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tony donald
musician: bass | guitar tech
associated with simple minds: 1975-1978

Tony Donald Tony Donald, bass player and early school friend of Jim, Charlie and Brian.

He was part of one of their earliest bands, Biba-Rom!, before being recruited into the Abusers line-up.

When that line-up broke down, the fledgling Simple Minds would practise and rehearse in his uncle's lampshade factory.

He stayed with the band as it slowly built up again, witnessing the recruitment of Duncan Barnwell and Mick MacNeil. However, for reasons never given, he left in April 1978, to be replaced by Derek Forbes.

He didn't stay away long, and ended up rejoining the team as Charlie's guitar tech.


"Where the hell did you get that?"

My only possible response as he stood there awaiting a reaction - a proud look written all over him - and a brand new bass guitar hanging around his neck.

We had walked to school every day in each other's company. I had sat next to him in class year after year. We'd gone to the youth club together most evenings, listening in awe to T Rex, Bowie and Alice Cooper among others. And yet, not once did 'Skinny,' (even my mother referred to him by that nickname) mention that he wanted to play bass guitar? Then again, Tony Donald was always different. Others would show off brilliantly. But he liked being low-key. Sometimes downright secretive.

Many have played a part in Simple Minds' story. That is for sure. Some may have contributed smaller amount than others, but all deserve recognition for the part they played. Equally sure is that the deeper roots of Simple Minds formed when a group of teens from Holyrood School in Glasgow, started tuning out from learning Latin and mathematics, and instead focused our attention more on bashing out covers of rock n' roll songs.

'Skin' was at the very centre of all of that. In some ways, given his better knowledge of music, (his Dad was a musician, at a very young age Tony also played drums with the St Francis Pipe band) it is possible to say that he was the engine that enabled the rest of us to kick start our dream. Less than a handful of years later those dreams were becoming reality, as were Simple Minds.

I can never find an answer whenever I am asked the question: "What were the best days of your life?" Had so many great days, it's way too difficult for me to decide. But I know for certain that Antony Donald was with me when many of those days were happening. I also know that one of the saddest occurred last week, with the news of Tony's passing.

A childhood friend, an 'Original Mind.' Charlie and I are still hurting.

2nd January 2020

discography: mainstream singles
Saints And Sinners

family tree
Johnny And The Self Abusers
Simple Minds #1
Simple Minds #2
Simple Minds #3
Simple Minds #4

live appearances
Johnny And The Self Abusers 1977
Scotland 1978