Barlow, Barriemore

  • Birth name: Barrie “Barriemore” Barlow
  • Born: September 10, 1949 Birmingham, UK USA
  • Genres: Progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal
  • Occupation: Musician, songwriter, producer
  • Instruments: Drums, percussion, flute
  • Years Active: 1963-present
  • Associated Acts: Jethro TullYngwie Malmsteen
  • On the Web:


Barlow was best know as the drummer and percussionist for the rock band Jethro Tull through their supergroup years, from May 1971 to June 1980.  He was famed for his flamboyant, innovative, hugely energetic drumming style and was described by Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as “the greatest rock drummer England ever produced.”

Barlow is known as a very technical and creative drummer. His drumming on the live album Bursting Out is testimony to his creative talents as a drummer, notably on his drum solo in the song “Conundrum.” In a comment on his drumming for the Jethro Tull albums Barlow said; “I’ve always admired people who invent—and on a percussion level, I admire inventors of rhythm. I tried to strive for that in Tull, but now I go to great lengths to advise the drummers in the bands I’m managing not to play anything like I used to play in Tull, because it was so busy and over-the-top.”

With Jethro Tull

Barlow was a former bandmate of Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson. He joined after the departure of Clive Bunker, in 1971. Barlow played on the album “Life’s a Long Song,” before embarking on a concert tour with the band. 

Barlow’s second gig with Tull involved an unfortunate episode in Denver, Colorado when the local police tear-gassed the audience from helicopters, both outside and inside the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Believing that they would be arrested, the band made a run for it after the show in an unmarked station wagon where, hidden under a blanket on the floor in the back, Barrie was heard to ask Ian, “Will it be like this every night?” Anderson replied, “As a general rule, only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Upset by the death of bassist John Glascock, with whom he had become very close, Barlow left Jethro Tull in 1980 after completing the final leg of the Stormwatch tour.

Session Musician

After Jethro Tull, Barlow went on to do various session projects, including work with Robert PlantJohn Miles, and Jimmy Page, and was one of the few drummers that Plant and Page considered as a remote possibility to replace John Bonham in Led Zeppelin after his death, though the band decided to break up instead. He also started his own band called Storm. He played on the Yngwie Malmsteen album Rising Force and on the Kerry Livgren album, Seeds of Change.

Barlow has a recording studio, The Doghouse, on his property in Shiplake, Oxfordshire, England. He is currently managing a band from Henley on Thames called The Repertoires, and has also been linked with other local bands which echo his own folk-influenced musical history, such as Reading’s Smokey Bastard.

Barlow played percussion on “Artrocker,” the opening track of the critically acclaimed 2006 album Get Your Mood On by London indie punk band, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah.

In an interview in the December 2007 issue of Drumhead magazine, Barlow announced that he is looking to play on the road again.

On May 28, 2008, Barlow guested with Jethro Tull at Royal Festival Hall in London, performing “Heavy Horses,” “Thick as a Brick” and a concert-closing “Locomotive Breath” where he drummed alongside Tull’s then-current drummer Doane Perry.