Tony Braunagel is an American drummer, record producer and composer, from Houston, Texas. He was the drummer in Paul Kossoff's band Back Street Crawler, renamed Crawler after Kossoff's death in 1976.
Braunagel's first experience on the drums was playing his cousin's drumkit as a child, before being mentored by his neighbor Willie Ornelas.
At the age of about 15 he bought his first drumkit and soon after became involved in the then-upcoming Houston R&B scene, honing his skills by playing in local joints and nightclubs.
After drumming in several local bands, including Soul Brothers Incorporated, Braunagel teamed up with Andy Chapman (vocals), David Kealey (guitars), Michael Montgomery (keyboards), and Terry Wilson (bass) to form The Bloontz All Star Blues Band. In 1971, the band moved to New York under the auspices of producer Ron Johnsen, shortening their name to Bloontz and scoring a contract with the Evolution label.
Bloontz recorded one album at Electric Lady Studios after which Braunagel and Wilson toured with Johnny Nash becoming part of his latest Sons of the Jungle line up.
Braunagel's work with Nash brought him to London where, for a year, he was the house band drummer for Island Records as the Texas Rhythm Section along with Wilson on bass.
While in London, he met ex-Free guitarist Paul Kossoff and, together with Wilson and Montgomery from his former band, they formed Back Street Crawler. The band also included Terry Wilson-Slesser on vocals and later John "Rabbit" Bundrick, who replaced Montgomery on keyboards following the release of the band's first album The Band Plays On. They recorded a further album 2nd Street prior to Kossoff's death in 1976 after which the band shortened its name to Crawler. This incarnation of the band recorded two more albums and embarked on several America tours, sometimes supporting stadium acts such as Kansas and Foreigner.
In 1979 Braunagel relocated to Los Angeles where he found work touring and recording with artists such as Eric Burdon, Rickie Lee Jones and Bette Midler. In 1984 Tony took the drum chair in Bonnie Raitt's band, playing on the albums Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw and touring with her until the early 1990s.
Throughout the 1990s Braunagel played on many sessions including drumming on two Grammy award winning albums by Taj Mahal – Señor Blues and Shoutin' in Key, the latter of which Braunagel produced. He also spent several years touring with Taj Mahal and The Phantom Blues Band.
Braunagel has played on many film scores and television shows as well as numerous albums as a musician, composer and producer. As well as playing drums he also plays bass, sings, and is a Blues Music Award winner. In 2014, he was nominated for another Blues Music Award in the 'Best Instrumentalist – Drums' category. His studio projects include playing drums on Freight Train Love, the 2014 album from American singer-songwriter Hilary Scott.
From 2001 to 2009, Braunagel had a recurring role as an actor and a drummer on the ABC sitcom, According to Jim, starring Jim Belushi, appearing in around 40 episodes. In 2015, Braunagel played the drums and produced Karen Lovely's album, Ten Miles of Bad Road.
He still resides in the Los Angeles area and is currently a member of the Robert Cray Band.