Dutch Punk Music Scene Loses an Icon: Tony 'Slug' Leeuwenburgh's Death Marks the End of an Era.
On October 7, 2023, The Netherlands, lost one of its most vibrant figures – Tony Leeuwenburgh, also known as Tony Slug. He was a powerhouse of talent, skillfully wielding the bass and guitar and occasionally, the microphone. His music was his identity, and through his various associations with bands like Nitwitz and BGK, he became a staple in the Netherlands punk rock scene.
Born and raised in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tony was drawn to music from a young age. The punk rock scene in the late 70s served as an electric catalyst for his passion. During this time, he formed the band Nitwitz and took to the stage as a bassist. Concurrently, he also was a part of BGK, another influential punk band.
During his journey, my path crossed with Tony’s. We first met in March 1980 during the only European continental tour of Crass, where both Nitwitz and my band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty were chosen as supporting acts.
We bonded over our shared love for punk music and we even exchanged fanzines – Kots en Braak which Tony ran and my fanzine ‘Pin’. We often shared the stage, and our camaraderie was a testament to our shared passion of the punk rock scene.
In the midst of his musical pursuits, Tony also founded the independent Vögelspin record label, carving a niche for himself as an entrepreneur. His influence in music wasn’t limited to the Netherlands, as he served as the Dutch correspondent for Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll in the USA, bridging the gap between two continents.
The Unfinished Project
Approximately a year before his death, Tony was working on a solo LP, collaborating with notable musicians like ex-Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra and L7 bassist Jennifer Finch. The LP’s final piece was set to feature Dead Boys Cheetah Chrome. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Cheetah had to cancel his trip to Europe, causing a setback to the project. Despite this, Tony remained hopeful and was looking forward to rescheduling the recording session.
Sadly, Tony passed away before the completion of his solo project. His loss was a significant blow to the music industry, and his unfinished LP serves as a poignant reminder of his untapped potential.
While Tony’s physical presence has departed from this world, his spirit lives on in the music he created and the lives he touched. His influence on punk rock is indelible, and his passion for music continues to inspire generations of musicians.
In memory of his enormous contribution to music, all recordings made by Tony Slug over the last two years will be released and/or distributed by Suburban Records, Wap Shoo Wap Records and Alternative Tentacles. The new full length album, biography and documentary will be released posthumously in early 2024. This tribute will serve as a testament to Tony’s musical prowess and his unwavering dedication to his craft.
Tony Leeuwenburgh was more than just a musician. He was a force to be reckoned with, a beacon of creativity, and a symbol of dedication. His passing has left a void in the music industry, but his legacy continues to inspire and influence countless musicians and fans around the world.
As we remember Tony, let’s honor his memory by revisiting the music he loved and the bands he was a part of. His journey serves as a reminder of the power of passion, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of punk rock.
Tony Slug, you will be missed, but your music will live on. Let us wish lots of strength to all his relatives and friends! Let us play the first Nitwitz EP again!
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