Origin: Toronto, Ontario
FM is a Canadian progressive rock music group formed in 1976 in Toronto. The band existed from 1976 to 1996, with a brief return in 2006, although they had a period of inactivity between 1989 and 1994. Their music has been categorized as space rock, and lyrics are dominated by science fiction themes. In November 2011, Cameron Hawkins reformed the band with two new players.
The band's original 1976 lineup and presentation was very unusual; it consisted of just 2 people: Cameron Hawkins, appearing as a typical rock star at the front of the stage, playing synthesizer, occasional bass guitar, and lead vocals; and Nash the Slash, a mysterious figure in dark clothes lurking in the shadows at the back of the stage, playing electric violin, electric mandolin, backing vocals, and operating a drum machine. Aside from Cameron's bass, the group did not use guitars. The duo first met each other while they were jamming with a band called Clear. The group first recorded in July 1976. A few months later, TVOntario recorded an in-studio performance for the Night Music Concert TV show, first broadcast on November 3. It is very likely this was also the date of recording. The half-hour show, shown with no commercial breaks, presented the band playing three long pieces: "Phasors on Stun", "One O'Clock Tomorrow", and "Black Noise". It also included a nonsensical biography of the group resembling free-association poetry, recited by David Pritchard (electronic musician, record producer and CHUM-FM DJ, 1960s-1970s), accompanied by electronic background music and a collage of photos and artwork by Paul Till, appearing between the first and second songs. Neither this music, nor any performances by the original 2-person lineup, were released on an album until 2001.
FM. Toronto rock band. Experimental by nature and pioneering in its use of synthesizers, it was formed in 1976 as a duo by the performance artist 'Nash the Slash' (electric violin and mandolin) and the keyboard player Cameron Hawkins and made its debut at the Toronto gallery A Space. With the addition of the drummer Martin Deller, FM recorded Black Noise (CBC LM-455/Passport PL-4001) in 1977; the LP, which included the FM classic 'Phasors on Stun,' eventually sold more than 100,000 copies in Canada and Europe. Its release, however, was delayed until after a second album, Head Room (Discwasher Group LBR-1001), with Ben Mink in Nash's place, was issued in 1978. Two more LPs with Mink followed: Surveillance (Passport PB-2001) in 1979 and City of Fear (Passport PB-2028) in 1980. FM performed widely in Canadian and US clubs and concert halls, and contributed scores to several feature films (eg, Search and Destroy), film shorts, and radio and TV series.
After a hiatus 1982-3, Nash, Hawkins and Deller were reunited, recording American Band-ages (Quality SV-2132, an LP of old US rock hits) under Nash's name and direction, and Con-Test (Quality SV-2138, an LP of new material) as FM. A single from the latter, 'Just Like You,' was popular in 1985. Nash, Hawkins and others followed in 1987 with Tonight (Duke Street DSR-31042), which included the minor hits 'Dreamgirl' and 'Magic in Your Eyes'. By now more pop than experimental, FM continued in the Toronto area under Hawkins' direction alone.
On his own, Nash the Slash (b Jeff Plewman, Toronto 26 Mar 1948) has recorded the EP Bedside Companion (1978, Cut-Throat CUT-1) and the LPs Dreams and Nightmares (1978, CUT-2), Children of the Night (1980, Dindisc VL-2212), Decomposing (1981, CUT-5, playable at 33, 45 or 78 rpm) and And You Thought You Were Normal (1982, CUT-6). A cult figure, known for his surrealistic one-man performances and his bandaged onstage visage, he toured in the US and/or UK opening concerts for Gary Numan, Iggy Pop, The Tubes, and others in the early 1980s. After leaving FM in 1988 he wrote film scores for features (eg, Roadkill), the NFB, and re-released silent films.