The Five Minute Interview: Dave Rowntree, musician

Dave Rowntree, 44, is best known as the drummer from Britpop band Blur. He joined the band in 1989, playing with them throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Late last year the band ended their period of hiatus and announced a series of summer 2009 concerts. Outside of Blur, Dave is known for his political activism, his animation, and also for his involvement in the Beagle II mission to Mars. Dave is currently studying to become a solicitor and is supporting the Science: So What? So Everything campaign challenging apathy towards science.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be…

Doing my law studies. I’m currently studying to be a solicitor. It’s basically a three year law degree squashed in four months so it’s a bit like trying to drink law from a fire hose. My solicitor friends told me it would be difficult and I have to say they were totally right.

A phrase I use far too often...

I’ve often wondered about this as I find it a particularly annoying trait in other people. I hate it when someone says ‘do you know what I mean’ all the time. That one makes me snap. Law is making me much more argumentative as a person so I’m finding I’m growing increasingly intolerant of annoying voice ticks.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The fact science isn’t all boring old men in white coats because in actually underpins everything in the entire universe. There’s a real anti-science trend at the moment and a leaning towards new age, hocus-pocus remedies. We’re starting to see these things filter through into the NHS which, quite frankly, is ludicrous. There’s no point publically funding things that don’t work in the majority of cases.

A common misperception of me is...

That I’m a placid, relaxed individual. As I said earlier that has all gone out of the window since I got involved in the law.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was...

Discovering an interest in the law. I’ve never had a grand plan or design for life and have always just done the most interesting thing to me at that time. A good friend of mine told me that if I wanted to do something really fun, I should spend a day at the Old Bailey just watching cases. I did and before long I found myself hooked. I didn’t go along thinking I’d become a lawyer but one thing led to another and I ended up doing work experience for an East London law firm. Soon after that I decided to train to become a solicitor.

I am not a politician but...

Social housing is an issue that plays heavily on my mind. In Westminster where I live, a lot of our social housing has been sold off creating a real lack of homes. The few elements of social housing that remain are often the wrong kind and leave whole families crammed into single-bedroom accommodation. As a political activist I meet a lot of people in the area and the number one issue they want addressed is housing. Crime is a definite second.

I'm good at...

Lots of things. I can fly aeroplanes, I play bridge very well and I can work a number of computer animation programs. I actually made a show called Empire Square for Channel 4 which could be described as a modest hit. I try my hand at lots of things and providing I don’t lose focus, can master most of them.

But I'm very bad at...

Martial arts – though it didn’t stop me learning for twenty years. I’m also pretty bad at dancing which is odd because drummers usually have excellent full-body movement.

The ideal night out is...

An early night in. I live in the heart of London’s glossy West End so without doubt have the best of everything London has to offer right on my doorstep. However, I’m just so busy with law studies at the moment that, whenever I get the chance, I try to grab an early night.

In moments of weakness I...

Exercise – there’s nothing quite like it for clearing the brain. Drumming can also be particularly good when you’re feeling stressed which I think is why I’ve managed to stay sane all thee years.

You know me as a musician but in truer life I'd have been...

An Edwardian engineer covered in muck and oil. I love tinkering with machines so without doubt I’d have done something like that.

The best age to be is...

Anything other than 18. People always say 18 when they answer this question but for me that was an awful, angry age to be. I was considerably more politically active back then, one of those Socialist Worker carrying lunatics.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is…

Follow your nose. I try not to struggle against life and that’s always worked for me. I throw myself into lots of things utterly prepared to fail so sometimes I land on my arse, sometimes I land on my feet.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones