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.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.