Angeles: Yeah, L.A. Land of candy coated dreams, and the wannaí be B.S.
people who think L.A. is the winning Lotto ticket, and for people like
me, yeah, I just watched myself on C-NBC October 25th, then
had a radio interview on November 6th. I was on KHNL/NBC
Morning show in Hawaii July 24th 2006, the list goes on. I
could never have dreamed that I would be associated with people in such
a big murder case. I have spent the last 3 years trying to forget, but
now I need to remember. Iím not going to sugar coat anything, this is a
synopsis of what really happened:
My name is Tony Gamble.
I come from a rich family, but ended up on the streets of L.A. I use the
term (Rich Family) loosely, as we were poor, but my Dad became a famous
L.A. Movie stunt pilot; John Gamble was my dad. He flew helicopters in
just about everything from the 1980ís from Scarface, "A-Team", "Dukes Of
Hazard", to a whole bunch of other movies and TV. that I donít
rememberÖ I wanted to be a professional skate boarder or a pro tennis
player, but Rock Ní Roll took over. So, I could go on about where I
started, but the bottom line is this:
Today is October 13, 2007, and have been procrastinating writing this,
as last time I started was exactly a year ago, but then I got a phone
call last night from Gary Schimmel; youíll get to know these names and
who they are as I write. Gary is a big key to this chapter in my life,
we were room mates for six years, and let me tell you some of the
craziest things happened in that Town House in Encino! The phone call
was pertaining to the David Steinberg murder case. I was questioned in
2004 because Chris Walsh was found Dead in a storage unit in Van Nuys;
well, a friend of mines storage unit. The call was that the defense is
trying to get a hold of me because they want to ask me some questions
regarding, well, who knows. I gave a statement a few years ago. I told
Gary to say that he couldnít get a hold of me. I mean Fuck that! I have
no desire to be involved in that shit. I guess the watch I gave Chris is
still a big issue, as when they opened up the trash can and dumped his
body out he was still wearing it. I will fill you in on this, but right
now I just need to get this out. Anyway, I then received a phone call
from my best friend George Jassick, he did a year and a half for
accessory to murder although he had nothing to do with it, a case of a
drug dealer being in the wrong place wrong time. George goes to court
again next week to testify. I feel bad for him because he has his life
back and is a successful grip in the film industry. He also has a son to
care for. Just when you think itís over, it comes right back to haunt
have been through some jacked up shit but how everything falls apart can
happen in the blink of an eye, or in some cases, the cops kicking in the
begins Tony Gamble's noir tale of illicit drugs, rock'n roll and murder
in Lotus Land, where the rich and the famous raise their kids among
Southern California's unique working class of entertainment industry
professionals, stars and hangers-on, dreamers, foggy fans, service
workers, street-level hustlers and, when things go wrong, homicide
detectives and news reporters.
was born Anthony Burton MacAfee on May 29th 1967 in Peoria Illinois, I
think my dad was a sales man for the Olivetti corporation, and my mom
was, well, Iím not sure. My parents had already bought a home in L.A.
when I was born but my mom wanted to shit me out in Illinois and then
move to L.A. I guess we were living in Woodland Hills, but I donít
really remember, I was only three weeks old for fuck sake.
The earliest memories I have were when we lived in ďBig RockĒ in Malibu.
I remember it was early seventies, and I got my first skate board with
clay wheels on it, and I knew I loved skating and then urethane wheels
came out, I fuckiní missed that era in my life. I was going to Webster
elementary school in Malibu, and I would skate my little heart out. I
donít really remember much happiness in our house so I would skate and
ride my bike a lot.
growing up surrounded by entertainment industry types, including the
sports entertainment people who populated his boyhood dreams.
"Allen Sarlo's dad was an acquaintance of my dad..."
I remember one day my dad
had invited a professional surfer over to try and teach me the rope.
Well, before I get into that, I guess my dad was doing business with
some real-estate guy, whose son was named Allen Sarlo, and he was really
cool, he came over to the house and gave me a crash course in surfing.
Little did I know he was part of the Zephyr surf team and one of the Z
boys from Dog Town!
Man, this dude could surf
like a madman, and everybody watching him had their jaws dropped. He
still surfs pro I think, but at this point I was getting the hang of it
and day by day I was getting better, I mean between the skating and
surfing I was doing pretty well. Finally Bret (Stokes) decided I was
ready to start surfing Staircase and to be introduced to the boys. I was
stoked! No pun intended!
My first day was not very
cool, the guys made me clean up beer bottles and beer cans, trash and
everything else on that beach, I had to earn my right to surf there, but
I didnít care, I was hanginí with the older crowd and if I did a good
job they might let me be a part of the crew. I was eager to please, and
anxious to show them my trash bags full and hoped to get rewarded, and
when I was done they let me surf, and surf I did.
I was the only one in the water and everyone was on the beach watching
me, talk about stress! I needed one good wave, and I remember the skyís
were grey and the water was glassy, and there was a small swell, I
caught a relatively small left, but Iím a goofy foot (Left Handed) so I
stand face to the left, but I shredded every part of that wave, and when
I heard all the hooting and hollering, I knew I did good. I paddled back
in and everyone was stoked that this little kid could surf with the big
boys. I was smiling from ear to ear, and then came the final part of my
initiation to the gang.
This one guy named Mike
McKenna whom everyone made fun of because he was a Val. I didnít know
what that was at the time, but then I was told he was from the valley
and that Valís sucked and they were invading our surf spots and they all
needed to stay home or get their asses kicked. Well, I guess he had
become a local because he spent so much time in Malibu. Anyway, he pulls
out this weird tube that had water in it and a metal thing sticking out
of it, I was like what the heck is that? Mike said it was a bong and you
smoke pot from it. I was told I had to smoke a bowl, and while the smoke
was still in my lungs I had to take a drink from this bottle of whiskey.
Ummm ok. I took my hit and swigged on the bottle, and that was it. I was
on my ass!
uninitiated, Allen Sarlo was one of Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr
Productions original "Z-Boys", the wrong-side-of-the-tracks surf crew
that dominated the waters off Bay Street in Santa Monica, and off the
old Pacific Ocean Park amusement park, known to the locals as "Dogtown".
This unlikely group of "losers" would have a profound effect on youth
culture, as the Z-Boys brought their surf technique on shore, where they
perfected a skateboarder's style that was low-slung and rich with
tricks. The Z-Boys became West Los Angeles street legends and then
competed as a team in the 1975 Del Mar Nationals, which marked the
re-birth of skateboarding, which had developed in the 1960s but faded in
popularity until the Z-Boys brought it back with a style that made it
cool. The story was told in the 2005 film "Lords of Dogtown", starring
the late Heath Ledger.
As it turned
out, it was further proximity to high-end music pros who would give Tony
a leg-up on the profession that would supplant his skater's dreams.
"I was living at the Malibu Bay Club off of PCH and
some new people had moved into a couple of the houses, and there were
kids about my age. The one girl spoke funny, (British Accent) and she
told me her dad was here doing music. The boy said his dad was a singer.
The Girl, her name was Kirsty Birch and her dad was Martin Birch, who is
a legendary Producer, and the band was Rainbow, and they were recording
an album and the kids dad was Ronnie Dio! So I just became friends with
all of them and my mom became friends with Ronnie's wife. From there they
had a song out at the time 'Man on A Silver Mountain'. I thought it was
cool, and Richie's guitars just mesmerized me. My dad got me an acoustic
guitar, and Richie gave me my first lesson! Pretty cool when you look
back on it."
skater culture was taking hold in the U.S., it was not a phenomena that
was big in England, where young Tony was headed, not entirely by choice.
His relocation from L.A. sounds like that joke about the kid whose parents
moved away while he was at school.
"I guess, I would say, I don't
come from the streets, but I lived on the streets for a period of about
6-8 months. I actually come from a family who had money, but they were
never supportive at all, so they pretty much took me to England for a
vacation, and lets just say they came back and I didn't. I went to
school there and then after school would go to work in a factory
building refrigerators, etc. I was there for 6 years and when I came back
to L.A. to go to music school I had no money and nowhere to live, so I
school Tony returned to L.A. to attend was the highly regarded Dick
"Dana, the head of the guitar program, took notice of me right when I
graduated and asked me to work for them, so I said yes. It lasted on and
off for about 5 years."
contributed to a number of Grove's guitar instruction books, and his
work with Grove led to other teaching opportunities.
"Since I have done a lot of teaching, I worked for
Steve Trovato (USC Jazz Dept) doing instructional videos in motion
capture, I was the first guitar player to ever film in Mo-Cap!"
also led to a long-standing association with ESP Guitars.
"ESP and I have had a working
relationship since 1993. I was w/ another company for a while but was
not really happy. I approached ESP, Matt who is now the CEO, called
Seymour Duncan pickups for a reference, they gave me a good one, and he
said lets do this. I have been w/ them ever since, and they have stuck
by me and have given me a lot of guitars over the years. I love em'. I
also did clinics/seminars for them at NAMM."
None of these
opportunities would have come his way, of course, were Tony Gamble not
the talent that he is. By the time he enrolled at Dick Grove, he had
already toured England with the band "Little Dolls" and was on his way
to establishing his "brand", which crosses over the boundaries
separating electric from acoustic music, rock from soul.
In 2002, Tony
released On Coming Train, tracks from which found homes on
alternative playlists around the country, with music reviewers surprised
to find the rocker, who for a decade had toured as a side player
in hard rocking bands, to be self-inclined toward edgy acoustics. He was
"Dave Mathews with an attitude", according to one writer.
In 2007, he
returned with another surprise twist, a ukulele rock album, Breaking
Tradition, which garnered awards from uke-oriented music groups. And
now he is back with Trial by Fire, a recording with vocalist
David Hoiseck, which they are releasing this month (October 2009) as
Back a few
years, however, Tony Gamble was living a lifestyle that, by his own
description, represented "a very dangerous situation". This is the
"noir" part of his rock journey that he tells in his book in
DRUGS, WATCHES AND MURDER:
"Drugs came much later in life, and
I want to stress, I never
did any illegal drugs. It started with Vicodin and progressed to Oxy's
and Fentinyl pops (Morphine) on which I OD'd pretty often, etc. It got
really bad. The dangerous situation was, my roommate was a drug dealer, and lets just say things got way out of hand...
"That was crazy, I was
living in Encino With a roommate who was selling drugs. It didn't bother
me too much because he kept it out of the house and nobody ever came
over. I went on tour and was gone for 4 months and when I got home
everything changed. It was like a major party at my house every night. A
friend of ours had just gotten out of jail and needed a place to crash
for a few months, so our place was a big 3 bedroom townhouse, so we let
"We would stay up and hang
and drink all night, he was a very cool dude to me, but I wouldn't want
to get on his bad side. He stayed for probably 6 months or so, but while
he was at our pad he had another friend that he has known for 15 years.
That dude was a nut, a 'white pride' kinda guy. I got along with pretty
much anybody - still do - but I had my own watch company and I was
selling them and trying to get my company off the ground.
"Chris - the guy who got
murdered - bought a couple watches from me and paid 1/2 and then he was
going to pay me the other 1/2 with pills. He ended up bringing a watch
back for me to adjust the strap and said he would pick it up in a few
days. He came back a few days later, and asked for the watch, I then
asked for the pills. He didn't have them. So I said I would give him the
watch when he pays me.
"He left and later that night
called some other chick that we knew and left a message saying I
disrespected him and he was going to kill me. Next thing we had an army
of bikers, etc., armed, over at my house waiting to see if Chris would
actually come over and do it. He ended up not showing up, thank God. My
buddy Dave (roommate) said that Chris was not going to let it go. I
decided to give Chris another watch just to make peace. My Roommate
Gary, helped co-sign for an apartment for Chris and Dave.
"Long story short, Chris went
missing, eventually they found his body shot and stabbed in a trash can
in another friends storage unit. This was all over the news. I was
actually relieved because Chris was a menace. I was questioned but they
knew right away I had nothing to do with it. Dave got sentenced to life
without parole." (See sidebar story)
TRIAL BY FIRE:
events in Tony Gamble's life, particularly revolving around the 2003
murder described above, it might make sense to assume that "Trial By
Fire", the title of his new album, is a reference to that. In fact, it
relates to something far more mundane, if somewhat typical of another
aspect of the life of a music pro: dissatisfaction with the industry in
which he works, the music business.
"The new album has nothing to
do with the book. It has more to do with wanting to quit music because I
feel I was really fucked over by the business, and this album has been 6
years in the making and by all means almost never happened."
burned by the business transactions around his "killer ukulele" LP.
"Throughout the years
Iíve dealt with many agents and managers. In this case my agent also ran
the distribution for various labels and artists. Lets just say she has
some Grammy winning artists on her roster. She signed me and made a lot
of promises, we booked a month long tour of Hawaii and she did get me on
all the TV/Radio shows that were happening as well as Borders book
signings and in store appearances. My album was in stores, even Tower
Records on Sunset."
Tony and his
agent had a falling out over price points.
"They wanted to and did sell
my record for $17.99. I thought it was over priced and ridiculous to
sell it at that price especially since there are only 11 songs on the
record. Their thought was 'we could make more money, and I will get a
bigger royalty rate'. That was disgusting to me. Lower the price I said,
I donít care about a higher royalty. Make it cost effective for people.
They lowered the price to $13.99 only when I did an appearance. Lame!"
many independent artists, has evolved to a strong "do it yourself"
perspective on music career management.
"First off I just want to say
I get real tired of the industry taking advantage of artists/bands. We
as musicians can be at the mercy of the industry, big names, small
names, no names. Unfortunately we need these people when we start
getting bigger, they are a necessary evil if you want to progress, and
in turn they really need us.
"I'm not really harboring any
bad feelings towards the business, maybe some of the people in the biz.
But like any company, your going to have the good employees and the bad
ones. I think there are a lot of problems within the industry, and
that's why they are in trouble. Artists can make things happen for
themselves without having to go through the corporations. I have no
regrets, I think its all a learning experience you know?"
and David Hoisek are busily promoting Trial By Fire, doing radio
interviews and life performances. They were at the Viper Room earlier
this month and will be there again in November, with a Vegas show in
the Viper Room this month, before the new album was available, which is
impressive for a guy (Tony) who hasn't been active on the club scene for
a couple years. "I
play for companies at NAMM that are bigger paying gigs doing
seminars/clinics. I try not to play out too much in Hollywood though,
maybe once a month is good, but I'm just getting back in the game w/
Tony, who is
41 ("I am 41 but look like 30, haha") and single, is relaxed and
charming on stage, an unpretentious player with a noticeably deft touch.
"Thanks! I try to be
charming. lol. I'm not angry, I used to be angry though. I can be moody,
and I get pissed off sometimes, especially when people don't follow
through with their commitments. Who I am really is just a simple person
with a simple life. I used to have so much but lost almost everything.
I'm just glad I'm alive and I'm really just trying to have fun playing
music now. I was lucky enough to have worked with some really big names
in the business, I've toured countless times. Man I got to do a lot of
cool stuff. I just want to be a normal person, I never cared about being
a rock star or needed all the attention. I know who I am now. My
creativity hasn't changed based on what has happened in the past, I
think we all get great Ideas when bad things happen!"
great-from-bad idea is his book, which he is passionate about, even
while needing help to make it happen. (He could use the assistance of a
ghost writer to finish it up. "I'm not a writer," he says, "I just
"It's going to be called
Valhalla of Decadence - A True Story of Music, Murder and Mayhem in L.A.
I will only publish this through a mainstream genuine publisher. It
deserves that and more."
"Iíve learned a ton of
lessons in life and about the streets, people, real gang stuff. You name
it. I think the point of this book is to show how you can come from the
streets, be homeless, have a drug addiction, almost die several times,
live in a very dangerous situation and be able to clean up and still
pursue your dreams and come out of the worst adversity and be okay.
There is hope for everybody who may be suffering, but its up to you to
determine whether or not you want to commit to a better life.
"I think I'm just taking each
day, I would say I'm happier than I have been, I only drink now and I
cleaned up on my own, one of the hardest things to do. I would say to
people who want to quit and rehab is an option...Do it!"
Devonshire Area Homicide Unit
2004 Press Release -
"Publicís Help Needed To
Capture Murder Suspect"
Wednesday, February 4, 2004, at 11:00 a.m.
Devonshire Area Police Station, 10250 Etiwanda Avenue, Northridge
29, 2003, at about 1:30 p.m., an off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriffís
Deputy was fired at by a gunman at a condominium complex located in the
9900 block of Topanga Boulevard in Chatsworth. The Deputy was unharmed
by the gunfire and the gunman ran away.
an associate of the suspected gunman, lived at the complex and witnessed
the unprovoked attack. He was detained for questioning and released.
Following an extensive
investigation by members of the Devonshire Homicide Unit, the gunman was
David Michael Steinberg.
Arrest warrants charging Steinberg with assault and Walsh for accessory
were issued on June 24, 2003. In the course of attempting to locate and
arrest these suspects, the investigators became aware that Walsh had
been reported as a missing person by family members on June 30, 2003. On
the same day the detectives located Steinberg in a North Hollywood
apartment and arrested him for assaulting the Deputy, evidence recovered
pursuant to a search warrant at Steinbergís apartment suggested foul
play had transpired inside the apartment.
On July 2, 2003, human
remains were discovered concealed in a container in a public storage
unit located at 15460 Erwin Street in Van Nuys. The remains were
identified as those of Christopher Walsh. The autopsy revealed Walsh had
been shot to death. Devonshire Homicide retained investigative
responsibility for the collateral murder of Walsh based on the likely
connection to the prior assault on the deputy.
An exhaustive investigation
has resulted in the issuance of a murder arrest warrant for David
Steinberg, as well as for his accomplice,
Jeffrey Lawrence Weaver.
Additionally, an accessory to murder allegation was charged on two other
associates identified as Tony Shane Wilson and George Jassick. Steinberg
has been in custody on the prior charge and is to be arraigned for the
murder of Christopher Walsh on February 4, 2004, in San Fernando Court.
Homicide detectives and
field agents from the California Department of Corrections Parole
located and arrested Tony Shane Wilson on February 3, 2004, at a
residence located in the 11200 block of Blix Street in Toluca Lake. One
hour later George Jassick was arrested at his work location in the
Hollywood area. Both Wilson and Jassick remain in custody pending
arraignment on February 4, 2004, for the accessory to murder charges.
Suspect Jeffrey Weaver is
still at large. He is believed to be in the Southern California area.
Weaver is also wanted in connection with an armed business robbery that
occurred on January 11, 2004, in the 18400 block of Burbank Boulevard in
Reseda. Weaver is a
career criminal and should be considered armed and dangerous.
Weaver is 34 years old
Caucasian, 6í 00", 250 lbs., blond hairs and blue eyes. A photograph of
Weaver will be released during the news conference to alert the
community and to ask for the publicís help in locating this extremely
Anyone with information is
asked to contact Devonshire Area Homicide Unit, at 818-756-8291. On
weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at the
Detective Information Desk, at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).
This news advisory was
prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations
Section, at 213-485-3586.
- From the CBS Los Angeles,
Jan 7, 2008:
One of two men convicted in the shooting
death of a man whose decomposing remains were found in a Van Nuys
self-storage unit was sentenced Monday to 40 years to life in prison for
carrying out the killing because the victim witnessed a crime. "You were
an active and direct participant in a cold-blooded murder," Los Angeles
Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor told 38-year-old Jeffrey Lawrence
Weaver. "You actively participated in the murder of someone who was
helpless. It doesn't get much lower than that."
Weaver was convicted Dec. 13 of
second-degree murder for the June 2003 shooting death of Christopher
Walsh, whose remains were found swathed in plastic and duct tape in a
storage container on July 2, 2003.
Co-defendant David Michael Steinberg, 41, of Studio City, was convicted
Dec. 11 of first-degree murder and is facing life in prison without the
possibility of parole when he is sentenced Feb. 5.
Steinberg shot Walsh multiple times because
he had witnessed Steinberg shoot at an off-duty sheriff's deputy, who
was not struck by the gunfire, at a Chatsworth condominium complex in
January 2003, and Weaver finished him off with a gunshot to the head,
according to prosecutors.
In a brief statement to the victim's family
before being sentenced, Weaver said the victim "was alive when I walked
out of there." "I didn't shoot him, but I probably could have helped
him," the defendant said. The judge was unconvinced. "Mr. Weaver, your
words ring hollow as far as I'm concerned," Pastor said. "You are a
murderer. You are a coward."
The judge said he would recommend that
Weaver never be released on parole.
Dave Hoisek and Tony Gamble
Says Tony - "Dave
was my next door neighbor for almost 4 years, I knew he was a singer,
but had no intention of working w/ him because I'm a singer. So I got
called to play a show, and I was thinking, I should ask Dave if he wants
to come up and sing a song or 2 and he said yes. I gave him a copy of
the songs and when he came over to practice we ended up writing a song
called "Back There Again" I really liked his voice and the rest is
history! I thought it would be cool to have him learn my set and he has
been my singer since then. He only sang 3 songs on the new record, 'Back
There Again', 'Lead Me On', and 'Eyes of Her Love'. The rest is me
Trial By Fire Credits
George Evans - Bass
on: "Back There Again", "Sometimes", "Happened To Me", "Drink Here No
Bass on "Orega Funk"
Voyce McGinnley -
Congas, V-Drums on certain tracks.
Trial By Fire was
mastered by George Evans at Park Avenue Studios in Kansas
City MO by George Evans. Special thanks brotha' (from Tony)
NOTE: When asked who he considered "cool", Tony Gamble's
response, in part, was - "I also think George at Park Ave Studios is
cool. He mastered my new record!
TONY GAMBLE MP3s:
(Click links to play)
Acoustico Live - Gamble/Hoisek
Candy - NAMM Demo
Fut Da' Wok - Tony Gamble
Just Passin' By - Tony
Ortega Funk - NAMM Demo
Sometimes - Gamble/Hoisek
One Summer Night -
been writing tunes for his new LP Trial By Fire since 2007, and
considered titling it "Corporate Messiah's Tony Gamble"
TONY GAMBLE CD LINKS
On Coming Train
Valhalla of Decadence
by Tony Gamble)
This shit gets interesting, because no eight year old kid gets to hang
with rock stars and starts drinking and smoking weed. Ahh, but you
dad had bought a three story home right on the beach about half a mile
from County Line, and Neptuneís Net was a restaurant with a little
grocery store attached, and itís still there to this day. On the beach
side was a Hot Dog stand that no longer exists. I fell in love with
Malibu, if you looked out my bedroom window there were big giant rocks
in the water that me and my little sister Nicole would play on, and they
had tide pools, and I remember pulling the Muscle shells off the rocks
and opening them up and using the insides for bate, because little fish
would get trapped in the tide pools, and I would fish for them. It was
fun. That was also where I discovered surfing, which was perfect for me
as I loved skateboarding except this was on the water. I remember seeing
this dude around the Bay Club, and he looked really cool, he had long
blonde hair and hung out with these really cool surfer dudes. He was
about 18, and I was maybe 8, but I wanted in, Big Time! He drove this
cool van and would drink beer and smoke pot, his name I will never
forget. Bret Stokes. I donít really remember how I mustered up the
courage to talk with him but it happened and we became friends, he was
into some really cool music that I fell in love with, I remember Ted
Nugent and Aerosmith, it was loud and mean. I was hooked. I think Bret
gave me my first surfboard, and I was dedicated, I would be in the water
everyday just trying to get myself up on my feet. About 50 yards from
the house was a cool surf spot called Stair Case, and I was a little
scared to try there, I mean, these guys might have drown me, or even
worse, give me beer and pot! I figured I would just stay out front of
the house and surf there until I could at least stand up on the damn
Gamble'n Hoisek at the Viper Room in October