In Memory of
Tony Lavender 1953 - 2017
This page is dedicated to my friend, drummer, singer and husband of Peggy Lavender, who approved this page with grace and gratitude.
I first met Tony back in the ‘80s when my trio worked nightclubs in South Florida. My agent booked us a gig in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and my current drummer couldn’t travel. Tony was highly recommended, happened to be available and did the seven-week gig with us. That’s when I really got to know Tony; an intelligent, serious man, dedicated to his music and almost too much of a perfectionist. I'll never forget walking into his hotel room and he had a full pad drum set, headphones on and playing along to Toto. He would practice for hours upon hours. He had a wonderful swing and jazz feel and his voice was silky smooth. When we returned to South Florida, Tony continued working with us for a while, then he had other offers and moved on. I always had a feeling that we’d work together again.
Years passed, and my dance band was booked to play for Dion Dimucci’s (Dion and the Belmonts) daughter’s wedding at Boca Pointe in Boca Raton. Dion asked if it was okay that his band sit in with us during the evening. Of course, I said yes! Behold, Dion’s drummer was Tony. It was great to reconnect with him and we kept in touch for several more years.
When I returned to Florida after living in L.A. for 10 years, I began assembling my big band. My first thought was Tony Lavender. I wanted a drummer that would kick ass and drive the band. I called Tony and he was all in. We sat in my studio and mapped out how we wanted to approach this sound. On my birthday, August 28, 2011, we spent the day videotaping a promo of the band. The band clicked, Tony was the heartbeat and we began performing private parties, concerts, festivals and even squeezed into a small Boca club, The Funky Biscuit.
In mid-2016, I called Tony about a Florida Panhandle tour I was organizing and wanted him to check if my dates worked with his. That’s when he broke the news to me of his cancer. He didn’t want to make any commitments until he had a better idea of the cancer and treatment. The rest is now history. We all miss you Tony. ~ Your friend, Gary Farr
Tony worked with many musicians through the years and I welcome any comments and dedications below.