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Rockstar Lifestyle Leaves Musician Empty

Julie Blim - 700 Club Producer

CHILDHOOD DREAM

As a little boy, Anthony loved all things music, even the more adult sound of R&B. He enjoyed singing and performing for family, but the music bug really bit him in his eleventh summer. Anthony and his younger brothers were visiting their grandparents in Turkey, and watching the European channel, MTV.  

A song came on that mesmerized Anthony – Paradise City, by the group Guns N’ Roses. “The song was so catchy – it drew me right in,” he remembers. It came from their album, Appetite for Destruction, which captivated young Anthony. Before long, he was taking guitar lessons and dreaming of becoming a famous rock n’ roller like Slash and Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses.     

Anthony’s parents had divorced when he was six, but both remained very involved with their three boys. When he was 11, Anthony’s dad took him to a White Zombie concert in their town of Muskegon, Michigan, opened by The Ramones. “Leaving, I knew this was what I wanted to do for life, whatever it takes.”  

He told his guitar teacher that he wanted to play rock n’ roll, not classical guitar. The man referred him to another teacher who not only taught Anthony how to play rock, but became a mentor to him as well. By age 13, Anthony was teaching guitar lessons himself. 

DREAM TURNED NIGHTMARE

Intent on fulfilling his dream of becoming a famous rock guitarist, Tony, as he was called by then, continued honing his skills. When he was just 15, he was playing local bars with cover bands, and by age 18, he joined a local band, Two-Heded Chan, whose audience went from local to regional to national as they sold out bars and clubs.  

“It made me feel great,” he says. Followers of the band got tattoos with the band’s name, and audiences grew bigger. Tony played with them for two years and knew touring was the next step. But something bigger was about to come along.  

A friend of Tony knew the lead singer of a popular hard rock group called Pop Evil. One day Tony got a call from their lead singer, who told him the band was looking for a new lead guitarist. The two met for lunch, and Tony liked the sound of the direction this band was headed. He decided to join them. Now age 20, Tony loved the lifestyle of his new bandmates, which included drinking, drugs, and women, and the fact that they opened for larger bands in a wider area.  

He was accomplishing what he had always dreamed of and loved every minute. As the years went by, Pop Evil became more popular and started headlining their own shows. A highlight for him was playing in the 15 thousand-seat Gibson Amphitheatre in L.A. and sharing the stage with the men he’d idolized as a kid, Rob Zombie and Slash.

Pop Evil became wildly successful, playing to huge crowds and with other big bands, like Motley Crue and Judas Priest. It was during these years that Anthony says, “something switched” inside him. The grueling schedule, the heavy drinking, and the illicit affairs were taking a toll on him. “What was fun became dark and hostile,” he says. After Tony had been with the band six years, he was depressed, suicidal, and just wanted out.

He called home one morning at 4:00 am to tell his mom how he felt, and was surprised when she didn’t understand and thought he was being too rash. He later told his dad, who was livid that Tony wanted to walk out on such an opportunity. “They didn’t understand the fight I was in,” he says. 

TRUE FREEDOM

One night on the road, Tony opted not to go out with the band and spent a quiet night alone in his hotel room. He’d been struggling for a long time with feeling empty, despite having everything he thought he ever wanted. For the first time, he started talking to God, pouring out his feelings. He then sensed God’s voice. “Son, I created you for a relationship with Me. It won’t work without Me.” Tony then confessed all that he knew was wrong with his lifestyle, wept, and asked God’s forgiveness.  

Leaving Pop Evil proved complicated. Between his parents’ negative reactions and the fact that the band had contractual obligations with two major record labels, and guitar magazine ads, Tony felt trapped. He also didn’t want to let his bandmates down, so he stayed for several months, and backslid in his lifestyle choices. During that time, he says there was a lot of supernatural goings-on in his life.  

Once such time was when he, his brother, and father were playing with a Ouija board. His brother started “manifesting” – “My brother cried out in pain. His eyes were not the eyes of my brother. They were full of hatred. He slid down. It was lights off. Nobody home. I thought, ‘This is not happening. This is not real.’  It was scary. The Scripture came to my mind. I started boldly taking authority in the name of Jesus to come out of my brother. He started convulsing and shaking at the name of Jesus. It (the demonic) lost all power. I found the power of God pouring out in streams of love….love and power. It (the demonic) left. My brother was groggy and getting his bearings back. He thought he had a nightmare.”

Tony was amazed at the power of the name of Jesus and became “rejuvenated about Jesus”.

At a concert shortly after that, in early 2012, Tony decided he was done. He sent his bandmates an email, telling them he loved them all, but had to leave the band and the lifestyle. Though Tony was a 20% owner of Pop Evil, he simply gave it all back, telling them he wanted nothing but “out.”  

Since then, Anthony has been an evangelist, partnering with churches and sharing the gospel and his story. He wants others to understand the truths he would have given anything to know when his own life looked its darkest: “God is real and will deal with you; God loves you and wants a relationship with you.” 

In July, 2021, Anthony married Sarah Myers, a fellow evangelist, who has also shared her testimony on The 700 Club.      
     

 

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