I wrote something here on our new blog a couple weeks ago about the passing of No Use For A Name lead-singer, Tony Sly and what it meant to me personally. You can read that post here if you didn’t already – it will give much better context to what’s written below.
Well, I must be living right because this is almost too much to believe. The Me First and the Gimme Gimmes show I went to on Saturday was apeshit – in the best imaginable way. The vibe was fantastic, the crowd was fired up and Fat Mike said some really nice things about Tony Sly and what he meant to the whole Fat family. If you don’t know who Fat Mike is, he’s the lead-singer of both NOFX and Me First as well as the owner of Fat Wreck Chords, one of the largest independent record labels in North America. I could go on and on about how much I like, respect and admire this guy but I’ll sound like a teenager with Bieber-fever.
After the show, Chris (long-time friend) and I were trading sweat-soaked hugs and handshakes with our fellows in the fray after the SUPER lively and energetic crowd started to disperse. We went out for a post-show beverage, shot some pool, had some fun in the Gaslamp and then made our way towards the last train available to take us back to his place in Ocean Beach. While we were standing at the train station grinding on 7-eleven hot dogs, a blue-haired punker made his way over to us – it was Fat Mike.
We traded fist-bumps and he recognized us from the show, apparently we were fairly animated and easy to spot? I tried to stay cool when I explained how much I love NOFX and Me First and how the Fat Wreck Chords discography is essentially the soundtrack to over a decade of my life. He was unbelievably cool and hung out for about 15 minutes while we waited for a train that was thankfully really late. We talked about music (shocker) and I made a remark about what a bummer it must be for him and the crew in the bay area to lose Tony Sly and how he’d be missed by a lot of people. Chris wondered out loud about why their was no press or info online about how a guy who was only 41 simply “died in his sleep” as everyone was reporting.
Mike gave us the whole story like we’d known them all for 20 years. In fact, he had just done the eulogy at Tony’s funeral the day before flying to San Diego to play the show we just saw.
I’m not going to be the first guy to articulate what happened online, or blow up one of my idols, so don’t ask. The confluence of circumstances is absolutely surreal. I’ve never really been impacted by the death of a songwriter or Artist in the same way I was by Tony Sly’s. The lack of info about how he died left a lot of questions unanswered and people like myself looking for closure. I respect a very small handful of people in the music business as much as I respect Fat Mike…and he was the one to tell me what happened to Tony?!
Damn dude – unreal.
Not sure what else to say about this topic but wanted to get it out there. Even the people you look up to the most and perceive as larger than life are just people like you and me. Be cool to everyone – listen to what people have to say – engage in authentic conversations and really amazing things can happen.
Also, you can see in the screen capture from Fat’s website below that they’ve set up a memorial fund to support Tony, his wife and two daughters. No pressure, but if you feel like helping, just click the image and it will take you to the memorial’s Facebook page.