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David Alexander De Horne Rowntree (born 8 May, 1964 in Colchestermarker, Englandmarker) is an English musician, animator and political activist. He is best-known as the drummer of the alternative rock band Blur. He is also a member of The Ailerons.

Early life

Rowntree was born to musical parents – Susan, a viola player, and John, a sound engineer at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He attended the Gilberd Schoolmarker, Colchestermarker during the week, and the Landermere Music School, Earls Colnemarker, 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 an Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computer Science at Thames Polytechnicmarker , and started his career as a computer programmer for Colchester Borough Councilmarker.


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 College. Rowntree was asked to join, and left his job and moved to London. With the addition of Alex James, and after many name changes, the band settled on Blur and were quickly signed to EMI.

Although the band have never split up, they have not released a record since 2003, and the members are all busy with other projects.

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 .

Since 2006, Rowntree has been studying to become a Solicitor, and is currently working at a firm of criminal law solicitors, based in East London. He is a committed opponent of the death penalty, and is a patron of Amicus , an organisation that provides legal representation for those on Death Row in the US.


Rowntree has been a keen activist and supporter of the Labour Party since becoming a member in 2002, and is chair of London's West Endmarker branch. In April 2007 he unsuccessfully contested the safe Conservative seat of Marylebone High Streetmarker on Westminster City Councilmarker. In July 2008 he fought the safe Labour seat of Church Street, a Labour stronghold since its creation in the 1960s, however 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 Westminstermarker Constituency Labour Party to stand against Conservative MP Mark Field at the next general election.

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]."

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.

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 about how he felt about single "Out of Time" being leaked on the Internet before its release he replied "I'd rather it gushed".

Rowntree has a serious interest in flying, having obtained a full pilot's licence in 1995, as well as in space travel, shown by his involvement with fellow bandmate Alex James in the Beagle 2 Mission to Mars project.


  1. Biography on blurcentral
  2. Video Paintbox - The Fine Art of Video Painting; Stroke Surfaces: Temporally Coherent Non-photorealistic Animations from Video.; Rendering cartoon style motion cues in post-production video
  3. Guardian Article about Rowntree
  4. Amicus web site
  5. Dave Rowntree interview in Time Out

External links

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