MANATEE, Fla. — It has been a tragic past couple months for the Tolers.
Former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dan Toler has just gone public about his worsening battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. His younger sibling, drummer David “Frankie” Toler, died June 4 in Bradenton, Fla., after a prolonged illness following a liver transplant. He was 59.
The Toler brothers played together in the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman Band and Dickey Betts & Great Southern, as well as several other projects.
A swollen vocal cord has made it impossible for Dan Toler to speak above a whisper. He recently issued a statement published on the Facebook page “Benefit For Danny Toler.”
“First of all, I thank each and every one of you for being such good people and I want all of you to know I love you very much with all my heart and soul,” Toler said. After acknowledging the illness of his friend, fellow local guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt, Toler continued: “We are both fighters and a couple of strong-willed men who happen to love playing music for our family, friends and fans. We both have been dealt a tough way out of this life.”
Reinhardt began his career playing throughout Bradenton and Sarasota with Betts and other local luminaries in the 1960s before joining Iron Butterfly (“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”) and then cofounding Captain Beyond, which signed to the Allman Brothers’ label Capricorn.
“Jesus Christ is going to take care of the both of us and just maybe a cure will come along,” Toler said.
Toler thanked his wife, Debby, for taking care of him. “She has been my rock for many, many years and I love Debby with all my heart and soul,” he said. “Thank you, Lord, for having Debby in my life.”
The Benefit for Danny Toler will take place Aug. 13 in Bradenton. Many of the area’s top players will be performing, including Toler. “Who knows who will show up and play,” he said. “I love doing benefits for people that need help and I never ever thought a benefit would have to be held for me. It definitely breaks my heart, but I want to thank everyone helping out with this event.”