Gary Driscoll

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Gary Driscoll
Born(1946-04-18)18 April 1946
Died8 June 1987(1987-06-08) (aged 41)
Ithaca, New York, U.S.
GenresRock, R&B
Years active1967–1987
Associated actsElf, 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 death 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 dead[10] in a friend's home in Ithaca, New York in June 1987 at the age of 41. His brutal murder remains unsolved with no apparent motive, although it is rumored to have been drug related. The man initially arrested for the crime was acquitted at trial. There have been leads in the case, and the person of interest has fled the country.


  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. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  3. ^ Cramer, Jeff. "Stone Cold Crazy". Jeff Cramer. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Ronny Dio's Early Years". Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  5. ^ Prato, Gary. "Elf". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b 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. ^ Simmonds, Jeremy. Encyclopedia of Dead Rockstars. Retrieved 27 March 2014.