Tony is a born and raised Hoosier with southern ties. His family hails from the backwoods of Kentucky in Perry County in a small town called Hazard. Surrounded by musicians, starting with his father Lonnie, uncles Jimmy, Bobby, and Jackie, Country music is where he cut his teeth. Family reunions with the flat tops, picnics and gatherings where he would get up onstage and play Wild Wood Flower, Your Cheating Heart, George, Merle and Hank at 6 & 7 years old was the norm. Through them his love for music was realized. His uncle Jackie used to sit him on his knee while playing the drums before he could even walk. Playing gigs at the local lodges before and into his early teen years is how it all began.
In his teenage years Tony started the normal progression of shying away from his country roots to more Classic and Harder Rock. Tony played in several bands in the Muncie and Indianapolis area trying to reach that dream of the tour bus. At that point his influences in music ranged from Led Zeppelin, Styx, Rush, Journey into the 80’s metal music. All that being said, he always had that “Country Thing” about him that pulled him back.
His influences include drummers from all walks of music including Rich Redmond, Mike Portnoy, Peter Chris, Neil Pert, Tommy Aldridge, and Kenny Aronoff; but the biggest influences have been and always will be his father and uncles.
Tony has spent the last two years playing with Joe Hess and The Wandering Cowboys. “It’s a blast, there is something about when you get the right combination of guys onstage that just clicks.” Before playing with Joe, Tony played and traveled with lifelong friend and Nashville hopeful Brian New. Prior to that Tony played in a country band called “Wanted”, which is where most of his past experience came from. Tony played in this band for the better part of 21 years with his dad and was fortunate enough to share some great opportunities together opening for several national acts in the 90’s such as Steve Warner, Little Texas, Billy Dean, Doug Supernaw, Patty Lovelace, Leroy Parnell, Gibson Miller Band, Mel McDaniels, and many others. “Theres no better feeling than sharing the stage and those experiences with my father.”
All that being said, for this drummer, the most important things in life are pretty simple…Family. Tony and his wife, Lynn, have three boys: Joshua, Hunter, and Jarrett. Sharing time with family, whether it’s at basketball games, wrestling meets, camping, fishing, vacationing or just hanging out, is what drives him. And yes, it’s a “Family Tradition” knowing that his boys are musicians as well.
As with all musicians, the dream of entertaining on the big stage and playing to a packed house is always present and is still alive and well in Tony. “Nothing can replace the feeling of being on stage with a band, entertaining a crowd and drawing from their energy night after night.” The crowd not only influences but drives a musician to do what they do.