Dave Rowntree

David Alexander De Horne Rowntree (born 8 May 1964)[1] is an English musician, politician, solicitor, and animator. He is the drummer for the rock band Blur and is a councillor in Norfolk County Council, representing the Labour Party.

Dave Rowntree
Rowntree performing with Blur in Rome in 2013.
Rowntree performing with Blur in Rome in 2013.
Background information
Birth nameDavid Alexander De Horne Rowntree
Born (1964-05-08) 8 May 1964 (age 56)
Colchester, Essex, England
  • Musician
  • animator
  • solicitor
  • political activist
  • DJ
Years active1988–present
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

Born in Colchester, Essex, Rowntree was born to musical parents – Susan, a viola player, and John, a sound engineer at the BBC. He has an older sister called Sara. 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,[2] 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 Food Records, which was distributed through EMI. EMI later acquired Food Records and Blur were absorbed into EMI.

On 31 July 2018, Rowntree appeared in the video for Slaves' newly-released single, "Chokehold", as a drummer auditioning for a part in the band.[3]

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.[4][5][6]

Rowntree trained to become a solicitor when Blur took a hiatus in 2006.[7] He is employed in the criminal department of Kingsley Napley, a firm of solicitors based in Farringdon, central London.[8]

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


Rowntree has been a keen activist and supporter of the Labour Party since becoming a member in 2002, and has been 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-held 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 sought selection as Labour candidate for Norwich South; he lost to Clive Lewis, a journalist and former soldier, who went on to be elected as MP.

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]."[10]

Rowntree is a committed opponent of the death penalty and patron of Amicus,[11] 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.[12]

In the Norfolk County Council election on 4 May 2017, he was elected as county councillor for the University division in Norwich.[13]

Other interestsEdit

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.[14] Rowntree also holds a foundation licence for amateur radio in the UK since 2012 using the callsign M6DRQ. He upgraded his licence in 2016 to advanced with the new call sign 2E0DVR.[15]

Rowntree is a founding director of the Featured Artists Coalition.[16]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1994, Rowntree married Paola, a Canadian woman.[17] The couple divorced in the early 2000s. In 2007, he was dating Michelle de Vries.[18]

In the early 1990s, Rowntree was a heavy drinker; he stopped drinking alcohol in 1993 after a particularly heavy drinking session with members of the band Siouxsie and the Banshees.[17] However, several years later, he began a cocaine habit. This led to a public incident in 2003 when, during a TV interview of Blur for MuchMusic by Canadian journalist Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Rowntree was seen mocking and physically intimidating Nardwuar throughout the interview. Rowntree has apologised several times since for his behaviour, saying that "the day after a cocaine binge I'd sometimes fly into a murderous rage," and that this was the case on that day.[19] By 2007, he stated that he had stopped using drugs and was "active in the recovery community".[20] He has also said that he keeps a clip of the interview on his phone, to watch if he ever considers relapsing into drug use.[19]


  1. ^ Power, Martin (14 June 2013). The Life of Blur. Music Sales Group. ISBN 9780857128621 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Biography on blurcentral". Archived from the original on 21 June 2006.
  3. ^ Slaves (31 July 2018). "Thank you for being in our video @DaveRowntree Here's a photo of us all enjoying a rowntrees ice Lolly on the shoot. Love you pic.twitter.com/6iuN6VwTwz". Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  4. ^ Video Paintbox – The Fine Art of Video Painting Archived 20 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Stroke Surfaces: Temporally Coherent Non-photorealistic Animations from Video. Archived 20 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Rendering cartoon style motion cues in post-production video Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Dave Simpson (23 September 2010). "From pop star to chiropractor: musicians' post-musical careers". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  8. ^ "David Rowntree's profile on Kingsley Napley's website". Archived from the original on 24 October 2011.
  9. ^ Duerden, Nick (31 January 2014). "Dave Rowntree: Blur's polymath drums up another new career as XFM radio DJ". The Independent. London: Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Dave Rowntree interview in Time Out". Timeout.com. 30 April 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ Amicus web site Archived 20 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  13. ^ Rowntree, David (5 May 2017). "I'm delighted and humbled to have been elected County Councillor for University Ward, Norwich.pic.twitter.com/xVrnjzwBCB".
  14. ^ "Alex Richardson interviews Dave Rowntree, 16th September 1995". 28 June 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  15. ^ Durrant, Ed (23 December 2016). "Drumming Up a License Upgrade". Amateur Radio Newsline.
  16. ^ Youngs, Ian (12 March 2009). "Music stars call for more power". BBC News.
  17. ^ a b The Life of Blur, Martin Power. Music Sales Group, 2013
  18. ^ Barkham, Patrick (12 April 2007). "From Blur to Blair". The Guardian.
  19. ^ a b Hughes, Josiah (1 April 2011). "Blur's Dave Rowntree Apologizes for 2003 Attack Against Nardwuar". Exclaim!.
  20. ^ Bychawski, Adam (22 August 2007). "Blur man: I was a coke addict". NME.

External linksEdit