Tony is an acoustic singer, guitarist and songwriter who also performs with his band, The Afterwhile. He lived in Florida for many years, but now has made Minnesota his home with his family. He plays classic country and gritty folk music.
What sparked your interest in music?
I come from a big, musical family of 10 kids. Our family performed around the country, touring in a Greyhound bus. We played at malls, conventions, fairs, and we even played Vegas. As soon as we were old enough to get out there, we were out there. We made records. In fact, we had boxes of vinyl records that we would sell from off the stage. Our parents were both school teachers, so we did a lot of correspondence school. We were home-schooled, bus-schooled, hotel-room-schooled and backstage-schooled.
Most listened to song in the
I’ve been listening to the singer/songwriter from the 70s, Harry Chapin. I’ve always loved his music, and I like to revisit it when I have time.
What do you drink during a show?
I like to stay fresh in my head. I might have a beer if someone buys it for me, but I like to keep a clear mind so people can get what they came for.
Favorite local band or artist?
Boots – they’re a bluegrass Americana group based in Fargo. They are awesome guys and top notch musicians. They deserve a lot more credit than they get.
Kindest words from an audience member?
They haven’t ever been words. Just watching someone get tears in their eyes, or just seeing on their face that I’ve hit a nerve with my music – that is the kindest compliment I could ever get.
Some people have this misconception that Mayo makes Rochester, but it’s the people that make the town. And this is a deep-rooted town. The people here have been amazing to me. Some have even offered me a place to stay at their house.
If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?
Prince. Just because of his genius. He wasn’t just a one level type of musician, and I learn something new every time I listen to him.
One book you think everyone
“The Little Prince.” If people read that book in a deep, meaningful way, they would find that it is so much more than just a children’s book. It has a universal message of hope, and teaches how to slow down and pay attention to the simple things in life.
If you had to outlaw one song from ever being played again, which would it be and why?
Every genre of music now sounds so empty. It doesn’t have depth. Music in the 60s, 70s, and some of the 80s just had more soul to it. Now the music is so plastic. I can’t remember the last time I turned the radio on and listened to pop songs. Everything in today’s top 40 radio should be outlawed. People are just fed it, and if people don’t dig past it, then they miss the soul and feeling of music. There are tons of songs that would be better off never heard.
What makes you stand out
as a musician?
My willingness to stay as humble as I can and know that I am no different than anyone else in the world. I’m just trying to make a living doing what I love. I want to give people joy, but I still want to stay grounded knowing that I am just part of the mix. I am not above others in the world.