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Published: 2011/06/06

Former Allman Brothers Band Drummer David "Frankie" Toler Passes Away

Former Allman Brothers Band drummer David “Frankie” Toler died on Saturday, June 4 in Bradenton, FL while in hospice care after a prolonged illness that included two liver transplants. He was 59.

The drummer and his older brother Dan Toler rose to fame as members of the classic 1970s version of Dickey Betts & Great Southern and David Toler appears on the group’s 1978 album Atlanta’s Burning Down. Both Dan Toler and Great Southern bassist David Goldflies joined the reformed Allman Brothers Band in the late ‘70s and David Toler ascended to the group’s ranks in 1980 after founding drummer Jaimoe was fired from the band. The Tolers remained with The Allman Brothers Band through their second break in 1982 and appear on the 1981 album Brothers of the Road. The album spawned the single “Straight From the Heart,” which was a radio hit at the time.

“Frankie was a big part of that era of the Brothers,” Gregg Allman told Relix shortly after Toler’s passing. “We had amazing times and we stayed great friends. I’m gonna miss him.”

After The Allman Brothers Band parted ways, Dan and David Toler continued to perform in Gregg Allman’s solo band. The brothers also continued to work with Allman in the studio and appear on his hit 1986 comeback album I’m No Angel. Though David Toler was not part of The Allman Brothers Band’s two official 1986 reunion shows, he did perform as part of an Allman Brothers Band family reunion tour that same year with his brother, Allman and Betts.

“Frankie was absolutely the best drummer I have ever played with in my entire life,” Dan Toler said in a statement. “He was a part of my life for the past 60 years and to lose him now is just devastating. But I did have the opportunity to grow up with one of the best rock and roll drummers in the world and it was truly a gift from God. I was blessed to have known him.”

The Allman Brothers Band cut ties with the Tolers after their 1989 reunion, but Dan Toler joined the reformed Great Southern in the early ‘00s. Meanwhile, David Toler continued to perform for large crowds as a member of The Marshall Tucker Band from 1992-1994. He also appears on the group’s 1993 release Walk Outside The Line and recorded a pair of albums with his brother as The Toler Brothers Band. More recently, he drummed with the supergroup the Renegades of Southern Rock as well as Dan Toler’s Toler/Townsend Band.

David Toler received two liver transplants in 2009. Around the time, musicians such as Dan Toler, the Outlaws, Gwen Fogts All-Star Band, John Townsend, Johnny Hiland Band and Michael Allman appeared at a benefit concert to help with his medical bills. Though he made a few appearances, the drummer’s declining health prevented him from touring in his final years.

He is the fifth member of The Allman Brothers Band to pass away, following founding guitarist Duane Allman, founding bassist Berry Oakley and two other former bassists, Lamar Williams and Allen Woody. The drummer is survived by his wife, Marsha and their daughter, Aja Kayle.


There are 16 comments associated with this post

Michael Wells June 6, 2011, 10:09:38

R.I.P Frankie…..Dan I will keep you and your family in my prayers….I’m sure he’s playing drums with the angels right now….Michael Wells

myrna June 6, 2011, 20:37:20

from one musical family and childhood kinship to another we try to understand you loss. Love you! Myrna and Jack

Cara June 6, 2011, 22:09:27

Knew Dan when he was touring with Dickey in 2001-2003.Bumped into him in 2005 playing the Bradenton seafood fesitival with his brother-what a fun show. They just smiled the whole time playing in essentially their backyard I know he is devestated at the loss of his brother. Prayers to the entire Toler family.

tommy slattery June 7, 2011, 00:19:59

Back in the mid 70’s I lived in Sarasota, had a band that never really amounted to much, but had a great time enjoying a very vibrant music scene. My little brother Timmy, one of our drummers, had devdeloped a relationship with Frankie based on their mutual love of vintage drums, and they would lend stuff to each other. Got a call from Tim one night asking me if I wanted to play at a pickup gig on Sista Key, although he had few details about the gig. I loaded up, arrived and found out that the players would be me on guitar, Timmy and Frankie on Drums, and a phenomonal guy whose name I can’t remember on Chapman Stick. Long story short, I wasn’t really that good back then and clearly had no reason to be playing with guys way better than me, but the whole time Frankie was nothing but supportive, and kept the selections to where I wasn’t too much over my head. I still play, have gotten a little better and have had the opportunity to play with some fairly well known people throughout the years. I have never met anyone more charming, kind and down to earth. To those who knew him well, my most sincere condolonces on your loss. I didn’t really know Frankie that well, but my life is enriched for the brief amount of time that I did. Keep him in your heart. Thank you Frankie.

Pat Fulghum June 7, 2011, 03:11:53

May God bless you all and give you strength in this time of sorrow. Peace and love, Pat

John Townsend June 7, 2011, 16:45:17

This article has some inaccuracies. Frankie had only one liver transplant and it was over 2 years ago. Please refer to this article for a more accurate view… Mark Pucci Media FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2011
Contact: Mark Pucci (770-804-9555) / HYPERLINK “” DAVID “FRANKIE” TOLER, FORMER ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND DRUMMER, PASSES AWAY AT AGE 59 BRADENTON, FL – David “Frankie” Toler, former Allman Brothers Band drummer, passed away Saturday, June 4, 2011, at 2:00 PM in hospice care in Bradenton, Florida, after a prolonged illness at the age of 59. Frankie is survived by his wife, Marsha, their daughter, Aja Kayle, and his older brother, Dan Toler. Frankie Toler’s health had been in decline for several years and it prevented him from recording and going on tour, but after receiving a liver transplant two years ago he had been able to play at some band rehearsals. Frankie Toler had an extensive and stellar career as a world-class professional drummer, and played on the world stage with legendary bands and musicians, many whom are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Frankie came to national attention in the 1970s when he appeared on Dickey Betts & Great Southern’s album, Atlanta’s Burning Down, and he toured extensively with the band. Later, Frankie was asked to be the drummer for The Allman Brothers Band and he appeared on their album, Brothers of the Road. When Gregg Allman began planning his solo album at the time, he only had one drummer in mind for his new band: Frankie Toler. Frankie recorded two albums with Gregg and touring extensively as the drummer with The Gregg Allman Band. Frankie also played and toured with The Marshall Tucker Band from 1992-1994 and he played on their album, Walk Outside The Line. Frankie, along with his brother Dan, recorded two albums as The Toler Brothers Band and together they toured extensively throughout the country in the early 90s. In 2005, Frankie recorded an album with a legendary ensemble of Southern Rock all-stars as the Renegades of Southern Rock; and in 2009 Frankie played drums on the Toler/Townsend Band’s self-titled first album. Frankie Toler’s brother, Dan Toler, who was the lead guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band, the Gregg Allman Band and Dickey Betts Great Southern Band, said of his younger brother, “Frankie was absolutely the best drummer I have ever played with in my entire life. He was a part of my life for the past 60 years and to lose him now is just devastating. But I did have the opportunity to grow up with one of the best rock and roll drummers in the world and it was truly a gift from God. I was blessed to have known him.” - 30 –

joy June 7, 2011, 19:03:17

Sorry for the lose of a great drummer. You will be missed.

David McCoy June 10, 2011, 19:31:22

I drove to Florida to pick up Frankie when he first started to play with Marshall Tucker back in 1992. I learned alot about Frankie on the ride from Florida to Spartanburg, SC. He was a good man with a great family, which I had the pleasure of spending sometime with. I will always remember the the times we spent together on tour with Tucker. He always had a joke or snappy come back for anything you could throw his way. I will miss him and look forward to seeing in heaven. To Dan, I met you a few times and have deep respect and admoration for you. Hopefully you will remember me. I was the equipment truck driverfor Tucker from 1991 to 2000 off and on. Keep you head up, I will keep you all in my prayers.

soundude in Gadsden, AL June 15, 2011, 01:01:18

Wow, is all I can say…Dan and family I feel for your loss. Danny, you and Frankie did a gig in my town, stayed at my house, we road in my boat on the river. Tombstone Bullets, damn you guys sounded great. Beyond ABB and Tucker you guys were great in your own right. I hope you can dig deep in the memories and remember this town, gig, and you and your brother’s stay here…it was a memory I will never forget. RIP Frankie Toler…
Heaven’s Band has one big lineup…waiting to tweak the knobs one me a place.

Teri in Bradenton, Fl. June 19, 2011, 00:32:36

I met Frankie in 83, He really was a great guy. I will always remember how happy he was when he told us he was getting married, all smiles. I will always remember him that way. My condolences to all that knew him. Teri

richard wease June 21, 2011, 19:51:14

I will always rember frankie i loved him very much a wounderfull brother i will forever miss I pray for marsha danny andfamily for the holy spirt to heal and protect them love lonsome dick

Bobbie June 26, 2011, 09:05:46

I just had the pleasure of meeting this Great man back in 2009..I had the pleasure of meeting his wife first after meeting her employee that was my friend. I finally had the chance to go hang out at her house where I met Dave. I remember just sitting there talking and then all of a sudden Dave busted out drumming on the table and some other random items on it. at the time I did not realize who he was until my friend said this is Dave the drummer from the Allman mouth dropped in awe and I almost started to cry as this was one of my recently deceased Fathers favorite bands and the mention of the name brought back memories of my father and I listening to their songs while smoken lol. good times..but I just wanted to say to Marsha that I AM SOO SORRY for your loss of such a GREAT MAN.. I am soo sorry I couldn’t be there for you and your family. Even tho my x friend no longer talks with you doesnt mean that I have the same feelings.. You and yours ALWAYS treated me like I was family just as I would you guys.. Much love to you and your family. Dave (as i knew him) will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!! RIP DAVE now you and my Dad can rock away in Heaven until I see you again.. Peace Happiness and Love of the drums for life and beyond!!

Duke & Donna Morsbach July 13, 2011, 11:06:58

Danny, Duke and I were sorry to hear about Dave. Sorry for your loss. Duke saw Bill Kelly last night and he told him about Dave.

Susie Major August 21, 2011, 02:02:00

and Massha and myself worked at the Mooonraker I am Susie and am deeply sorry about Frankie he reakky loved my late husband Johnnny sax Major
pst kearning computer and pllease contact me marsha love tou very much and soooooo sorry I know thr feeeling….God Bless you and alll the family contact me through my e-mail am living in the Old Quebec City Canade… always susie

Boyce Anderson October 2, 2011, 13:48:50

My name is Boyce. I rolled with Dave and Dan in the early years in No.Ky. and Indiana days. We worked part time and did weekends in smokey bars. They made an everlasting impression on me. I feel a great loss with Dave. He was a good man, witty, kind, a great sense of humor and smile. rip.

Boyce Anderson October 2, 2011, 13:52:34

My name is Boyce. I rolled with Dave and Dan in the early years in No.Ky. and Indiana days. We worked part time and did weekends in smokey bars. They made an everlasting impression on me. I feel a great loss with Dave. He was a good man, witty, kind, a great sense of humor and smile. rip.

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