I am old enough not only to remember Nash the Slash, but to remember seeing the Canadian indie-rock outlier multiple times. Almost always in some tiny, grotty club or theatre. Often at midnight. Sometimes before a screening of Eraserhead or another equally twisted film. And without fail, virtually every gig was somehow weirder than the last.
For those who never had the pleasure, I can only say that you definitely missed out. After all, it’s not every day that you get to watch a demented one-man band decked out in a white tuxedo, top hat and Invisible Man bandages (later he traded this outfit for a traffic cop uniform, complete with helmet, Sam Brown belt and leather boots). But the outfit was only a small part of the overall effect. Surrounded by synthesizers, drum machines and other gear, armed with an electric mandolin and violin, Nash came on harder and louder than plenty of industrial and metal bands. Along with his own masterpieces like Swing Shift (Soixante Neuf) and In a Glass Eye, he would deliver mutated covers of everything from Dead Man’s Curve and Baba O’Riley to Smoke on the Water (rechristened Dopes on the Water) and We’re An American Band (singularized to I’m An American Band). And he would do it all while bizarro films unspooled behind him — I vividly recall seeing the infamous eyeball-slicing scene from Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali’s silent film Un Chien Andalou for the first time at one of his shows. To put it simply: Nash was singular and unforgettable. When his real-life alter-ego Jeff Plewman died in 2014 of a suspected heart attack at home in Toronto, it was a shock, a shame and a huge loss for music. But Nash will always have a place in my cold, dead heart. For the past couple of decades, he’s also had a place in my house, thanks to these two vintage tour posters I snagged back in the day. If you’re also old enough to remember Nash — or if you’d just like to own either or both of these collectibles — drop me a line. I’m sure we can swing something.
UPDATE: The Rises In The West poster has been sold.