SSL Certificate

School News

Catch all the news about SPX

We collect all of the athletic, academic, and school news here. Click on the title to read the full article

News Stories

Meet Tony Braunagel '67
Posted 09/12/2017 01:50PM

Tell us how life has changed since you left SPX.

I moved to New York in 1972 to pursue a record deal with a band from Houston. I spent a couple of years there, mostly broke, but had a great time, especially at that age. I learned a lot about the tough side of being a musician. Then in 1974 I moved to London by invitation to work for Island Records as an in- house studio musician. The job lasted about six months and was a great experience in every way. I met a ton of people. I made a lot of great music.

Then I joined a band there and we made our own records and toured Europe and the US. I was there until 1979 when the band drifted apart and I was missing the music scene in the US. I moved back and immediately went to Los Angeles in late 1979 and have been here ever since.

I've been a studio musician. I've toured with Eric Burdon of the Animals, Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler, spent 7 years with Bonnie Raitt, 8 years with Taj Mahal, Robert Cray, and many others. I've won a Grammy and several Blues Music Awards. I've had several nominations in both organizations. I started producing about 17 years ago and it's really become my first line of work now. I'm up to about 30 albums now and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.

What made you want to become a drummer?

I'm not sure. Many things. I love music, I wanted to dance when I was very young. At my age now, I could say, control issues, and probably many other tendencies that I hadn't discovered by that early of an age. It was just meant to be. I needed to be the pulse of what's going on.

Tell us about your time on the hit TV show According to Jim.

That was a lot of fun. I went in as a less-than-professional Hollywood actor and survived the cut. I learned a lot about how to express yourself in front of a crowd. I learned how to improvise, how to look people in the eye and say something ridiculous, I learned how to make people laugh. I think I had a lot of these qualities before and they got a chance to come out. I would love to study it more and hone my acting skills. It's a very humbling experience to do that in front of an audience and also to see yourself on TV. You never quite achieve what you want and you never look as good as you think you can. It's a humbling experience.

Tell us about your favorite concert you've played.

The biggest was the Sars Festival in Toronto. The best? Too many. Maybe Crossroads 2010 with BB King, Eric Clapton, and Robert Cray as well as many others.

What is the best/most rewarding part of your job?

Making people dance, making people fall in love, touching souls, smiles, playing with some amazing musicians and artists and

experiencing those moments of weightlessness, when your arms and feet are moving but you lose control in the most wonderful way. It's an out of body experience.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?

Staying relevant, health, youth, getting through the hard times, difficulties in holding on to some relationships. Avoiding the sharks in the water.

What advice would you give SPX students who are interested in a career as a musician?

Study, but also know where all the music is coming from: history, lore, content, culture. You have to fully realize the impact that music makes on people, spiritually and emotionally. It's a tool of ultimate communication and it has responsibilities. Find out what you love, what you're good at, embrace all challenges and don't expect perfect results.

What is one of your favorite memories of SPX?

Playing Dracula in the school play.

What are the most important lessons you took away from SPX?

Honesty, integrity, treat all people fairly, no racism, bigotry, follow the Catholic beliefs in their basic form.

What were you involved in as a student at SPX?

Football, baseball, marching band, drama, debate, student council, Sophomore Class President and Student Council Treasurer

What do you enjoy doing outside of you work?

Playing golf, cycling, hiking, yoga, mentoring, helping others

How did your SPX education prepare you for your career?

It gave me a sense of fairness and grace with others as well as a sense of manners.

What advice would you share with new SPX graduates?

Follow your dream. Don't waste time.

What does it mean to you to be an SPX alumni?

I'm very happy to see all the smiling faces that I grew up with and remember how young and sometimes foolish we were, but how we lived through it.

Which SPX teacher made the most lasting impact on you?

Sr. Regis, she was the Senior Dean, also the principal Sister Mary Dorothy. Somehow they seemed to get that I was different. They didn't completely accept it but they gave me the benefit of the doubt. I made some adjustments that they both accepted in their own way. I know I pushed the boundaries but they gave my spirit a chance.

811 West Donovan Street Houston TX, 77091-5643

Houston’s Premier Co-ed Catholic High School

powered by finalsite