When Howard Kaylan (Flo) and Mark Volman (Eddie) jumped ship from Zappa's band in 1972 after a strange accident where a fan pushed Zappa from the stage and caused him to be confined to a wheel chair, Aynsley joined them as a member of their backing band for a short period. He would return to work with Zappa on jazzier studio projects like Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, and Apostrophe', as well as continuing his studio work for other artists. He joined David Bowie in the 1973-1974 time frame for the albums Pin-Ups and Diamond Dogs. Aynsley recorded powerful drumming on a cover of his own Mojos hit, Everything's All right, and Bowie's huge hit, Rebel Rebel. In 1973, Aynsley also recorded Lou Reed's famous session album Berlin with Jack Bruce, Steve Winwood, and Tony Levin. In 1974, after recording twelve albums in two years (yes, 12 in two years), Aynsley was acclaimed by the music industry as the world's leading session musician. That same year, too busy flying a bi-weekly Atlantic crossing from Los Angles-to-London to record with Bowie. Aynsley delayed returning several phone messages from Santana guitarist Neal Schon and manager Herbie Herbert . When Aynsley finally returned the call, he took a listen to this new jazz-rock fusion group named Journey. Eager to build a democratic rock-fusion band, he joined, recorded and co-wrote four albums, including the highly acclaimed rock-fusion instrumental Kohoutek, Of a Lifetime, which features Gregg Rolie vocals with high-impact solos, Hustler, which featured Aynsley's first use of double kick drums, and such mega-hits as Lights, Feeling That Way, Anytime, Patiently, Something to Hide and Wheel in the Sky. Aynsley departed Journey as the band shifted their sound away from challenging rock-fusion towards simpler ballads.
In 1976, Aynsley played on rocker Sammy Hagar's album Nine On a Ten Inch Scale and played for the second time with Nils Lofgren to drum up his hit Back it Up on Cry Tough. Aynsley next joined Jefferson Starship in 1978, promptly bringing the band a new hit album with Freedom at Point Zero and such hits as Jane, Girl with the Hungry Eyes, and the mega hit, Find Your Way Back. He stayed with Jefferson Starship, touring and recording through 1982's Winds of Change. Aynsley took a well-deserved breather, to rest on his laurels in the great city of San Francisco, the same city that awarded him three prestigious BAMMIES. At the request of David Coverdale, over lunch at Sunset's La Dome, Aynsley was convinced to leave retirement to join Whitesnake in 1985. Aynsley played drums on the band's commercial breakthrough album, Whitesnake 1987, producing another string of hits, Still of the Night, What is Love and Here I go Again.
Aynsley then took another leave to raise his four children, Gretchen, Bibs, Taylor and Dash but the sticks kept calling and Aynsley headed out on the road again in 1994, playing and recording with such artists as Pat Travers, UFO, John Lee Hooker, Michael Schenker, and collaborating with many of the world's top musicians on tribute albums to Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Queen and most recently Metallica. In 1996, Aynsley joined guitarist Alvin Lee from Ten Years After, Eric Burdon and a band of veteran musicians for a tour entitled Best of British Blues. Soon after, a virtuoso of musicians formed a hard driving rock band Mother's Army, featuring guitarist Jeff Watson from Night Ranger, Ozzie Osborne's bassist Bob Daisley, Deep Purple front man Joe Lynn Turner with Aynsley on the chops for a progressive metal-rock album Fire on the Moon, now awaiting release in the U.S.
In October 1996, Aynsley returned to his hectic world touring roots and signed on with Eric Burdon and the New Animals, bringing his powerful, driving beat to the rock `n roll hits We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It's My Life, Spill the Wine, Don't Bring Me Down, House of the Rising Sun, and many, many others. He has recorded three albums and a live recorded DVD which includes one of Aynsley's tremendous drum solos. As a New Animal, Aynsley reunited last year with John Mayall and Spencer Davis to perform for the Official 2000 Grammy Awards. The New Animals joined Spencer again, playing at the U.S. Democratic National Convention in 2000.
No other modern rock / jazz / blues / fusion drummer has played with as many successful bands and musicians as Aynsley Dunbar. Although Aynsley has achieved such professional success, tragedy struck him June 1999, when his youngest son Dash was diagnosed with brain cancer. Sadly, Dash passed away on May 9, 2000. Dash's courageous fight proves to be an inspiration for Aynsley to keep pushing on, never to give up his dream... to continue creating music and to share his tremendous musical talent with the world.
More recently, in 2005, he drummed on Jake E. Lee's solo Retraced album.
He has been the drummer for the World Classic Rockers since 2003.
Dunbar also has worked on an album of material for Direct Music with Mickey Thomas of Starship, and musicians such as Jake E. Lee, former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne.
Aynsley continues to be one of the most recorded drummers in the world with his talent sought after by the biggest names in the recording industry.
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Drum Dungeon Bio - AYNSLEY DUNBAR
Aynsley Thomas Dunbar (born 10 January 1946) is an English drummer. He has worked with some of the top names in rock, including John Mayall, Frank Zappa, Ian Hunter, Lou Reed, Jefferson Starship, Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Whitesnake, Sammy Hagar, UFO, and Journey. Dunbar is ranked by Rolling Stone as the twenty-seventh greatest drummer of all time.
Dunbar was born in Liverpool, England. He auditioned for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Hendrix had difficulty deciding between Dunbar and Mitch Mitchell - the latter won Hendrix's coin flip.
Dunbar led the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation which issued a number of albums. Dunbar co-wrote "Warning," recorded by Black Sabbath on their first album. The Dunbar version was recorded in 1967 for his solo release The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.
Subsequently, Dunbar founded a short-lived progressive rock band called Blue Whale, which debuted with a tour of Scandinavia in January 1970. Following the recent collapse of the original lineup of King Crimson, Dunbar unsuccessfully tried to recruit Robert Fripp as Blue Whale's guitarist. Fripp, in turn,
unsuccessfully tried to recruit Dunbar as King Crimson's new drummer.
Dunbar was later the drummer for Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, featuring on albums such as Waka/Jawaka, and The Grand Wazoo, as well as the film 200 Motels.
One night, upon randomly wondering into his favorite haunt, the London Club SpeakEasy, Aynsley was told someone was there waiting for him. There sat Frank Zappa. He invited Aynsley to join his new band and move to America. Aynsley arrived in the U.S., moved into Frank's Los Angeles house and set up his drums in his basement. Frank immediately put him to the test: OK, now remind me why I hired you. Aynsley delivered the goods and in that spontaneous moment, he and Frank created Chunga's Revenge. Not bad for the first day in the basement. Aynsley first appeared with Zappa on Chunga's Revenge and toured with the old Mothers on the Mother's Day Tour of 1970. Frank then approached Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (The Turtles) to join his new version of the Mothers of Invention, appearing on such albums as Fillmore East: June 1971 and 200 Motels, and playing music that gave Aynsley a chance to show off his jazzier chops. In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono joined Aynsley with Frank and the Mothers to record the live album Sometime in New York City.
A young Aynsley doing his drum magic LIVE with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention