Tony Costanza, the original drummer for Machine Head, who also cut his teeth playing with acts like Crisis and Crowbar, has passed away. He was 52.
Costanza’s death was confirmed by former Crisis bandmate, Afzaal Nasiruddeen, who shared a lengthy tribute to the late drummer.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I have to accept and inform everyone concerned that I lost my brother, band mate, home boy and family today,” Nasiruddeen wrote.
“Tony Costanza was one of a kind. A man with a huge heart, love and loyalty for the ones close to him. I cannot relate to this reality of loss yet. I know he had a lot of admirers, and I was one of his biggest. He would have literally taken a bullet for me. That’s the kind of gangster brother he was.”
Costanza’s cause of death has not been revealed, however Nasiruddeen revealed that he “died in his sleep this morning so I am sure he was at peace and in no pain.”
Costanza joined Machine Head back in 1991, and played for them during their first-ever shows. The musician contributed drum parts for several cuts that ended up on the band’s 1994 debut, Burn My Eyes.
Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn previously shared that Costanza contributed “a big chunk” to the band’s classic record.
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Adam Duce, the band’s bassist shared, “Tony was from Vegas and he had heard of us and was like, ‘Dude, I’ll come out right now.”
He continued, “We wrote eight songs with him. But then he left because he lacked experience and there were also some personal problems between him and some of the other guys. At the same time, Chris started to gain interest again, and he was the one we wanted in the first place. Tony quit because he felt like he was going to be fired. So, then Chris came back and worked on the record with us.”
Before his time in Machine Head, Costanza fronted the band Papsmear. Later, he joined acts like Crisis, Debris Inc and Crowbar. Performing drums on Crowbar’s 2001 record, Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form.
Nasiruddeen has launched a GoFundMe page, dedicated to raising funds for Tony’s funeral expenses on behalf of his mother.
“Please help if you knew him and care,” he wrote. “Please hold your loved ones close as the sense of loss is insurmountable sometimes.”
A link for the GoFundMe page is yet to surface, but we will update this article when it does. In the meantime, reflect on Costanza’s legacy by listening to the Machine Head debut demo below.