The first time I heard No Use for A Name was a little bit later in my life. From the time I was 11 years old I was listening mostly to heavy metal, and just learning of the existence of some famous punk rock bands of the 90's, such as The Offspring, Green Day and NOFX.
In 2001 I went to go study at the Institute of Music Technology and Acoustics in Crete. I met a guy who helped expand my knowledge of the world of punk rock and the overall hard core scene. Amongst other great bands I learned about NUFAN, and I remember very well the first track that I heard. It was "Invincible" from the "Making Friends" album. Since that time I became a huge fan of Tony's songwriting and lyrics. My friend gave me all the albums of NUFAN and also helped me to learn to play some of the songs on my guitar. In Crete I also met a girl who after our studies became my wife. She was not listening to punk rock at all but became a great fan of Tony as well. Together we were sitting down at home playing and singing Tony and Joey Cape songs. "International You Day" is a song that I have dedicated to her so many times. For me that song is a hymn to all women.
In April 2012 our son was born, so we started putting him to sleep under the sounds of the first "Acoustic" album or we were singing Tony's songs to him. Unfortunately, many musical artists have passed away and everyone who listens to their music feels sorrow about the loss, but for us with Tony it was different. It was like losing someone that we knew well. It was like losing a friend. We cannot believe that there will not be a new song with his wonderful and gentle voice.
The only thing that I regret is that I missed the NUFAN show here in Athens in 2010 because I didn’t have the money to attend.
I would like to say that I feel lucky and very grateful to know this incredible artist and I feel proud that I raised my child listening to his music, his lyrics and his voice.
Tony, thank you for giving me the perfect soundtrack for my life and my family.
I got into Tony's music in 1996, after a friend shared Lagwagon's "Trashed" with me while playing video games in Montana. I got back home to Arizona and hit up all our record stores, looking for the label and compilation albums that lead me to this new music. I also entered college that year and spent hours behind a computer learning the Internet and this new world of music I had shunned in the past. I felt moitivated, and my bass finally got played like it should have. "Making Friends" was one of those albums that led me to new melodies and a new way of thinking about songwriting.
I met my wife in high school, and as we grew through college and the immediate, confusing aftermath we always found comfort in a handful of albums. Road trips and tours always incuded "More Betterness," Making Friends" and eventually the "Acoustic" split. The "Feel Good Record of the Year" CD has been in our car since it came out, and the kids don't complain when it comes on.
As family life, kids, a job, and community shocked my world, the one constant was and is listening and learning new music with my wife. "Acoustic" became one of our soundtracks. Something we coud share and tell stories around. An album we could put on at family events and not get ridiculed for. Before Tony passed, his lyrics and melodies persistently entered my head, especially in his last few years struggling as a father and husband, through his solo albums and splits. "Burgies" is my perpetual apology and motivator. The duality of life. Through his music, Tony helped me learn what that means. "Capo 4th Fret" is me. I took it to my first vocal lesson at 34.
"I feel like less when everyone moves on." So I had to say something. Thanks, Tony.
I stumbled onto the news of Tony Sly's death a good year and a half after it happened. I was browsing around, seeing what some of my favorite bands were up to these days because I'm old, a working stiff and don't have the time to do anything remotely cool. And there it was. I immediately thought back to the hours of my youth, nestled in front of my stereo and hitting rewind on every song from Leche Con Carne, More Betterness and especially Making Friends. It was with these records that I honed my ear as a young guitar player. I played along with Sly non-stop, learned the chord progressions, scales, what notes worked well over what chords.
Musically, NUFAN was a curriculum up from the records I’d cut my teeth on up until then – Green Day’s Dookie (Power Chords 101), Blink’s Cheshire Cat (Power Chords 201: Symbiosis with Fifths and three-note riffs) and Pennywise’s About Time (Power Chords 301: Intro to Ridiculously Fast Palm-Muting). Even then, I suspected NUFAN to be the kind of band my older brothers, had they actually listened to punk music, would like. Sly's lyrics were heavy. Even my younger self sensed it. Frankly, the hard-hitting topics, like the domestic abuse Sly highlighted in "Justified Black Eye", didn't resonate with me, but that dark guitar intro of Leche Con Carne’s opener – that brilliantly heavy-melodic, two-part intro– now that I could get down with. And so I devoured those records, mastered the chords and tried my damnedest to follow Chris Shifflet's insane guitar work on Making Friends.
Play. Rewind. Play. Rewind.
Of course, Sly and the lyrics and melodies he wrote were the glue to all of those songs. And there were great ones – “Invincible”, “Room 19”, “Savior”. Years later, I picked up the NUFAN live record just out of sheer appreciation and threw it on. Still sounds good as hell, I thought. Over the years, I’ve felt the urge to write bands like NUFAN, just drop an email, tell ‘em ata boy. Keep it up. Love your records. But, of course, I never did. I felt I owed them an honest thank you. I still play music today – it’s a huge part of my life; couldn’t do without it, honestly – and I credit the punk banks of my youth for that initial spark.
So, thanks, to both Tony and NUFAN. What you did mattered.
On the Outside
We were on a Fat Wreck package tour in 2000, it was NUFAN, Tilt, Snuff, Mad Caddies & Consumed. We went across Europe together taking in France, Spain, Portugal & Italy. It was in Italy where we were playing a venue next door to a five-a-side football (soccer) pitch. Having had numerous chats on the virtues of footy with Tony on this tour he was keen to ask the venue if we could have a kick around on said pitch.
Long story short, it ended up with a challenge match between the Fat Wreck tour team featuring most of Snuff, half the Caddies, Tony and some tour crew vs the Italian promoters and some other chaps they had roped in. The Italian team were confident, they assumed that we were all American and therefore clueless on how to play. Yet when you get to know people on tour and you all hit it off transferring that tight unit to a competitive arena is a good way to really come together and have a laugh.
After a cagey start the Fat team soon began to dominate, I was half expecting the italians to start diving and whining to the ref but there was no ref. I recall Tony scoring a classic half volley shot from the 18 yard line, this was in the days before smartphones so unfortunately no Youtube footage. But it was a cracking goal!
Every time I saw Tony after that tour we would reminisce over that game. Forget the music we'd just chat about "that goal" and the fun had that day and that whole tour. So many stories: our bus catching fire, our Lee & Matt of NUFAN sword fighting, getting smashed in Lubijana, seeing Jimmy Connors son at the London show, and the Lemolas! The Lemolas were a super group featuring Matt of NUFAN, Lee Snuff, and Steve & Mike from Consumed. They would go on after NUFAN and play the Ace of Spades over & over until the venue pulled the power on them. I remember Tony and I crying with laughter watching Lee playing drums naked with the Lemolas as they did their Motörhead tribute, good times.
We all miss Tony, he was one of the good guys and a great song writer who caught the spirit of the times by playing his heart out.
I have been a No Use For A Name fan since the days of Don't Miss The Train and the Daily Grind. I want to say it was Justiified Black Eye that really spoke to me. it was about injustice and abuse. It was something I was strongly against, and that song told the story beautifully. So many NUFAN songs reiterated thoughts I had and situations I was going through growing up. Getting to meet Tony and all the guys at Bogart's in Cincinnati Ohio was amazing. It was that down to earth attitude that gravitated me towards punk and heavy metal in the first place. But this is just a blurb to let those who survive Tony know just how many his music touched. We miss you, Tony. And we are glad we were a part of your legacy as it was unfolding.