December 5, 2004

SJP


Artist: FM




Martin Deller (drums)
Cameron Hawkins (keys, bass, vocals)
Nash The Slash (electric mandolin, violin, vocals)
Ben Mink (electric mandolin; replaced Nash)
Simon Brierley (guitar)
Greg Critchley (drums; replaced Deller)
Randy Cooke (drums; replaced Critchley)

Progressive rock trio FM were from Toronto. Founding member Nash The Slash and his successor, Ben Mink, both used electric mandolin to great effect. Cameron Hawkins and Nash The Slash formed FM in 1976. Their debut concert was at the "A Space" art gallery in November of that year. As their experiences live increased, they decided to add a drummer in the guise of Martin Deller. Soon they began appearing as a fixture in the established Toronto music scene at rock clubs and outdoor festivals.

They would also do an award-winning live performance on TV Ontario's 'Nightmusic' featuring three original tunes: "Phasors On Stun", "One O'Clock Tomorrow", and "Black Noise". They then appeared on CBC's "Who's New" TV variety program and were offered a deal to record an album through its Broadcast Recording division.

Their first foray into the studio was recorded and mixed in 12 days at Sounds Interchange in Toronto with CBC producer Keith Whiting. The CBC pressed 500 albums and released them to its affiliates (and through mail-order).

Nash The Slash left soon after and FM, a duo once more, hooked up with Toronto indie label Labyrinth who were experimenting with direct-to-disc mastering techniques and released FM's 1978 'Direct-To-Disc' album which was a suite of tunes by Deller on one side and by Hawkins on the other. They brought in Toronto music fixture Ben Mink (Murray McLaughlin's Silver Tractors) days before completion of the album to augment some of the tracks.

By this time they managed to get 'Black Noise' re-issued in the US on Passport/GRT and the single "Phasors On Stun" became an FM radio staple. The album went gold and were awarded a gold record at their Ontario Place Forum gig in August of '78 as part of their extensive tour that year.

In 1979 work began on a follow-up LP and 'Surveillance' was recorded with Ben Mink as Nash The Slash's full-time replacement. One week before the album's release their Canadian distributor, GRT, declared bankruptcy and Visa Records files a claim that it, and FM, never received royalties due from Canadian sales of 'Black Noise'.

Meanwhile, Capitol Records moved quickly to license and release the new album and acquired the distribution rights for 'Black Noise'.

Another album with Mink was released through Passport (now distributed by A & M Records) called 'City Of Fear' before that label, too, went bankrupt. With the death of progressive rock in the 1980's, three albums of dinosaur rock was not enough to sustain a career where synthesizers were now being used to create the music, not merely augment it through the vision of the musician. FM put the breaks on and abandoned ship knowing when to take a hint. In 1983 Ben Mink left and would eventually become k.d. lang's partner in crime and Deller & Hawkins returned to civilian life.

But it was the success of Nash The Slash's 1984 album 'American Bandages' that ended up rejuvenating FM as a band. Slash needed to tour the album but double bills with The Spoons seemed ill-suited for the bandaged one's eclectic mandolin noodlings so FM hit the road doing their old standards and Nash's proven solo material.

Nash's distributor, Quality, were impressed enough to offer FM the ability to record a reunion album and so 'CON-TEST' was released in 1985 with a promising single/video "Just Like You". Alas, as was FM's karma, Quality decided to eliminate its recording division just as 'CON-TEST' was gaining momentum and the album dangled in limbo. MCA records jumped in to save the day and re-issued the album without missing a beat leading to another single "She Does What She Wants", but the momentum had been lost. Deller had decided he'd had enough and left the band to spend more time composing and being with his family.

Undaunted, the nominal success of their comeback record led to FM's signing to Duke Street Records who were, coincidentally, distributed by MCA. Having utilized actual guitars for the first time on 'CON-TEST', the band decided to inject new blood and hire Simon Brierley (Lee Aaron/Strange Advance) and drummer Greg Critchley (Partland Bros./Spoons) for the next album 'Tonight'.

'Tonight' was poorly received despite a handful of singles/videos and almost two years of non-stop touring (Randy Cooke replacing Critchley on drums). FM once again called it a day by the end of 1989.

Fast forward to the CD revolution of 1994. Hawkins, now running his own multi-media company in Toronto, decided it was time to re-issue their critically acclaimed 'Black Noise' album on CD. With Passport's demise a decade earlier the master tapes had long disappeared. A new technology employed by CBC radio allowed Hawkins to remaster from near-mint copies of the album on vinyl.

His own label, Now See Hear, put the disc out with such success that it sparked another revitalized interest in FM. Reformed once more, the band -- Martin Deller, Cameron Hawkins and Nash The Slash -- toured throughout 1994/95 recapturing their progressive stage impressions on the CDRom enhanced "Retro-Active" live album recorded at RPM Warehouse in Toronto on November 19, 1994 and produced by Terry Brown (Rush, Klaatu).

Hawkins and Deller, once retired from the spotlight, announced in early 2006 that they were reforming FM (a violin player to replace Ben Mink and Nash The Slash was yet to be named). Hawkins is diligently working on re-issuing the two Ben Mink era FM albums 'Survelliance' and 'City Of Fear' for digital download. He is now part of the corporate technology world and is a partner in a software company specializing in Internet B2B applications.; While composition takes up a lot of his time these days, Deller is still very active as a drummer and finds time to perform live with a number of different groups. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and their four children; Nash The Slash's solo career continues to flourish with his commissioned soundtrack work on old silent Hollywood films, re-issues of his back catalogue and working with painter Robert Vanderhorst.

with notes from Bob Reid, Nash The Slash and Martin Deller.



Singles
1977 Phasors On Stun/Dialing For Dharma (Visa/Passport)
1978 Phasors On Stun/Slaughter In Robot Village (Passport) 1167-7916
1978 Journey/ (Passport) 1167-7918
1979 Shape Of Things/Sofa Back (Passport/Capitol-EMI) PS-701
1979 Rocket Roll/Seventh Heaven (Passport/Capitol-EMI) PS-703
1980 Power/Riding The Thunder (Passport/Capitol-EMI) PS-705
1980 Surface To Air/Silence (Passport/Capitol-EMI) PS-708
1985 Just Like You/The Only Way To Win (Quality) Q-2463
1985 Just Like You [Fun Mix]/Just Like You [Few Words Mix] [12"] (Quality) EPQ-7
1985 All Of The Dreams/Friends And Neighbours (Quality) Q-2469
1985 Why Don't You Take It? [radio edit]/Why Don't You Take It? [Special 7" version] (Quality/MCA) 52840
1986 Why Don't You Take It? [Flight Mix]/Just Like You [Fun Mix] [12"] (Quality/MCA) MCA-23634
1986 She Does What She Wants [7" version]/She Does What She Wants [Front & Main Mix] (Duke Street/MCA) 10042
1986 I'm Not That Mad/ (Duke Street) 11042
1987 Good Vibrations/Good Vibrations (instrumental)(Duke Street) 71042
1987 Dream Girl/The Real Thing (Duke Street) 81042
1987 Magic (In Your Eyes)/I'm Not Mad (Ready For The World) (Duke Street) 91042

Albums
1977 Black Noise (CBC/VISA) VISA-7007
1978 Direct-To-Disc (Labyrinth) LBR-1001
1978 Black Noise [re-issue](Visa/Passport/GRT) 9167-9831
1979 Surveillance (Passport/Capitol) PB-2001
1980 City of Fear (Passport/A & M) PB-2028
1980 Black Noise [re-issue] (Passport/A & M)
1985 CON-TEST [WHITE COVER] (Quality) SV-2138
1986 CON-TEST [re-issue; BLUE COVER] (Quality/MCA) MCA-5771
1987 Tonight [ltd. edition Green vinyl](Duke Street) DSR-31042
1987 Tonight [CD includes 4 bonus tracks from 'CON-TEST'](Duke Street) DSR-31042
1994 Black Noise [CD re-issue] (Now See Hear) NSH-D7007
1995 Retro-Active (Now See Hear/MCA)
2001 Lost In Space: Reel-To-Reel Obscurities by Nash The Slash, Cameron Hawkins and Martin Deller (Cut-Throat) CUT6-CD

Video
1985 Just Like You
1986 She Does What She Wants
1987 Dream Girl/The Real Thing
1988 All Of The Dreams
1988 Why Don't You Take It

Compilation Tracks
1988 cut(s) on the soundtrack to "Friday The 13th, Part VII: The New Blood"



Official Martin Deller Website
Official Nash The Slash Website
COMING IN OCTOBER 2011: The book version of the Encyclopedia.

Click on the image and pre-order now!


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