SWAMPROOT                                                                                                 ROCK BOOGIE 'N' BLUES        

Tony Wells

Tony started his fascination with drums at a very early age in the mid to late sixties, largely due to the fact that his mother was a Beatles fan and would constantly play their records. After years of emulating his idol, Ringo, using biscuit tins and pieces of furniture, he finally persuaded his parents to buy him a second-hand drum kit at age twelve. Tony quickly formed his first band with some school friends and played a handful of gigs at youth centres and school halls.

At sixteen, Tony auditioned for a well- established dance band in the Oxford area and despite a total lack of experience in strict tempo ballroom music he managed to beat off a dozen other more mature drummers. He was soon gigging up to three times a week, playing every type of venue from the smallest of village halls to the London Savoy. It was during his seventeen years with this same band that he got to play with some excellent musicians including Alan Jones, a respected session bass guitarist who had been a long standing member of The Shadows, had backed Elvis, and had even played on the Sooty Show! Another member who served his apprenticeship in this same band, was Brett Gordon, a young talented bass player who with Tony formed Berlin, a popular original band that recorded many tracks and played in and around Oxford during the early to mid eighties. Brett has been a professional musician ever since and was last playing with the chart topping Candyskins.

During the eighties, Tony’s love of playing also found him helping out other bands short of drummers, and this was not merely because he was cheap, but due to a serious ammount of talent and the extreme ease with which he works with other musicians. It was during recording at one of these helping out sessions that he met Brian Milthorp, a local studio owner. Brian invited Tony to become the in-house session drummer at 'Gothic Recording Studio' based near Wantage. In this role, Tony recorded for a variety of artistes, mainly singer songwriters, although he did lay down the groove for a keep fit album, and no doubt had many Lycra clad females sweating a bit! (apparently not for the first time!!).

It was Brian, who first introduced Tony to the Max Hunt, who several years later was to give him the call with an invitation to join TANTALUS after the departure of Damien Slowey. Tony recorded a new version of J.S.Bach's Toccatta & Fugue in Dm for the CD release of Short Stories and drummed on all tracks on the Lumen Et Caligo recording project, including some tracks that he had never even heard until the day he turned up for the sessions. This project took the band to an altogether higher profile. Tony temporily left Tantalus, at least as a full time meber member in April 2004 after performing a reliable, steady and solid roll in the band throughout the most stable period in the band's existence but rejoined agan less than a year later.

Bands and musicians that has inspired/influenced Tony include The Beatles, Deep Purple – Ian Paice, Black Sabbath, Genesis, Sting and the many musicians that have played for him, Jeff Porcaro, John Bonham and Bill Bruford.



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