Imagine a blend of Gary Numan, early Pink Floyd, Jean-Michel Jarre, and the Stranglers and you have a sense of Nash the Slash's music. Born in Toronto in 1948, for much of his musical career Jeff Plewman zealously guarded his identity, appearing on-stage as Nash the Slash with his face swathed completely in surgical bandages. One of music's true eccentrics, he was the type of artist who appeared on an instrumental LP that billed itself as playable at any speed.
Plewman first surfaced as Nash the Slash in 1976 as an electric violinist and mandolin player with vocalist, bassist, and synthesizer player Cameron Hawkins as FM. Rejecting the conformity of AM radio, they experimented electronically in the manner of Brian Eno. Similar to Andy Warhol and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable live presentation that helped launch Velvet Underground, FM's hometown concert debut in Toronto blew away the crowd with an assault of visual images coupled with sound. It set the pattern for Nash's solo career, which began in 1978 with an audiovisual collaboration with painter Robert Vanderhorst, who would reappear later in Nash's career. Following his quirky vision, Nash wrote the music and played all the instruments, even handling the engineering and production at times during his first several albums. An exception was one tune that Daniel Lanois produced on 1982's And You Thought You Were Normal.
Nash regrouped with different incarnations of FM over the years. While his unconventional ideas limited collaboration possibilities, he recorded and toured with Numan. Nash scored soundtracks periodically, notably releasing a CD of his score for the 1991 Canadian cult favorite Highway 61, which featured singer Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys in a small role. Nash's first two albums were repackaged on CD in 1997, and he continued to work on new material. However, he announced his retirement in 2012, stating on his website that he was "rolling up the bandages" given changes in the music scene and his own personal waning enthusiasm. Jeff Plewman, aka Nash the Slash, died in May 2014 at the age of 66. ~ Mark Allan