David “Frankie” Toler, former Allman Brothers Band drummer, passed away Saturday, June 4, 2011, at 2:00 PM in hospice care in Bradenton, Florida, after a prolonged illness at the age of 59. Frankie is survived by his wife, Marsha, their daughter, Aja Kayle, and his older brother, Dan Toler. Frankie Toler’s health had been in decline for several years and it prevented him from recording and going on tour, but after receiving a liver transplant two years ago he had been able to play at some band rehearsals.
Frankie Toler had an extensive career as a professional drummer, and played on the world stage with legendary bands and musicians, many whom are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Frankie came to national attention in the 1970s when he appeared on Dickey Betts & Great Southern’s album, Atlanta’s Burning Down, and he toured extensively with the band. Later, Frankie was asked to be the drummer for The Allman Brothers Band and he appeared on their album, “Brothers of the Road.” When Gregg Allman began planning his solo album at the time, he only had one drummer in mind for his new band: Frankie Toler. Frankie recorded two albums with Gregg and touring extensively as the drummer with The Gregg Allman Band.
Frankie also played and toured with The Marshall Tucker Band from 1992-1994 and he played on their album, “Walk Outside The Line.” Frankie, along with his brother Dan, recorded two albums as The Toler Brothers Band and together they toured extensively throughout the country in the early 90s. In 2005, Frankie recorded an album with a legendary ensemble of Southern Rock all-stars as the Renegades of Southern Rock; and in 2009 Frankie played drums on the Toler/Townsend Band’s self-titled first album.
Frankie Toler’s brother, Dan Toler, who was the lead guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band, the Gregg Allman Band and Dickey Betts Great Southern Band, said of his younger brother, “Frankie was absolutely the best drummer I have ever played with in my entire life. He was a part of my life for the past 60 years and to lose him now is just devastating. But I did have the opportunity to grow up with one of the best rock and roll drummers in the world and it was truly a gift from God. I was blessed to have known him.”