Buddy Holly just died ... again.
Mark Shurilla, an intimate part of the music scene in Milwaukee, has died today. Heart problems is all I know.
Shurilla was best known for his Buddy Holly tribute show and I have an incredible tie with his show. Back in the day I was a hot shot columnist for the Milwaukee Journal and quite a bar prowler. There weren't many bartenders or owners I didn't know.
One of Milwaukee's best known places was Nic's Nicabob, a place on State Street, just west of 27th street. Nic Boumont, the impresario, called me one day and asked if I would come and introduce a new Buddy Holly tribute band for its first performance.
I said sure and showed up on the appointed night.
Nic's was a hot place. Johnny Cash played there as did Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Charlie Pride. Nic also gave many local bands a place to work on their live chops.
Time came for the new act and I got up and as near as I can recall said something like this:
"We all remember the day the music died. Well, it's coming back. With his brand new, hot Buddy Holly show, ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for Mark Shurilla."
I stepped aside, grandly, and they started with the first song, True Love Ways. It's a hard song under any circumstances, but without much rehearsal, it can be a bear.
They had not rehearsed enough and one guitar was in one key and the other guitar was in another.
Shurilla was nothing if not determined. He plowed straight ahead, trying to sing in the key his guitar was playing and the other guitar could be damned.
Alderman Paul Henningsen was in the crowd that night and I thought he was going to have a heart attack from laughing. He actually fell out of his chair.
Shurilla and his show got much better. I live in his neighborhood and saw him nearly every day, walking his little dog. The dog was just like Mark, a little disheveled, a little unsteady and seeming to have a lot of fun.
This world is a sadder place with Shurilla gone. He helped a lot of musicians in this town and was always full of optimism and spirit, two qualities in notable short supply in the world of music.
Mark was 64 when he died. Assumption is complications from quadruple bypass surgery last week. @Roger, a few sour grapes my friend. Didn't your mother ever teach you if you had nothing nice to say shutup? Apparently you were never at his sold out shows year after year. Perhaps a bit of musician envy I'd say? Mark was an amazing individual. Very gifted intelligient man. He will be missed for his wit and humor as well as his ability to entertain a crowd or his friends. RIP Mark.
From all at the Nomad, we will definitely miss Mark-- a solid staple and huge part of our annual St.Paddy's day fun.. it just won't be the same without Mark and the MacTavish boys!! Our condolences to the family.. And one last toast to our good friend... cheers and as Mark would say: pogue ma thoin!
I don't like to speak ill of the dead...but Shurilla never did get in tune. Too bad.....
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published Feb. 26, 2015
After losing a half-million-dollar judgement, the City of Milwaukee is looking at ways to avoid paying the money. One of the solutions being explored is granting Silk a license in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.
Published Feb. 24, 2015
Sports movies are among the greatest films ever made, so what better time to list the top 14 sports movies of all time than right after the Oscars?
Published Feb. 20, 2015
"God of Carnage" is a biting comedy about two couples who turn from civilized to animals before our very eyes. But when two of the actors can't remember their lines, the evening turns out to be a real dud.
Published Feb. 19, 2015
The owners Silk Exotic today won a big victory in federal court as a jury awarded them a judgement of almost half a million dollars for revenue lost because the city would not grant them a license for a Downtown strip club.
Published Feb. 19, 2015
Domestic violence is something that most of us think doesn't touch those close to us. But in fact this familial violence cuts across all economic, social, geographic and ethnic boundaries.
Published Feb. 17, 2015
Bo Ryan has been coaching for 30 years in Wisconsin and he's had success wherever he's been. What's more, he's done it with a unique coaching style that features a deliberate offense and a tenacious defense that has the Badgers ranked among the best teams in the country.
Published Feb. 15, 2015
"Bare: A Pop Opera" is a play that seems to have some potential. But when you actually see it, the story seems so dated that it's hard to grab onto the message.
Published Feb. 14, 2015
"The Amish Project" is a play about a murderous shooting in a one-room schoolhouse that took place in 2006. The message behind the play is the incredible sense of forgiveness of the community that had been so victimized. It makes you wonder how each of us would react.
Published Feb. 12, 2015
Scott Walker is busy running for president and that campaign means he's got to curry favor with rich guys. Sheldon Adelson, the casino emperor, is a rich guy who hates the idea of a casino in Kenosha. And Governor Walker is trying to keep this guy happy.
Published Feb. 10, 2015
He's 39 years old and shot an 82 just a week ago. Tiger Woods seems worn out, by injury, the spotlight, the scandals and the constant coaching changes that resulted in swing changes. It may well be that we have just about seen the last of him.