Tim Powis's Nerve Questionnaire
What were your initial impressions of Nerve?
That it would last maybe one or two issues.
What was the first story or photo you had published in Nerve? Do you feel the story or photo holds up well today?
See the piece I wrote. Not sure if the Art Ensemble review was any good (you don't expect me to be able to find it do you!?) But I do remember that the picture I took that ran with that review was really bad.
Of all the stuff you did for Nerve, which are you most proud of?
An article based on an interview Howard Druckman and I did with Sonny Sharrock; a review of White Zombie's Soul-Crusher album. I'm pretty sure they were in the same issue, as it happens.
Of all the stuff you did for Nerve, which are you least proud of?
Where do I start?
What articles or photos in Nerve, aside from your own, are you particularly fond of?
Mike Henry's Killdozer interview, ha, ha!
What are your thoughts about Nerve magazine when you look at it now?
What low-grade newsprint they used.
How important was Nerve to your personal growth as a writer or photographer?
Very important. Apart from a few pieces for the punk zine Surfin' Bird and one article for the Toronto post-punk paper Shades I'd never written about music before Nerve came along. The pay wasn't too good there(we got to keep the records we reviewed) but a lot of freedom went along with that--both in what we wrote about and how we wrote about it. Consequently, the Nerve perhaps encouraged in our writing what often gets called "self-indulgence." On the other hand, it also encouraged us never to fall back on the "press release" approach to music journalism. I know I was a better writer at the end of the Nerve's life than I was at the beginning.
Are you still as fond today of the music you enthused about back then? If not, what has changed?
Some of it. I can't say that I've been playing the hell out of my Phantom Tollbooth and Breaking Circus albums lately.
Can you recall a particularly memorable Nerve party?
See the Mike Henry anecdote in the piece I sent. I don't have lots of other specific memories from those parties (Chris Buck's standard salutation: "Rock and roll!"; hearing Run DMC's cover of "Walk This Way" for the first time out on Dave and Nancy's deck). I just have a sort of generalized recollection of having enjoyed myself.
Anything else you care to add?
I'm not going to pretend to be scornfully revisionist about it all. There's nothing I wrote that I'm ashamed of, though there's plenty I'm slightly embarrassed by. There was enough good writing in the paper that I always felt compelled to try and write better. I had a lot of fun during the Nerve years; the music-loving and the social side of it kind of became naturally intertwined. I saw lots of bands, heard lots of records, met lots of people, and hung out at lots of places that I never would have come across otherwise. I made friends who remain friends to this day. I have fond memories of Nerve-ites whom I haven't seen since the paper folded.
I remember when Nerve was on its last legs,in the late winter or early spring of '88. Dave had assembled the boards for the next issue. He was sharing an apartment with my friend Bill--the same Bill who had given Nancy my phone number three and a half years earlier--and it was there that he showed me the layout for an interview I'd done with Richard Kern, a photographer/filmmaker obsessed with the disreputably alluring girls of downtown New York (and best known to us music dweebs as the guy who made Sonic Youth's "Death Valley 69" video). Kern had been in town to screen some of his scuzzy movies. He'd recently fled NYC and moved somewhere (upstate, I think) that seemed totally out of step with his reputation and was very evasive about his reasons for doing so. In fact, he was evasive about everything, but in a funny way that I thought made for an entertaining Q & A. I looked forward to seeing it in print. Alas, that issue of the Nerve never made it to press.
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