Rod de'Ath

Rod De'Ath

Rod DeAth - Photo by Ted McKenna

Drummer Rod De'Ath passed away on the 1st of August 2014. Rod was a fantastic drummer with an individual style. Anyone who has worked with him will talk about his driving energy and metronomic timekeeping. He knew how to boogie.

From Mick Clarke:

I first met Rod in the early Killing Floor years, when he was working with a progressive band named Erminor Gerome. It soon became apparent though that Rod had a feel for the blues - he cited Chicago blues drummer Fred Below as a major influence. In due course he became Killing Floor's drummer for a period towards the end of its first incarnation around 1971.

These were good days and a happy band with myself, Bill, Lou, Rod and Stan Dekker on bass, rocking around the UK playing clubs and colleges. But some time in 1972 Rod got a call from one Mr Rory Gallagher.

Rod flew over to Ireland at the last minute to fill in for Wilgar Campbell who had had to pull out of an Irish tour. After a while it was decided that Rod should stay in the band, and he was there for the next seven years, playing on classic albums such as "Irish Tour" and touring the world's major concert venues.

All this time I kept in close contact with Rod and Lou Martin, and we would often meet up for a drink when they came back from tour, so I could be regaled with outrageous tales from the road. I wish I could remember them all. We also used to jam regularly at various South London pubs, on one occasion with Rory himself involved.

When Rod and Lou finally finished their spell with Rory, we decided to put our own band together, which became Ramrod, with Stevie Smith and Stuart McDonald. It was a good band and we had some great gigs in London and a successful tour of Ireland. However the times were against us.. Punk Rock had taken over and there was no room for our music in the UK music business.

The following year Lou and Rod were offered a great job - backing Chuck Berry on a European tour with Muddy Waters. The tour was a great success and repeated soon afterwards. Later in the 80s I was able to work with Rod in the Mick Clarke Band, and he came on some of my US tours, recording on the "West Coast Connection" album in Portland Oregon. His immaculate timing was intact - our bass play Zack referred to him affectionately as "Meter Man".

However Rod was unwell, with a form of Meniere's disease as well as other ailments. After disappearing completely for a while he made a dramatic re-appearance at Rory's Tribute Service in London, now sporting a walking stick and eye patch. He made it to our wedding in 2000, but after that I didn't see much of Rod and he lived quietly in North London until his death following major surgery.

Rod was complicated. He could be haughty and proud, but also warm and great company. When he had money he shared it generously, when he didn't he accepted life philosophically.

Rod was a great character, a great friend and a great drummer. R.I.P.

Link to obituary from The Independent newspaper "Rod De'Ath, powerhouse drummer at the heart of Rory Gallagher's Band"

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