Gary Driscoll

Last updated
Gary Driscoll
Born(1946-04-18)18 April 1946
Died8 June 1987(1987-06-08) (aged 41)
Ithaca, New York, U.S.
Genres Rock, R&B
Years active1965–1987
Associated acts Elf, Rainbow, Bible Black

John Gary Driscoll (18 April 1946 – 8 June 1987) was an American R&B-style rock drummer who performed in a number of successful bands from the 1960s until his unsolved death by murder on June 10, 1987. [1] [2]

He first entered the music scene when he joined Ronnie Dio and The Prophets in June 1965, fronted by Ronnie James Dio. The band transformed into The Electric Elves, The Elves, and finally Elf in 1969, releasing a few singles along the way. [3] [4] [5] They were eventually discovered by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover who went on to produce two of Elf's three studio albums.

Elf disbanded in 1975 when Gary Driscoll, [4] Ronnie James Dio, [4] Micky Lee Soule (Elf's keyboardist), [4] and Craig Gruber (their bassist) [4] were recruited by Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore to form the rock band Rainbow. [4]

Driscoll was dismissed from Rainbow shortly after their debut album, entitled Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow , was recorded. [6] It is speculated that firing Gary was simply due to his R&B style of drumming, which did not sit well with Blackmore. [7] [8] Driscoll was later replaced with British hard rocker, Cozy Powell. [6]

After his departure from Rainbow, Driscoll played in the band Dakota (1978–1980, from Scranton, Pa. formally the Jerry Kelly Band), before starting Bible Black [9] with Craig Gruber, future Blue Cheer guitarist Duck MacDonald and singer Jeff Fenholt. This band released the albums Ground Zero and, with a few other musicians, Thrasher, neither of which sold well. Driscoll found a day job, and made a little extra money on the side as a session musician.

Driscoll was found murdered in Ithaca, New York on June 8, 1987. Details of his murder remain blurred and his murder unsolved. There is evidence to suggest that the murder was carried out by more than one person; one man who was accused was later acquitted while the chief suspect fled the USA before being charged. [10]

Related Research Articles

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple is an English rock band formed in London and Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach has changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early- to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Ronnie James Dio American singer-songwriter and composer (1942-2010)

Ronald James Padavona, known professionally as Ronnie James Dio, was an American heavy metal singer-songwriter and composer. He fronted or founded numerous groups throughout his career, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven & Hell.

Rainbow (rock band) English rock band

Rainbow are a British rock supergroup band, based in Hertford, England and formed in 1975 by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio's American rock band Elf, but after their self-titled debut album, Blackmore fired the backing members and continued with Dio. Rainbow recorded two more studio albums with Dio—Rising (1976) and Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)—before he left the band to join Black Sabbath in 1979.

<i>Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow</i> 1975 studio album by Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is the first studio album by American/British rock band Rainbow, released in 1975.

<i>Down to Earth</i> (Rainbow album) 1979 studio album by Rainbow

Down to Earth is the fourth studio album by the British hard rock band Rainbow. It is their last album to feature drummer Cozy Powell and their only album with vocalist Graham Bonnet. Released in 1979, it contains Rainbow's first hit single "Since You Been Gone", marking a more commercial direction of the band's sound.

Roger Glover British bassist and songwriter

Roger David Glover is a British bassist, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as the bassist for hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. As a member of Deep Purple, Glover was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.

Elf (band)

Elf was an American rock band founded in 1967 by singer and bassist Ronnie James Dio, keyboardist Doug Thaler, drummer Gary Driscoll, and guitarists Nick Pantas and David Feinstein. The band was originally called the Electric Elves, but was shortened to the Elves in 1968 and finally Elf in 1972. Elf disbanded in 1975 after recording three albums and after most of the lineup had been absorbed into the newly formed Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

Mickey Lee Soule is an American musician. He was the keyboard player for New York hard rock band Elf and a founding member of Rainbow.

Ian Gillan Band

The Ian Gillan Band were an English progressive jazz-rock band formed by singer Ian Gillan of Deep Purple in 1975.

<i>Elf</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Elf

Elf is the first studio album by Ronnie James Dio's blues rock band called Elf. Produced by Ian Paice and Roger Glover of Deep Purple, the record was released in 1972.

Ritchie Blackmore British guitarist of the band Deep Purple

Richard Hugh Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was a founding member of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard rock music that mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. He is prolific in creating guitar riffs and classically influenced solos.

<i>The Very Best of Rainbow</i> 1997 greatest hits album by Rainbow

The Very Best of Rainbow is a greatest hits compilation album by the British hard rock band Rainbow. It was released in 1997 and features material ranging from 1975's Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow to 1983's Bent Out of Shape.

<i>The Best of Rainbow</i> 1981 greatest hits album by Rainbow

The Best of Rainbow is the first compilation album from British hard rock group Rainbow, released in 1981.

<i>Live in Paris 1975</i> 2001 live album by Deep Purple

Live in Paris 1975 is a live album by the British hard rock band Deep Purple, recorded in 1975 at the Palais des Sports in Paris. It was meant to be released before the 1975 Come Taste the Band album, but was not released until 2001 by Purple Records. See also Made in Europe (1976) and Mk III: The Final Concerts

Craig M. Gruber was an American rock bassist, best known as the original bassist in Rainbow. He also played in Elf, consisting of vocalist Ronnie James Dio, keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule, drummer Gary Driscoll and guitarist David Feinstein.

<i>20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow</i> 2000 greatest hits album by Rainbow

20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow is a compilation album released by Rainbow. Released on 3 October 2000. The tracks were recorded between 1975–1983, before Rainbow disbanded in 1984.

"Mistreated" is a song by the British rock band Deep Purple taken from their 1974 album Burn. The song was written by the band's guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and new vocalist David Coverdale, who, along with new bassist Glenn Hughes, brought new blues and funk elements to the band.

<i>Rising</i> (Rainbow album) 1976 studio album by Rainbow

Rising is the second studio album by the British/American rock band Rainbow, released in 1976.


  1. "Gary Driscoll Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. Smith, Julian; Joan E. Smith (1988). "ITHACA JOURNAL OBITUARY INDEX" (PDF). Ithaca Journal Obituary Index. 1987: 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  3. Cramer, Jeff. "Stone Cold Crazy". Jeff Cramer. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Ronny Dio's Early Years". Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  5. Prato, Gary. "Elf". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  6. 1 2 Kent-Abbott, David. "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" . Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  7. Neal, Chris (2006). "Ritchie Blackmore". Performing Songwriter. 13 (94): 62–65. ISSN   1068-9664.
  8. "A Highway Star: Deep Purple's Roger Glover Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  9. Driscoll, Gary. "Gary Driscoll Memorial page". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  10. "The Gary Driscoll Murder". retroculturati. Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, UK. January 18, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2021.