Wavelength Music Talks – Nick Smash on ’80s Toronto Post-Punk


  • Thursday, May 10, 2018

  • Toronto Public Library - Lillian H. Smith Branch
  • 239 College St.
  • 7pm
  • All Ages
  • Free

WL # 754

Wavelength Music Talks – Spring 2018 Edition

NICK SMASH: “Gone Talking” – Toronto Post-Punk in the Early ‘80s

Thursday, May 10
Toronto Public Library – Lillian H. Smith Branch
239 College St.
7PM – FREE 
All Ages (No Ticket Required)

Co-presented with Toronto Public Library “Make Some Noise” x Canadian Music Week x Myseum of Toronto

UK-based writer/musician Nick Smash shares his experiences in Toronto’s vibrant yet forgotten post-punk scene in the early ‘80s, as recounted in his self-published book Alone and Gone, and discusses a new collective effort to get this lost music heard.

On May 10, 2018, Wavelength will continue its year-round Music Talk series with a deep dive into the little-known corners of Toronto music history. In association with the Toronto Public Library’s “Make Some Noise” series, Canadian Music Week (CMW) and Myseum of Toronto, Wavelength presents a talk by London, U.K.-based writer/musician/publicist, Nick Smash. A Toronto native, Smash was deeply involved in the city’s vibrant DIY post-punk scene in the early ‘80s, as the creator of the fanzine Smash It Up! and a member of the bands Rent Boys Inc. and the Dave Howard Singers. Nick Smash has called the U.K. home since the mid-’80s but continues to keep the memory of this vital era in Toronto independent music history alive and relevant.

Between 1979-86, a group of defiantly independent bands, also including A Neon Rome, Breeding Ground, Fifth Column, the Hunger Project, Kinetic Ideals, L’Etranger, Sturm Group, Tulpa, Vital Sines, the Woods Are Full of Cuckoos, Young Lions, and Youth Youth Youth, dominated Queen West clubs in the years after punk’s initial explosion, devoutly in opposition to their music’s commercialization as “new wave.” Heard mostly through self-published fanzines, cassettes, and campus radio at the time, these groups are now mostly left out of the historical record, discoverable only through used record bins and YouTube rips. Yet these bands laid the groundwork for the Toronto indie-music explosion, and their immediate descendants included civic icons Blue Rodeo, Change of Heart, Cowboy Junkies, Rheostatics, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.

This multi-media talk will reintroduce a new generation to this long-forgotten scene, as documented in Nick Smash’s 2015 self-published book, Alone and Gone: The Story of Toronto’s Post-Punk Underground, which is being reprinted in conjunction with this talk. Smash will also discuss a new venture to get this lost music heard by new ears in the 21st century.

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