Tony Kinman (The Dils, Rank & File) Ford Madox Ford Producer/Co-Writer Passes at Age 63
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Tony Kinman, Musician, Composer, Producer and founding member of bands The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird, and Cowboy Nation.
Mr. Kinman was a consummate innovator and risk taker. Not content with The Dils being the first acclaimed punk rock band on the West-Coast of the United States, he and his brother Chip Kinman along with Nuns guitarist Alejandro Escovedo and drummer Slim Evans invented what we now refer to as Alt-Country with their band Rank and File. They quickly signed with Los Angeles’ Slash Records who were convinced of the band’s worth by Producer David Kahne who had spotted them performing in San Francisco.
The Slash revolution was deeply relevant in American music history and inspired others like Dwight Yoakam, who had great respect for the stylings of the Slash roster of bands which at the time included Rank and File, X and The Gun Club. Rank and File’s debut full-length “Sundown” was voted one of the best recordings of 1982 by both the Village Voice and the Los Angeles Times. The Everly Brothers covered the Kinman penned hit “Amanda Ruth” cementing the brother’s legacy as composers of the highest order. “Sundown” cracked the Billboard top 100 and the band would record two further L.P’s for Warner Brothers before calling it quits.
Post Rank and File, the brothers Kinman again moved on from what they had created and reinvented themselves with Blackbird, a post punk drum machine fueled band that embraced Brit Pop. Another incarnation Cowboy Nation, boasted a folk-based sound heavy on Tony’s bottomless voice. Both were fan favorites and groundbreaking in their own distinct timbre.
Mr. Kinman worked up until illness overtook him. In yet another shape shift he recently produced the debut L.P. “This American Blues” for his brother Chip’s band Ford Madox Ford which was released on February 16, 2018. Reinventing Blues without the cliches is a tall order but one that Mr. Kinman embraced with vigor and purpose.
Tony Kinman wore a multitude of musical hats and gave us many opportunities to celebrate song with him. May his soul be at peace knowing how many people he touched with his pure and natural gift of music.
Steven B. Kravac