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How the Tonze got started


Well it's a pretty simple but drawn out story on how the Tonze got started.

     First let me go back to how I got here to Washington in the first place.

    Once upon a time there was a band out of San Francisco called, H.P. Riot" an all black funk/rock original with some covers band started way back in the late 60's to early 70's.  And there was this young aspiring musician name, Leslie D. Shelton Jr. who at the time had just started getting pretty serious about music. 

 Leslie's first motivation for music was after viewing a band at a local block party that really lit his fuse.  After seeing that group something big inside of him was sparked and is still going strong 50 something years later............

  Well I'm going to save you all the juicy stuff by skipping to the future. 

    While traveling on the road with the band H.P. Riot Leslie (Les) met quite a few musicians who he became good friends with and one in particular he decided to relocate to Seattle and start his own band call "Rise".  Well due to some artistic indifferences the band broke up but in the interim Les was introduced to a keyboardist name Steve Minzel who he later started a duel with.  They played in this capacity for about 9 to 10 years and during that time start some off shoot bands that lasted for only a short time.  Until later hooking up with a drummer who goes by the name "Tony Handy " known as the foot.  Well at the time and still to date had his own Jazz Fusion band call H.D. Fusion (um coincidence "H.D.)

Well pretty close but not. Les than was recruited into his band for the next 4 to 5 years than later Les quit that band and started his own that lasted for  about 3 years.  Let me get to the chase,,Then off and on Steve, Tony and Les would be hired for some casual gigs and recruited Mike Connor and Joe Richards who became a staple part of the band.  Joe was a professional student pursuing his education and eventually became an employed lawyer.  Mikey also was finishing up school at the Art Institute in Photography and Video and later started his own business and left the group.  There's a lot more to it than what I have time to tell. Maybe in my first published book I'll give more of the juicy details. 


      It was down to Tony, Steve & Les.  Not knowing if they had the energy or strength to keep up with their sorely missed 5 piece.  But through grit and determination here they are today doing better than ever, and still going strong. 



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