Tony Sly, Frontman of Punk Band No Use for a Name, Dies at 41

Tony Sly

The California singer-songwriter-guitarist's death was announced by seminal label Fat Wreck Chords, which signed the band in 1993.

Tony Sly, frontman of the veteran Northern California punk group No Use for a Name who recently had shifted to solo acoustic mode, has died. He was 41.

The singer-songwriter-guitarist’s death was announced Wednesday by the group’s longtime label, Fat Wreck Chords, in a post on its website. No details were provided.

“It is with great sorrow that we must say goodbye to Tony Sly of No Use for a Name,” the post reads. “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.”

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Sly joined San Jose-based No Use in 1989, and the band’s debut album Incognito was released the following year. After a second indie record, the group signed with Fat Wreck Chords, which would issue its next seven albums and Sly’s solo sets.

“One of my dearest friends and favorite song writers has gone way too soon,” Fat Wreck Chords founder and NOFX frontman Fat Mike said in the post. “Tony, you will be greatly missed.”

Anthony J. Sly was born Nov. 4, 1970 and joined No Use for a Name at 18 as its singer and lead guitarist. The group saw myriad lineup changes during its quarter-century career, playing a melodic brand of punk and gaining renown for its high-energy live shows. The group was never a mainstream hit, none of its records made a national sales chart, but it toured the world and enjoyed a loyal fan base.

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After such bands as Green Day and The Offspring moved punk into the national mainstream in 1994, No Use enjoyed a wider audience. Its video for “Soulmate,” from the band’s 1995 album ¡Leche Con Carne!, was played on the MTV alt-rock show 120 Minutes, becoming the first Fat Wreck Chords video played on the music channel.

Sly and Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape teamed on a pair of acoustic records in 2004 and 2010. Also in 2010, Sly released his first solo acoustic album, 12 Song Program, and followed with another, Sad Bear, in October. The solo albums were described on the Fat Wreck Chords site as “pretty f---ing weird, in that they’re not that folk revival bullshit that every established punk seems to think they can pull off nowadays. In fact, they’re much more like those Jets to Brazil acoustic nods to John Lennon -- quirky chords, pop craftsmanship and no fake Southern accents or tales of train.”

According to Sly’s Facebook page, he and Cape played an acoustic show July 26 in Baltimore.

Sly and No Use for a Name toured North and South America, Europe and Australia last year and had been working on a new studio album, according to the label. The group had been scheduled to perform Sept. 8 at the alternative-focused Envol et Macadam Festival in Quebec.

Watch No Use for a Name's 2002 video for "Dumb Reminders" below.

Twitter: @THRMusic

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