I was celebrating Nash The Slash finally being on Canadian Spotify by spinning his seminal Children Of The Night album from 1981. He died on this day (May 10) nine years ago.
It is one hell of a record — produced by guitarist Steve Hillage and recorded at Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row studio in 1979 while Nash — real name: Jeff Plewman — was touring the U.K. opening for Gary “Here in my car” Numan as one-man band Nash The Slash. This was just after he had started performing with his head wrapped in surgical bandages, keeping his appearance a mystery for most people until after his death in 2014. He performs all the instruments on the album as well.
Nash The Slash rose to prominence in Canada as a member of the prog group FM, which he co-founded in 1976. He left the band after a year and resumed his experimental solo career, rejoining FM for a few years here and there for the rest of his career. The first FM album Black Noise, was recorded direct-to-disc by the CBC and earned them a gold record. Copies of the rare first pressing on the CBC label are highly valuable.
So, Plewman has been on the road with Numan honing his craft. He’s got a bunch of songs and some choice covers like Jan & Dean’s Dead Man’s Curve, which was released as a single. There’s an embellished version of Smoke On The Water called Dopes On The Water that was a bit silly for my taste. But the killer one was a cover of The Roling Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown.
The album starts off with the incredible Wolf, an instrumental piece featuring Nash’s electric violin skills over top of sequenced synth. He includes a few bits of the main melody from Peter & The Wolf by Prokofiev. It’s dark, hypnotic and beautiful. Also, really impressive. You can watch him perform it here:
One of the performances from the 1980 tour was released as the live album Hammersmith Holocaust. Initially less than 500 copies were made, but it has since been reissued on 180g vinyl which you can get through his posthumous Bandcamp.
There are a pair of instrumental segues on the record and some incredibly frenetic, creative songs like In A Glass Eye and Swing Shift — both of which he sings the hell out of. And of course, the title track Children Of The Night.
I’ve always felt there was an air of NoMeansNo to this song — and a lot of his material. The same sort of vocal delivery. I’d actually love to hear NoMeansNo (as fellow Canadians) get the master tapes of this album and overdub their guitars, bass and drums onto it.
So, as I’m driving home and listening to the album I got thinking about the title, Children Of The Night. There are A LOT of songs called Children Of The _____. Just off the top of my head: Children Of The Grave AND Children Of The Sea by Black Sabbath, Children Of The Revolution by T. Rex and Children Of The Corn, which is a movie — but probably a song. Does that count?
Anyway, I made a ridiculous playlist of all the Children Of The songs.
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.