Helen Lee's Nerve Questionnaire

When did you first hear about Nerve magazine?

Picked it up at a club or store downtown, don't remember which.

What were your initial impressions?

Excellent graphics, music criticism, and commentary unavailable elsewhere except in the british music press--lots of knowledge, smarts, attitude, and all around great writing.

How did you first become involved in Nerve and/or first meet Dave or Nancy?

I approached them about writing for it because i was so impressed with their coverage--writing about music I cared about, trying to articulate through words what so moved me at the time, giving shape to post-adolescent ruminations.

What was the first story or photo you had published in Nerve?

Can't remember.

Do you feel the story or photo holds up well today?

I doubt it.

What articles or photos in Nerve, aside from your own, are you particularly fond of?

Writings by Phil, Rick, Tim, and especially Dave Rave. Chris Buck's photography in general.

Talk a bit about your relationship with Dave Rave, in an editorial or a personal sense (or both).

Intimidating at first, softie in the end. Highly sensitive and attuned writer, impeccable in his own way.

Ditto for Nancy Lanthier.

A mover and shaker. She had a magical quality. They both did.

What are your thoughts about Nerve magazine when you look at it now?

Pre-cursor to Exclaim magazine. For whatever contribution I made, immensely proud. It was a great rag.

How important was Nerve to your personal growth as a writer or photographer?

Formative time for me, personally and professionally. Went on to work as a music critic for Now magazine for two years before leaving to attend graduate film school in New York, eventually became a filmmaker, and one of my most favourite parts of making films is working on the soundtrack--have been lucky to meet King Cobb Steelie, Sooyoung Park from Seam, Ron Sexsmith, and Kurt Swinghammer this way--almost makes me feel creative working with musicians I so admire.

Are you still as fond today of the music you enthused about back then? If not, what has changed?

Absolutely. Although Simple Minds reissued on CD don't sound quite the same.

If not, what has changed?

When I saw The Wedding Singer I thought, okay, the '80s are retro now. Which is why I really loved Grosse Pointe Blank.

Can you recall a particularly memorable Nerve party?

I was really glad when Candy Pauker (photographer) showed up one time at Dave and Nancy's for a meeting/party because finally there was another woman in the room.

Anything else you care to add?

Everyone but everyone at Nerve was a Neil Young fan. I didn't share that particular enthusiasm at the time, but now I do. I'm seeing the Pretenders for the first time in my life next month at the Hummingbird Centre and I think, Chrissie Hynde playing the old O'keefe Centre? That dusty staid institution??? Okay, things have changed.

See Helen Lee's Nerve ballot


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Click on a link below to read more about Nerve magazine.

  • A brief history of Nerve

  • Chris Buck: Nerve Questionnaire

  • Phil Dellio: Quality Time With Balaam & the Angel

  • Howard Druckman: Nerve Memories, 20 Years On

  • Maggie Helwig: Nerve Questionnaire

  • Rick McGinnis: I Sold Acid to Soul Asylum

  • Tim Powis: All Yesterday's Meetings

  • Tim Powis: Nerve Questionnaire

  • Scott Woods: Nerve Questionnaire

  • NerveSpeak: Quotations from the pages of Nerve.

  • Sub-articulate, Psycho-Head Babble: Tim Powis's review of White Zombie's Soul-Crusher.

  • Right Now!: Phil Dellio Locates the Secret Connection Between Mel Torme and Pussy Galore.

  • A Panoply of Nerve Covers, 1984-1988, part 1

  • A Panoply of Nerve Covers, 1984-1988, part 2

  • Images From Nerve, Part 1

  • Images From Nerve, Part 2

  • Contributor Bios