Rock ‘n’ roll animal

Friends remember recently deceased Winnipeg musician Anthony Bueno

Anthony Bueno and the Squareheads live at the Royal Albert Arms in the good ol’ days. Cory Penner

If you ever caught punk quartet The Squareheads during its short tenure as Winnipeg’s most dangerous band, you walked away from the show with one thing on your mind:

“That front man was fucking amazing.”

Anthony Bueno was fucking amazing, and the 34-year-old vocalist (who was also a big film and wrestling enthusiast) carried with him an unpredictable and heartwarming spirit.

Known to go off like a cannon as often as he was to call you just to say “Hi,” everyone’s favourite man about town sadly passed away earlier this month due to complications with diabetes at the age of 34.

“Whenever I went to a Squareheads show, I knew I’d be entertained,” said Jimmy Shand, drummer for Kato Destroy and one-time Squarehead. “His onstage persona wasn’t just ‘onstage;’ it translated to real life. He could be a handful, but his heart was in the right place all the time.

“The funniest was he mentioned starting an ‘All-Filipino’ rock band, and asked if I wanted to be the drummer, because only a few people would ‘get it’ (me being half-Filipino); I never knew if he was serious about it or not.”

After Bueno’s death, friends quickly set up a Facebook group dedicated to Bueno’s memory.

“First local rock show I ever saw in the city was The Squareheads with Hot Live Guys and The Quiffs at The Albert,” Grandview transplant/Winnipeg music writer Jared Story posted on the group’s wall. “Talk about setting the bar high.”

Photographer Karen Asher posted a memory of running into Bueno a few months ago and having an emotional heart to heart conversation.

“I told him that I hadn’t been feeling so hot, and Anthony didn’t let a couple of weeks pass without calling to check in,” Asher remembers. “On the surface, Anthony may have looked a bit rough around the edges, but he was a truly kind and beautiful soul.”

“I’ve always been more of a quiet kind of guy, but being around Anthony’s boisterous personality always made me feel like I was something more and just as much a part of his never-ending party,” Bueno’s longtime friend, Dan Feriolo, said via Facebook.

The two bonded over wrestling magazines at Tec Voc High School.

“He brought me places I would have never seen otherwise and introduced me to amazing friends that I would have otherwise never met. Together we shared a love of wrestling, trashy movies, music, food, friends, creativity, humour, etc.”

Quinzy front man and former Hot Live Guys bassist Sandy Taronno observed many a Squareheads gig.

“During the mayhem, it was impossible to avert your gaze from the man, and for safety’s sake, it was best not to,” Taronno wrote in a recent blog post. “Stocky, side-burned and crazy-eyed like hell. A monstrous toddler mid-tantrum, stomping around the stage, tossing beer bottles hither and tither, bellowing like a raptor, he oozed and dripped and spat charisma. It would get on you.”

To say that Bueno will be sorely missed is an understatement.

“Bueno was truly a saint,” longtime friend April Barlow said via Facebook. “Indeed, (he was) the King of Winnipeg. A king who would gather up all of his subjects, lend them some comics and say ‘You’re alright’ to each one.”

Published in Volume 66, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 14, 2012)

Related Reads