We lost one of our best vintage drum friends right before Christmas. Tony Lewis was one of the most well respected and knowledgeable guys in the vintage drum community. I first met Tony about 30 years ago when I was just getting interested in vintage drums. He was already well established and had been collecting drums for years. He was always extremely helpful and always glad to share his vast knowledge about drums with me. We became fast friends by phone. We often spent hours laughing it up, talking about drums, music and whatever we felt like. The guys at my old shop always knew that if I was talking to Tony, I was going to be unavailable for a long time. I think I knew him for around 10 years before I actually met him in person but at that point we were already close friends.
Tony dates back to the early days of vintage drum collecting, before the internet, FedEx, eBay and e-mail, when it was routine to drive for hours to check out a lead on a vintage drum. He was a regular fixture at the Chicago Drum Show, he had a booth there every year dating back to the earliest days of the show. He gained the respect and admiration of fellow drum collectors by always being respectful, reliable and honest. Everyone one who knew him knew that he was “one of the good ones”.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to visit him in the hospital in Michigan just before he passed. We had a lot to talk about but our conversation quickly found it’s way to vintage drums. Before too long we were drum-geeking like we had hundreds of times before, speaking in a drum language that nobody else in the room could understand.
Tony passed on 12/21/2017. He will be sorely missed.