Basic Background Info

Birth: January 10, 1946
Location: Liverpool, England
Band: David Bowie, Frank Zappa, UFO, Whitesnake, Journey, Jefferson Starship, Lou Reed, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Sammy Hagar, Jake E. Lee, Jeff Beck
Genres: Rock, Jazz, Progressive Rock, Blues
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician



When Aynsley Thomas Dunbar's parents finally bought nine-year-old Aynsley the violin after two years of begging, Dunbar already lost his confidence and interest in the violin. Aynsley Dunbar moved on from the screeching violin to the drums after watching a drum trio perform on an English rock and roll program. After testing himself on tin cans, Aynsley Dunbar started practicing on a single snare drum. Within six months Aynsley Dunbar started to build up his drum kit; he first added a bass drum and a hi-hat, followed by two cymbals and a variety of tom-toms. As his kit grew, Aynsley Dunbar devoted practice time to mastering the basics of each piece of the kit individually before incorporating each element together.

Aynsley Dunbar started playing various gigs on the Liverpool jazz scene when he was just eleven years old. Two years later he enrolled in lessons, but his skills already exceeded those of his instructor. Nonetheless, Aynsley Dunbar's drum instructor taught him to read and understand written music. When he was fifteen, Aynsley Dunbar joined the band Leo Rutherford. Two years later he played with the traditional Merseysippi Jazz Band. Rock and roll oozed into Liverpool in the 1960s and Dunbar started learning rock drumming. In 1963 and 1964 Aynsley Dunbar played with a local rock and R&B group, Derry Wilkie and the Pressmen. In 1964 Aynsley Dunbar and several former members of the Pressmen created The Flamingos and went on a short tour through Germany. Shortly after The Flamingos teamed up with Freddie Star, Aynsley Dunbar left the band and joined the Excheckers. Dunbar then toured with Stu James and The Mojo's and scored a hit with "Everything's All Right."

Through the next few years, Aynsley Dunbar played with John Mayall's Blues Breakers, Eddie Boyd, Paul Butterfield, Donovan, and Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. Aynsley Dunbar also put together two of his own groups, The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation and Blue Whale. During Dunbar's time with Retaliation, Frank Zappa performed two songs with the band. Zappa then tracked down Aynsley Dunbar at the London Club SpeakEasy and invited him to join his band. Aynsley Dunbar relocated to the U.S. and initially lived with Zappa. Zappa immediately put Aynsley Dunbar to the test; on their first day together they created Chunga's Revenge. Dunbar toured with Zappa on his Mother's Day Tour in 1970 and continued to work with Zappa through several incarnations of his backing band, the Mothers of Invention. Dunbar performed on Zappa albums June 1971, 200 Motels, and Sometimes in New York City. 

When an accident confined Zappa to a wheelchair, Aynsley Dunbar joined fellow Mothers members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman in Flo and Eddie. Aynsley Dunbar frequently worked on Zappa's jazz studio projects including Waka/Jawaka, Apostrophe, and the Grand Wazoo. He also worked with David Bowie, Lou Reed, Mick Ronson, Kathi McDonald; Dunbar also recorded a cover of The Mojo's hit, "Everythingís All Right."

In 1974 Dunbar recorded with David Bowie by commuting biweekly from Los Angeles to London. Santana guitarist Neal Schon introduced Dunbar to the new jazz rock fusion group Journey and Aynsley Dunbar quickly joined the group. He recorded and co-wrote four albums with Journey, including the acclaimed rock-fusion instrumental "Of A Lifetime," but he left Journey when they shifted their direction toward rock ballads.

Aynsley Dunbar played with Sammy Hagar, Nils Lofgren, and Jefferson Starship in the late 1970s before taking a hiatus during the early 1980s. Aynsley Dunbar returned to music in 1985 when he joined Whitesnake on the recommendation of David Coversdale. Aynsley Dunbar retreated from the spotlight again in the 1990s to spend time with his family. In the mid-1990s, Aynsley Dunbar played with UFO, Pat Travers, Michael Schenker and John Lee Hooker. Aynsley Dunbar also collaborated on tribute albums to Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Queen, and Metallica. In 1996 Aynsley Dunbar joined a band of veteran musicians for the Best of British Blues tour. Shortly thereafter guitarist Jeff Watson of Night Ranger, bassist Bob Daisley of Ozzy Osbourne, frontman Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple, and Dunbar created the hard-driving rock band Mother's Army. They released an album in 1998 titled Fire on the Moon.

Since then, Aynsley Dunbar has continued touring and recording; he has worked with Rod Stewart, Ian Hunter, Eric Burdon and the New Animals, and many more. In 2000 Dunbar performed at the Grammy Awards and the Democratic National Convention.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1963 Stu James & the Mojos James, Stu & the Mojos
1966 From New Orleans to Chicago Dupree, Champon Jack
1967 Edie Boyd & His Blues Band Boyd, Eddie
1967 Hard Road John Mayall & the Blues Breakers
1968 Tallyman & Rack My Plimsoul Beck. Jeff
1968 Rainmaker Chapman, Michael
1969 Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation
1969 Doctor Dunbarís Prescription Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation
1969 To Mum from Aynsley and the Boys Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation
1969 Barabajagal Donovan
1969 Looking Back Mayall. John & the Blues Breakers
1969 So Many Roads John Mayall & the Blues Breakers
1969 Uncle Meat Mothers of lnvention
1970 Remains to Be Heard Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation
1970 Blue Whale Aynsley Dunbar
1970 Chunga's Revenge Zappa, Frank
1971 Thru The Years Mayall, John & the BluesBreakers
1971 Firmore East: June 1971 Mothers of lnvention
1971 Freedom Flight Shuggie Otis
1971 200 Motels Frank Zappa
1972 Phlorescent Leech and Eddie Flo & Eddie
1972 Sometime in New York Cfty John Lennon
1972 Just Another Band from LA Mothers of Invention
1972 Waka/Jawaka Frank Zappa
1973 Pin Ups Bowie, David
1973 Flo & Eddie Flo & Eddie
1973 Souvenirs Harvey Alexander
1973 Berlin Reed, Lou
1973 History of British Blues Various Artists
1973 The Grand Wazoo Frank Zappa
1974 Diamond Dogs Bowie, David
1974 Illegal, Immoral and Fattening Flo & Eddie
1974 London Underground Herbie Mann
1974 Insane Asylum Kathi McDonald
1974 Slaughter on Tenth Avenue Mick Ronson
1974 Apostrophe Zappa, Frank
1975 Journey Journey
1975 Nils Lofgren Lofgren, Nils
1975 Play Donít Worry Mick Ronson
1976 Nine on a Ten Scale Sammy Hagar
1976 All American Alien Boy Ian Hunter
1976 Look Into the Future Journey
1976 Cry Tough Nils Lofgren
1977 Lived Here Michael Chapman
1977 Next Journey
1978 Infinity Journey
1979 Freedom at Point Zero Jefferson Starship
1979 In the Beginning Journey
1981 Modern Times Jefferson Starship
1981 Best of Whitesnake Whitesnake
1982 Winds of Change Jefferson Starship
1983 Planet Earth The Orchestra Paul Kantner
1986 Best Revenge Keith Emerson
1986 Apostrophe / Overnight Sensation Zappa, Frank
1987 Best of Flo & Eddie Flo & Eddie
1987 Whitesnake Whitesnake
1987 Whitesnake 1987 Whitesnake
1988 Greatest Hits Journey
1988 Raw Blues Various Artists
1988 You Can't Do that on Stage Anymore Frank Zappa
1988 You Can't Do that on Stage Anymore, Vol 1 Frank Zappa
1989 Sound + Vision David Bowie
1989 You Can't Do that on Stage Anymore, Vol 3 Frank Zappa
1990 Changesbowie David Bowie
1990 Growin Up David Bowie
1991 Beckalogy Beck Jeff
1991 Starships Greatest Hits: Ten Years Jefferson Starship
1991 Freaks & Mother fu%!!@ Frank Zappa
1992 Time 3 Journey
1992 London Blues (1964-1969) John Mayall
1992 OnoBox Yoko Ono
1992 Between Thought and Expression Lou Reed
1992 At the Circus Frank Zappa
1992 Disconnected Synapses Frank Zappa
1992 Playground Psychotics Frank Zappa
1992 Swiss Cheese / Fire Frank Zappa
1992 Tengo Na Minchia Tanta Frank Zappa
1992 You Can't Do that on Stage Anymore, Vol 6 Frank Zappa
1993 Saturn Blues Tony Spinner
1993 Just a Touch Pat Travers
1993 Hats Off to Stevie Ray Various Artists
1993 LA Blues Authority: Fit for a King Various Artists
1994 Music from the Better Blues Bureau Blues Bureau
1994 Blues Magnet Pat Travers
1994 Songs from the Better Blues Bureau Various Artists
1994 Whitesnake's Greatest Hits Whitesnake
1995 People from Bad Homes Ava Cherry
1995 Little John Chrisley Little John Chrisley
1995 Home Dupree, Champion Jack
1995 Evolution of Mann: The Herbie Mann Authority Herbie Mann
1995 All Day Thumbsucker Revisited Various Artists
1995 Strictly Commercial Frank Zappa
1996 The Lost Episodes Frank Zappa
1997 Edge of the World Phil Mogg
1997 Best of the Blues Plus Live Pat Travers
1998 Escape / Frontiers / Infinity Journey
1998 As it AU Began: the Best of John Mayall John Mayall
1998 Fire on the Moon Mothers Army
1998 Main Man Mick Ronson
1998 Heard it on the Radio: FM Flits, Vol 1 Various Artists
1999 Official Live Bootleg, Vol 1 Burdon, Eric & the I Band
1999 Ultimate Collection Lofgren, Nils
1999 Adventures of the Imagination Michael Schenker
1999 Not the Same Old Song & Dance: Aerosmith Tribute Various Artists
1999 Son of Cheep Thrills Frank Zappa
2000 All Day Thumbsucker All Day Thumb Sucker
2000 Eric Burdon & the New Animals Burdon, Eric & the New Animals
2000 Joy to the World Aynsley Dunbar
2000 Once Bitten Twice Shy Ian Hunter
2000 1964-1969 Rod Stewart
2000 Convenant UFO
2000 Little Guitars: A Tribute to Van Halen Various Artists
2001 Mettalic Assault: A Tribute to Mettalica Various Artists
2002 Sharks UFO
2003 P.T. Power Trio Pat Travers
2004 Blues to Die For West, Leslie
2004 Spin the Bottle - An All-Star Tribute to KISS Various Artists
2005 Schenker - Pattison Summit - The Endless Jam Schenker Pattison


  • Finds it easier to play with a traditional grip.
  • Quit school at the age of 15 to form a trio with a keyboard player and saxaphonist.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Sticks: Zildjian

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