By: Tom Westerholm
It’s too late to talk to you
And it’s too soon to say good-bye
Listen wherever you may be
You still live inside my mind
Something tells me that you are free again
In a place that feels like home
It’s never easy to understand
Why memories hold our hand
But people let go
-No Use For A Name
One of my childhood heroes passed away on Wednesday. Tony Sly, the lead singer of No Use For A Name, died of unknown causes. He was 41 years old.
I don’t really have eloquent thoughts about this, except that his passing threw me into a funk for most of the day, and I’m not sure why. Unlike many of my favorite bands, I never got to meet No Use For A Name. I didn’t have a personal relationship with Tony Sly. But in a way, I feel like I did.
See, NUFAN was one of the first bands I was getting into when I was first discovering the danger, the speed, and the passion of punk rock. They were accessible in that their melodies were easy and catchy and Tony’s voice was smooth, but they were still fast and energetic enough to make my parents worry about the music I was listening to. And let’s be honest: nothing could encourage a (very) young teenager to listen to music more than his parents’ concern that his music is dangerous.
But as I grew up, I began to get more and more into punk rock, and NUFAN remained one of my favorite bands. Eventually, I decided to learn how to play guitar, and one of the first songs I learned was “Feels Like Home,” the first 1:04 of the video above. I started a punk rock band with some fellow high school students, which led to my eventual music career. While my time touring with various bands has been far (FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR) from lucrative, it has also been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
No Use For A Name was far from Christian, so you would be justified in wondering why I’m discussing them on this blog, since our goal is to write articles “For Christian College Students, By Christian College Students.”
I think my point is simply that music that isn’t Christian can be just as positively influential as Christian music. No Use For A Name (and other punk bands who were decidedly un-Christian) influenced me to spend years driving around the country in a van with my best friends, meeting new people and seeing new places, which was one of the most positive decisions I have ever made.
So Christian or un-Christian, I don’t think I’ll ever stop being grateful for the influence Tony Sly and artists like NUFAN had on my life, and I don’t think I will ever stop missing Sly’s voice now that he’s gone.
I don’t know if Sly had religious beliefs (I rather doubt that he did, to be honest). But I very much hope he is in a place that feels like home.