Word comes to us that guitarist "Dangerous" Dan Toler passed away at his home with his wife by his side on Monday morning, February 25, 2013 after a lengthy battle with ALS, "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Toler was 65 years old.
Toler played with the Capricorn Records band The Melting Pot in the early 1970s, but he came to prominence as a member of Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts' band Great Southern. "Dangerous Dan" lent his talents to 1977's Dickey Betts & Great Southern and the following year's Atlanta's Burning Down albums. When the Allman Brothers reformed in the late 1970s, Toler was invited to join as the band's second guitarist, and he toured and recorded with the ABB for three years, appearing on three albums - 1979's acclaimed Enlightened Rogues, 1980's Reach For The Sky, and 1981's Brothers Of The Road - before the band broke up again.
With his drummer brother David "Frankie" Toler, Dan became a member of the Gregg Allman Band, where the guitarist would spend most of the 1980s. Toler's contributions as both a guitarist and songwriter can be heard on Allman's 1986 hit album I'm No Angel (Toler co-wrote four songs), as well as the singer's 1988 follow-up, Just Before The Bullets Fly (co-writing five songs). When Allman reformed the ABB in 1990, the Toler brothers struck out on their own as The Toler Brothers Band, touring with like-minded artists like Molly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas, and the Southern Rock All Stars.
Toler toured with Allman again in 1995 as part of the Gregg Allman and Friends line-up, and the guitarist later formed the Townsend Toler Band with his brother David and former Sanford-Townsend band keyboardist John Townsend. Toler also toured again with Betts when he reformed Great Southern in 2002, and later hooked up with several veteran musicians in forming The Renegades of Southern Rock, which featured former members of Wet Willie and the Marshall Tucker Band. Toler got back together with Townsend in 2009 to form the Toler/Townsend Band, the band releasing a self-titled album in Europe on the Blues Boulevard Records label.
Over the course of his lengthy career, Dan Toler got the chance to play with artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Charlie Daniels, Johnny Hiland, and many others. An exceptional and underrated musician who managed to make a living doing what he loved for better than four decades, Toler was loved by many, and his loss will be felt. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and many fans...
Dan Toler photo courtesy Mark Pucci Media