From The Archive: Interview with Tony Sly from No Use For A Name

Sadly, Tony Sly of No Use For A Name passed away yesterday at the age of 41.

Back in 2009, I interviewed Sly for a story about NUFAN’s show at Slowdown. I remember Sly being really cool and pretty honest about answering anything I threw at him.

Here’s the story as it appeared June 4, 2009, in the Omaha World-Herald.

No Use For a Name has produced a pile of punk rock over the past 20 years.

But the group hasn’t gone stale. It hasn’t sold out. And members certainly haven’t gotten tired of it.

Started in 1987, the band has put out album after album of punk tunes on indie label Fat Wreck Chords. The group also tours constantly, making a stop Friday at Slowdown.

Lead singer Tony Sly said it feels like the band is still fresh, even though for years it has retained the same punk sound and feel.

“If you have the same people in the band for a long time, it’s gonna sound generally the same. You can’t really escape who you are,” Sly said on the phone from Canada.

“At the same time, I’ve tried to branch out as much as we possibly could. Within a certain type of music, you can only do so much. Not to say that punk rock is maxed out or anything like that. You don’t want to say that about anything, ever. That’s sort of giving up.”

Sly keeps writing songs for No Use. But being signed to Fat Wreck Chords (owned and operated by Fat Mike Burkett of NOFX), Sly said he’s not under pressure to constantly put out new albums.

“Fat Mike’s such a huge fan of the band in the first place. I’ve known that guy for so long, and he’s always supported us,” Sly said. “There’s never been any pressure.”

Sly does feel a little pressure to perform for paying audiences, especially in tough economic times.

“We appreciate our fans. They’re what makes everything happen,” he said.

“People don’t want to go out and spend 10 or 15 bucks on a ticket and then buy a T-shirt, too. I don’t blame anybody. People are losing their jobs. In a way, music can be kind of an escape. But maybe ticket prices and CD prices need to come down a bit.”

No Use has been out on tour almost constantly since releasing its 2008 album, “Feel Good Record of the Year.” Band members keep sane by spending a lot of time with family between tours.

“You really gotta balance it out both at home and in the band,” he said. “It’s like you’ve got two families really, and you have to give attention to both of them.”

Being in a band is “like being married, but you’re not attracted to the person at all,” he quipped.

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