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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

RIP Tony Urso

Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013 after a long battle with cancer.  Tony played in the Cleveland, Ohio bands Starvation Army, Sissy, Hucklebuck and Buddy Love Combo.  He loved life and was loved by many:  his family, wife, children, friends and fans.  You are missed Tony.  I played in Starvation Army with him back in the late '80's / early '90's.  Below is just one memory from those years.





Tony Urso was a great guy.  A perfect balance of smart and smart-ass.  A real straight up Cleveland guy.  They don't get better.  His many friends, his family...they all know that.  He did have his quirks though.  Since I played with him in a band for a while, and went on a couple of tours with him, I got to know a few of those quirks firsthand.  Just little things that made him unique.  It's funny what you think of at times like this, but one thing that has been on my mind the last week concerns Tony and electronic guitar tuners.  Mainly I remember how much he disliked them.  In the two years I was in a band with Tony, I never once saw him use one.  Let's face it, clubs and bars can be very noisy places when you are trying to get ready for a performance.  All of us used an electronic tuner, it's just easy and more reliable then the ears when you are an environment where it's so loud you can't hear yourself think.  Not Tony though.  He'd scoff at tuners: "I don't like those things."  Of course he usually was in tune and he sure knew how to play the hell out of his guitar, so it never really mattered.  Still, just out of curiosity I recall questioning him a few times about his aversion to electronic tuning gadgets.  On one of those occasions I remember him telling me: "I don't need them…because I am in tune with nature.  I AM IN TUNE WITH THE COSMOS!"  Of course my response was to laugh (at, with) him.  Right Tony, I think you are also in tune with a few beers!  That was Tony though.  He was known within the band circle to occasionally be slightly "out there."  On his own plane of existence, I mean.  Planet Tony.  A deep thinker I guess is another way to put it.  Anyway, later during the gig I began to notice something...something out of tune.  Who is it?  Well it couldn't be TONY.  He's in tune with the cosmos...so it must be the rest of us!  Now I think, well, he really is in tune with the cosmos - and the cosmos is now a much better place.  Unfortunately he has left a vacuum on this level of existence, here in Cleveland.  We are not a better place without Tony...but we are a better place for having known him and having good memories of him.  So I just want to say, so long Tony.  See you 'round the cosmos sometime.

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Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut
Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut
Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut
Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut
Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut
Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut
Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut

Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut

Francisco Antonio "Tony" Urso passed away Aug. 14, 2013. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/news-herald/obituary.aspx?n=francisco-antonio-urso-tony&pid=166446300#fbLoggedOut

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

that was lovely... Just a few word on Urso... I met Tony way long ago.. he tried out to play with one of our little bands... not even sure which one... he had his horn... the band thing did not work out, but I always admired the guy... He spoke kind words and no too long ago as well..(couple of years maybe) his words on fb after Robert (Dick Head) Ritchie passed were way way kind... My old Pal Ted Flynn, who recently passed away too early, also commented to me years ago on how nice Tony was to him in what was an unfavorable situation... Peace to you Urso... say hey to Ted for me...joanie d.

Ps. liked the idea of Smart and Smart Ass!

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pepper mcgowan said...

I can't believe it still. I love this picture.

Shelley Weiss said...

Recently I saw "Gimme Danger" - the documentary about Iggy and the Stooges. It reminded me, I knew a band like that in Cleveland... Starvation Army.

Back in '89, I worked as a waitress at Club Isabella, a restaurant / bar / jazz club off of Euclid Ave. near Case Western Reserve. Tony was the bartender, and he was the coolest guy in the room. We hung out a bit. He gave me a Starvation Army cassette, which took up residence in my car stereo. He invited me to see SA play a couple of times. As a recent grad of Cleveland Institute of Music, it was more raw power than I had ever experienced. You guys were Cool.

Then I moved to New Jersey for grad. school and we lost touch.

After watching the movie, I Googled Tony and the band... and was so sad to hear he died. He was a special, crazy, sweet guy. Thank you for writing about him.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I read this again today, as it came up on my Facebook "on this day". It made me smile, remembering what a unique and beautiful person he was. I miss him. Thanks for sharing your memory of my brother. Best to you and yours. Peace, Ana Cristina (Chita) Urso