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Tony Van Frater of The Cockney Rejects dies.

Tony Van Frater, the guitarist with Sunderland punk band Red Alert, has died, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 51.

He was a mainstay of the group, who were formed in Sunderland back in 1979 and went on to tour nationally and internationally.

He also played with the Angelic Upstarts and Cockney Rejects, and was one of the most respected figures in the North East punk scene.

Tony – real name Anthony Frater – was a founder member of Red Alert, who made three studio albums and released several singles which reached the UK Indie Charts Top 30.

Red Alert broke up in 1985, reformed four years later and continued touring and occasionally recording.

Meanwhile, Tony, who was known as ‘Tut’, played with South Shields band Angelic Upstarts, and, since 1999, with the reformed Cockney Rejects.

Away from music, he used to have an ice cream van, and it is believed he had recently been working as a taxi driver.

Tributes started flooding in today on social media sites.

Official announcement from the Cockney Rejects.

Dear friends and supporters worldwide, most of you are probably aware of the tragic circumstances of this past week in which we lost our beloved brother and friend Tony Van Frater. Due to this catastrophic event we have no option other than to cancel the forthcoming UK tour forthwith as a mark of respect for the man and his family.
none of us knows what the future holds at present, we wish to enter a period of mourning and reflection on the massive contribution and impact that Tony made on all our lives.
All tickets will be refunded and we apologise for this, and we hope that we have your understanding and co operation in these difficult times.

Thank you one and all. The Cockney Rejects.

Tony played for us at Concrete Jungle Festival for us in 2007, and has been a big part of the Cockney Rejects band since he joined 

“The founding member of Red Alert and Cockney Rejects bass player was one of the scene’s true gentlemen.

“His talent and friendship will be missed by many. RIP big man – our thoughts are with your family and friends.”

Red Alert singer Steve ‘Castiron’ Smith wrote on his Facebook page: “Best mate, brother, legend, thanks for the memories son, see u up there.”

I was actually to be seeing Tony tomorrow, as i am DJ’ing a festival in Bavaria. we are all deeply shocked by this, and our thoughts go out the the Rejects and all Tony’s friends and family, it makes you realise once again, how short this life is, and we have to keep on keeping on. Stop the negative infighting, and enjoy the life we have. We are all brothers and sisters in our old punk and skinhead subcultures. Symond

The show will go on, and a pint of two will be drank in Tony’s name. Big respect will go out to Tony ifrom Bavaria, and across the Punk and Oi! world