alias Zeke Rivers, Dodge Dakota, Remy Martin, Levon Las Vegas, Frankie Tenderloin, Rip Tide, Joe D'Allessandroid, Gene Om & Buck Shot
Anderson (fka Annie) Toone got his start as a teenaged harmonica player for white blues legend Mike Bloomfield and black beat poet Bob Kaufman in San Francisco in the late 70's.
Moving to New York in 79, he was one half of the drag king duo with Jordy Mark in the early drag king revue "Sex & Drag & Rock & Roles" at the first W.O.W. Festival in 1980.
It was there he met Kathy Rey and Adele Bertei. Together they founded the seminal downtown post punk band The Bloods, with x-Contortion Adele Bertei (left to right: Annie Toone, Kathy Rey, Adele Bertei and Leen Campbell in The New York Rocker, not shown bassist Brenda Alderman).
The Bloods played a ton of shows in the northeast and in what was then western Europe. They headlined venues as well as shared the bill with innumerable acts including The Clash, Gang of Four, The Slits, The Go-Gos, Au Pairs, Adam Ant, The Lounge Lizards, Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders,The Fall, REM, DNA, Lydia Lunch, Bush Tetras, ESG, Allen Ginsberg, Nona Hendryx, The Treacherous Three, and many more.
With Red Crayola, they provided
the soundtrack for
Lizzie Borden's first feature, the anarcho-feminist Revolutionary
In Flames which Adele starred in with Bush Tetras guitarist Pat
The Bloods first single Button Up, recorded in England in '81 on the Au Pairs Exit Records, became an indy dance classic, garnering rave reviews in the New York and British press and extensive club and air-play internationally.
Button-Up appears on the New York Noise Compilation released on CD and vinyl June 2003 on the British SoulJazz imprint. Time Out recommends it and Tangents said this. Rave reviews in Rolling Stone, great distribution and availability (from Other Music to Tower Records) meats that The Bloods finally got some recognition 20 years post no wave. Righteous props to all the dj's who kept the flame burning.
The Bloods contributed two songs to the Venus Weltklang compilation LP on Flame Records. Recorded live in Berlin in 1981 at the First International Women In Rock festival, which also features material by The Slits, The Au Pairs, Kleenex, The Modettes and Malaria. After touring Germany, Holland and the UK extensively during the The Bloods short, fast life, Anderson moved to Amsterdam in the spring of 1982.
Once there, he stayed in Europe for ten years, first founding the multinational avantjazz ensemble Idiotsavant in '83 with German musicians bassist Petra Ilyes (Minus Delta T) and drummer Lottie Marsau (Bitch Band #1, aka Leroi Pink).
As a presage of the yet uninvented technique of sampling, Idiotsavant used found sounds, a short-wave radio/tape machine called The Monster, a violin, a horn section, spoken word, industrial oildrums, and tympani in their lineup.The original Idiotsavant released two records: a 4 song EP Fiend Sender on the Eksakt label, and the punked-out pirate radio hit Go Fuck Yrself!.
After three years in Amsterdam, he moved to London and reformed Idiotsavant with sax player Clare Hirst (Bellestars) and guitarist Dominic Miller (Sting). Their horn-driven be-pop made them crowd and critical favorites across the diverse London club-scene, from the trendy disco Heaven to the trad jazz Ronnie Scotts.
In 1987 Toone composed the music for Nicole Freni's play Brooklyn E5, and Michelle Baughan's experimental film Jake's Progress.
From 89-91 he played harmonica, sang and stage dove with London's cowpunkettes The Well-Oiled Sisters. The Sisters were the headliners in UK Channel Four TV's expose on Women in Country Stand On Your Man in 1990 when k.d.lang declined to appear as she wasn't yet out to the public. The Sisters performed original music for and appeared in the BBC Comedy Came Out, It Rained, Went Back In Again also broadcast in 1990, starring AbFab's Bubbles Jane Horrocks.
In 91 Toone appeared and sang in Frank Clarke's (Letter To Brezhnev) directorial debut Blonde Fist, which, with a live appearance from The Sisters, opened the Edinburgh Festival.
Returning to San Francisco in '92, Toone started the Bucktooth Varmints (right) and created their trademark Dykeabilly sound with original members Max Airborne (center) & Jools Galoot. (pictured Jo Airborne, right).
Beloved Varmint tunes include The Brylcreem Blues, The Folsom Street Blues, Fat Gurl, and The Bulldagger Rag. Varmint line-ups from 92-96 included Peter Fogel (Pepperspray), Joe Scuderi (Articles of Faith) and J. Byrd Hosch (Kuntry K's).
In 1994 he contributed to the soundtrack of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the UK Channel 4 documentary of The 25th Anniversary of Stonewall. The Varmints appeared at several of the New York events as well as Toone's old haunt cbgb's and feautured Juston Bond and Jordan L' Amour as go-go-dancers. In 1995 he played harmonica on Bob Ostertag's CD Fear No Love on John Zorn's Avant Records.
1996 was a big year as he completed his multiple roles as Composer-lyricist, Musical Director & costar in the ground-breaking first ever Drag King musical Hillbillies On The Moon with Elvis Herselvis (Leigh Crow). Hillbillies On The Moon had it's world premiere at Theater Rhinoceros in San Francisco May 11 and ran through June 8th, starring Leigh and Toone as Deke & Zeke Rivers, The Hillbilly Kings (right).
Later in 96 he taught himself how to design and code websites and animate for the web. The LATimes featured his first website Toone in Space in an early article about Artists on the web. By years' end he began collaborating with photographer Erin O'Neill to create Madkats - "where drag is King!" In its heyday receiving 10,000 hits a day, Madkats was the original destination for the Drag King nation.
In 1998 he was featured and credited as a founding father of the Drag King movement in Del la Grace Volcano & Jack Halberstam's The Drag King Book (test polaroid for centerfold with Elvis, Harry Dodge and Toone, below left).
In 1999 he became Senior Flash Designer for Nickelodeon, contributing to the cutting edge multimedia enabled Flash interface for their Nick.comkid's portal. After MTV shut down Nickelodeon's west coast operations in 2000 he became Lead Designer on the teen portal react.com for jpkids.
In 2001 he created the trans-art website for komrad Jordy Jones Trans-Art show and panel series and wrote the first attempt at a Drag King history - The Drag King Timeline for Kingdom Magazine. He was very proud to become a Drag Dad to beloved sons Carlos & Ken Las Vegas. Carlos invited him into the Imperial Court system as a brother in the The Absolute Divine Dynasty of Las Vegas. He took the name Levon Las Vegas.
In 2002 he continued to write for Kingdom and commission work from other writers as the magazine's Features Editor. He wrote a profile of Harlem Renaissance singer and proto-king Gladys Bentley for the second issue and the cover story - an intimate exclusive with brother Elvis Herselvis for issue three.
A reprint of the The Drag King Timeline appeared as a keepsake for trans youth attending the first Drag King Jr Contest at the SF Gay Center.
2002 saw the birth of 2 new singing kings: Frankie Tenderloin--Part street hustler, part punk poet, all heart, Frankie Tenderloin & the Rent Boy$ kicked it up and down California from early 2002 through 04.
The other character is Rip Tide, fun-luvin' dimbulb surfer dude and all-around party guy. Rip made his debut appearance at the IDKE.4 Showcase singing his queeriginal ode to Kings "Drag Kings USA". Toone also designed the web site for IDKE.4 .
He was deeply honored to give the Keynote Address at the Conference in 2002. In it he posits drag kinging as a new and still evolving Performance Art form with roots in the overlapping queer, punk & ethnic urban subcultures of the past 20 years. It's role in shattering the Gender Binary - still to be determined. ;)
January 2003 UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library requested isr songs, copy of the the script, and promotional ephemera to complete their archive of documentation on Hillbillies on the Moon.
Smith College requested the Drag King Timeline and drag king archives for it's collection.
Toone's tribute to Clash frontman, the late Joe Strummer: Rant for Joe was reprinted in issue #4 the queerpunkzine Y Files by his mate Spike. Rant for Joe has been reprinted on various Clash sites and zines. He wrote an overview of what he dubbed the SF dragcore scene in the fourth issue of Kingdom.
May 03 saw his decision to medically transition after many years of contemplation. He chose the first name Anderson. Anders meaning different or other in German and is the scandanavian form of Andrew, meaning brave, masculine.
Returning to NYC in 04, Anderson created The Very Reverend Buck Shot, store-front preacher of The Gospel Of Transensual Love who performed up and down the east coast and in SF with partner Bebe Gunn during 04-5.
Summer 2007 he performed for and was interviewed for Riot Acts, the the award-winning Trans Music documentary by Chicago collective ActorSlashModel. That fall, he was honored to both present and perform at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta.
In October 07 Theater Rhino requested Hillbillies on the Moon inclusion in it's 30th year musical retrospective celebration as the longest running LGBT theater in the world. Original cast member Laurie Bushman performed the song for the festivities.
A profile of Anderson by Jacob Anderson-Minshall appeared in the syndicated TransNation column.
Where does Toone get it from? He believes he may be the reincarnation of his illustrious great-grandfather Snitz Edwards! whaddya think?
Answers on a postard.