Tony’s Tunes & Turtles

New PUD Warehouseman Has a Musical Background

By Rodger Nichols Photos courtesy of Tony Gonzales

Former performing musician Antonio “Tony” Gonzalez has found a new gig at Northern Wasco County PUD.

Antonio “Tony” Gonzalez started his interview process with Northern Wasco County PUD in April. He joined the utility on August 1 as the company warehouseman.

His new job was part of coming home.

Tony was born and raised in The Dalles. His family spent a few years in Dallesport, then settled in Friend just outside Dufur, where Tony played football and baseball for Dufur High School. After school, he left for Portland to pursue a career in music.

“I’m a drummer,” Tony says. “I also play guitar and played the trumpet a bit in grade school and high school.”

Eventually, Tony played with different groups in Portland.

“I played in some pop rock bands, and some heavy metal bands, and some punk rock bands,” he says. “A little bit of everything.”

Tony has more than one favorite drummer.

“I’ve always been a big KISS fan,” he says, referencing original drummer Peter Criss. He also admires Alex Van Halen, Dave Lombardo from Slayer, and the late Neil Peart of Rush.

“I listen to everything from ’50s rock ‘n’ roll to present-day rock ‘n’ roll music,” Tony says. “But it’s not just all rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve always been fascinated by jazz drummers, even though I can’t play like any of my favorite ones.”

Tony is also a songwriter but doesn’t have a favorite. He says he loves all of them.

It’s tough to make a full-time living playing music gigs around Portland, so for 19 years, Tony was a warehouse employee at Reliable Parts, an appliance parts distributor.

Tony holds the dog he and his wife will adopt as soon as it is weaned. They have named him “Trailer” because he was born under a trailer.

“As I got older, I wanted to move home,” he says. “My wife found a job out in Dufur, and that got the ball rolling for us to move back. Then when I saw the job listed for a warehouseman here, I jumped on that. We went through all the interviews and then luckily, I got the job.”

His wife, Elizabeth, is a production manager.

“Her job is only three blocks away from home,” Tony says. “It’s pretty handy.”

Tony’s commute from Dufur is an easy one.

“I could do it in my sleep,” he says. “I learned to drive on these roads.”

When not working at the PUD, Tony can be found practicing his drumming, playing one of his six guitars, or working on the couple’s house.

“It’s great getting away from the city and moving back here,” he says. “We’re going to get a dog soon and enjoy life in a small town.”

Tony also enjoys camping, fishing, being in the mountains, watching NASCAR, and listening to his record collection.

Tony and Elizabeth own 2 turtles, both nearing 20 years old. Each turtle has its own 75-gallon tank. The couple have owned the turtles for more than 15 years, going back to when the two were still dating.

On the job, Tony is learning the ropes at the PUD warehouse. He is enthusiastic about the PUD’s inventory.

“We have things that go on power poles and everything to do with bringing power to your homes and businesses,” he says. “We’ve got wires and cable for underground and overhead, transformers and all the little things that go inside, and there’s wire and dead ends and cutouts—all kinds of stuff I’m still learning about.”

Tony gathers firewood at Eightmile Campground in Leavenworth, Washington.

Dead ends, in electrical power use, refer to self-supporting structures used in the construction of overhead power lines. A cutout is a piece of electrical equipment that links an incoming electrical cable to the internal wires on a resident’s property.

Not only is Tony learning what the different products are, he is learning where they are supposed to go.

“That’s part of my job, to be able to find them right away,” he says.

Tony says the people at NWCPUD have been wonderfully welcoming.

“It’s a learning experience with these different products, but it has definitely been a good reception,” he says. “Everybody here is very nice, just trying to make sure that I feel welcome. I feel very happy and blessed to be here.”