Interview: Dan Barkley on Australian Tony Sly Tribute


LOS ANGELES, July 28, 2014 — On July 31, 2012, the world of punk rock was rocked by the tragic news of the passing of one of its best songwriters, Tony Sly. His death left not only a gaping hole in the punk community, but also a gaping hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved him, including a wife and two little daughters. In the aftermath, a community bonded together to produce various tributes throughout the world, including a compilation of bands covering Tony Sly’s songs on Fat Wreck Chords and a coffee table book, Tony Sly: A Book in Tribute, which is in the works. This July 31, Punk Rock Radio out of Australia will be airing their Tony Sly tribute show complete with music and interviews. Recently, Dan Barkley of Punk Rock Radio took some time to answer some questions regarding the Tony Sly show.

Kevin Wells: When did you first hear No Use For A Name? Do you remember the song?

Dan Barkley: I’m still only a kid. Haha! Well, I’m still young. I would have to say I first heard of No Use about ten to 12 years ago. I’m not sure of the first song, but it was in high school I know that much.

KW: Do you have a favorite song or album?

DB: For the No Use side of things I would have to go with a typical one and say Leche Con Carne, that album, I think, would have to be my favourite. It makes me also think that getting back to the previous question the first song I ever heard from these guys may have been Soulmate, it’s a hard question man, ey haha. For Tony’s solo career, I would have to say 12 Step Program, that whole album is rad. To be honest, it’s also the only physical cd I own for that stage of his career and once I brought it stayed in the car for about a week. I still listen to it in the mornings on the way to work a fair bit to, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of that record.

KW: What was your favorite show for either Tony Sly solo, Scorpios, or No Use For A Name?

DB: I think it was Joey & Tony back in, I believe 2011 maybe, I think that was the year because Whalstrom said that was the first time he had been down under with them, and at that stage, I think he was just a dude that played piano for them haha. I would have to say it was at the Art House, maybe, I can’t think of which venue in Melbourne it was, but I have a feeling it was the art house.

KW: How did the idea get hatched to do a show in tribute to Tony Sly?

DB: The idea behind the tribute came from a conversation I had with Jai (who hosts God Save The Stream) on the station. We were talking about Tony and No Use and about his death, etc., and out of that conversation came the idea and blueprint for the tribute, haha.

KW: You went above and beyond just playing some Tony Sly songs and people covering Tony Sly songs. Who can people expect to hear on your show?

DB: Yeah, I didn’t want to just have something where it’s just one of us drunken dudes announcing song titles and bands or whatever, you know? So, I spoke with a lot of people at all times of the day and night and all over the place as well. I’ve got to be thankful I have a sweet day job where they let me do phoners and what not, you know? Umm you can expect to hear a lot of different people, musicians, photographers, tour manager, fans and his family, everyone has been super supportive, which was awesome. You’re going to be hearing from Sam from Get Dead, Jon Snodgrass from Drag The River and Scorpios, Joey Cape, Brian Wahlstrom, Casey Cress, Tony’s brother, Jon, and Tony’s wife, Brigitte, as well as a bunch of others. Man, the lineup on it is awesome as hell. Like I said, everyone has been super supportive, which was awesome. It was super sad to talk to them and hear their stories, you know?

KW: How long have you been working to put this together?

DB: Damn, dude, the amount of time it took me to piece this thing together was a long time. I think it was about six months to a year, to be honest. Dates kept getting pushed back, phone calls kept getting organized and more and more people wanted to get involved, which was awesome, and when you’re working between two and three countries with the time differences, it makes the process a bit longer, you know? The idea to release it on the second anniversary of his death was made by someone on the staff, so I had to make myself keep to that airing date, which I think is a sweet thing to do. Everyone can get together and have a party for this dude, you know?

KW: What was the best part of this process for you?

DB: The best part about doing this, man, was how much people liked the idea and said yes to participating. I still can’t get over that. Also, talking with people as they were going about their days and whateve, the stories that people shared were awesome as well. Rory Kroff (drummer for NUFAN) and I spoke for like two hours, it was his first time speaking about Tony since his funeral and I was super lucky that he was ready to talk about him like this again when I came along. There are some funny stories as well, like one that Rory speaks of when they had the Fat Wreck van back in the day and it broke down near a brewery, so they left the van and went and spent some time getting drunk, haha. There are also some sad stories as well, which I think was another reason for it to take so long to come out. It was like, man, this is bumming me out bad. Do I keep going or just stop? It’s for the world to hear, so I pushed through and got it done, but yeah, the people giving up their time to talk to some random dude in Australia about someone so close to them who passed, the stories both happy and sad and the connections I made were the best things.

KW: After this airs, will people be able to download the show?

DB: The tribute will be airing on the station at different times for a week from the 31st of July till the 7th of August. Airing times will be on our Facebook I haven’t decided what’s going to happen with it after that, I just want to take some time to relax with it for a bit and then we will work out what’s going to happen with it.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

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  • Hal Burton

    Many quacks have begun to argue that there is no need to limit the power of government because it has been chosen with democratic methods.