Cannibal Corpse And Metal Community Rally Around Guitarist Paralyzed In Robbery

By Karen Bliss 1/29/12 |

(L to R): Frank Lombardi, Jack Owen (kneeling), Tony Lorenzo, Darrin Pfeiffer, Alex Webster — photo credit: Brian Pattison

The metal music community is continuing to come up with ways to raise money to help with medical expenses and eventual post-care for a 25-year-old guitarist who was paralyzed in a robbery last October in Buffalo, New York.

Members of death metal legends Cannibal Corpse, whose original line-up is from Buffalo, have all signed a brand new custom Dean Cadillac Kill guitar presently being raffled off for Tony Lorenzo, via the Facebook group Metal For Tony, and other bands, such as Quebec’s Voivod, Texas-based King Diamond, Maryland’s Dying Fetus and Czech Republic-based Master, have all donated metal memorabilia for bid (see the "doc" tab on the Facebook page for the list).

The PayPal account, which is handled by his family, is

“Tony remains in the hospital,” his mother, Caroline Bronckers, told “He is working daily with physical rehab, and his outlook is positive. Right now, he is paralyzed from the chest down and it takes months, if not years, to fully know the result of a spinal cord injury due to surrounding tissue damage, and swelling, and the slow rate that nerves heal. He may or may not walk again. Only time will tell. We can only hope for the best.”

Brian Pattison, a local promoter who maintains the Facebook page and oversees the auctions, also put on a two-day benefit concert for Lorenzo, January 7 and 8 at Club Infinity, which was attended by a total of 525 people.

The first night included a reunion of the original Beyond Death, the early 80s Buffalo thrash/death/hardcore band that featured Alex Webster (current Cannibal Corpse bassist), Jack Owen (ex Cannibal Corpse and current Deicide guitarist), Darrin Pfeiffer (current Goldfinger drummer) and Lorenzo’s uncle, guitarist Frank Lombardi. 

Tony Lorenzo is allowed to leave hospital to attend benefit show — photo credit: Brian Pattison
It also featured the partial reunion of Tirant Sin, the other band that pre-dated Cannibal Corpse in which the other members played in the 80s. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, who is still with Cannibal Corpse, was joined by his current bandmate, guitarist Rob Barrett.

“It’s a terrible tragedy and Tony’s going to need help,” Webster told

“That was one of the most horrible things we ever heard of happen and we were definitely very willing to give our time to that. We also donated some instruments for benefit raffles for that cause, and we went up and performed.

“It was very successful. We had a great time playing the songs and Tony was able to leave the hospital and come see the show. That was the first time he’d gotten out so it was a good event. It’s tempered by the tragic reason that we were all getting together, but we did enjoy playing together again and we were happy to help Tony where we could. It was a horrible thing that happened.”

Pattison says he actually rearranged set times so that Lorenzo would be there for both bands. “The hospital allowed him to leave for three hours. He had to be back by 11:30 that night.”

The attempted robbery took place on October 26 at 10:30 p.m. Lorenzo was walking with his friend, Alex Artemas, on their way to a friend’s house when a man came up from behind demanding money. “The kid asked me, he said, ‘Give me what you got.’ And before I could even get my wallet out, he just shot me,” Lorenzo told WIVB news.

Lorenzo used to be the guitarist in Sons Of Azrael, a metal band whose last full-length release, Scouting The Boneyard, came out two years ago on Ironclad Recordings, owned by Unearth frontman Trevor Phipps. He had just started a new band, Ritual Quarantine, which had performed only one live gig, on September 24, a month before he was shot.

Pattison, who is part of the team that put together the book, Glorious Times: A Pictorial of the Death Metal Scene (1981 – 1991), promoted last July’s A Day of Death concert. Lorenzo filled in for Seplophile that day and played guitar for Kam Lee.

“As soon as [the shooting] happened to Tony, I knew I had to put together a benefit concert for him,” Pattison says. “A first I tried to get a bigger name to headline, but every band I went to was either on tour elsewhere or in the studio so they couldn't do it.  

“Beyond Death's current lineup was playing anyway. Frank, from Beyond Death is Tony's uncle, so then I asked Alex if he would be up for doing a Beyond Death reunion. The original lineup hadn't played together since '88. Alex said he was in, but only if the other three also were in.

“So then I went to Frank, then Darrin and finally Jack. All agreed to do it. Once the Beyond Death reunion was announced, the Tirant Sin guys also decided to do a reunion since Paul and Rob were coming up for the show anyway.”

Pfeiffer, who now lives in Toronto, told that “Being a part of the concert for Tony was a big thrill for me and my bandmates in Beyond Death. It's been years since we've played these songs and although it was a sad reason we — and the other bands — came together, in the end we did it for a great kid, an incredible guitarist and an amazing family.”

To date, no one has been charged in the shooting. “The police are working on leads but they have not made an arrest yet,” Bronckers says.

Pattison says they’ll be collecting financial donations and auction items for a while.

“Tony’s expenses because of the shooting will be immense and long-term. His home needs to be retro-fitted to allow for handicap accessibility. Just to build a ramp for him to be able to enter and leave his house will be in excess of $10,000, that's if they can find a contractor willing to do it because of the houses proximity to the street.

“Tony also wants to make the fest an annual thing to raise money for others in need. Yes, while in the hospital his thoughts are of how he can help others. So once he gets out, he and I are going to get together to talk about how to proceed with that. We'll either keep it simple with just a big show once a year or go with the more ambitious idea I had of starting up a fund for metal musicians in need.”

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