small brush shouldn't fuck with big timber

Death's Door, the view from the Spanish announcers table: blast from the past......the Blues never dies....

Wednesday, May 16

blast from the past......the Blues never dies....

I first meet Ed Toler a very long time ago when he played bass for the Kansas City Blues Band, which used to be known as Colt 45.

For years every Monday night the band would hold a blues jam session at Blayney’s in Westport and they’d invite player’s up on stage to jam for a few. Back then it was the place to be heard and to be seen if you thought of yourself as an urban blues man.

I used to run lights for the band on those nights and in the back of my head I fancied myself a blues drummer.

So one night I talked the band into letting me up on stage to play, and my performance was such that Ed Toler turned to me after one song and in his own eloquent way told me to get the fuck off his stage and go learn some shit.

Harsh words to hear for someone so young but his truthfulness was the reason I went and learned to hold my own as a drummer.

I actually made it to the point that one night after some years Ed heard me play and told me that I’d do. Hearing that from such an accomplished musician was high praise to my ears.

Years later I ran into Ed again at the Hurricane in Westport where he was laying down the back end for the Bon Ton Soul Accordion Band.

Here was a guy that looked like he couldn’t add two plus two and his normal greeting was “hi muthafucker” or if there were women around the bar he’d adjust the greeting to “how’s all my ho’s and bitches doing”?

But nobody got shook cause that was just the way Ed put it down. But when you sat down with Ed over a cup of black coffee you’d learn that besides being a great musician he was a dues paying member of Mensa and a published author and origami master.

But one of the coolest things about Ed I learned was that he was a hard core Trekkie and always took great pains to make sure I never forgot it.

Well, as a good friend told me the other night, Ed Toler stepped off the stage for the last time this week. He went to sleep the other night and never woke up.

I wasn’t that close a friend of Ed’s but I’d like to imagine that he felt what was coming and thought it over and said “cool”.

When I learned of his death it hit me hard cause Ed walked his own walk and he was one of the cats that always put a smile on my face, whither it was from hearing him play or talking to him or having to endure his endless string of bad jokes. Ed, we’ll miss seeing your ass in the place. Peace

"and the monkey flipped the switch"


Blogger PGP said...

Good requiem Greg!

Sounds like we lost a good one.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Kitty said...

Ed was my mom's bass teacher back in the day. She always liked him a lot.

9:38 AM  
Blogger logtar said...

Can I borrow your monkey?

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very kewl to find this blog. Ed was an amazing crazy funny charismatic guy. He taught me the blues back in the 60s and I'm still playing today.

Ken Gemmer

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Googled Ed Toler (aka "ET", "Uncle Junk", "Funkatollah" "The Evil Scoutmaster") and came across your fine tribute, which I'm very pleased to read. I did a lot of growing up with Ed. I played Hammond Organ with him on numerous occasions with such as Buckwheat, Steve "Duck" McLane, Bob Herzog, Albert Collins, and many others, and remember you from the days in the early 80s when i played at Blayney's with ida McBeth. Ed even subbed for our regular quitarist, Monte Muza, at Blayney's. You were always a mellow fellow as a bouncer, imparting a good vibe while making clear nobody will get too far outta line. Glad to see you still jumpin and pumpin. Thanks for sharing your Ed stories. He was unique and your recollection of him captures that. Best to you, friend.-Rich Hill

10:46 AM  
Blogger Jayme said...

I have been out of Kc for a few years and i am very sorry to hear about Ed . I have been a die hard Bon Ton fan since the begining ! Ed was such a gentle man in his own way ...I saw a side of him walking around the block in O.P or doing his oragamie fun stuff ...I will really miss him ..even if he didnt get any ...Jayme the Bon Ton Fan

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, thinking about Big Ed and thought I would see who else might be doing the same. I've known Ed well since about 1968 through all of our ups and downs. The way he got through his most self destructive days and became one of the workingest musicians/teachers (music, origami, life etc.)I've ever known was truly inspirational.
A dear man and he would want me to say, a fabulous trim:o)
I miss you Daddy.

Just one of your proud Ho's,
Sallie Houghton

2:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home