Tony Miller was born into a musical family. His father was a jazz trombonist and a high school band director in east Texas. One of Tony’s earliest memories is sitting in his dad’s office in the band hall and playing with his favorite thing, a cocktail snare drum. His mother worked at a local recording studio as a receptionist and this provided many opportunities for Tony to “explore” the drum booth. It was inevitable that Tony was going to play the drums! His parents bought him his first “real” drum set at age four. He started playing right away, imitating everything he saw other drummers do on TV and on records.
At age nine he began studying with his first teacher, who was a Berklee College of Music graduate and was very “old school”. His first words to Tony were, “See that drum set over there? You are not going to see those drums for a while! Let’s work on your hands, learn to read music and learn rudiments!” It was the best thing that could have happened to him because when he entered Junior High band, he was doing clean drum rolls on pillows which shocked the other drummers and the band directors!
By age 11, Tony was subbing gigs for his teacher and started to play professionally around the Dallas area. At age13, he had a regular weekend gig at a jazz club in Dallas, as his levels of confidence, ability, and expertise were exceptional. Tony was fortunate to study with jazz master Colin Bailey and had opportunities to study with LA session master Greg Bissonette, Funk drummer and author Rick Latham, and former Woody Herman drumming legend Paul Guerrero.
In 1984, Tony began his journey into Christian music and became the staff drummer at his home church, Church on the Rock, in Rockwall, Texas. In 1992, Tony auditioned for Grammy nominated Christian rock pioneer Mylon LeFevre and Brokenheart. He won the audition and moved to Atlanta to begin touring, sharing the stage with bands like Whitheart, the Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman and 4Him.
In 1993, Tony moved to Nashville to tour for a year with Christian artist Wayne Watson. In 1994 Tony left the “road life” to enter into full time music ministry as a pastor of worship arts, ordained through the Association of Vineyard Churches. During this period he began to build teams of musicians, arrange and produce music, and develop as a songwriter. Several of his songs are published by Vineyard Music Group and Integrity’s Hosanna Music. He played drums on several recordings and for many national conferences.
He moved with his family to Austin, Texas in 2006 and one year later began to teach drum lessons privately, something that he had done periodically through the years. He discovered the joy of imparting the knowledge that he had acquired at such a young age to other drummers young and old. He is a member of the Professional Drum Teachers Guild and the Percussive Arts Society. He founded the Austin Drum Lab, an online drum lesson resource. Currently, Tony teaches about 35 students weekly and plays gigs in the Austin area regularly. He continues to be a mentor and pastor to musicians around the Austin music scene, as his love of music and drums is something he enjoys sharing with all.
Tony's Soultone cymbal set up consists of 20" Gospel ride, 21" Vintage ride , 17",18" 20" Extreme crashes, 16" FXO crash, 14" Custom hihats, 16" Vintage hihats, 8" and 10" Gospel splashes. He says "I like to have a cymbal for any musical situation that I find myself in. Between the cutting power of the Extreme crashes, or the warmth of the Vintage ride, Soultone has given me the tools to create a wide variety of colors in any genre. These are the BEST sounding cymbals I have ever played, and I have played them all!"