g e r a l d d o w d DRUMMERSONGERSINGWRITER
Gerald Dowd has been described as “the hardest working drummer in Chicago” (Richard Milne, WXRT), playing on over 100 albums, and averaging 150 live dates a year around the world. In recent years, he's been releasing solo albums of original material, starting with his 2012 release, Kingsize EP. In 2014, he was the recipient of an IAP arts grant from Chicago's Dept. Of Cultural Affairs/Special Events (DCASE), which led to his first full-length solo album, Home Now, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Liam Davis, and featuring, among others, Chicago legends Robbie Fulks and Nora O'Connor. To celebrate the release, he held a benefit concert (DAY OF THE DOWD) at which he played for 13 hours straight with 16 different bands, raising over $10,000 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. On November 9th, 2019, he staged another installment (DAY OF THE DOWD 2) as a benefit for the UI Health Pilsen Food Pantry, at which he played with 12 bands over the course of 12 straight hours, raising over $20,000, more than doubling the fundraising total from 2014. Both fundraisers were held at FitzGerald's Nightclub, the venerable music hall in Berwyn IL. October of 2020 saw yet another installment (DAY OF THE DOWD III: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DOWD) where he live-streamed solo for 6+ hours from his house during the COVID pandemic lockdown, raising over $10,000 for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Born and raised in the Boston area, Mr. Dowd began his musical life at the age of 10. Playing drums throughout high school in rock bands, orchestras and theater companies, he attended the famed Tanglewood Institute in the summers of 1985 and 1986. In 1986, he was accepted into both the Manhattan School of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music as a classical percussionist. He kept his talents near Wollaston Beach, studying jazz and classical percussion with Bob Moses, Fred Buda, Vic Firth and Arthur Press, while also playing in combos led by Mr. Moses, Dave Holland, George Russell, George Garzone and Hankus Netsky. Mr. Dowd continued to play in local rock bands, jazz combos, orchestras and musical theaters until 1991, when he moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University, securing the drum chair in the top big band upon his arrival. In his nearly 30 years in Chicago, he has gone on to play with some of the top rock, jazz and country musicians in the area and nationwide.
Since 2000, Mr. Dowd has recorded and toured extensively with two-time Grammy nominee Robbie Fulks, both nationally and overseas. Since 2006, Mr. Dowd has also been a member of Justin Roberts & The Not-Ready-For-Naptime Players, a group founded by Mr. Roberts, one of the creators of the 'kindie rock' genre. They play shows all across North America, Canada and Asia, and five of the band's most recent albums -- Space Cadet (2022), Wild Life (2020), Lemonade (2016), Recess (2013) and Jungle Gym (2010) -- were nominated for a Grammy Award.
As a solo artist, Mr. Dowd has played shows with Jeff Tweedy, Ian Hunter, Delbert McClinton, Kasey Chambers, Heartsfield, Jason Narducy, Rhett Miller, Nellie McKay, Sam Baker and Mr. Fulks. He has also performed and/or recorded with A Prairie Home Companion, Chris Mills, Frisbie, Nora O’Connor, Kelly Hogan, Edith Frost, Lush Budgett, Dave Ramont, Split Single, Dick Smith, Dave Sills, Lloyd Green, Dennis Crouch, Clyde Stubblefield, Peter Himmelman, Samba Bamba!, Alphonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan, 500Clown Theater Company, Neko Case, Lloyd Maines, Andrew Bird, EXO, Steve Albini, Mavis Staples, George Jones, Buck Owens, Tina Fey, Syd Straw, Marshall Crenshaw, Rhymefest, Rich Little, Otis Clay, Catie Curtis, Pinetop Seven, Richie Cole, and Arturo Sandoval, among many others.
In addition to hundreds of rock clubs in the United States and abroad, Mr. Dowd has played some of the most prestigious music venues in the world, including multiple appearances at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; Borderline in London; Rose Bowl and Getty Center in Los Angeles; Paradiso in Amsterdam; CBGB's, New Victory Theater, Bottom Line, Fillmore East, and Symphony Space in New York City; Kennedy Center in D.C.; Symphony Hall and The Rathskellar in Boston, and Ravinia, Lollapalooza, Millennium Park, Steppenwolf Theater and Second City in Chicago. TV appearances include the Today Show, The Jenny Jones Show, Sound Opinions, and numerous appearances on local Chicago television.