Driscoll and Dio struck up something of a friendship, augmented when – now known as Elf – they were approached by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover, who offered to produce the group. Under his supervision, the band improved from a fairly pedestrian bluesrock combo to something nastier, going on to support Purple on their numerous world tours at the start of the seventies.
At this time, Driscoll also became close to the headliner’s singer, Ritchie Blackmore, who left Deep Purple in 1975, taking four of Elf’s line-up – Driscoll, Dio, Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards) and Craig Gruber (bass) – to fashion his own band, Rainbow.
The friendship did not last long: after just one debut album, Blackmore decided Driscoll was too set in his R & B ways, and replaced him with British percussion legend Cozy Powell. The heady days were never to be repeated for Driscoll, as none of his future bands (Dakota, Starcastle and Bible Black) matched the success of the earlier projects.
Since nobody has ever been brought to justice, the facts surrounding Gary Driscoll’s murder remain murky twenty-five years after the event. It is known that he was killed at his New York home by more than one person, and the likelihood is that drugs were involved, but persistent rumour suggests that there was an occult or ritualistic aspect to Driscoll’s death. The most disturbing allegation to emerge is that the drummer was flayed alive.
The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars - Jeremy Simmonds, 2nd Edition, Chicago Review Press, Incorporated, 2012, page 194
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