Dave Rowntree

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Dave Rowntree
File:Dave Rowntree 29.07.2013 in Rome.JPG
Background information
Birth name David Alexander De Horne Rowntree
Born (1964-05-08) 8 May 1964 (age 54)
Colchester, Essex, England
Genres Britpop, indie rock
Occupation(s) Musician, animator, solicitor, political activist, DJ
Instruments Drums, drum machine, percussion, guitar
Years active 1988–present
Associated acts Blur, The Ailerons, Empire Square
Website davidrowntree.org

David Alexander De Horne Rowntree (born 8 May 1964) is an English musician, as well as a solicitor, animator, and political activist. He is best known as the drummer for the rock band Blur.

Early life

Born in Colchester, Essex, Rowntree was born to musical parents – Susan, a viola player, and John, a sound engineer at the BBC. He attended the Gilberd School, Colchester during the week, and the Landermere Music School, Thorpe-le-Soken, at weekends, where he studied percussion. He played percussion with his father in the Colchester Silver Band, a brass band. After leaving school he studied for a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computer Science at Thames Polytechnic,[1] and started his career as a computer programmer for Colchester Borough Council.


Rowntree had played in bands with Graham Coxon while the two were growing up in Colchester, and knew Coxon's father who taught jazz classes at Landermere. In 1989 Coxon introduced Rowntree to Damon Albarn, who was forming a band around Goldsmiths, University of London. Rowntree was asked to join, and left his job to move to London. With the addition of Alex James, and after many name changes, the band settled on Blur and were signed to EMI.

Rowntree is a computer animator, and owns an animation company called Nanomation. He directed two series of the South Park-esque animated show Empire Square, which made its TV debut on Channel 4 on 18 February 2005. He is also interested in computer graphics and has contributed to three research papers on topics related to non-photorealistic rendering.[2][3][4]

Rowntree trained to become a solicitor when Blur took a hiatus in 2006.[5] He is employed in the criminal department of Kingsley Napley, a firm of solicitors based in Farringdon, central London.[6]

He is also a presenter for Global Radio's alternative rock radio station Radio X (United Kingdom) in the UK and hosts a regular show on Sunday nights from 9pm to 11pm.[7]


Rowntree has been a keen activist and supporter of the Labour Party since becoming a member in 2002, and is chairman of London's West End branch. In April 2007 he unsuccessfully contested the safe Conservative seat of Marylebone High Street on Westminster City Council. In July 2008 he fought the Labour seat of Church Street, a Labour stronghold since its creation in the 1960s, but a swing from Labour to the Conservatives of 14.1% meant that he was again unsuccessful as the Conservatives gained the seat.

In February 2008, he was selected by the Cities of London and Westminster Constituency Labour Party to stand against Conservative MP Mark Field at the 2010 General Election. He was defeated at that election. In 2011, Rowntree contested to become the Labour candidate for Norwich South at the next election. He lost to Clive Lewis, a journalist and former soldier, who went on to be elected.

Rowntree supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in 2007 said, "I'm not a pacifist, I do believe that some things are worth fighting for, and dying for. I understand that that's easier to say, I'm not being the one who's asked to die, but Saddam was such an illegal ruthless bastard I didn't shed any tears for it [the war]."[8]

Rowntree is a committed opponent of the death penalty and patron of Amicus,[9] an organisation that provides legal representation to those on Death Row in the United States.

In August 2014, Rowntree was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[10]

Other interests

He has continued to take an interest in computer science, and in the early days of the Linux operating system wrote a device driver to enable a particular CD-ROM card to work with the operating system.[citation needed]

He has also campaigned against prosecution of internet music filesharers, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group, a United Kingdom-based digital rights NGO. When asked on Blur's website how he felt about single "Out of Time" being leaked on the Internet before its release he replied "I'd rather it gushed".[citation needed]

Rowntree obtained a full pilot's licence in 1995.[citation needed]

Rowntree also holds a foundation licence for amateur radio in the UK using the callsign M6DRQ

Rowntree is a founding director of the Featured Artists Coalition.[11]


External links