Punk Rock Friday: Rest in Peace, Tony Sly

Back in 1999, my bandmates and I went to a show at the old Cotton Club in Atlanta (before it moved to the basement of the Tabernacle) to catch No Use For A Name, who were opening for the Dance Hall Crashers. I didn’t go to a lot of shows at the time. While I grew up listening to punk rock, most of them were “Christian” bands; such as MxPx, Squad Five-O, Slick Shoes, Value Pac, etc.

Most of the shows I saw were in that atmosphere. Needless to say, this was my first “real” show. No Use For A Name released More Betterness!, their sixth studio album, that day. Chris Shifflet had just left the band to join the Foo Fighters. I was already familiar with them, and had previously picked one of their old records.

They were flawless. The music was tight and harmonies were dead on. And unlike many mainstream acts, they looked liked they enjoyed doing it. From that point on I was hooked. I had the chance to seem them two more times, including the Fat Wreck Chords tour in 2000.

Through the years, I’ve listened to No Use regularly, though I wasn’t able to get into their last couple of records. You can ask my wife, when I don’t have anything to do I often pull out my guitar and play along to No Use records. Along with MxPx and Strung Out, No Use provided the soundtrack to my youth.

Their music, to this day, is still helps me pass the day at work or gives me something to rock out to on the way home.

Sadly, Tony Sly, No Use’s singer and a great songwriter, passed away on Tuesday. He was 41. Fat Mike, owner of Fat Wreck Chords, made the announcement on Wednesday. No cause of death has been disclosed. Sly mentioned in a recent interview that he was suffering from herniated disk. He noted that he was “in pain all the time” and was receiving epidural shots, going to a chiropractor, and in physical therapy.

He attributed to his back problems to “playing guitar in a punk band.” He explained, “Jumping around like an idiot on stage is fine when you are in your 20s, but when you get into your 30s and 40s it really takes its toll.”

Sly leaves behind a wife and two kids.

To celebrate sly and No Use For A Name, here is “Soulmate,” which appeared originally on ¡Leche con Carne!: