William Robert “Tony” Dukes was born in Brady, Texas on April 15,1952 into a family of auctioneers, ranchers, gamblers and Tex-Americana award winning square dance performers to parents Faye and Nelson Dukes. He is survived by his brother, Jackie Dukes and wife Stephanie, along with his daughter, Kristen Cline, his Spiritual father, Deacon Joe Milligan and many friends and 'brothers'.
Tony graduated in a class of ten from Paint
Rock, Texas and enjoyed minoring in art at UT Austin. Music became his heartbeat. He 'always worked and played in a band' to survive and counted his blessings in knowing and playing with some of the finest musicians in blues and rock from 1970-2000; he is known as 'one of the last real Texas bluesmen' and gained recognition world wide.
He called the
mysterious Marfa lights of West Texas his ‘friends’; and he found himself under
the lights of stage and fame as a blues bass player. He rode like the wind within the booming music business of the 70's-90's selling and collecting some of the most historic vintage Gibson guitars, playing and working with gentle souls to some
of the most infamous musicians and individuals.
Published in over 100 publications throughout the US, UK, Mexico and Canada, hewon three songwriting awards and two photo awards. As one of the original Texas Tornados, he achieved notoriety in the Texas Music Hall of Fame. He was "rollin down the road in some cold blue steel" in his lyric line co-written for I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. And, thus, his ever-creative influence on writing, production, stage, band and blues ingenuity of his Dallas based band, Cold Blue Steel. The band's first CD, Drivin to Mexico, was largest independent selling blues release in Texas history.
Legendary electric bass player and Texas Tornado Hall of Famer, Tony's pedigree expands beyond the Tornados to songrwiting and into music history, playing alongside: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, Ed King/Skynyrd, James Burton, Ansley Dunsbar, Rick Neilsen, Elliot Easton, Eric Johnson, Ted Nugent, Billy Gibbons, and others. He sold more 57-60 Les Pauls than anyone else in the business. Clients included Lightnin' Hopkins, Jimmy Reed, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Christopher Cross, Don Felder, Glen Frey, Joe Walsh, John Staheley, BillyGibbons, Ted Nugent, etc. He recovered Jimi Hendrix' strat (and made Rolling Stone magazine). He played in opening shows, to name a few, for Ringo Star, Bo Diddley, Delbert McClinton and .38 Special. His band was the first caucasian band to play BB King's in Memphis. And, he always remembered his Texas blues roots.
Tony was an astute marksman and avid hunter, attuned to nature and all creatures. He was published in numerous outdoors and hunting publications, led hunts and was the catalyst for Red, White and Blue Outdoors Television. He wasn't your average bowhunter. Tony often carried his bow along with guitars and bass on gigs and digs while honing his skill as a master marksman with proven sucess in America and Africa.
A believer in freedom and a stout patriot in support of America’s finest, he found himself in his ‘calling’ in the great outdoors with soldiers, prisoners and recovering addicts as an LPC counselor and Chaplain. His 'most important' credentials were hard earned in life, and he received his LPC certification through the Institute of Chemical Dependency Studies in Dallas after leaving the fast lane, entering sobriety and becoming an independent health, wellness and fitness coach for recovering addicts. He remained active in recovery programs personally and professionally and assured others that "as long as they or their loved ones were addicts and living- they have hope."
With International bowhunting awards and accolades, publications, shows, videos, music, guitars, trophy animals, chemical detoxification, detours, blues and attitude are merely a fraction of the man he became. He once rode with the Hell’s Angels -and for the past decade, proudly rode with the North Texas Patriot Guard Riders. He loved the freedom of his motorcycles, turquoise and mellow yellow; the open road and a purpose.
A proud North Texas Patriot Guard Rider, Tony found great joy in honoring the lives of our United States Military servicemen and their families. An honorary Marine, he was dubbed 'Hard to Kill', and while truth rings clearly, Tony was at peace and had no fear of dying. He was indeed one of the few and proud.
His faith ran deep and his will, deeper. And the art of relationships became increasingly important to him in the maturity of both his faith and recovery. In touching countless lives unselfishly and positively impacting others, inspiration resonated. Tony never ceased to find opportunities to honor, suport and appreciate others with a smile and a grateful heart. His ministry was of greatest importance and reward. Deacon Joe was a constant source of spiritual guidance and support.
Humbly, he claimed that while he felt a strong calling in his ministry, all he ever did was lead others through the great outdoors to the Creator- and God did the rest!
The sky's been cryin' for our loss of a legend. Everyday we've got the blues. Someone is drivin' to Mexico and is Bad Nationwide. Standing proud.