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Anton Fier

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Anton Fier
Fier in 2011
Fier in 2011
Background information
Born(1956-06-20)June 20, 1956
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedSeptember 14, 2022(2022-09-14) (aged 66)
Basel, Switzerland
  • Musician
  • composer
  • bandleader
Formerly ofThe Lounge Lizards, The Feelies, Pere Ubu, The Golden Palominos, Swans

John Anton Fier III (June 20, 1956 – September 14, 2022) was an American drummer, producer, composer, and bandleader. He led The Golden Palominos, an experimental rock group active from the 1980s to 2010.


Fier, known as Tony, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruthe Marie Fier and Anton J. Fier Jr., a former Marine and electrician.[1] His parents separated when he was young and he lived with his stepfather, a polka musician.[1]

Early career[edit]

In the mid-late-1970s Fier worked in a record store, began drumming, and contributed to recordings by The Styrenes and Pere Ubu.[1] The 1978 Pere Ubu EP titled Datapanik in the Year Zero was dedicated to Fier.

He moved to New York City and got a job at SoHo Music Gallery where he had the chance to talk with musicians.[1]

Answering an ad in the Village Voice,[1] he became a member of The Feelies in 1978, playing drums on their critically acclaimed debut album Crazy Rhythms.[2]

From June 1981 through February 1982 Fier joined Pere Ubu as their drummer, replacing original drummer Scott Krauss. He played drums, piano, marimba, percussion on their 5th album, Song of the Bailing Man.[3]


He was in The Lodge (with John Greaves) and played in the first line-up of The Lounge Lizards, appearing on their debut album.[4][2] Fier then founded The Golden Palominos, which initially featured Arto Lindsay, John Zorn, Bill Laswell and Fred Frith but later became a loose collective of musicians Fier was working with at the moment.

In the mid 1980s, he was briefly a member of Richard Hell and the Voidoids.[4] He was also a member of Swans, appearing on their 1991 album, White Light from the Mouth of Infinity.

Fier collaborated extensively with Bill Laswell,[2] Arto Lindsay, and Rhys Chatham. He also toured and recorded with Bob Mould, Hüsker Dü guitarist, vocalist and songwriter.[5] and played with bassist Jack Bruce and Japanese guitarist Kenji Suzuki on the 1987 album Inazuma Super Session – "Absolute Live!!"

Fier played and recorded on the John Zorn-led album Locus Solus in 1983. They recorded a live album for Zorn's 50th birthday celebration: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 3 of the 50th birthday series on Tzadik Records. In 1984, he played on Laurie Anderson's Mister Heartbreak.

Fier also contributed to records from the Electric Eels, Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Material, Herbie Hancock, Gil Scott-Heron, Peter Blegvad, Matthew Sweet, Stina Nordenstam, Lloyd Cole, Los Lobos, David Cunningham, Joe Henry, Afrika Bambaataa, and Jeff Buckley.

Fier also produced several albums, such as the 1988 album of Drivin' n Cryin' Whisper Tames the Lion,[6] a 2009 album by guitar virtuoso Jim Campilongo titled Orange,[7] and Lianne Smith's Two Sides of a River, on which Fier also played drums.[8]


Syd Straw, a member of the Golden Palominos, posted on Facebook on October 11, 2019, that Fier was no longer playing drums.[9]

Fier died on September 14, 2022, at the age of 66, at the Pegasos Clinic, in Basel, Switzerland, of VAD (Voluntary Assisted Dying) or Assisted suicide.[10][11][12][13] According to Exit International director Philip Nitschke, Fier was not suffering from terminal illness, but "wanted to die on his own terms after feeling he had accomplished everything he could in life."[14] Golden Palominos Guitarist Nicky Skopelitis was Fier's friend and the executor of his estate.[13] Fier's cremated remains were delivered to Skopelitis along wth a Cremation notice, indicating the date of death as September 14, 2022. As noted in The Independent, Fier reportedly had left a final letter, in which he wrote "My father died at 42, and my mother at 52. I never expected or prepared myself to live this long and had no example of how to properly do so." {[The Independent, October 13, 2022}]. Fier's friends reported the musician had money troubles and injuries which hampered his drumming, and had discussed the possibility of ending his life for several years.[13]

Partial discography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Williams, Alex (October 8, 2022). "Anton Fier, Drummer Who Left Stamp on a Downtown Scene, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Reid, Graham (June 7, 2010). "ANTON FIER PROFILED (1988): A new career in a new town". Elsewhere. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  3. ^ "The Pere Ubu Time Line". Retrieved March 5, 2024.
  4. ^ a b Linhardt, Alex (January 8, 2004). "Anton Fier: Dreamspeed/Blind Light (1992-1994) Album Review". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 1, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  5. ^ "Anton Fier Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 29, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 142/3. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  7. ^ "Jim Campilongo – Orange (2009, Orange Vinyl, Vinyl)". Discogs. Archived from the original on November 14, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  8. ^ "Two Sides of a River". Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  9. ^ "Syd Straw - golden palominos in prime form, featuring my..." Facebook.com. October 11, 2019. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  10. ^ Gallagher, Alex (September 22, 2022). "Anton Fier, Golden Palominos founder and early Feelies drummer, has died". NME. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  11. ^ Breihan, Tom (September 22, 2022). "Drummer Anton Fier (Lounge Lizards, Feelies, Golden Palominos) Dead At 66". Stereogum. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  12. ^ Arcand, Rob (September 22, 2022). "Drummer Anton Fier, Drummer for the Feelies and Lounge Lizards, Dies at 66". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c Williams, Alex (October 8, 2022). "Anton Fier, Drummer Who Left Stamp on a Downtown Scene, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Hurley, Bevan (October 13, 2022). "Renowned NYC musician dies by assisted suicide in Switzerland after having 'completed life'". The Independent. Retrieved December 19, 2022.

External links[edit]