Tony's journey is one that truly spans Continents. It is a story that inconceivably somehow packs three or four lifetimes into one man's world. If you ask him he would say that it is the reflections, the learning's, the elixir of what makes life so wonderful, difficult, joyous and painful that are the building blocks and inspiration for his Music. It is what has made him an accomplished and respected Musician and Composer. Listen deeply inside his work - it will bring you something new on each listen and there you will find the things that bond us all as we travel through our own individual journeys.
Tony was born in in a small mining village, in the North East of England - a place full of history, humility and genuine beauty. Despite having to leave that part of the world at an early age, it is still the place he calls 'home' - and it is still the place he would choose to go to for a 'soul top up'. It is an ancient land of beautiful, dramatic landscapes, abandoned castles casting fantastic silhouettes against dark skies, a place of myth and legend - and a place where there is still real heart and sense of community among it's people.
He then moved to Coventry at the age of 10 and went back to the North East every summer during the school holidays. It was on one of these visits, in 1978, that his older brother Kevin was thinning out his record collection and asked Tony if he wanted any of them. One album took Tony's interest - and it sparked something magical that was to be at the centre of his life from that day forward - the love of music and in particular - the guitar.
That album was 'The Shadows 20 Golden Greats' - music and feel very much out of step with what was going on at the time. It offered melodies and tones of an era gone by - where vintage guitar sounds mingled happily with majestic orchestral arrangements. The tunes and production were full of hope and energy - the perfect antidote in a world that was making the transition of extremes - from bland, sickly AOR ballads to the anger and anarchy of a Punk Rock revolution that was just around the corner.
That one record made Tony want to play the guitar.
The only problem was that he didn't have a guitar - and all of the school's instruments were already allocated. So he saved enough, over a long period of time, to eventually be able to buy a second hand acoustic guitar from Exchange and Mart in Coventry. It was GBP 11.00 - a Kings fortune at the time to Tony.
Tony recalls - "during that time, desperately wanting to play but not having the instrument to be able to learn - I used to spend hours looking through the window of Paynes Music Shop in Coventry City Centre. There - in the window, only some 4 feet away from me - was a solitary Blonde Fender Telecaster. The real thing. I used to gaze longingly at it - even sometimes venturing into the store to be able to closer to it, without the glass between us!"
Now that Tony finally had his first instrument - he sat down the play. Single handed - he taught himself how to play, from that record.
In two months he could play every tune on it.
Growing up in Coventry during the late 70's and into the 80's proved to be fortuitous - the Punk explosion turned into the Two Tone / Ska phenomenon - and Coventry suddenly became the epicentre of the Music Industry. It was a fantastically prolific place to be if you were starting a band. Tony became a noted and respected guitarist in the city - forming 'Still Life' which later became 'Noise Like Noise'. This got him noticed by Grammy Award winning Producer Roger Lomas - the iconic creator of the Two Tone sound. Roger Lomas' name was hot property - and he was mentoring an up and coming band in the city called 'Deja Vu'. He saw something Tony - and had a shared interest in favourite guitarists - so he invited Tony to join the band.
'Wonderland' was thus formed - and quickly became the most exciting up and coming band in the city.
Sadly - despite the famous live prowess of Wonderland - and the exposure of extensive touring with Major Artists - the band split up.
Tony continued to write and play guitar - and over the years life took over and the guitar took a back seat. He wrote and worked with different artists in Coventry - released a couple of records under pseudonyms - but the more Tony stepped back, he realised that writing his own music - inspired by his life - and playing his own songs was all he really wanted to do. Life was not allowing him to do that - and so the flame died.
Tony had sold his guitars and had stopped playing, when in 2004 he met his now wife Miranda. She was the inspiration he needed to get back into writing and together they bought his first guitar for over 10 years - a 1962 Fender Stratocaster reissue in Fiesta Red. The guitar was named 'Rosie' - and to this day is still Tony's #1 instrument. It is Rosie on the cover of 'Flesh & Blood' - 'a one off'...
Over the next few years Tony played more and more - also learning the world of Digital Recording and the dynamics of Audio and Audio Production. He qualified with Berkley School of Music as a Pro-Tools expert - and built his own studio in order to record the stories of his life - his dream to make his own music was back stronger than ever. Fired on by abundant inspiration - 'Flesh & Blood' was released to wide appreciation in July 2012. The album was Mastered by legendary Engineer Andy Jackson - who Mastered every Pink Floyd and David Gilmour record since 'The Final Cut' - and indeed was their live sound Engineer right to the end.
Tony even gained a fan base in Orange County, California - where his music was played repeatedly on a weekly Radio show. As a result, Tony has sold more albums in the United States than anywhere else!
In 2013 - Tony moved to South Africa and set up ToLo Studio's in Johannesburg. Having settled in this new, exciting, vibrant land - Tony began writing and recording for his second album. It took some time - 8 years in fact to write, record and produce the 14 songs that make up "Kaleidoscope'. This is a completely different sounding album to his first - having taken some time to better understand the art of Orchestral scoring - the dynamics of this album are huge and expansive. The Guitar is still at the centre of everything - but Tony feels that his evolution and growth as a Writer, Musician, Arranger and especially Producer - has made this album a worthwhile labour of love and successor to 'Flesh & Blood'. He would not change a single thing.
He is hoping that someone will help him realise his other dream - of having his music in Film - this is now an important goal for Tony and already he is actively looking for opportunities.
So now - on the worldwide release of 'Kaleidoscope' - whilst the world is in the grip of the Covid 19 Pandemic - Tony is already in Lockdown mode - at the desk recording songs for Album #3.
*Update* In September 2020, Tony released these lockdown tracks as a Website exclusive EP - 'Yellow Rose - Extended Play' - available now at the 'Music' page. This is something of a departure for Tony as his writing and arrangements become more Orchestral and complex. Take it for a spin - and let Tony know what you think! 'Contact'
Please write to Tony directly should you have questions about his life / career to date, use the Contact page - or please visit the Music page where you can listen and buy this wonderful Music.
© 2020 TONY LOWTHER