Blur's Dave Rowntree

Drummer Dave Rowntree is a founding member of Brit-pop band Blur.

He was born May 8, 1964, in Colchester, England. Rowntree began playing drums at age 11. He gigged with future Blur guitarist Graham Coxon in such bands as Idle Vice and Mr. Pang's Big Bangs.

In 1988, Coxon introduced his former school friend, singer/keyboardist Damon Albarn, to another friend, bassist Alex James, and — with Rowntree — the guys formed the band Seymour in London.

After the group's demo tape attracted the attention of Food Records, the label agreed to sign the band on the condition that they change their name. The band chose the name Blur from a list Food provided.

Blur's debut LP was Leisure (1991), which produced the minor UK hit "She's So High" and the top-10 "There's No Other Way." The album was fairly well-received in Europe, but some journalists predicted a short life for the band because its music fit in with the then-dying Manchester Brit-pop scene.

The punk-influenced single "Pop Scene" (1992) was the first sign that Blur were branching out from the swirling sounds of "Madchester"

pop-rock, although the song failed to catch on and Blur moved away from punk on their next album, Modern Life Is Rubbish. That LP spawned "Chemical World," a minor rock hit in the U.S.

Parklife (1994) transformed Blur into a superstar act in England and produced the UK/U.S. dance hit "Girls and Boys" (RealAudio excerpt). Despite the track's success, the LP failed to chart in the U.S., but it marked the first popularity of British indie-guitar bands such as Oasis, Pulp and the Boo Radleys.

After Oasis became a giant band, Blur nearly disbanded. But they finally had a hit U.S. album with their self-titled 1997 LP, which included the singles "Song 2" and "Beetlebum" (RealAudio excerpt).

Last year, Blur issued 13, featuring cuts such as "Tender" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Bugman."

Other birthdays Monday: Gary Glitter, 60; John Fred, 59; Paul Samwell-Smith (the Yardbirds), 57; Toni Tennille, 57; Phil Sawyer (Spencer Davis Group), 53; Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire), 49; Chris Frantz (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club), 49; Billy Burnette (ex–Fleetwood Mac), 47; Alex Van Halen, 47; Robert Johnson, 1911–1938; and Rick Nelson, 1940–1985.