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Rod de’Ath, Drummer for Rory Gallagher, Dies at 64

Terry O’Neill, Getty Images

Rod de’Ath, the drummer who played with Irish blues guitar great Rory Gallagher in the early-to-mid-’70s, has died. He was 64.

According to Classic Rock, Ted McKenna, who replaced de’Ath in 1978, broke the news via Facebook. “I got the sad news earlier today that Rod De’Ath had passed away,” he wrote. “I only met Rod a couple of times when I worked with Rory but was delighted to meet him again in 2012 when, for the first time, Rod, Brendan [O’Neill] and I, three of Rory’s drummers, had all been together. Unfortunately it was for another sad occasion when we gathered to pay our respects to Lou Martin. My thoughts are with his family and friends, those who knew him well and will miss him.”

De’Ath joined Gallagher’s band in time for 1973’s ‘Blueprint,’ which reached No. 12 in the U.K., making it Gallagher’s highest-charting studio album in Britain. He played on four other albums — ‘Tattoo,’ ‘Irish Tour ’74,’ ‘Against the Grain’ and ‘Calling Card’ — before leaving. Apart from the live record, all of those releases hit the lower half of the Billboard 200 in America.

From there, de’Ath worked in a couple of other bands, but his career was cut short in the mid-’80s when he was involved in a severe accident which caused him to lose one eye and suffer brain damage. Although he was unable to play the drums again, he eventually made a sufficient recovery and outlived his prognosis.

De’Ath is the third former Gallagher sideman to pass away in recent years. In addition to the keyboardist Martin, who quit at the same as de’Ath, Eric Kitteringham, who was the bassist in Gallagher’s early band Taste, died of cancer last year.

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2014

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