The last time I heard from Nash he asked to be my friend on Linked In... I thought he was kidding.
It said Nash the Slash musician/composer.
That was March 13 2013. At first I didn't think it was him. I laughed out loud. Nash made me do that a lot. Then I realized by looking at his other connections, that it really was him. So I wrote back.
Subject line - Long time.
“Nash. How are you doing? Hope you are well.”
That was March 15, 2013. He did not reply and I had no idea it would be the last time I would ever hear from him.
I had been thinking of Nash lately because his picture hangs above my office door and I have many silver and gold pen autographed CDs from the limited edition Highway 61 soundtrack featuring the Doc Satan Orchestra, to his original score for 1922 German silent film Nosferatu.
I was going through my CDs the other day to pick a track because I like Wolf, Swing Shift, and especially Vincent's Crows which I often play on the radio. Because I loved the long and lingering syntho / electro violin and mandolin solos in Nash's work.
In a weird twist of fate, at The Casby Awards during the mid 80's I actually met FM band producer/bass player Michael Waite owner of Mike's Music Toronto. During a very brief dating stint, Michael gave me a lot of FM's music on vinyl so I was able to track the evolution of FM from the cool, iconic revolutionary late 70's sound of Black Noise to the commercial poppy sloppy schmaltz of mid 80's vinyl Tonight which I detested.
Nash and I vehemently shared this opinion, and I guess that's one of the main reasons we got along so well when we first met.
I remember my first chance encounter with The Bandaged Guy.
I was interviewing FM drummer Martin Deller. FM was playing The Coronet Hotel during its live music heyday. I was waiting in Martin's hotel room for our scheduled chat and the door opened. In bounced this rambunctious boxer dog and its very friendly owner. Nash (sans bandages) laughed.
“Hey! Do you mind looking after my dog Roxy for a few minutes?”
“Sure.” I replied.... thinking Wow! That was Nash the Slash (aka Jeff Plewman) without his bandages.
(**During the whole time I knew him, I never called him Jeff. **)
The door opened again and Nash returned for Roxy. After a few minutes Martin Deller arrived and our interview began.
A couple of years later, Nash (now a solo act due to FM's irreconcilable artistic differences) was playing at a packed Mrs Robinson's in Ye Olde Station Hotel.
Apre-show, I went down to visit him and latest canine Digger the Dog.
Nash and I soon found out that we had a lot in common. We were both hardcore music and movie nerds that appreciated a great sense of wit.
Nash told me about his plans to do more shows later on that year and asked me if I could suggest a few venues. Gobsmacked, I put my thinking cap on.
That was the beginnings of co-shows with Coral Concerts (his idea!) and Nash's company Cut-Throat Productions.
Sure, Nash was a rock star with BFFs like Iggy Pop, and the like. He had played the world over, from Russia to the UK, with some of my fave bands like The Stranglers, The Tubes, Iggy, Gary Numan, The Residents and so many more.
But to me he was a pal who, for a time, seemed like an older brother.
And show to show, I learned a lot about the guy underneath the bandages, a soft spoken, and kind hardcore Conservative, armed with a razor wit, who loved curry, limited edition vinyl, vintage horror sci-fi film, and his beloved pet dogs.
I met Rock and Roll Dogs Roxy, Digger, and Sandy in my time of Nash.
In the days of Coral Concerts, and Cut-Throat, we used to hang out with old friends of mine and a couple that had worked with Nash at The Kent Hotel (now the Huether) during its live music phase.
With Digger close by, and Rock Star Dinner Guest, I recall fabulous food, and libations, at these gatherings which fluctuated between intense animated discourse and loads of laughter!
I have countless memories of Nash from great live shows we worked on together be it brainstorming to show nights. I recall one day driving around the region with Nash and Digger. We were sourcing out venues, and we took Digger for lots of nice little walks while in the process. Any dog belonging to Nash was one lucky dog. Digger actually had her own place on Nash's "Grave"site. For many in KW who helped Nash with his shows, got her tail wagging commendation in Digger's Diary - a online blog before its time.
Coral Concerts and Cut-Throat Productions did shows in the coolest places from an intimate restaurant in Cambridge, and Club Abstract, to the venue that Nash preferred the most - The Registry Theatre.
Nosferatu, (one of the Registry's first live shows) was my personal favorite.
In this perfect Gothic setting, on the intimate black box stage in front of a 15 x 15 foot screen Nash performed his original scores from Luis Bunuel's acclaimed French surrealist film short Un Chien Andalou from album Blind Windows.
Then he performed his orginal score for Nosferatu also available on CD.
Nosferatu was what Nash liked to call his One Two Punch. Nosferatu @ The Registry was a standing room only show, and the audience responded with several standing ovations.
Nosferatu also garnered Nash an invitation to Russia's avant garde festival SKIF 6 – as the first Canadian musician to play this event in the electronic music genre. To his amazement, and delight, Nash was also invited to The Winnipeg Folk Festival, performing Nosferatu for a special midnight show in the park under the stars which he later described as “magical.”
Another show dear to his heart was Two Artists – A View from the Gallery, which he also performed several times at The Registry. This featured original compositions of Nash's music set to the sublime surrealist works of Toronto artist and his good friend Robert Vanderhorst.
I also have several Nash Live From the Crypt interviews where we chat about everything from his hot button topic of downloading music, to TV show scores he was working on as his legacy continued to unfold.
To me, Nash the Slash was a fascinating mix – a music virtuoso, and shrewd businessman, plus a performer / producer who demanded performance perfection from himself and his technical crew. He had a willing network of people, friends and fans, like me really, that would help him promote and present shows. I am sure they are very sad today as well, with memories of their own to share.
Again, through fate, and occasional jobs working in media relations, I also met one of Nash's closest friends, legendary music promoter Gary Topp, now a good pal of mine. Gary presented one of Nash's first shows at The Edge in Toronto. And thanks to Gary's encouragement, like minded sense of adventure, and sardonic wit, Nash embraced his now legendary bandaged personna that very night.
The last time I saw Nash was in the early 2000's for our last Coral Concert /Cut-Throat show Thrash @ The Registry Theatre. Before the show, he came to visit me at The York, and wondered around my vintage abode. “Wow, this is just like my place in Toronto. It goes on forever, where the hell is the kitchen?”
He loved my little kitchen because I have a poster of Garbage, and one of his fave singers Shirley Manson right beside my sink adjacent to my wood and glass cupboard doors. We had gone to see Garbage in concert at The Lyric and Nash (sans bandage) was my Plus One! Upon further home inspection, I heard him laugh out loud from my porcelain tiled bathroom. I have that iconic poster of an almost nude Graham Chapman from Monty Python's Life of Brian with joyous cutline Life's A Piece of Sh*t When You Look at It. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. As Nash walked back into my dining room, he lit a cigarette.
After years of quitting, he had started smoking again. So I gave him major Sh*t for that!
I am hoping that on Monday May 12 2014 he found Roxy, Digger and maybe Graham Chapman. I think they would get along. They could have a bloody good laugh taunting the world from on high. …
Listening in Safety Always…. Your Pal Coral FM