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The Tonze

9521 86th Ave NW. Gig Harbor WA 98332 US

Live Pop Jazz,Old School R&B 60s, 70s & 80s Trio

Our job is to make sure you have a good time.

My Blog


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Johns Decision

Posted on September 22, 2018 at 3:43 PM Comments comments (880)
    Guitarist future plans...
         I have some really sad news to our devoted fans, as you already know our guitarist, John has decided to hang his guitar up for personal reasons that we respect.  Although it hurts us to see him leave we truly hope he finds what he needs in his decision. He is a very wise man that I truly believe will  find what he needs. I'm chanting and praying that somehow John will find his way back to the band  but if not I truly hope him happiness in whatever he decides to do. John, we love you man and are going to truly miss you as well as your amazing guitar playing, and mostly your positive attitude that you bring to the stage.


Tonze Update

Posted on July 27, 2014 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (276)
Well shame on me, it's been a while since I've written a comment or a blog on what's happening with the Tonze.  We're still hammering away at finding the gigs and trying to complete some newly added originals to our list.  We've lost a few steady gig places as the industry turns but have gained a few new  ones.  This summer we've been blessed with our 3rd year in  performing at the Kitsap Conference Wine Festival but instead of on the balcony greeting the people, we'll be on the ground level closer to all the action.  We're pretty excited about the new location.  Thank you Mr. Arne Bakker. 
     They've already sold 450 tickets, more than last year so that's pretty exciting. Hope to see everyone make it. 
              This is all I have for now, so take care and keep on checking us out for updates and eventually our new CD.   I know, it's been to long.   We're getting back into the groove so hang in there with us & all of those who have donated to the CD we still have record of it and want to deeply thank you for the support on what we've achieved up to this point.   We will keep you posted on the final date to release our CD.  Can hardly wait.. It's been to long.  
        Until next time take care and may peace and love be with you at all times.


Posted on August 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (346)
Good Day to all,
     I recently just joined Thumbtack, an organization to help people find services over the internet.  They are designed to get your services out to thousands and in some cases maybe millions who might be looking for just what your company or organization can supply.  I heard about Thumbtack through my baby sister who just recently might of scored a very large job through Thumbtack that could possibly allow her to quit her current well paying job and start living her dream.  You go Baby sister and good luck to you.  Love,  your big brother.

The Tonze New Year Resolution

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (180)
Well here we are again with a New Year upon us. 2013, 
     We had a great wonder gigging year in 2012 and plan on 2013 being even a better year.   We fell short of getting our Tonze CD done but hang in there with us we are planning on jumping back on the getting er done CD for 2013.

     Our goal is to re-record the tracks we started on,  live in Bob Lang Premier studio
in north Seattle.  We've been playing our originals for the past 2 years and so they have evolved quite well into there own.  So we are so excited to get them done soon.

     I have to apologize to all those who have donated towards the CD but have no fear we still plan on getting it done and getting your CD to you hopefully by summer of 2013.  Yes this year.  That is our Tonze goal at the top of the list.

Knew Posting for the Tonze

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (268)
     It was so great watching the kids have fun at Lele's Thai Resaurant last time we played there.  We would like to see more people and thier families come on out and enjoy the live music that Lele's is bringing to the Gig Harbor area.  As a long time musician, we are always looking for places to perform and share our positive music influences.  We look forward to a long time music relationship here in Gig Harbor area.  Thankyou Lele's for believing in us and your support for live music.  Especially thanks to Sara for fighting for us. 

About the band members other lives on the other side of music.

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 11:07 AM Comments comments (418)
       Now it's time to dive into the band members other lives outside the band. 
     Steve Minzel was born and raised in Seattle.  He started playing professionally at age 15.  Steve will tell you his self that he made more money then than he does now by far.  The music economy has been on a downward sliding scale since the 60's. 
     When I "Leslie Shelton" was first introduced to Steve I knew at the time we would be eventually performing together in some capacity.  Shortly after the failure of my band  the first "Rise".  I took a break from music for full one year.  I was emotionally discouraged from playing music due to a personal disagreement with my drummer at the time on how things should go.   Pretty typical, artistic indifferences controlled our destiny. 
      I was brought back into music by a guy I met at the Lynwood Black Angus on jam night.  His name is Ron Bates.  Ron had a very up positive attitude and wanted me to sit in with him during the jam.
    Ron, I remembered,  had a cowboy hat on and seem to be a different style of musician than what I was use to.  But because of his optimistic outlook I was encouraged to start a band with him.  It was call Rise II.  And together we built a very successful band with a mailing list of about 2000 people.  The band lasted for about 5 years through various members.  And eventually ended on a more positive note.  Steve and I started a duel and continued our music relationship for the next 9 years.  There's a lot more to tell between than and now but that's all I'm going to tell for now.  Keep tuned in and I will share more later. 

How the Tonze got started

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 12:44 AM Comments comments (299)
     Well it's a pretty simple but drawn out story on how the Tonze got started.
     First let me go back to how I got here to Washington in the first place.
    Once upon a time there was a band out of San Francisco called,
H.P. Riot" an all black funk/rock original with some covers band started way back in the late 60's to early 70's.  And there was this young aspiring musician name, Leslie D. Shelton Jr. who at the time had just started getting pretty serious about music. 
 Leslie's first motivation for music was after viewing a band at a local block party that really lit his fuse.  After seeing that group something big inside of him was sparked and is still going strong 50 something years later............
  Well I'm going to save you all the juicy stuff by skipping to the future. 
    While traveling on the road with the band H.P. Riot Leslie (Les) met quite a few musicians who he became good friends with and one in particular he decided to relocate to Seattle and start his own band call "Rise".  Well due to some artistic indifferences the band broke up but in the interim Les was introduced to a keyboardist name Steve Minzel who he later started a duel with.  They played in this capacity for about 9 to 10 years and during that time start some off shoot bands that lasted for only a short time.  Until later hooking up with a drummer who goes by the name "Tony Handy " known as the foot.  Well at the time and still to date had his own Jazz Fusion band call H.D. Fusion (um coincidence "H.D.)
Well pretty close but not. Les than was recruited into his band for the next 4 to 5 years than later Les quit that band and started his own that lasted for  about 3 years.  Let me get to the chase,,Then off and on Steve, Tony and Les would be hired for some casual gigs and recruited Mike Connor and Joe Richards who became a staple part of the band.  Joe was a professional student pursuing his education and eventually became an employed lawyer.  Mikey also was finishing up school at the Art Institute in Photography and Video and later started his own business and left the group.  There's a lot more to it than what I have time to tell. Maybe in my first published book I'll give more of the juicy details. 
      It was down to Tony, Steve & Les.  Not knowing if they had the energy or strength to keep up with their sorely missed 5 piece.  But through grit and determination here they are today doing better than ever, and still going strong. 

Live Music Normality

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (685)
There are a lot of bands out there performing cover tunes as well as there own material.  But very few attempt to do the tunes the Tonze cover.  For instance,
the "Tonze"  will do a Santana song," which we all know requires a guitar as well as other latin types of instrumentation" but still will pull the song off with lots of interpretation of the music with lots of the spirit and energy of the tune.  So the listeners will not even realize that they didn't have all the proper instruments to begin with to pull the song off.  Even having seen a lot of Jazz trios, they will tend to stick with the traditional songs that are most likely expected with such instrumentation.
   Another thing you will here the Tonze Trio pull off are covering tunes by larger R&B bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire with only three guys and three vocal where as the original EWF has 9 or more members in it.  Of coarse it'll sound different then the original ones, but the cool thing about the Tonze is that they make it there own, so you don't even think twice about the lack of instrumentation cause they make up for it with there energy and groove factor.  You can reach the Tonze web sit at or call or text : 360 440-0347

The happening Slaughter County Gig

Posted on October 6, 2012 at 8:58 PM Comments comments (396)
Tonze at the Sons of Norway 2012 New Years Eve Party
Slaughter County Brewing Company Gig was far above what we expected from the good old Kit sap County.  The staff was of the utmost class and support: Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Slaughter.  And the crowd was by far a blast.  I hope next time more people in the Kit sap area who are craving the funky jazz groove sound will make it out to catch  "The Tonze"
    They were on their game that Friday night. Tony, Les & Steve probably have never played better.  The kickin foot of Tony, The smooth vocals of Les and the ever hammering groove of Steve kept the crowd on there feet asking for more & more.  They wouldn't let them stop.. Talk to the can, became the chant for the closing of the evening.

Tonze to Date 2012-2013

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 12:48 AM Comments comments (222)
What's happening this week with the Tonze?  The Tonze are playing at the Slaughter Company this Saturday from 7-10pm in Port Orchard a nice club on the water front near Titan Ford.  Playing a light contempory style of Old School R&B, Blues music the Tonze have tighten their sound over the last 20 years playing any gig they could get. The Tonze are still sort of locked into playing the Peninsula area and can't seem to break out into the Seattle, Tacoma area yet.  So they have lots of room to move.
     They plan to finish up there slowly moving CD project  started in the summer of 2010 and plan on booking tons of out door events and festivals as well as special events to promote and sale there products.
     Promoting as a Jazz Trio has brought the Tonze a lot of sucess in 2012: 2 house gigs a week, weekend gigs and some special events thrown into the mix.  This has kept them busy all year &  in affect allowing the Tonze to master their Tight rhythm and Blues skills.  Once you hear them you will understand what I'm talking about.