Anthony Paul Mills was born on July 7th, 1962, in Solihull, England, southeast of Birmingham. In April 2019, Mills announced that he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and this led to his death on September 18, 2019.
Tony Mills rose to fame with the melodic hard rock band Shy (formed in 1980 and originally called Trojan), whom he joined in 1983 in time for their debut album, “Once Bitten…Twice…”. Mills dropped his Bowie-esque make up after the release and the band would go on to release three more albums before Mills left the band in 1991.
Mills released two albums with the band Siam in the mid-90’s in addition to working as a session vocalist and fronting the Rush tribute band YYZ. Mills later re-united with Shy in the year 2000 to record an EP and two further albums with them.
During his first stint in the band, Shy toured with the likes of Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, Twisted Sister, Gary Moore, Magnum, Manowar, Badlands and UFO. Mills also sang backing vocals on Cinderella’s debut album, “Night Songs”. The band’s 1987 album, the AOR classic “Excess All Areas”, featured Shy’s biggest hit, the Don Dokken co-write “Break Down the Walls”. Co-writing sessions also came about with Michael Bolton, Michael Des Barres and Bob Kulick, amongst others.
Mills released a total of six solo albums, beginning with “Cruiser” in 2002, the same year as the Shy re-union album “Unfinished Business” was released. The final solo album, “Beyond the Law”, was released this year.
Mills left Shy again in 2006 when he was asked to replace long-time vocalist Tony Harnell in Norwegian hard rockers TNT. Together they released three studio albums and toured as support for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row and Motorhead. Mills then quit TNT in August 2013.
Tony Mills collaborated and recorded with many different artists, bands and projects through the years, including Michael Voss and his ‘Voices Of Rock’ project, The Andersson-Mills Project and China Blue. He also performed backing vocals on the debut album by UK Band Crimes of Passion. In the winter of 2008, Mills also joined the band Serpentine, replacing former singer Greg Flores.
Mills married Linda Kristine in 2016 and lived the last years of his life in Tjøme off the south coast of Norway.
Linda Mills, announced her husband’s passing on social media as follows:
It is with a shattered heart that I announce the passing of my loving husband and best friend Tony Mills. He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in April of this year and lived his life to the fullest until he exhaled for the last time in my arms. He wanted to live, but wasn’t afraid of death.
Most will know him through his incredible contribution to the music world as a singer in bands like Shy and TNT as well as a solo artist and session vocalist. He leaves behind him a legacy that will live on for many lifetimes.
Those people closest to him will also know him as a gentle and kind soul, a dedicated husband with a love for the quiet life, his animals and his motorbikes. His sense of humour was always on point. His last summer was the happiest in his life, at the end of each day he exclaimed “It’s been another fantastic day!” He spent a lot of time in his workshop fixing up his dirtbike so he could ride it later this autumn. The evening before he passed, he managed to whisper:
“I’ve had a good life. I’ve had a GOOD life. I’m just a bit pissed about the bike.”
Tony Mills discography:
- Once Bitten…Twice… (1983)
- Brave the Storm (1985)
- Excess All Areas (1987)
- Misspent Youth (1989)
- Breakaway (EP) (2001)
- Unfinished Business (2002)
- Sunset and Vine (2005)
- Reflections: The Anthology 1983-2005 (2006)
- The Language Of Menace (1994)
- Prayer (1995)
- Cruiser (2002)
- Freeway To The Afterlife (2005)
- Vital Designs (2008)
- Over My Dead Body (2015)
- Streets of Chance (2017)
- Beyond the Law (2019)
- “Screaming For Silence” (2006/2007)
The Andersson Mills Project
- Crank It Up (2007)
- The New Territory (2007)
- Atlantis (2008)
- A Farewell to Arms (2010)
- TNT 30th Anniversary (2013)
Tony Mills / Siv Anita Strickhert
- Keep The Dream Alive (2008)
- Twilight of Destiny (2008)
- A Touch Of Heaven (2010)
- Living and Dying in High Definition (2011)
State Of Rock
- A Point Of Destiny (2010)
- “Unify” (2010)
- The Beginning (EP) (2011)
- Memorial For A Wish (2013)
- ‘The Earth Is Trembling’ (2011 – Japanese Relief Aid Track)
- ‘Help’ 2011 – Japanese Relief Aid Track
- The Mystic Technocracy – Season 1: The Age of Ignorance (2012)