While growing up in Salt Lick, Kentucky, Tony Johnson's sister had attended a Beatles concert in nearby Cincinnati. She told him, “You look just like Ringo,” and handed him a pair of drumsticks. From then on, every surface became a drum to Tony.
He and his close friend, Donnie Williams, started a band called Samson, which played in Salt Lick for many street dances. After moving to Rapid City in 1976, Tony joined Donnie to form Foggy Notion. They opened shows for Steppenwolf, Black Oak Arkansas, Canned Heat, the Kingsmen, and later played with David Allen Coe and Freddy Fender. Foggy Notion toured Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, and North and South Dakota.
In 2001 Tony joined Abbey Road, the excellent Beatles tribute band, as their drummer. They opened for the Association, Guess Who, Head East, Cheap Trick, Asleep at the Wheel, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Tony was a friend to many and felt like South Dakota was his second home. His vocations included working at a pawn shop and trading musical instruments. Tony passed away in January 2019.
2020/2021Spirit of the Music Award