Tony Lorenzo (1986-2017)

I met Tony back in the summer of ’01. It was Courtney’s backyard birthday show. It was the first Phaetasm show, and it might’ve been the first SOA show too (or something resembling SOA). Right off the bat, I knew I liked Tony because he was blunt and steadfast. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him or his band, he was just “in it to win it”. I’d imagine that whole attitude was the main reason for his immense popularity.

In the years that followed, I rarely missed a Sons of Azrael show. Those were the shows that mattered to me most when I first joined the metal scene. SOA united all of my favorite people together night after night and it was impossible to have a bad time. And although everyone in that band was amazing, and all of their songs were amazing, I was always hoping for the next time I’d hear Tony randomly get on the mic in between songs and call someone out. He just didn’t give a fuck and had no time for posers. He was true to his convictions and nothing else mattered. Back at Broadway Joe’s in ’06, he got on the mic and said, “The next time you’re trying to be a part of something that’s supposed to be pure, make sure you know what it’s about and that you were there from the fucking beginning.” Still, to this day, I can’t remember which band he was talking about, but there was something so refreshing about hearing someone being that honest on stage.
In ’07, I booked SOA at Showplace with Vital Remains. I didn’t know it at the time, but those mother fuckers in VR ate up every last dollar I had, so I couldn’t pay the locals (last time I’ve allowed that). Every time I saw Tony after that, I’d bring up the money (EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.) and he’d always tell me to stop worrying about it. But Tony was the kind of guy you wanted to maintain a solid reputation with. He commanded respect.
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I was heartbroken after he was shot, but I loved watching him (once again) calling people out in online videos after the fact. My personal favorite is a video of him doing pull ups while jamming some Sonata Arctica. Mid pull up, he boasts, “So, what’s your fucking excuse?” Here’s the guy who can no longer walk, doing pull ups, while everyone else was probably moping on their couch, pounding fast food.
Last May, Tony finally managed to return to the stage with Corpse Collector. His comeback show ended up being his last (as far as I know), so I’m so happy I was there. It was great seeing him headbang with a guitar in hand, in front of his friends and fans again, if only for 30 minutes. He loved music more than anything. He probably loved riffing more than most people will ever understand and that’s probably the most heartbreaking thing to me. When I think about the music he created and how much he longed to get back out there and create more, then to suddenly have that long road back to the stage ripped away, (because of some fucking asshole holding him up for a few bucks years ago) well, that’s just gut wrenching. I can only imagine how his family feels right now and I’m tearing up just thinking about that.
It’s disheartening that I never got to know him better, especially now that I’ll never have the chance, but I wanted to at least share this brief account of my times with him. Back in April, I did an awesome interview with him which I’m publishing in our physical magazines. I’ll also include this tribute, and if anyone wants to say something about Tony and have it printed, just send it to me. They’ll be available for free on March 31.
I really don’t know what else I can say here, except rest in peace, Tony Lorenzo. At least there is some solace in knowing that you’re no longer suffering.
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