Photo by Patrick Jordan
In the wake of Tony Markellis’ tragic passing, many in the live music community shared statements and memories of the beloved bassist. Several of his T.A.B. bandmates shared remembrances of Markellis.
News broke of the bassist’s passing on April 30, with his nephew Cory Markellis writing, “Uncle Tony. My hero. You will forever be remembered as one of the greatest. I can’t even begin to find the words to describe your legacy. Such a brilliant, passionate, talented, hardworking, intelligent person. You’ve been one of my greatest influences, and have made such a positive impact on our lives. Such a kind, inspiring soul. Life won’t be the same without you.”
“Tony Markellis passed away yesterday,” wrote Markellis’ close friend and collaborator Trey Anastasio. “He was a truly remarkable human being. He was kind and had a sweetness to his personality, and he was the baddest bass player I’ve ever heard. I loved Tony, and I always will. I’m having a hard time processing this. Tony was the heartbeat to so much of my life, and to the lives of so many others… I was very lucky to have had a very long phone conversation with Tony only a few days ago. We talked for almost two hours. We caught up on family, friends, and funny pandemic thoughts. It wasn’t often that we talked on the phone like that. I had no idea it would be our last conversation. Now it feels like it happened for a reason.”
“This is so surreal. Every time I type a sentence, I delete it because it feels like someone else’s hands must be writing these words,” wrote fellow bandmate Jennifer Hartswick. “We logged a lotta miles in the last 21 years together. He touched more peoples’ lives than he’ll ever know. Rest easy, Tony. We’ll all miss you.”
“It’s hard to come up with the words to describe losing someone as dear to me as Tony,” reflected Natalie Cressman, who also played with Markellis in T.A.B. “He was an uncle to me, my musical family for over a decade of touring and we shared countless laughs and deep conversations on long tour bus rides together. I will miss his brilliant wit, his big heart, and his indelible bass lines.”
“It’s taken a bit to process the loss of my dear friend Tony,” wrote drummer Russ Lawton. “We had been sending emails to each other this past week, looking forward to playing an outside show together this Tuesday since we haven’t seen each other since the Beacon Jams in November. Thinking back, I’ll never forget the first time I meet Tony at one of my gigs when I first moved up to Burlington. Tony was leaning against a car when I came outside and he said, ‘Nice drumming, a little New Orleans style in you.’ We talked for a long while that night and have been good friends ever since.
“Thinking today about all the memorable shows we played and of course just sitting back and hanging after was a wonderful part of it too,” Lawton continued. “I Love you Tony and I’m going to miss you. Your playing and our friendship will live on forever.”
Saxophonist James Casey added: “This one hit me harder than I thought it would, or even could. Being in a band and touring with someone for almost 9 years brings you close in ways you don’t realize until they’re gone.”
“We are missing a piece without you,” wrote Ray Paczkowski, simply. “Rest In Peace Tony, my friend. We love you.”
Several others in the live music community, including SiriusXM host Ari Fink, Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro and many more also posted remembrances of the late Markellis. View them (and all quoted above) below.
It’s taken a bit to process the loss of my dear friend Tony. We had been sending emails to each other this past week,…Posted by Russ Lawton on Saturday, May 1, 2021
Nobody grooved like Tony did. Such a unique player. He will be sorely missed. RIP Tony Markellis. Thank you for the steady pocket you provided us all these years.— Ari Fink (@Finkerton) April 30, 2021
📸: @jeffkravitz pic.twitter.com/xAfZZffBTn
We are heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of legendary bassist Tony Markellis. Through TAB and many other projects, Tony has touched so many of our lives throughout the years. We are sending our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and bandmates. pic.twitter.com/1xXQsEm2JI— Mockingbird (@mbirdfoundation) April 30, 2021
fare thee well, Tony Markellis. pic.twitter.com/1BRfKKqaHB— Kevin Shapiro (@shapsio) May 1, 2021