Tony Mills - Biography
Tony Mills (born 7 July 1962 in Solihull, England) is an English musician and the vocalist in the Norwegian hard rock band TNT.
Hailing from Birmingham, when he was 14 years old, he sang in his first band, the punk band The Rip-Offs, before joining fellow Birmingham punk band Cracked Actors as bass guitarist. Turning to rock in 1980, he sang in rock bands with guitarist Nik Lloyd, namely Overdrive, Orion and Enigma, and in 1983 he joined the band Shy.
Managed by Barry Keen (Dreamstar Management) and Neil Levine (Light and Sound Design/UFO/Tobruk), he recorded four albums with AOR band Shy, including the critically acclaimed Excess All Areas and toured supporting Twelfth Night, Gary Moore, Meatloaf, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Magnum, Manowar, Badlands,
Enuff Z Nuff, Sleez Beez, UFO, and the Ian Hunter/Mick Ronson outfit, (heroes from his 70's childhood) which he performed on stage with in Brighton, just prior to Mick's death. The tours spanned the whole of Europe and North America. It was here that Tony worked with the L.A. based band Cinderella on their debut album, Night Songs. Co-writing sessions came about with Michael Jay (Survivor), Don Dokken (Dokken), Michael Bolton, Michael Des Barres (Power Station), John Parker (Chicago), Jeff Paris and Bob Kulick(Meatloaf/Balance).
Tony left Shy in 1991 to pursue his career with a more personal focus and MCA snapped him up as a solo artist to record his first album in Manchester with engineer Andy MacPherson (The Who) and guitarist Bob Maxim along with various members of 10CC and Sad Cafe. The album was never completed until ten years later through management issues.
In 1992, managed by Linda Bruce of Rich Bitch Studios, Tony formed another band, Siam, with Darren Horton, Chris Ward Evans (Hellion), Andy Faukner (Sable Rose Studios/Bang Bang Zombie) he wrote two albums, Prayer and The Language of Menace.
After working as a session vocalist through the 1990s with Slade, Simon Harrison (Atlantic/Pylon Productions), Dave Saylor (Trouble/Push UK) and Cozy Powell (unreleased) in conjunction with his recording and touring work with Siam, the band eventually folded in 1996 and Mills spent a year fronting a Rush tribute band, YYZ; friends from a previous session with Ossirus, a Rush dedicated band in 1982.
Despairing of the industry in 1996, he returned to his mechanical engineering background and managed Ratcliff Tailifts in Wolverhampton working with Shy on recordings and occasional concerts and assisting Barry Keen with up and coming artists through BAK Management. In 2000 he reunited with Shy for two more albums, 'Unfinished Business' and 'Sunset and Vine'.
At the turn of the millennium, he also released two solo albums, Cruiser and Freeway to the Afterlife. There followed a Danish tour with The Sweet, as bassist and lead vocalist, but this did not work out and he returned to Shy, which saw the release Shy 'The Anthology 1983-2006', only to move swiftly on, when he was asked to join TNT in Oslo, Norway. The following year Mills sang on TNT's new album, The New Territory, which despite high sales, was poorly received by several rock magazines, who it seems were somewhat taken aback by the new material. The band toured and gigged extensively throughout 2007 in Norway to support the record, including supports to Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, Twisted Sister and Motorhead. Lasse Dale was also a progressive metal guitarist from Tromso in Norway, that enlisted Tony to write and record his debut album, Screaming For Silence. Tony worked for many Euro artist's between 2006 and 2010, namely Michael Voss and his 'Voices Of Rock' project, Liberty 'n' Justice in the U.S., Torben Enevoldsen in Denmark, Frederic Hugues and Blackstone and Tor Talle in Norway. In 2010 Douglas R. Docker, an American keyboardist living in Italy, appointed Tony as one of the four vocalists on his massive progressive rock project, 'Docker's Guild - The Mystic Technocracy', along with John Payne from Asia, Goran Edman and Amanda Somerville.
In 2007, Mills also performed backing vocals on the debut album by UK Band Crimes of Passion. He has numerous credits for, and is in regular demand for, provision of backing vocals,and other recent outputs include The Andersson-Mills Project, China Blue and backing vocals for Dante Fox in the UK and Norwegian Rock outfit Winterstrain, appearing on their debut album Return to the Mirror as well as Shifting Sands. In 2008 Tony released a more metal oriented solo album Vital Designs, which featured bass by Morty Black, Oddvar Krogstad and Victor Cito Borge (TNT), guitars by Neil Hibbs, keyboards by Shy's keyboard player Joe Basketts and drums by Shy's drummer Bob Richards. Also appearing on the album was TNT member Dag Stokke and Erik Ragno from China Blue. In the same year, he also began work with Ronni Le Tekro on their second TNT collaboration, which resulted in the album Atlantis, featuring the songs Tango Girl and Hello, Hello, which became regular tracks in their setlist for the following tour.
In the winter of 2008, Tony wrote and recorded for Serpentine, replacing former singer Greg Flores. In March 2010, Serpentine released their CD A Touch of Heaven on AOR/Metal Heaven in Europe and Marquee Avalon in Japan, gaining a glowing 92% review in rock magazine Burrn! as well as hitting number 72 in the HMV Japan chart. Around the same period, Tony was commissioned to write and record an second album for Georg Siegl's label, entitiled, 'State Of Rock', with Robby Boebel from Nuremberg act, 'Frontline'. Work was also completed on a more rock oriented TNT release for the end of the year, A Farewell To Arms, which returned to the classic sound of the band and was well received by fans and critics alike. After an ill fated attempt at another album with Shy, Tony wrote and recorded the second album for Serpentine, 'Living and Dying in High Definition'.
At the opening of 2011, Tony had relocated to Norway to embrace the release of the latest TNT album and began touring to promote A Farewell To Arms, which in Scandinavia, was titled Engine.
Tony has worked on many projects in Norway including Nergard, Hollow, Stig Gustu Larsen, Yamaha sessions with Victor Borge, live shows with Tore St. Moren (Jorn Lande) and collaborated on several charity concerns alongside Aage Sten Nilsen (Wig Wam), Trine Rein and various others.
Currently managed by Inga Woie & Woie Communications, he is working on his fourth solo album in Oslo and has been performing live shows in Europe and mainly Scandinavia, heralding TNT's 30th Anniversary.
Tony is still very much an active session artist for many European and American artist's within the rock and metal markets and continues into 2013 with a new solo album, featuring well known names from similar genres.