Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Punk Rock. It’s certainly no secret.
A Little History
I remember, being a teenager, listening to Metallica, yeah, not punk, I know, but it was the beginning.
From there, it was bands like Soulfly, and Pantera, but eventually, it moved over to Punk. even with a two or three year hiatus to electronic dance.
Unfortunately, I missed the golden eras of a lot of bands that I now love, respect, and greatly appreciate. Even the Gimmes, a band that are strictly covers, but a band that helped me realize what I needed to do in a bad situation.
No Use for a Name – Also known as NUFAN
I got into these guys really, really, really late. Given I was already listening to bands like NOFX and Lagwagon, it’s absurd it didn’t happen earlier. I loved their work, particularly the middle of their career so far.
And as with most bands I like, I do some research, try and learn who is in it, so I did that, but I never looked deep enough.
The Death of Tony Sly
On 31st July, 2012, Tony Sly died, aged 41, leaving behind a wife and two children. This is when I started to look deeper into the ‘who’ of Tony Sly. Fat Wreck wrote in memoriam of Tony,
It is with great sorrow that we must say goodbye to Tony Sly of No Use For A Name. We received a call earlier today of his passing, and are devastated. We have lost an incredible talent, friend, and father – one of the true greats. Fat Mike had this to say: “One of my dearest friends and favorite song writers has gone way too soon. Tony, you will be greatly missed.”
A shame, on so many fronts. For his family, his friends, and his fans.
I tried to find out why he died, but there wasn’t much information on the internet at the time. After some time I wanted to know why, so I set out to find out.
The Lead Up
Tony Sly had been working on his solo career for a couple of years, releasing two albums, 12 Song Program, and Sad Bear. It proably goes without saying that the latter was a very sad record. In particular, there was one song that really got me thinking, Homecoming.
I’m not sure why, but it struck a chord with me. The whole album is sad, but this song in particular, wow. It feels weird, but after looking into it, it feels obvious that it was about to happen.
Then there was also another band he was in, Scorpios. They’re great, but check out the album cover, he looks… not so great I’m afraid.
So, as mentioned, I was looking for information and answers. From what I can find on the internet, I can reasonably deduce a few things
- He was in chronic back pain from a herniated disk
- Loads of medication to deal with the pain
- As per the article above, Fat Mike mentions Xanax, which would suggest a minimum of sleeping probles, and a probable anxiety and/or depression problem
- Possibly digestive problems: he’d recently had an operation on his stomach, which could have easily compounded other issues
The Final Show
Tony Sly played an acoustic show with Joey Cape a few days before his death. Very, very fortunately, a fan, who drove three hours to see it, managed to record it. Tony even dedicated a song to him and his wife’s anniversary. Here’s the playlist for the show.
However, the final song was Linoleum. It’s almost a little surreal that two best friends, and massive shapers of the punk scene, were to perform an amazing, almost eerie cover, of a song by a band that had the same influence. Here it is, and in any case I hope you enjoy it, because it’s amazing.
He was a great singer, and an amazing songwriter.
I am sad that it happened, of course, even a little upset. It’s really quite sad, and it’s weird to be effected by the detah of someone you’ve never met or never known, but here we are. It really fucked up Fat Mike, Joey Cape, and NUFAN, his family, friends, but also, so many fans. One guy even said he met Tony at a show, thanked him for his music, that it got him through a hard time. So Tony gave him a hug and cried on his shoulder. It must be amazing, but maybe even a burden, to know you helped so many people in such a way. It’s still amazing, no less.
I can’t even imagine it.