEN FEEL FREE TO EMAIL YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS. I'LL BE HOLDING MY BREATH FOR SURE. LOL.
Of course, if we were already in London, Billy Ray and I would have to travel to Rory's homeland in Ireland, and if we were headed to Ireland, we'd have to stop in Belfast and visit some very good friends of mine.
So as you can see, the potential "I wonder if we could find Rod in a pub in the UK" trip just turns into an ugly monster of fun that surely the womenfolk in our homes would not readily approve of. EL Fisho and Billy Ray unsupervised in London and Belfast and assorted Irish Rory locales for a week or more? Preposterous. Spending all of your time in bars and pubs? You must be out of your everyloving minds!
Of course, all we'd like to do is politely ask him if we could buy him a drink and perhaps have the privilege of having a photo taken with him. I'd want to tell him of the influence of his playing on many Austin and Houston drummers I've known over the decades, and of how he is still highly relevant in terms of his innovative playing and the fact that kids are still learning to play blues and blues rock from his recordings. I'd just like to tell him how much I appreciate what I learned from him.
If he was willing, a traditional or video interview would be great for posting here, or even some email stories about his life so that his many fans and admirers could know a little more about his history and playing since leaving Rory. And of his life in general the past few decades. But I wouldn't want to bug him or mess with his place that he hangs at.
If nothing else, I would be happy to catch his tab for an evening. It'd be the right thing to do. Payment for the lessons of the past decades.