Last week I was saddened to hear that Tony Sly had passed away at the age of 41. According to reputable sources, one of my favorite singer/songwriters and front man for No Use For A Name apparently passed away in his sleep July 31. Tony was a prominent figure in the Bay Area music scene. Coming out of the South Bay with No Use For A Name, Tony has more recently been touring solo and working on other collaborations with Joey Cape of Lagwagon. In fact, Tony had just finished up a tour with Joey right before his passing. His last known played song was on that tour. It was Linoleum by NOFX in Gainsville, FL on July 29, and you can watch it here:
Tony’s passing was made public through Fat Wreck Chords who had the following to say:
“It is with great sorrow that we must say goodbye to Tony Sly of No Use For A Name. We received a call earlier today of his passing, and are devastated. We have lost an incredible talent, friend, and father – one of the true greats. Fat Mike had this to say: ‘One of my dearest friends and favorite song writers has gone way too soon. Tony, you will be greatly missed.'”
The internet also blew up at the word of Tony’s passing with condolences sent from all over:
“We are truly saddened to hear about the passing of our friend Tony Sly. He was an amazing song writer and an amazing person. RIP Tony Sly.” –Rise Against
“So sad to hear of Tony Sly’s passing. One of the nicest guys ever. Our thoughts are with his family & friends. He’ll be greatly missed.” –The Offspring
“With the heaviest of hearts. Saddest of days. All of our thoughts are with Tonys family….” -Lagwagon
“Tony Sly, you wrote some solid songs. When we were just starting out, you generously let us crash your hotel floor. Stay gold man. Godspeed.” –The Ataris
“Terrible news today about Tony Sly passing away. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.” –Face To Face
“We’re extremely sad to hear about the passing of Tony Sly. RIP brother. You will be missed.” –The Bouncing Souls
“RIP Tony” -Chris Hannah (Propagandhi)
“goodbye to a good friend, tony sly
go easy, tony sly. thanks for all the good times.” –Bad Religion
“In life, there are few people that you can say because they lived you are a better person. Because you were apart of each others lives they made you better…… More appreciative, work hard, and define yourself. Tony Sly was that person in my life. I was blessed to grow as a person playing his songs and finding myself in ‘his’ expression. He gave me a chance to full fill my dreams as an artist and I would not be where I am today without him. I will forever miss you and may you rest in peace. I will hold our memories and our times close to my heart forever. Thank you Tony.” -Dave Nassie (Ex-guitarist of No Use For A Name)
“Our good friend and No Use For a Name band member, Tony Sly has passed away. Pulley toured with NUFAN many times back in the heyday. We will miss him and the music he made very much. R.I.P.” –Pulley
“Rest In Peace Tony Sly, it’s sad day knowing you’ve passed away, thanks for the great music-Moderator.” –Enemy You
“Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family of Tony Sly . On behalf of Strung Out you will be missed and your music will live on and inspire for generations.” –Strung Out
“We are sad to hear of the passing of Tony Sly today. Thanks for the years of great songwriting and shows. RIP.” –Goldfinger
“Tony Sly made me want to be a better singer. Thank you for the “Redemption Song” duets and the great memories, musical and otherwise. RIP, my friend.” –88 Fingers Louie
“RIP Tony Sly, there’ll be many a shot for you this weekend. Thoughts go out to family and friends.” –Frenzal Rhomb
“Remembering a friend. One of the best. Goodnight Tony.” -Lagwagon
“RIP Tony. So many great memories. Such a tremendous loss. You will be missed.” –Good Riddance
Tony got launched into music at the age of 18 with his induction into No Use For A Name in 1989, two years after the band was started. He immediately proved to be an essential part of the band, not only because of his singer/songwriting skills, but also his head for the music industry. He helped the band release its full-length debut in 1991 with Incognito, which was produced by Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion and Epitaph Records and was released by Bay Area record label, New Red Archives.
No Use For A Name went on to sign with Fat Wreck Chords for their third album, The Daily Grind, in 1993. It was not until 1995 that the band started getting really popular when they released Leche Con Carne. This album featured the song, “Soulmate,” which is supposedly the first Fat Wreck Chords single to ever get played on MTV. Check it out:
No Use’s last studio release was their ninth overall and was back in 2008 with The Feel Good Record of the Year. Recently, the band had been reportedly working on a new studio album. I wonder what will become of any remnants of that. Tony also recently released the solo album Sad Bear in 2011. It is unknown if No Use will try and continue on without Tony.
There is a memorial for Tony this coming Friday August 10th. A release from Fat Wreck Chords on August 7, stated the following:
“The loss of a loved one is a stark reminder of how short life really is, especially when they go before their time. Last week, Tony Sly was taken too soon, dying peacefully in his sleep at age 41. He is survived by his wife Brigitte, their two daughters Fiona and Keira, his brothers Mike and Jonathan Sly, and his parents Pauline and John Sly. In our time of grief it has been the stories from all over the world shared by band members, friends, and fans that have brought solace in an inconsolable time. To his family, he was a loving husband, a father, a brother, and a son; to us he was a loyal friend, an artist, a poet, and a philosopher. He was a man unafraid to bare his soul to the world. Throughout his lifetime as a musician, whether it was fronting No Use For a Name, or during his solo career, it was as if he was speaking directly to each of us, and because of that, each of us felt a special connection to him. Of course the real connection was to his family, and his loved ones, but somehow when he sang ‘International You Day’ (for Brigitte of course) you felt that he was singing to you. Thank you, Brigitte, Fiona, and Keira, for sharing him with us. He was loved by so many, and will be forever missed.
With a heavy heart we will say goodbye to Tony this Friday, August 10th in San Jose at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, located at 80 South Market Street. Service starts at 9:30AM. Please arrive early as the street will be closed due to the area Jazz Festival. The service is public in hopes that all of you, friends and fans, who have loved and supported Tony, can join us to celebrate his life and his legacy.
Many have asked how they can support Tony’s family in this trying time. A memorial fund has been created to help support Fiona and Keira, and you can DONATE HERE.
Those of you unable to contribute financially, but still wanting to show support, can send letters and share memories of Tony with his family by writing to:
Tony Sly Memorial
PO Box 54405
San Jose, CA 95154
We have no choice but to say goodbye to the physical presence of Tony Sly, but he will live on in our thoughts, in our hearts, and in our memories; eternally through his music and his children. Goodbye, our friend.”
I hope to see some of you on Friday as I will be attending the memorial mass. RIP Tony. You are missed greatly.
Tony Sly’s Last Show: