Tony and I were in the same class in grade school and went through jr. high together (Montclaire and Cupertino). I knew who he was, but weirdly, I don't think we ever had any interaction at all until age 20'ish. Even then, in the one conversation I remember with him, he said, "I didn't know we went to the same grade school?" But recently and randomly, I've had two dream experiences with him. I'm a meditation instructor and spiritual healer (I know… it's not very punk rock of me). When I heard he left his body (about a week after his death), I spent a little time giving him a "healing." I believe as souls we don't really die, just the body goes, and I wanted to acknowledge him as a soul leaving this material form. There's nothing to say about that really, it was more of an intention I had for him.
Fast forward to two weeks ago (Jan, 2014) He was in a really profound dream of mine, and then another very funny one last night. I looked him up on Google and found this site. It's actually uncanny to read some of the stories here, because the person everyone describes is the guy I hung out with in my two dreams.
The first dream was really very esoteric: we were at an airport, and he told me he had been watching the flight patterns. He said, "you see those airplanes there in that terminal? There were seven planes lined up ready for take off. He said, "all those planes are going back to earth". They were filled with souls who were being shuffled back. He said, "See that guy there? He's the only one that KNOWS that he's going back." I saw the guy clearly and agreed with what Tony was saying -- the guy seemed totally aware of what was going on. Every other person was totally oblivious, almost being funneled into something or thrown into a crazy karmic whirlwind without their own conscious decision. Then Tony said, "Those other planes over there are going somewhere else." We didn't spend time looking at where they were going, and came back to the ones that were heading back to earth. He said he was trying to figure out how to get on one of the planes back here. It seemed like he had been contemplating it for awhile, but wanted to run the idea by someone. He was REALLY happy I met him there, like he was glad to meet up with someone he knew. We were like old friends talking through something important. He was sweet, funny, exceptionally intelligent. The thing that compelled me to write is WHY he wanted to come back. It had nothing to do with being adored or famous. He wanted simply to be with his friends and family. He wasn't sad or lost at all, he seemed calm, together, focused and intentional. He wanted to come back because he just simply loved you all. He wanted to continue conversations, laugh, and be creative together. He also wanted to tell you his after-life experiences and help you figure things out. We talked a bit about what that means if he came back to earth… you know… idle chit chat about reincarnation (oh, I guess that's just me.) Anyways, I reminded him that he'd have to shit all over his diapers again, that he'd be a baby, not "Tony", and that he could end up in China or N. Korea. (Not that I have anything against being Chinese or Korean… my point was that he could end up in a volatile place and have very limited creative freedom.) He realized he wouldn't be able to come back as Tony, nor would you all see him as he was. He didn't want to come back for any other reasons. He walked away, saying, "I've got to think about this a little more." Then the dream ended. It was one of those dreams where it was just as real as anything in waking life, and he was on my mind for DAYS.
Then I had another one last night. It wasn't profound or anything, a basic dream, but so funny (at least in my opinion) that I'd like to share it. I was on Oprah, Super Soul Sunday. I was soooo nervous, I had every line memorized, I wanted to be perfect. But once I went live, something happened. And in a maniacal flash I realized I had the stage for something way better: total irreverence and belligerence. I was swearing and said something about me being a child molester. (One of my first spiritual teachers had a key note speech with a group of "concerned mothers against so and so", and he had the same thing happen. All of a sudden he found himself telling them that he was a child molester just to make them squirm. I always thought that was brilliant.) I was on Oprah because of a book I'm writing on spirituality and health. She obviously expected me to be a little more mature. Instead, my "other" side came out. I think I might have tourette's syndrome. After the show, Tony and I were on the floor laughing our asses off. The kind of laughter that just floats you, we were rolling on the floor in tears. It was definitely the best show of that season. Then he got really clear and said something like, "but seriously, if you want to be respected, you're going to have to pick a public persona and stick with it. You shouldn't fuck this up." It sounds totally silly in this context, but the way he said it and him saying it at this time was enlightening for me. I could tell he was someone that people listened to and trusted. Just know that he's a very capable spirit and he is not lost. He's probably got it all figured out already. I bet if any of you need help, he'll show up for you in some way. It may not be the way you think, want, or expect. I'm truly sorry that you lost a such a wonderful friend, husband, daddy, son. The best gift back would be to take his creativity and use it some way in your lives.
First time I heard about No Use was in the late 90s from a friend who brought a CD to my house... Hey whats your name?? The man said. And then... the answer is still no started.... wohh!! I repeated it almost 20 times before Invincible first played... still my favorite by the way. And then comes the Vans Warped Tour in Montreal.... and guess who is playing? No Use For A Name! At first sight, I felt hypnotised and speechless in this crazy pit, listening to a sound that came for my emotions like never before. Then the frontman said, "Hey whats your name?" Remembering the crowd answering before someone pushed me into my first real mosh pit. It was energy that I had never felt before..... But a 25 minute set wasn't enough for me. So I bought all their albums and tried to play those riffs on my guitar and hoped to feel that rush of emotion again. A few years later they were back, I now knew almost every word that came out of Tony's mouth. At this point No Use For A Name had become very special for me, it was such a memorable night. Anyone ever hear about one of the biggest 4 day fests in Canada, Woodstock En Beuce? Its nowhere near anything, where even the cows were drunk. My favorite band was there, hell yeah!!! First row, close to Tony, singing screaming my lungs out. Thrashing and pointingat that man that I thought unreachable. Until he gives me a big thumbs up me with a smile. What a feeling ( but not that flashdance shit), a real feeling, like i was Invincible. The only thing i wanted to do was to be seen and make them known that, hey I am here and I love your damn shit. Absorbing everything that I can from the frontman. On that day in July I have won the contest.
Fast forward to 2012, Rockfest Montebello... I missed it knowing that Nufan were to play 2 months later with Lagwagon in Quebec. Tragedy came. Reading the news on Facebook I am silent for 15 minutes at my mothers house. Until my mom comes to me and asks me... whats wrong son? So I tell my mom that I will never push something to tomorrow.. ever again. The death of Tony has made me grow up and remember that life is good to be lived.
Last summer, a NUFAN tribute band was touring in Eastern Quebec and played in my hometown. They asked me to sing Don't Miss the Train. I did not miss the train and now, I am part of the band. Yeah realizing one of my biggest dreams playing the tribute of the band who kept me going at many shows. I am reminded by my memories of Tony every day and that life is short and you have to live it. I miss you man.
I'm Stephen Rogers from the Big Island of Hawaii. the last place you would think a punk rocker would come from.The first tape I ever got my mom to buy me was the Daily Grind. I was maybe 11. I had already heard some songs like Soulmate in surf and bodyboard vids I was watching, and knew the first time I heard Strung Out, NOFX, Lagwagon and No Use For A Name that this was the music I would play write and listen to the rest of my life. Now I am 30 and still loving punk rock and I have almost been in some great bands that came apart from drugs and women. Fat Mike I dont know how you pull it off! Anyways when I was 25 I moved from Tahiti to Santa Cruz and was walking down the street and saw a poster for No Use. The show was at this old vets center across the street from the methadone center and the place you get new needles. I could not even dream a band I loved for so long would be playing the dive of dives. So me and my chick showed up at the show 5 hours before start time, just in time to see the sound check. Matt hooked us up with all the No Use gear and Tony and the drummer told me about a job that I could get with his brother in Truckee. Funny Matt Riddle would not sign the shirt Tony gave us. So a few hours went by and it was time for the show to start. I'm thinking there is going to be a sold out show, but only 25 people showed up. It made me super sad, I wanted to stage dive cuz there were no assholes to stop you like every show I had been to before. Right when they came on I looked up at Tony and asked, bra can I run up on the stage and try to go crowd surf even if there were only 25 guys. He looks down and said "yeah Hawaii have fun. Please do a front flip!" After they played a killer set, almost all of Making Friends, they played Bob Marley. The sickest cover song a punk rock band has ever played. I jumped up on stage and just sang it with Tony. I looked over at their new lead guitar player and he was lookin at Riddle like what the hell? But Tony just let me sing the first slow part, then when it hit "Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom!" I did my front flip onto a poor sucker waiting to catch me and that was that. Tony had no ego he played and sang to a crowd of 20 like it was a 1,000. He made friends with a kid from Kona. That moment and taking shots with Joey Cape at Slims singing Mr. Coffee has pushed me to play and start bands over and over again. I surf pipeline after gettin amped to Tony's music and never forget what he gave me. Even if he did not know it. Tony Sly rest in the sky with my little brother. Love and aloha from Hawaii. Sorry for any misspelllings, schools here suck. Again Aloha.