R.I.P. Tony Costanza, Former Machine Head and Crowbar Drummer Dies at 52

Costanza was an original member of Machine Head and played on Crowbar's Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form

Tony Costanza passes away
Tony Costanza, via Facebook
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Tony Costanza, the original drummer for Machine Head and one-time member of Crowbar, has sadly passed away at the age of 52.

No cause of death has been revealed, but Costanza’s passing was confirmed by Afzaal Nasiruddeen, a former bandmate in the New York metal group Crisis.

Costanza was a founding member of Machine Head, but only ended up performing three shows with the band. He left Machine Head before they properly recorded their debut LP, 1994’s Burn My Eyes, but has been credited with writing drum parts for eight songs that would end up on the album.

In a 2008 interview with Sick Drummer magazine, Costanza explained of his departure, “I left the band because I was very young and new at playing drums, especially double bass. The band called for a lot of double bass. Basically, out of my own insecurities, I self-destructed.”

The drummer became a member of sludge-metal pioneers Crowbar in 2001, playing on their seventh studio album, Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form, the only LP he appeared on before exiting in 2004.

As mentioned, Costanza was also a member of the band Crisis from 1999 to 2001. In announcing Costanza’s passing, Crisis guitarist Afzaal Nasiruddeen wrote the following on Facebook:

“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. Thats the kind of gangster brother he was. Tony died in his sleep this morning so I am sure he was at peace and in no pain. I wish his Mother all the strength she can muster as she will need every ounce of it. I will be starting a GofundMe page for her and Tony’s funeral expenses. Please help if you knew him and care. Please hold your loved ones close as the sense of loss is insurmountable sometimes. Tony my friend, I will love you and cherish our memories together, forever. Hope you are in a better pace now. Rest in Peace.”

Chris Kontos, who replaced Costanza in Machine Head and played on the band’s debut album, also paid tribute, writing, “R.I.P. Tony Costanza. I’m thankful that you and I remained in contact over the past 27 years. Im so sad to hear about your passing bro. … He was a great drummer. Our legacy is forever connected by our participation in Machine Hea

Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn posted a lengthy tribute, writing in part, “We maintained a friendship throughout the 27 years since he was in the band. We talked a couple times a year, he definitely had more than a few health problems, and he did enjoy his partying … He was a stubborn son of a bitch. He would tell me later on that ‘he regretted the decision [to leave Machine Head],’ but that it was always an honor to play in his ‘favorite band ever’. It chokes me up to write those words.”

Crowbar also honored Costanza, posting on Facebook: “This is so sad!!! Tony was such a sweet and talented guy. So happy we had the pleasure of him playing drums on Sonic Excess in its Purest Form!! God bless u Tony and our hearts go out to your family!!”

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