Outpourings of grief and gratitude flooded the Internet yesterday after news broke that No Use For A Name frontman and underground Bay Area hero, Tony Sly, had passed away suddenly at the age of 41. As a key member of the pop-punk scene since the heyday of the 1990s, Sly had been a long-respected and much-loved figure in his community and beyond.
"He was an incredibly talented musician and a really wonderful guy,"
says Dominic Davi, ex-bassist for Bay Area pop-punk mainstays like
Tsunami Bomb and Love Equals Death. "Touring with No Use For A Name was a
fantastic experience, and it's heartbreaking to know that yet another
gifted artist would be taken from the world so young."
"He was always very kind," Davi adds. "When I toured with him, my band was still pretty new to (legendary SF-based pop-punk label) Fat Wreck Chords, and he was very down-to-Earth, encouraging and mellow. He was just a class act. I'm really sad to hear about his loss. NUFAN was one of those groups you kinda always thought would be out there."
South Bay outfit No Use For A Name was at the front of the pack when it came to the pop-punk scene that dominated alternative music in the 1990s, making it onto MTV with the "Soulmate" video (which featured then-Oakland-based tattoo artist, Ms. Mikki) before any other Fat Wreck Chords artist had -- including the ultimately more dominating NOFX. Sly's smooth but punchy vocals and the band's catchy and ultra-melodic riffs distinguished NUFAN from the pack at the time, and the oft-changing lineup showcased a wealth of talent -- including a pre-Foo Fighters Chris Shiflett.
Yesterday, Sly's peers -- including members of Bad Religion, Offspring, Rise Against, Face To Face, Bouncing Souls, Strung Out, Less Than Jake, Sick Of It All, The Ataris, Hot Water Music, Gallows and Yellowcard -- flooded Twitter to pay tribute to the departed frontman and honor his legacy. As did Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman and Dischord Records. Sugarcult guitarist Marko 76 tells All Shook Down: "I befriended Tony Sly in 1997. I played in Swingin' Utters for a Euro tour with No Use -- 48 shows in 50 days! So sad to see him go... I'm sure his daughters will take comfort in his music as they grow up, as we all will."
Karina Denike, ex-vocalist for Dancehall Crashers and an ex-tour-mate of No Use's, echoed Marko's sentiments on her Facebook page: "All my heartfelt wishes go out to Brigitte and the girls," she said, referring to Sly's wife and daughters. "Heart broken over the loss of a dear friend, wonderful musician and lovely guy. Much, much too soon. :( "
Friend to Denike and NUFAN, LA-based rock photographer Lisa Johnson agreed: "I'm speechless. He was so young. It's a
compete shock. A sad day for us all. My heart goes out to his family." San Francisco-based punk rock guitarist Brandon Polk told us: "One of my influences from my youth, lyrically and musically. Tony was super talented and friendly. He always made time for his fans."
Fans also hit the Internet hard. One -- Caitlin Ewing -- asked the Twitter-sphere: "Does anyone
know what happened to Tony Sly? The loss of some musicians leaves an
ache in your chest." At the time of writing though, no more information was available about Sly's premature and devastating passing.
For now, it's left to Tony Sly's community, friends, and fans to try and make sense of the tragic loss by enjoying the musical legacy he has left behind. His music brought -- and continues to bring -- so much joy to so many, and helped define an entire era and genre. Yesterday, Yellowcard covered No Use For A Name's "Chasing Rainbows" during its Warped Tour set in Milwaukee. No doubt, the tributes will continue to come during this sad time.
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