Sad news out of the Great White North, where one of my all-time favorite musicians and a 1980s-era Toronto icon passed away last weekend. Nash the Slash (Jeff Plewman) gained fame for appearing onstage exclusively in a bandaged mummy get-up while playing an electric mandolin. He was 66 years old and had recently retired from performing after 35 years or so of being onstage in bandages and sunglasses — and that’s after his earlier career as part of Canadian prog-rock band FM.
Nash the Slash had enormous geek appeal. His appearance and his choice of instrument were the obvious signs that this was someone different, but his early work with Canadian FM yielded singles such as “Slaughter in Robot Village,” “Aldebaran” and the classic “Phasors On Stun.”
He was the subject of one of my earliest GeekDad posts, back in 2007, and was part of the concert that was my first date with the girlfriend who would later become my wife — despite my dragging her to see this strange character who was clearly not gunning for Duran Duran’s target demographic. His “American BandAges” was one of my first album purchases. In those pre-YouTube days, trying to figure out who the heck Nash the Slash actually was (he always appeared in full costume) was the teenage music fan equivalent of trying to solve the D.B. Cooper case.
Eclectic as he was, Nash the Slash managed to gain a certain level of notoriety and even commercial exposure. Starting with covers like “Dead Man’s Curve,” he went on to opening for acts like The Who, Iggy Pop and Gary Numan. He also began scoring classic black and white movies as live performance art.
In memory of a unique and talented musician, here’s a 2010 clip of Nash the Slash performing FM’s “Phasors on Stun” in one of his last live appearances.