A few years back, I was amazed to see that NUFAN were headed to our small town for a show. When I told my 13 year old son, he was bouncing off the walls until the night of the show. We ended up almost missing the opener, but caught all of NUFAN's show, but we were dissappointed at the low turnout. Apparently, everyone spent their money on The Reverend Horton Heat the previous night. Not to take away from the Rev, but NUFAN should have packed the house. Regardless, out of the 30-or-so people that DID show, my kid was right up front, the whole show, screaming lyrics right in front of Tony, who, acknowledged him repeatedly. After the guys were done, Tony threw his guitar to someone off-stage & came off the front of the stage, with his hand extended towards my son & I. He stood there with us & told us how much he loved seeing the younger guys come out to the shows and we talked about the low turnout, the scene & my sons' future in the punk rock world and how much he liked them being a part of the Cake Boy movie. Tony called over Matt, Rory & Dave, and we all sat down at a table, where the guys all bent over backward to treat my kid like a star! He left with a set of old, autographed, used pickups from Tony's guitar, several picks, drumsticks from Rory and a autographed Live in a Dive comic book. I have met a ton of of punk bands, metal bands, ravers, rockers - you pretty much name it, and I have to say that Tony Sly was the most down-to-earth, gracious human being/musician that I have ever encountered in person. He cared about his audience. I still tear up when I think about him and his family. the music world, and the world, in general, I don't think will ever know the loss it suffered when Tony left us so unexpectedly.
Firstable, I´m gonna introduce myself, well I am Salvador Verano Calderón, an ilustrator and graphic designer from Pachuca, Mexico.
The first time I heard NUFAN was during the highschool, I have to confess that they were hard times for me, even though Punk Rock music help me to move on and No Use for a Name was one of the bands I never stop to listen. I think, life is full of surprises, one day walking on Pachuca´s downtown I discover a NUFANS´ record "Leche con Carne" on a pawnshop so I get it, I love the songs and the artwork, I couldn´t imagine why in my home city I found a record from the band.
Later I decided to study graphic design in order to do one of my passions, the ilustration, this passion was supported by the fact that when i listen into punk rock music I love the artwork from the records, so I propose achieve the goal of design the artwork from a punk rock band.
One day, I woke up with a terrible news, Tony Sly was dead, I couldn´t imagine that he was no more with us, specially because he with his songs, left me many feelings and memories, so I decided to do what I more love, a tribute ilustration of him.
The power of his music is amazing, that recently I discover a band because of the Tony Sly tribute, I´m talking about the Flatliners, last week they came to Mexico on a tour and I went to one of the shows, they played their songs and when the night was over, they finished with "Fireball", when they played that song, my heart stop to beat , well not literally, but it was such a beautiful moment for me and many assistants of the show, I could see musicians of the opening bands such as Tungas, Us Against the World and many others, singing with the bottle of our hearts that song. All because of Tony!
The power of your music will never stop!
Thanks Tony Sly!
Salvador Verano C.
Toaster in the Bathtub
A big part of the reason that we choose "Toaster In The Bathtub" for Tony's tribute album had to do with a conversation that I had with Fat Mike about Tony's solo records. We agreed that those songs deserved to have more light shed on them and that Anti-Flag should cover one.
When I set out to choose one of Tony's solo songs I was strongly influenced by a conversation I was lucky enough to be present for between Tony and an interviewer many years ago when a very young Anti-Flag was opening for No Use For Name on a US tour in '98 or '99. The interviewer asked Tony about a particular No Use For Name song. I don't remember which song but I remember the question and the answer, "Who's this song about? You? And what's the exact meaning of the song?" Tony answered (and I paraphrase) that the song in question was written to be intensely personal but he didn't want to say that it was about a particular person or topic in that he wanted people to interpret the song for themselves so that they could find a meaning in the song that related to their own life experience. He felt that leaving the song open for people to create their own meaning from it made the song more powerful and special to the listener. I had never heard anyone say anything like this. At the time it was a real revelation to me and from that day forward it seriously influenced the way I thought about artistic expression and interpretation. It's a memory that flashes thoughts of Tony Sly through my head almost every time I do an interview and very often when I write songs. I have literally said to myself, "What would Tony Sly do here?" It's a powerful example of the fact that just a short moment with an exceptional human being can have an influence on you for the rest of your life.
As I went through Tony's solo songs that brief yet influential answer I heard him give so many years ago kept running through my head. Then "Toaster In The Bathtub" came ringing out of the speakers. In typical Tony Sly fashion it's an intensely introspective song and one in which I immediately found personal meaning! It got me thinking, "How many times had I been the lesser half of a relationship? What could I do to be better?" The verses are a resolute admission of self failure while the chorus strikes me as a challenge to not give up and instead do the work necessary to make a change for the better. I found the song saying to me, "Take a look in the mirror… Don't like what you see? Don't simply give up! Get off your ass and try harder!" That's a message that I need to hear from time to time and a big part of the reason that I wanted to cover "Toaster In The Bathtub."
When we set out to cover one of Tony's solo songs I had the idea in the back of my head to stay in the vein that Tony had set for the majority of his solo music, but it struck me how the melody of the verses and the big anthematic chorus would translate great to a rockin' punk song - very much in the vain of a song I would expect Tony to write for No Use For A Name. With that in mind the four members of Anti-Flag got together and poured ourselves into an interpretation of the song that resonates the elements of No Use For A Name that have been most influential to each of us.
In the end our version radiates the influence that Tony and No Use had and continue to have over us individually and collectively and for that reason this recording is very special to us.
I have been a NUFAN fan since I first heard them in 1995 and have always considered them to be one of my favorite bands and an undeniably important band amongst important bands. I consider punk rock to be incredibly important, and I am a huge fan and go to as many shows as I can. About 9 years ago I started taking a white acoustic guitar with me to shows, especially to the shows of my favorite bands, with the intention of hopefully having them sign it. I saw NUFAN with the Suicide Machines at the Starland Ballroom in NJ one time, and Tony got so sick that he had to leave the stage. The band then had fans jumping up to sing songs in order to get through the set and I frantically jumped up there and was soooo lucky to sing Feeding the Fire on stage with them! After the show Rory and Matt signed my guitar and were so cool about everything, but Tony was unfortunately unavailable to come out and sign the guitar, for good reason (he was sick).
Fast forward 6 or 7 years later, and I go to see Tony and Joey together at Asbury Lanes in NJ, and I take an early opportuntiy to approach him, ask him to sign the guitar, and told him the story of what had happened so many years before. He signed it "Tony Sly 2012 FINALLY!!" and I thanked him and we had a short conversation about music, I shook his hand and considered it mission accomplised! Later that evening, with two of my absolute favorite artists in the world, in a great intimate venue, the drinks were flowing and everyone was having a blast. Joey invited me onto the stage and we played Sleep (UNBELIEVABLE!). At the end of an amazing, yet drunken set, Joey asked me to come up again for the last song and I played Razor Burn which was so incredible but I then took the opportunity, since I had the guitar in MY hands, to play a NUFAN song. We played a sloppy drunken version of Chasing Rainbows, which was not on the set list, and it was a dream come true for me. After the show, my brother and I bought them a shot and we laughed it up and they took a picture with us, that I now have framed. Tony passed 4 days later. It is possible that I may have had the honor of being the last person to play that song with him. I love NUFAN and I love Tony's songs. I was touched by his kindness and will forever be touched by his words and music. This is a story of a dedicated, loyal fan being rewarded by an honest, appreciative, humble artist and I am lucky to have made a commitment as a fan to such a worthy artist and person. Thank you Tony.