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    Last Updated: 2/18/2002

  • Tony Drake Bio

    Tony Drake's professional career began at age fourteen with a list of party/club dates and a permission slip from his mother.

    Accepted to the Dawkins Conservatory of Music at age sixteen, Tony studied classical guitar for two years. For three years hence, Tony was under the private tutelage of the acclaimed guitarist, John Blaylock.

    The 60"s took Tony on the road with Johnny Taylor, Ronnie Dyson, T. Bone Walker and a host of others.

    The early 70's opened another genre as a staff musician for 20th Century Fox recording tracks for television shows ( i.e., "Julia"--Diahann Carroll, "The Lucille Ball Show", "The Nielsson Show").

    Sought after in the late 70's, Tony was signed to A & M records as a staff musician and recorded for most of the artists on the label including Herb Albert, Merry Clayton, Cheech and Chong and many others.

    1981 was the beginning of four years of extensive travel as lead guitarist for the Checkmates. When they disbanded, Tony freelanced in and around Los Angeles, playing as well as traveling with groups such as The Fifth Dimension and later Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., when they left the group, Gloria Lynn, Aretha Franklin, The Crusaders, Cher, Tina Turner, Mavin Gaye, Esther Phillips, Count Basie's Big Band, H. B. Barnum Big Band, Jimmy Witherspoon, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, The Supremes, Leon Haywood, and En Vogue.
    Most recently, Tony has been the personal guitarist for Miss Della Reese, toured with Barry White, Lou Rawls and produced and recorded with Lisa Gay.

    With credits of movies, television, recordings,("Mr. Big Stuff", "Bad Mamma Jamma", "Want Ads", "Half-Breed", Marvin Gaye's "Here My Dear", Tina Turner, "Mountain High, River Deep", Leon Haywood, "Don't Push It, Don't Force It", the former KJLH newsbreak song, "Choo Choo", "Black Pearl", Checkmates, Little Johnny Taylor, "Part Time Love", Papa John Creach, "The Fiddler Man", and many other tracks) touring, shows, (American Music Awards, Black Achievement Awards, Ace Awards, Lou Rawls Parade of Stars) and record producer, Tony has carved a niche in the entertainment industry that many hope to yet attain.

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