Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rest In Peace: Tony Sly

I've been trying to write this blog for a little while now. Ever since I found out about Tony Sly's passing, but it's been hard. I've never felt this much grief over the death of someone I've never even met. It hit hard. I know that I said I was going to post a few blogs that weren't about music before I made more that were... well about music but this isn't about music. This is about a man who is gone way too soon. This is about someone who inspired generations and made records regarded as classics in their genre. This is my experience with a great person who I never met and the impact he had on me, personally.

The first time that I was introduced to No Use For A Name was when I was probably around 15. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to getting deeper into really good punk music. Around that time I'd started listening to some of the older school, more independent bands like Rancid, NoFX, Lagwaggon, etc but I was still quite a bit on the "pop" side of "pop-punk". I can't honestly say that NUFAN was the single band that brought me over to the punk side but they were a big part of the growing push.

The first record I got my hands on was 1999's "More Betterness!". Something about it hit me hard. It wasn't the hard technical punk, there was a lot of melody but it was fast and felt really good. Really punk and this was at a naive, stupid point in my life when I gave a damn what was punk and what wasn't. A point when I unironically used the word "poser". I cringe at that time in my life but I think I needed to go through it in order to learn that I was stupid.

"More Betterness!" was an important record in my life and it remains so to this day, as do all of NUFAN's records. They aren't one of those bands that represent a time in my adolescence that I look back on nostalgically, they have remained constant. Those albums don't remind me of a particular point in my life, they represent them all.

Tony's solo career is equally as important to me. It feels like right around the point in my life when I was starting to shift toward playing folk music, Tony was doing the same. Actually, it was slightly before that I suppose when he released the first acoustic split with Joey Cape. I bought that CD at an FYE (this was something that people used to be able to do) after I heard about it and I listened to that record over and over. That was the first time that I realized punk rock didn't need to be electric. Passion didn't need to be shouted.

After that he eventually released "12 Song Program" as well as the fairly recent "Sad Bear" and a second acoustic split with Joey Cape. His music, all of it, has been a huge influence on me. On my life. On the type of musician and the type of person that I am, and as silly as it may sound to say about a person I didn't even know, I am going to miss him.

Rest in peace, Tony. You were a legend and you left too soon.

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