15 October 1968 - 17 December 2012   

In January 2014, Lisa Miller, the sister of ex-U.K. Subs drummer Dave Ayer contacted the Time & Matter website about his passing away in December 2012. 
We therefore offered this webspace as a tribute to, and celebration of Dave's life.

If you knew Dave and would like to contribute then please contact us... This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Below: Left to right - Alvin Gibbs, Dave Ayer, Charlie Harper and Nicky Garratt doing backing vocals at Wally Sound, San Francisco for the Quintessentials / Riot sessions. October 1996.

Click images to enlarge.

From the collection of Nicky Garratt

Dave started drumming at the age of 6 on a toy drum set and had his first real drum lesson at age 8. He loved drumming, and even taught students, both kids and adults. 
In High school Dave won the John Philip Sousa award while playing in his band The Screaming Paisleys, and went on to drum, record, and/or tour with the following bands: 
U.K. Subs / Samiam / Ten Bright Spikes / Porch / Pansy Division / The Meices ...
And many more...
Dave loved big dogs, was a history expert, painted signs with his dad (his day job), and was a fabulous cook. He toured the world, and in the end, drummed until he couldn’t physically drum anymore… which broke his spirit and his heart. 
I believe Dave would want people to know that there are resources for musicians that helped him in his life:
>>>  <<<
>>> Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous <<<
Dave battled addiction and was clean and sober for many years, assisting others on their path to 
sobriety. I believe he is drumming in heaven, smiling down on us all...
Lisa Miller 2014

The crowning glory of the New Red Archives record label must have been Soar by Samiam. Of the three records I put out by this Bay Area melodic hardcore band, Soar is the triumph. We had other successes, many generated more robust financial returns, but none were, in my opinion, so iconic.
A huge asset to the band, Dave’s crisp inventive drumming let the songs breathe. It was therefore an easy choice to enrol him in my Ten Bright Spikes project with Jason Honea from Social Unrest. Our first album, if nothing else, got great critical acclaim. I’m not sure why Dave was absent on the follow up record but it wasn’t for lack of talent.
Dave helped out again a few years later playing on two U.K. Subs records - Quintessentials and Riot - and supporting our US tour. We recorded these albums simultaneously in whirlwind sessions over a couple of weeks in San Francisco. Dave did astonishingly well with virtually no rehearsal time.
It seemed to be around the time of the Subs tour that Dave’s problems with addiction took hold. It is a world that I know only as an outsider, would be slow to recognize and not have any skills to counter if I did see the signs. Yet the repercussions are ferocious.
I remember Dave as a mild mannered creative drummer who did not like to play drum fills.
Nicky Garratt 2014

FALL LP054 front cover FALL LP054 back cover

Above: Quintessentials UK LP release, 1997, front and back covers. Click to enlarge.

Front Cover Back Cover

Above: Riot, Czech Republic LP release 2013, front and back covers. Click to enlarge.

I first met Dave Ayer in the summer of 1996. Nicky Garratt had 'phoned me from San Francisco to ask if I’d be interested in getting the previous U.K. Subs triumvirate of himself, Charlie and I back together to make an album. Steve Roberts had been discussed as the fourth party of this proposed restoration, but was eventually discounted for reasons that are unnecessary to divulge in the context of this piece. Nicky assured me he had the perfect drummer to replace Roberts.
I duly flew to San Francisco with Charlie and upon our arrival were met at the airport by Nicky and Dave. Dave and I immediately became good friends. He was easy going, smart and funny. I knew we would get on just fine. What I didn’t know at that initial meeting though was just how great a drummer he was. 
That revelation materialised when we started rehearsing and recording what would become the ‘Quintessentials’ and ‘Riot’ albums in a basement studio perfectly fashioned for garage sounding punk rock music in the legendary Haight Ashbury district of the city. Dave was more than capable of playing anything we could dream up during the arrangement and recording phases of the project and was also very innovative with his own rhythmic ideas. His drumming improved our songs immensely. As a bassist, it was such a pleasure to accompany this outstanding player, a drummer who truly possessed that rare combination of power, feel and technique. 
The following year we re-grouped in the USA for a promotional six week tour. In between playing shows together across America, Dave and I hung out, drank, became confidants, and even found the time to pursue some pretty women encountered on the road. He was as adept at playing in a live context as he’d been in the studio and we seriously jelled as a rhythm section. Unfortunately, after our New York show, I had to ditch the tour and fly back to London to attend a court hearing apropos my ongoing divorce. 
That was the last time I saw Dave Ayer...
Whenever I telephoned Nicky thereafter I would ask how Dave was doing. Unfortunately, Nicky’s news became increasingly distressing. It seemed Dave had split-up with his wife, then had become jobless, eventually turning to one particularly corrosive and insidious drug as a palliative for his personal problems. This, in turn, led to some years of addiction with its inevitable physical and monetary consequences. It was hard to reconcile the healthy, positive, clever and humorous man I’d known spiralling into such a condition. I guess there are fragilities in people that only manifest themselves when lives take a dark and arduous turn. 
Even though seventeen years have now evaporated since we last worked together I was truly stunned and saddened by the news of Dave’s demise. 
Too young, too talented, too decent a person, I keep thinking to myself; but death has no regard for such sentiments. Dave has achieved a degree of immortality with the music he’s made though, and certainly the two albums that he graced for us are a real testament to what a very fine musician he was.
Alvin Gibbs 2014
This was truly shocking news.

To hear that Dave had died and that it happened two years ago was also shocking.

I would like to start by saying that Dave was an excellent drummer and served the Subs well, on the road and in the studio.

Hearing his fine work is proof enough. A likable guy, in much demand as a good solid drummer and character. 
Charlie Harper 2014
  R.I.P. Dave Ayer  
Above and below: A selection of photos of Dave from Lisa Miller's collection...
Click the images to enlarge...