In 1999 I went to go live and work in London. I can’t recall what time of year it was but my story involves No Use arriving in London as part of a European tour. The tour was to support the recently released More Betterness album. It was a crazy time for the band, Chris had just left to become a Foo Fighter and Dave had undergone a remarkable tryout whereby it sounds like he had learned the whole No Use catalogue in 24 hours!
It was a Friday night and I had told Tony to bring the guys out for a few beers when they arrived into central London. At Frost & Sullivan our after work gathering spot was the Plumbers Arms in Belgravia. Belgravia is a very exclusive neighborhood in London and it was a suit and tie crowd all the way. I was so excited that my work friends were going to meet my brother and his band mates. I remember the guys were a little late and I kept telling people from work not to leave because the guys would be here soon. It was great when they came, they were hilarious and people were so intrigued about this California punk band. Here were all these British guys in suits and the band shows up wearing hoodies and baseball hats, it was a terrific scene. That night was also the first time I got to meet Dave Nassie and Mike Leonard and they were awesome new additions to the NUFAN family. The night evolved into a lot of drinking and as usual some bad late night culinary choices. At some point we called it a night and Tony and I agreed to meet up the next day.
On the Saturday, Tony wanted to come over to see where I was living in South Kensingon. I was living with a lovely Irish woman named Noreen Hughes. I rented out a small basement room from her that had a really strange little shower box. I introduced Tony to Noreen and then introduced him to my neighborhood. He wanted to see where I got coffee in the morning and the pubs I went to and just generally how I lived day to day. I then remember we got into a black London cab and went to Covent Gardens and then walked around Carnaby Street checking out unique shops. We bought some weird knick-knacks that he could take home to Brigitte and friends. We were just having a running conversation all day about what I was doing in England, how things were going with the band and just generally the dumb shit we always talked about.
As the day got later Tony needed to head over to the London Astoria to do a sound check for that nights show. As we arrived at the venue we ran into Joey Cape outside as Lagwagon were also in town to play that night. I distinctly remember one part of their conversation. One of them asked the other,“how long have you been out?” Meaning how long have you been out on tour. It was a bit like two soldiers meeting up in a war and asking, “how long have you been in country?” I always remember that conversation and I wasn’t even really part of it. What was clear though is that Tony was part of a musician community where being on the road was a fact of life and not something the average person could relate to. When I first heard the Scorpios song “Lifer” I immediately remembered the conversation Tony and Joey had all those years ago. I am often saddened when I think of all the things Tony missed while out on tour: the birthdays, the actual births, the graduation parties, the bachelor parties etc. But for every family event he missed, I have to remember he was out there touching others in a unique way with his music and performance. In this way I am glad I got to share Tony with the world.
With the sound check done we had a few more hours to kill before the show. I remember we went over to Tower Records to see how More Betterness was being displayed. It was a habit of mine back in those days to check every record store I ever walked by to see if they had No Use in stock. As we walked through the store it became apparent that we were being followed by a group of maybe 5 or 6 kids. Such an odd sensation to be shadowed and then I realized that they were fans that had suddenly discovered that Tony was in their midst. The kids were from Scotland and had driven all night down to London to see No Use. I remember Tony signing some not yet purchased CDS and the little group got bigger as people in the store came over to see what was going on. A Tower Records employee asked me, “Who is that guy?” I proudly told him who it was.
A few hours later the show started and a lot of my London friends were there with me to see it. A lot of the London crowd I knew wasn’t really into punk as it was 1999 and the techno craze was unfortunately in full flight. They did all however love the NUFAN Depeche Mode cover Enjoy the Silence. Still everyone had a great time. I remember there was a bit of disbelief about partying on a tour bus in the middle of Charing Cross Road in Central London. This was just not something you got to do every day. Again the band guys were awesome, always playing host to however many people I seemed to bring backstage or onto a bus. I know there were many times over the years where my various friends and I greatly depleted the band’s beer and liquor supply. Guys the next round is on me! Thank you for always making me feel like part of the No Use family.
Anyway I just wanted to share what I recall as a wonderful 24 hours or so spent with my brother Tony in London. I miss him immensely and love to read everyone’s stories. Thank you all for sharing.