1. Music

Funky D, beloved St. Petersburg musician, dies

Darryl Quesenberry leaves a legacy with local performers of all ages.
Darryl Quesenberry at his last live performance in November.
Darryl Quesenberry at his last live performance in November. [ LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Apr. 11, 2020
Updated Apr. 17, 2020

In November, musician Darryl Quesenberry planned his own funeral: An intimate concert at the Craftsman House in St. Petersburg where he played original tunes for family, friends and dozens of fans.

Though he was so sick with colon cancer he could barely stand, he propped himself up behind a keyboard while he sang in a weak, raspy voice and told stories. “I’m just grateful,” he said that night. “And amazed at this life I’ve been allowed.”

Quesenberry died Saturday morning. He was 54.

Quesenberry, also known as “Animal,” “The Reverend” and “Funky D,” started writing songs when he was 11. He moved to Florida in 1990 and played drums and keyboards in more than 100 bands, including Funky Seeds, Urban Gypsies and Unlimited Devotion. He was a staple at open mic nights, psychedelic jam sessions and music festivals.

Love flowed through Facebook after news of his death, folks calling him a guru, mentor and inspiration -- the godfather of St. Petersburg music.

“Funky D was the visionary for the now fertile music scene,” said guitarist John Zias, who played with Quesenberry for years. “He brought all sorts of musicians together … His presence will be missed. But his spirit will live on in all of us.”

“He was a master at leading an ensemble,” said guitar player George Pennington, who performed with Quesenberry in Deja Voodoo. “He was a supreme musician. I learned so much from him in a very short time.”

“Animal was the heartbeat of our scene. He was one of the kindest, most sincere, special people you would ever hope to meet,” said Alan Feldman, a friend and long-time fan. “His dedication to helping others was unsurpassed. We are all going to miss his smile.”

Quesenberry is survived by his daughter, Tuesday Burgess, her husband, Shane Burgess, her mother, Renee Petrucci, and his younger brother, Steve Quesenberry.