You might know Tony Sly; he’s the singer of No Use For A Name and has been doing that since the late 80s. Now he has a full-length solo album out on Fat Wreck Chords called “12 Song Program.” That album comes out February 16th, 2010! ReadJunk.com had a chance to send some questions to Tony, read on to see what he said about the solo album!
Where did the motivation come from to do a full-on acoustic record?
I always had plans to do it and never got around to it because No Use was so busy. Finally we had a small break last year and I made myself write and demo 16 new songs in less than one month, I tried to write a song a day. They came out good and so I decided to record it. It was all pretty simple from beginning to now. I’d like to try writing some other types of music too in the future.
Tell us a bit about the new record. 12 Step Program sounds like it could be a weighty title.
Well it’s actually called 12 SONG program, so it’s a play on the phrase. It’s basically about how writing can be therapeutic and each song is a step to recovery. It really is when don’t hold anything back like this, I really learned a lot doing this. You can hear in the lyrics that it also has meaning for the listener I hope. Music always gets me through everything in my life, and I just wanted to express that on this record.
Were there typical inspirations, musical or otherwise, that you drew from in the writing of this record?
I wanted it to sound like I felt the first time I heard good music, completely stripped down and basic so the songs had nowhere to hide. I used the Beatles record Rubber Soul as a reference on many points of the record. I wanted it to be pure, and original but with a sense of nostalgic familiarity.
Was there anything you had to prepare differently in preparation for recording this record? Was it easier or harder on your voice?
Both. Depends on the song. You’re more exposed when it’s just you and the guitar so you really get critical of your own voice. However, I totally went for feeling and conviction. It had to be believable for me to even want to record it. It’s probably the most honest record I’ve done so far.
Is this record all you? Did you have any guests or experiment at all with different sounds?
Not a lot of experimentation, just me and a guitar mostly, but there are a ton of guests on here. Karina Denike is the back ground singer on most of the songs. I write high harmonies and needed a female voice for this and she was perfect for it as usual. She’s awesome. And then there were a few friend guests that came in like Fat Mike, Joey Cape, Darius from the Utters. So it was cool having those guys too.
In your bio it states that the Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’ was your record? Do you have a favorite track or is it one of those albums you just need to start and go all the way through?
All the way through. It’s a perfect record.
Do you know about the ‘Rubber Soul’ tribute that got put out in 2005? Are you bummed they didn’t ask?
Was it punk bands? If it was punk bands than yes I would be bummed. But if it was Jason Mraz and shit like that, then no thanks. Okay, I just looked it up. Yeah see, Ben Harper is on it and Ben Kweller too.
Being in No Use For A Name since the late 1980’s, is this a welcome break from the day in, day out you are used to having?
Totally. People call and say “you want to do a show?” and I say “yes”. It’s that easy. Having to answer only to yourself is cool. I could see the road getting a little lonely though. I’m sure the grass will always be greener. But for now I’m just having fun and enjoying this. I know I wouldn’t have a foothold without the No Use notoriety.
What does 2010 hold for you in terms of touring?
Tons of the solo touring. Shows and more shows. Hopefully I can do some No Use tours as well. It’s my livelihood and my job. Music is my life . I’m going to write a new No Use record too. I feel kind of liberated right now to do what ever I want, whenever I can.
To end on the personal side, what kind of entertainment have you been filling your life with?
The Office, The Office and The Office.