Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Nash The Slash & FM (And The Dishes)

Nash The Slash; All good punks know that prog-rock sucked, and was in fact one of the reasons why punk happened. However in Toronto at least there was one exception, Nash The Slash and FM. They were an artsy prog-rock band with influences from the reasonably cool side of prog (like King Crimson) who were considered acceptable by most punks. This was partly due to Nash's "Mummy wearing a tuxedo" persona (although he did not start out that way) but also due to FM's reasonably non-pretentious air and their willingness to be part of the scene at all. Unlike the British Progs who ran screaming from punk. Nash (whose real name was Jeff Plewman)was even supposed to play the legendary "Last Pogo" concert which was recorded and filmed, he is even listed on the concert listings. Unfortunately he injured his hand and could not play. It helped that FM was formed in 1976, concurrent with punk, and like the punks had to struggle to find places to play at all in Toronto's (and Canada's) live and radio scene at the time which was focused on tired cover bands. FM recorded one album, "Black Noise" and scored an appearance on TVO (an Ontario version of PBS best known for children's programing like "The Polka-Dot Door" and revivals of classic B&W movies) before breaking up and sending Nash off to an eccentric solo career in which he would play literally every instrument, even on stage. He recorded several solo albums with moderate success in Canada and Britain where he was cited as an influence by Gary Numan and John Foxx's Ultravox. These alternated with FM reunions and shows in which he played soundtracks to silent horror films like "Nosferatu". Off stage he was a nice polite balding middle aged guy with glasses. One of the first shows I went to was actually an FM show at the Copa Klub, which is now long gone.



Another not-quite-punk-but-still-kinda-punk band of the late 1970's Toronto scene was The Dishes. One of the first bands on the Toronto scene, the Dishes were definitely of the early Roxy Music art school genre (also openly gay) that many these days don't consider punk at all but at the time they were an important part of the scene, for a lot of the same reasons as FM; lack of places to play, lack of record company support, lack of radio airplay, media hostility and willingness to support other such bands. They recorded an album, played a lot of gigs, managed to appear on TVO and then broke up and missed playing the iconic Last Pogo. After they broke up drummer Steven Davey formed another band called the Everglades in which he sang. They actually did play the Last Pogo and appear on the long out of print album, but not the movie. Then they broke up too and he went on to be a music writer for the Toronto Star. Later he moved on to Food Critic for Now Magazine he died suddenly this past week.



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