Thursday, August 11, 2011

Q&A: Guitar great Dan Toler of Allman Brothers Band fame

Dan Toler  honoring his brother on June 25, 2011. By Wade Tatangelo

Dan Toler is on the cover of the Bradenton Herald's Weekend section today. Here's the interview I did with the guitar great who has been a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman Band and Dickey Betts' Great Southern Group, just to name a few.

Toler is battling ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Please see him perform -- with many star guests -- at the benefit for him Saturday at Aces Live in Bradenton.

When I watched you at the private memorial for your brother at Mossman Barn you appeared in pain much of day. But as soon as you sat down and started playing guitar -- as beautifully as when I first heard you with Betts & Great Southern about a decade ago – your face beamed with joy. What happens when you step on stage?

Toler: Being able to play for people is something I take great pride in and I try to think of it as being the last time I will ever play therefore pouring my heart out all over the stage and trying to get inside each persons heart to let them know I understand them and love them and without them music would not be the thrill it is and the emotion it expresses. Also I could feel the presence of my brother David all around me. It was an interesting night and when I sat down all the pain left and I felt great joy to "turn it up and let it eat."

What do you have to say to others suffering from ALS?

This is all knew to me and scary at the same time. I do not know how long I have and actually none of us do but I would say my chances are slim. Right now I still have good use of my arms and hands and hopefully will have for a few years if lucky. To anyone else having this disease, May God bless you and continue to bless you and trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and put all this in His hands as H has control anyway and He has the ultimate plan for us all.

How does it feel to see the outpouring of support the community has shown in organizing this benefit, which already looks to be filled to capacity?

I am so blessed to have the friends I have and to have the family I have and everyone has shown so much love and caring it is so beautiful. I have tried all my life to never burn bridges and I am so grateful to all of you family, friends and fans that care about me I am so blown away and God bless each and every one of you, thank you. This will be a "killer" show I promise.

How does it feel to know that Tony Tyler considers you a hero, brother and a great honor to be in your band?

He is a good guy and he cares about people and I love him like he was my own son. I`m proud of his musical abilities and I have hi hopes for my lil' l brother to make it in this wacky business we call the music business. I too am proud to share the stage with Tony.

What would else you like to add?

Never lose sight of the Lord Jesus Christ. Follow your heart and your dreams, be good to each other. Love your neighbor and be good to him and keep your head on straight as there are too many crazy things happening in todays world. Know that us guys on stage at any show concert or backyard love playing to anyone who will listen. God Bless.

Click for info on Dan Toler Benefit Aug. 13 at Aces Live in Bradenton.

"Dangerous" Dan Toler rocking "Whipping Post" 
while member of Allman Brothers Band in 1980

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