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 April 17, 2014
Recently, it was news that the state Republican Party is going to vote at its convention on a resolution that says the state party "supports legislation that upholds Wisconsin's right, under extreme circumstances, to secede." Secede? You've got to be kidding me. Maybe we should all find a way to get the Tea Party to secede from the rest of us who have at least a little bit of common sense.
Published April 15, 2014
Tiger Woods missed the Masters Tournament last week, which was won by Bubba Watson. Waton had to fend off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to claim his second green jacket, and it proves to me that the game is better off without Woods.
Published April 14, 2014
You really have to hand it to George Webb, the venerable Milwaukee restaurant chain. There may be a "new" kid on the block, trying to mimic Webb's claim to fame, but the Webb people aren't all that concerned.
Published April 13, 2014
Ever since he made his debut into the American pop culture world, Superman has been a character who made people wonder what he really was. After all, he's technically an alien disguised as a human. That was kind of the way I felt walking out of the opening night of "The History of Invulnerability" at the Milwaukee Rep. I wasn't totally sure what I had just watched, but I knew whatever it was had made me a little uncomfortable.
Published April 12, 2014
Everybody wants Tito Morelli except his wife, and she's ambivalent about the whole thing. It's those burning desires from six wacky characters that are at the heart of "Lend Me a Tenor," the Ken Ludwig chestnut that opened at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Friday night and runs through April 27.
Published April 10, 2014
In these trying times it's obviously good to have a job, but some jobs are much harder than others.
Published April 8, 2014
This season was a thrilling ride for the Wisconsin Badgers and it seems almost too much to hope for another one next year. But on paper, next year's team looks even stronger than this season's.
Published April 7, 2014
In a way, the theory behind "Mr. Marmalade" is admirable. Take Lucy - a 4-year-old with an imaginary friend - and give her a whole bunch of experiences that are more suited to adults on massive drug cocktails than to a child, no matter how precocious. Unfortunately, the show itself - which runs through April 19 - is just too much of a one trick pony.
Published April 7, 2014
Ten years ago, I saw the Renaissance production of "Skin Tight," a story of love and life. A decade later, the company brought back the original cast and its original director, Laura Gordon. This new version, running through April 27, is even richer and more nuanced than the original.
Published April 5, 2014
"Three Views of the Same Object," the Henry Murray play that opened Friday night at Next Act Theatre and runs through April 27, is a story is of honor and betrayal, truth and lies, the things we do either for or to the people we love. And in this production, it's a story told on the shoulders of giants.