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 May 21, 2013
When a team is as bad as the Milwaukee Brewers have been, you kind of just hold your breath, waiting for somebody with authority to lose patience with the whole thing and start chopping. And, as we all know, the normal first head on the chopping block belongs to the manager.
Published May 16, 2013
For decades Milwaukee has been a whipping boy for all those state legislators who aren't from Milwaukee. We need to find a way to fight back, something that will scare the crap out of some Republican from Bonduel or Abbotsford or even Mequon. Here are Dave Begel's weapons of war...
Published May 15, 2013
I have been kind of out of commission for more than 40 days with a health difficulty and it's been a real long haul. I think I'm in the final couple of weeks before I get to go home, but lately I've been thinking a lot about what things I miss the most.
Published May 14, 2013
The Journal Sentinel just hired someone named David Paulsen to be its new Breaking News Editor. Paulsen comes to the paper after stints as a reporter in Wausau and Poughkeepsie, N. Y. and two years at Fox News. Well, when the announcement was made the cries from staffers in the newsroom in Downtown Milwaukee could be heard throughout the civilized world.
Published May 14, 2013
Any sport can be improved upon with simple tweaks to the rules. Here is a list of one change for the major spectator sports that will help each game.
Published May 9, 2013
For months, all the pro leagues had been preparing for this announcement from some athlete. They had formed alliances with LGBT groups, laying plans for how to respond and how to handle the inevitable public reaction. But even in Wisconsin, we have moved beyond this kind of homophobic bull crap.
Published May 7, 2013
Do something great and we adore our heroes with shouts, screams and applause. We care and we show we care. What are we to do when they screw something up? We care about them just as much and ignoring their failure should not be part of this equation. Not caring is worse, much worse, than disapproving. We have to let them know that we who depend on them so much are disappointed.
Published May 3, 2013
Enough young people have been convinced they should care about using the proper fork that a number of colleges and universities in Milwaukee have started holding etiquette classes for students headed out for job interview lunches and dinners. I see no reason, however, to limit this to meals. Think of all the opportunities these kids are missing.
Published April 25, 2013
Nobody is born a criminal. There is no inevitability to a kid becoming a criminal. There is something else at work here, and that leads us to the big question: Does crime cause poverty or does poverty cause crime?
Published April 23, 2013
Excitement, recreation and fun are good things and they are well worth paying for. Let's remove the science from this debate and just concentrate on the style of life and caliber of a city we all really want.