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NerveSpeak
1984-1988

Amerindie, approximately

"And when the Rusks feel they are too old to be putting out Butthole Surfers records, says Lisa, 'We want to settle down and run a pet store.'"
--Mike Henry interviews Lisa and Corey Rusk from Touch and Go (April 1987)

NERVE: How do you hear new music? Do you listen to the radio or just pick up stuff or what?
GIBBY HAYNES: Your breath smells really great with that cucumber.
--Chris Buck interviews the Butthole Surfers (July 1987)

"Which leaves Big Black and their ubiquitous leader Steve Albini: the monstrous 'Crack Up' for sure grabs your attention, but less so than Schoolly-D, who works within a format Albini refuses to acknowledge. Too bad, because Schoolly-D hates rock 'n' roll just as much as Albini--they could probably kill an hour making fun of Led Zeppelin."
--Phil Dellio reviews Big Black (April 1987)

"Hey, it's rock and roll. Look in the dictionary, next to rock and roll you'll see my picture."
--Grant Hart, interviewed by Rick McGinnis (March 1986)

"There's a punk rock magazine called Flipside and I get voted Asshole of the Year every year. I was thinking maybe I present these people with themselves and they don't like what they see. I guess they have me to blame. I don't go to their house, I don't shoot them, I don't shit on their heads. I don't understand. But I do say fuck you if they say fuck you."
--Henry Rollins interviewed by Robin Leech (a.k.a. Chris Buck) (July 1987)

Canada, unfortunately?

"'We get a lot of mail from Canada. This one lad who writes is a 'self-styled professor' of like Trivial Metaphysics.'
Mark Smith can barely restrain a cackle over the phone from Manchester.
'He sends us these discussions of Communism and Fascism in the Fall's work, which is quite, ah, interesting.'"
--Dave Rave interviews Mark E. Smith (March 1986)

JON SPENCER: So you're up in Canada, right?
NERVE: That's right, Toronto.
JULIA CAFRITZ: Where do you work? Where are we talking to you?
NERVE: Oh, uh, this is my day job.
CAFRITZ: What's your day job?
NERVE: I'm working at this public relations agency right now.
JON SPENCER: Yeah, it sounded, like, pretty real when the guy answered the phone.
--Tim Powis interviews Pussy Galore (November 1987)

NICK CAVE: I'd make a brilliant actor. If anyone's interested in me acting in their next film...where is this, L.A.?
NERVE: Canada. Sorry!
CAVE: Ah, shit. I mean: Ah hell. I thought I might have reached the ears of Hollywood through you.
--Dave Rave interviews Nick Cave (November 1986)

"The prostitute in front of the cheap lakefront motels make everything a bit sinister, like some cornball Mickey Spillane novel. But this is Etobicoke, right?"
--Rick McGinnis on the Rheostatics (June 1986)

JULIA CAFRITZ: Do you drink a lot of beer?
NERVE: Quite a lot. Is this more of the Canadian thing? I drink whiskey and stuff, too.
CAFRITZ: Oh really? Like a lot of Molson's?
NERVE: I don't sit around in a touque all year and call people hosers. You'll have to come to Toronto and see for yourself.
JON SPENCER: We wouldn't want to come unless it's gonna be like that.
CAFRITZ: Exactly, man! I was all for the Canada thing before I talked to you.
--Tim Powis , Pussy Galore (November 1987)

Intrusions from Ed

"Rat At Rat R is more than a band, more than a way of life. It's an umbilical cord connected to the barren womb of the universe, the afterbirth of a new age, an erect nipple glistening with the spittle of rabid gods. [I know what you mean, I used to feel that way about Genesis--Ed.]"
--Tim Powis reviews Rat At Rat R (July 1986)

"So is this 'classic' rock 'n' roll? I doubt it, but 'Strange Things Happen' is close--pure noise, and you can't hear a damn word he's saying. It's terrible, but it's wonderful. [Good point--Ed.]"
--Scott Woods reviews Billy Bragg (February 1985)

"It's the 1980s, and we've come a long way from believing that outright displays of desperation are ennobling or effective; they're just demeaning--better to act level-headed and save any tears for when no one's around. [Thanks for the tip, Tim-bop. Do you write poetry, too?--Ed.]"
--Tim Powis reviews Robert Cray (January 1987)

Dave Rave, totally out of control

"Paul Hardcastle: sounds like a butch TV detective/swell guy, right? He's tough. He's uncompromising. He's a force to be reckoned with. He'll risk his Christmas bonus to get the baddies. He's get every Mike Oldfield album on compact disc, and he's seen Apocalypse Now in sunshade 3 times without looking away when it got to the gross bits. He's a man's man."
--Rave's review of "19" (June 1985)

"I don't think Plato would've liked Frankie."
--From the "Ultimate Frankie bit" (December 1984)

"Exciting industrialists Einsturzonk Numbottom diliberately mispeled there name on the adventurous new album, Five On the Open-Ended Richter Scale. Interesting, eh? Reports have the German drug-users 'toning down the demolition' on this disc. Bloody health freaks."
--Farm Update (August 1987)

"Speaking of road gore, damn you too, Ian Astbury. As a sex symbol, you'd make a good coat rack...As a lyricist, your pencil and your wit need substantial sharpening. As it happens, your face disagrees with my stomach. As an antidote, I suggest the Fall."
--Fall feature (March 1986)

"I hate to be the one to lay it on you, man, but there's already a Skinny Puppy spin-off band. Featuring the enormous talents of Puppy's Kevin Crompton and the other guy (not the singer), and legendary Legendary Pink Dots pink dot Edward Ka'spell, the band Thick Squid has jut released their debut album on Nettwerk Records. Nettwerk releases many other albums this month, none of which I can remember at this time."
--'Local Stuff' (March 1986)

"Famous Canadians Skinny Puppy are officially 'in the studio' with famous Tackheadonist, Adrian Sherwood. I have no idea what they're doing in there either, I just give you the facts."
--Farm Update (July 1987)

"Did you know there was already a Skinny Puppy Satan lesbian motorcycle club comic book...oh, forget it."
--Farm Update (March 1986)

Pleased to be me

"Our imitators are always a watered-down version. It doesn't have the same soul that we do, doesn't have the same bluesy feel or commitment to it. Suicide and myself have been ripped off notoriously: Sigue Sigue Sputnik, the Jesus and Mary Chain, some of the Cars stuff, Soft Cell--you want me to go down the list of hundreds of bands?"
--Alan Vega, interviewed by Phil Dellio (March 1986)

"It takes a large sort of intelligence to deal with the life of a rock star. You make the records you wanna make, and you have a responsibility to yourself, to the group, and to those records to play the game. I think I've played the game well up to now. It's a dangerous game, and there are times when I've overstepped the mark. If you believe the gossip columns in the British daily papers, I'm the new Wild Man of Rock. I don't much feel like a wild man of rock."
--Wayne Hussey, the Mission, interview uncredited (March 1986)

"I could really make SSS sound great, I know it. If they gave me total control and didn't touch a dial, didn't touch anything--not even be there, I'd throw them out--then I could do my thing with the knobs and make them sound great. But why? Then I give it away again. Do they deserve it?"
--Alan Vega (March 1986)

Flip Yoür Wig

"Grand Funk Railroad; the red album. Without question, the all-time best Loud White Noise. The worst drummer in the world, the loudest and simplest bassist in the world, and an absolute moron of a guitar player who relished his stinging one-note solos. These guys made a quick killing out of Flint, Michigan because of their 'producer,' Terry Knight; decades before Malcolm McLaren. This record is so pitiful at attempts to swing, it manages to achieve greatness. Certainly more inspiring than the all Venom/Ratt/Twisted Sister clown antics of today."
--Howard Druckman, "Cheese and Crackers" (May 1985)

"Well, the popcorn really did pop, and the thing of it is I don't actually like popcorn, so I put it in a bowl and left a note saying 'Please eat this' and went out. When I came back it was gone, so that was all fine. Then I took some pictures of one of my roomates holding the record and then I thought maybe I should listen to it."
--Maggie Helwig reviews Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (April 1988)

"Hank's first song he wrote was called 'Teenagers On a Joy Ride Straight to Hell,' which he strums for me as we sit at the kitchen table. Later that day, he will have written out the chords and the lyrics so I can use it if I ever need money to get on the streetcar late at night."
--Dave Bidini interviews Hank Fisher (June 1986)

"Henry is poetic. He has six books available, including the celebrated Pissing in the Gene Pool. Life Time has some of His best writing, but being semi-literate, I find it difficult to evaluate it all."
--Mike Henry reviews Henry Rollins (April 1988)

"J is absolutely out there. My favourite line here is 'The common house fly is your friend,' but all of it is eminently quotable."
--Kyle Swanson reviews David J's Etiquette of Violence (July 1986)

"And when Julia 'Juicy' Cafritz sings ('Spin Out'), man, she sounds like some red-hot righteous mama swinging her battleship bulk to clear the path to HEAVEN. I think I wet my pants, it's so good."
--Terence Dick reviews Pussy Galore (December 1987)

"If your heart's in the garage, your ears should be listening to Pagan Fest-A-Go-Go. Bonus: The cassette was recorded in the high fidelity of mono, for that wonderful flat sound we all love."
--Howard Druckman (June 1986)

"Have you ever felt that lurking around the edges of the most innocuous late-60s pop lay genuinely psychotic impulses? That Bobby Sherman, Gary Puckett, and the Cowsills were really subterfuge conjured up by the White House to distract from their actions in Viet Nam? Or that Charles Manson's favourite record next to the White Album may have been 'Sugar, Sugar'? No? Neither have I."
--Phil Dellio reviews The New Originals (November 1986)

"The really weird thing is that 'Speed Demon' became a real nightmare later that night. While sulking in my room, I heard some car outside revving its engine and blaring some AM radio (a Sunday night oldies show, I think). This was strange because this neighbourhood is silent at night (save for when I can't resist blasting 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You' while staring in my mirror). I honestly thought someone was after me. I crouched on top of my desk, looked out the window (fearing a gun--maybe one of the neighbourhood girls' boyfriends saw me smiling at his girl), and saw the chillingest sight: a small car, parked in front of the dead end, with ELVIS written in big letters on the back windshield. The guy kept getting in and out of the car. I was frightened, so I woke up my roommate, and we peered out his window (a better view) and got scared together."
--SMW reviews Michael Jackson's Bad (October 1987)

"O'Neal finished with the explosive 'Fake,' a number-one black hit just now crossing over into pop, and even I started waving my hands in tiny little semi-circles at my side--got down, so to speak, plaid lumberjack shirt and all."
--Phil Dellio's review of Alexander O'Neal at the Concert Hall (October 1987)

"As long as McDonald's hamburger cows, mass-bred in Guatemala, remain a fact of life, the Smiths will very resolutely remain the Smiths and there will always be a place, whether defiled or sacred or, most probably both, in the critical conscience and consciousness of being in Brit pop."
--Helen Lee reviews The Queen is Dead (July 1986)

"I've had enough. This is it. I've had enough. This is it. I've had enough...
This is exciting; a new band more morbid than Joy Division or Breeding Ground."
--Denis Armstrong reviews the Swans (May 1986)

"It's a terrible thing when one of your heroes lets you down. I think I will go out and kick some little children now."
--Maggie Helwig reviews Roger Waters K.A.O.S. (October 1987)

Face to Face

NERVE: I missed Kiss in Toronto in 1976 and it affected me deeply. It's a scar I carry.
GIBBY HAYNES: Yeah, well, the opposite of a scar, which is probably worse; a void.
THERESA NERVOSA: I threatened to commit suicide when I was 14 and my parents wouldn't let me go to the Runaways. I was totally like, "I'm gonna kill myself. I wanna die. I never asked to be born."
--Chris Buck interviews the Butthole Surfers (July 1987)

NERVE: Don't you play harmonica?
ANDREW ELDRITCH: No, but I grind my teeth very well!
--Chris Twomey interviews the Sisters of Mercy (April 1988)

NERVE: Do you want to say anything to promote your upcoming show at Larry's here in Toronto?
JON LANGFORD: Sure, let me compose myself. I should say something real controversial, shouldn't I? The Three Johns--militant rock 'n' roll for now people--at Larry's on the 27th of June.
--Jack Freimanis and Mike Ryan interview a Mekon (June 1985)

NERVE: You once reviewed Echo and the Bunnymen and compared them [to] the Doors.
LIAM LACEY: Which made you very bitter.
NERVE: No, I was perfectly objective about it when I ripped it to shreds. But how do you justify putting a picture of Jim Morrison beside a Bunnymen review?
LIAM LACEY: Probably because we didn't have an Echo pic and the Editor decided to run the Doors pic.
--Dave Rave and Nancy Lanthier in conversation with Toronto's rock critic "elite" (Liam Lacey, Peter Goddard, and Michael Hollett)

Toronto critics round (er. sqaure) table

[Seated, left to right: Michael Hollett, Liam Lacey,
Dave Rave, Nancy Lanthier, Peter Goddard.
Photo by Chris Buck, 1985.]

In and Out of Fashion

"And for you metal virgins out there, remember this music industry proverb: metal is never in fashion, so it's never out of fashion."
--Mike Henry (October 1987)

"Popular appreciation of truckin' culture peaked in the mid-seventies, with the Burt Reynolds classic film Smokey and the Bandit and the blockbuster chart hit 'Convoy' (included here). It seemed every kid dreamed of getting a C.B. for Christmas and coming up with some cool handle like 'Adolf Hitler.'"
--Dave McMullan and Chris Buck's review of The Trucker's Special box set (November 1987)

"When [Carole Pope] grabbed her crotch near the end of the set, it was more than perfunctory; she was fighting to maintain interest. 'This song sums up the philosophy behind Rough Trade's existence. It's called Decadence.'"
--Nancy Lanthier reviews Rough Trade (February 1986)

"Fashion was their image and now they're out of fashion. They've gone the way of stirrup pants and intelligible record reviews."
--Denis Seguin reviews Duran Duran (January 1987)

"Elaborate packaging is a plus: clear vinyl in a gatefold sleeve adorned with phallic objects including a fanged skeleton whose penis resembles a satanic grinning pit bull."
--Mike Henry reviews Flaming Lips's Oh My Gawd! (November 1987)

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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

  • Helen Lee: Nerve Questionnaire

  • Rick McGinnis: I Sold Acid to Soul Asylum

  • Tim Powis: All Yesterday's Meetings

  • Tim Powis: Nerve Questionnaire

  • Scott Woods: Nerve Questionnaire

  • 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