Tony was a musician, a promoter, an absolute connoisseur of music (especially punk) with encyclopedic knowledge of music history and music culture. Starting in the 1980s, Tony sang in bands from Vale of Tears to No Excuse and also was instrumental in bringing many cutting edge bands to Lexington; was instrumental in building what became a massive underground music scene in the entire region; was instrumental in spreading kindness and knowledge and making music a force for positivity and light. Stories of his impact on individuals as a human being are as legend as his musical endeavors.
This Monday I spoke to Tony. It was the day we announced the Lifetime Achievement recipients for 2020, and I called to tell him he had been selected (recipients are selected by both pro panel and popular vote) after Steve Baron (CD Central) had connected us. He sounded fabulous and never mentioned his illness or hardships. He was, as always, kind and gracious and, whatever he thought of the very concept of music awards, was thoughtful and complimentary, and then turned the conversation from the logistics of the event (arrival time, tickets, acceptance speak parameters, etc) to ask how I was doing and how wonderful the area musicians were and, well, everyone else rather than making the conversation about him.
I didn't know Tony personally at all - we had only crossed paths a couple of times many years ago. But I know those who voted for him for the Lifetime Achievement Award (and there were clearly many) spoke passionately and vehemently about how deserving he was and how much he had done (often at great personal expense) for the music scene. And none more vocal than NP Presley, who is also a tireless student and proponent of music & music culture, and who sang Tony's praises and argued his case in a manner that would make Daniel Webster proud.
So it with heavy heart that we all learn of Tony's shuffling off this mortal coil.
But it is with happy heart that we remember him and the immeasurable legacy he leaves.