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Withers performing with Dire Straits in 1978
|Birth name||David Withers|
|Also known as||Pick Withers, Pique Withers, Pic Withers|
|Born||4 April 1948|
|Years active||1964 - present|
|Associated acts||Dave Edmunds, Magna Carta, Dire Straits|
David "Pick" Withers (born 4 April 1948 in Leicester) is an English rock and jazz drummer. He was the original drummer for the rock band Dire Straits and played on their first four albums, which included hit singles such as "Sultans of Swing," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Private Investigations". Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Dire Straits in 2018.
Withers first played a drum in the Boys' Brigade taught by a childhood friend Richard Storer of now-demolished Argyle Street in Leicester. He became a professional musician at the age of 17, in a band called the Primitives, followed by a band called Spring who had a record contract but little success. They recorded one album on the RCA label. In the mid-1970s he was a house drummer at Rockfield Studios in South Wales. He played on records by Dave Edmunds and Hobo amongst others, including the John Dummer Band, Magna Carta, and the Gary Fletcher Band.
His nickname has been subject to some variations in spelling. During his time with Spring, he was billed as Pique Withers. He is billed as Pic Withers on his appearance on the second Brewers Droop album.
Withers has also studied at Drumtech drum school in London.
Equipment and technique
Withers's style with Dire Straits is distinctive for being restrained, favouring spare snare drum and hi-hat combinations over heavy beats, speed and pyrotechnic flourishes. Like the guitar playing of the band's frontman, Mark Knopfler, Withers's style was blues-based. Pick Withers also plays on Prelude's 1973 album How Long Is Forever. Knopfler met Withers in 1973 in London when he joined the blues band Brewers Droop, for which Withers was already playing. Withers worked regularly with Knopfler through the mid-1970s although he maintained his Rockfield affiliations and was briefly a member of folk-rock outfit Magna Carta in 1977. Once Dire Straits gained a recording contract, Withers turned to drumming for that band full-time.
Withers left the band in the summer of 1982, soon after completing the Love Over Gold sessions, to spend more time with his family and to pursue jazz music. He reportedly told an interviewer that he had succumbed to a growing feeling that there was nothing left in the music for him and that he was in danger of "becoming a rock drummer." His replacement in Dire Straits was Terry Williams, also a Dave Edmunds sideman.
With Dire Straits
- Wright, Jade (2011-01-07). "Pick Withers: From Dire Straits and Bob Dylan's drummer to putting on his own gigs in Liverpool - Liverpool Arts - Entertainment". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "Bon Jovi, Dire Straits Lead Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Class". Rolling Stone. 13 December 2017.
- "Dire Straits". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "garyfletchermusic.co.uk". garyfletchermusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-31.