We are very sad to report the passing of our artist, collaborator and friend, Tony Wilkinson. We met Tony years ago near the start of the band when he offered to do some artwork for the band. He showed us his portfolio and it absolutely blew us all away. He designed the ‘Champion The Underdog’ crest backdrop which we always play in front of, and then painted the incredible cover of ‘Remain In Hope’. You can see Tony and I above with the original. Later, he did some similarly brilliant artwork for the Ginger album ‘Albion’ (which you can see on the inside booklet) and some work for our pals The Scaramanga Six too.
Tony was an unbelievably talented bloke who I don’t think ever really knew how good he was. Last time I saw him was about six weeks ago, he was taking some photos of me (Chris) for a new piece of artwork he had kindly offered to do, we had a coffee and a good chat and he was talking about taking his art a lot more seriously, which I thought was a fantastic idea and a really positive step. Sadly, the news this morning was that this was not to be.
Tony also tirelessly supported our band, coming to see us all over the place with his partner Kerry, as well as putting on some ace gigs for us in his hometown Darlington, usually with his excellent band The Lost Rockers in support. A particular one that springs to mind is when we played his birthday party a few years ago, and he got up and played Champion The Underdog with us (he was a great bass player too).
Above all, Tony was a great friend who it was always a pleasure to see at our gigs near and far. He always had a ready smile and a beer in the pump for us.
Our band is much more than the four blokes on stage; it’s also the people around us who muck in and support us for the cause of good music and great times. Tony was part of that family, and we will miss him immensely.
Huge condolences and love to Kerry and his family and many friends.