Tony Bailey, R.I.P.

(Picture of Phantom Family Halo, with Tony Bailey on the far right, from Metromix.)

This morning, right after waking up, I read the news on Louisville Hardcore that Tony Bailey passed last night. While we weren’t close, I’ve known Tony since, shit, I can’t remember, probably since I was 15 or 16 years old, through Louisville’s punk rock scene. Throughout the time that I’ve known him (almost twenty years, as I turn 34 this Monday), I can’t think of anyone who has been as consistently kind, funny, and sweet as Tony. His smile was one of the coolest things on the planet, and I can’t remember a time over those nearly twenty years when he didn’t give me a big hug, or a fist pound, no matter where or when or in what situation we might have seen each other.

I met, and knew, Tony first and foremost through music, and even at the young age of 14, he was one of the most talented drummers I’ve ever had the privilege to witness live. As a member of Crain, Parlour, Aerial M, Verktum, Dead Child, Rude Weirdo, the Phantom Family Halo, and most recently as of two weeks ago, Black Juju, his Alice Cooper tribute band (as well as many other incredible bands you may have never heard of), Tony always inspired me with his raw power, incredible precision, and most importantly, his ultra-fantastic feel for how powerful rock drums should sound.

During the years that I lived in places other than Louisville, I was lucky enough to get to promote a few shows for bands which Tony was touring with, or occasionally see him on tours when I wasn’t booking, or if he was just visiting a city other than Louisville to see someone else play. When I returned here two years ago, I didn’t run into Tony as much I would’ve liked, perhaps due to the Louisville music scene’s fragmented nature in this post-hardcore, post-all-ages, internet-music era, I don’t know. What I do know is that, in twenty years of knowing Tony, I probably didn’t tell him enough how much he and his music was an inspiration to me, and how our friendship — however limited — was important to me.

UPDATE, 12:15 AM, 10/4/2009: From Skull Alley’s web site:

A memorial gathering for Anthony J. Bailey will be held this Sunday, October 4th from 6pm to 10pm at Skull Alley, 1017 E. Broadway, Louisville, KY

There will be an opportunity to share your stories and memories, aloud or on paper. If you cannot attend and would like something read, please Email it to fncyatb at gmail dot com All are encouraged to bring finger/appetizer type foods. No alcohol/beer will be served and none may be brought in. Beverages will be provided by Skull Alley.

Your favorite pictures of Tony are wanted and needed for a slide show, send them to fncyatb at gmail dot com

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One thought on “Tony Bailey, R.I.P.

  1. Pingback: The Best (and Worst) of 2009 « The Other Side of Life

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