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 at which he played for 13 hours straight with 16 different bands, raising over $10,000 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
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 chose NEC, 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 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 25+ years in Chicago, he has gone on to play with some of the top rock, jazz and country musicians in the Chicago area and nationwide.
Mr. Dowd's longest post has been with two-time Grammy nominee Robbie Fulks, with whom he has recorded, and played nationally and overseas, since 2000. Since 2006, Mr. Dowd has also been a member of a group founded by one of the creators of 'kindie rock': Justin Roberts and the Not-Ready-For-Naptime Players. They play shows all across North America, Canada and Asia, and three of the band's most recent albums -- Lemonade (2016), Recess (2013) and Jungle Gym (2010) -- were nominated for a Grammy.
As a solo artist, Mr. Dowd has played shows with Jeff Tweedy, Ian Hunter, Kasey Chambers, 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, 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.