The Nihilist Spasm Band is a unique experimental collective generally known as "the first noise band." Formed in 1965 in London, Ontario, the Canadian group has since improvised on a number of instruments, including homemade creations such as the violin created by bandmember Art Pratten, the "Pratt-a-various." Bandmembers include Pratten (who also plays "water-pipe"), Bill Exley (spoken word), Murray Favro (guitar), John Clement (guitar and drums), John Boyle (drums and kazoo), and Hugh McIntyre (bass). Their first concert took place in early 1966 and their debut recording, No Record, followed two years later. Another decade passed before their next album, Vol. 2, was released, but despite their sporadic recording, the band remained busy with live performances. For over 30 years, NSB has performed every Monday night at a gallery in their hometown. They have also performed at N.Y.C.'s Knitting Factory, the FIMAV music festival in Quebec and other creative music festivals, and toured Japan in 1997. Many of the Nihilist Spasm Band albums have been reissued on the Japanese label Alchemy Records by fan and noise artist Jojo Hiroshige (of Hijokaidan). Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore is also counted among NSB's big fans. In March 1998, the band threw the first No Music Festival, featuring improvisers from Japan, Toronto, N.Y.C., Chicago, and more. Box sets of each No Music Festival have been issued on Canada's independent label Entartete Kunst.
That's a pretty good description up to about 8 years ago. Three more No Music Festivals followed in London, Ontario (1999, 2000, 2003) and one No Music festival was held in NYC (2001). Tim Glasgow played on the New York tour in October 1999 and has been invited to play at many other concerts since. Aya Onishi plays regularly on drums and kazoo, playing most major shows and the occasional Monday night. In December 2003 the old Forest City Gallery closed and the band moved its Monday nights to a different location, and in June 2004 took up permanent residence at the dissent. club. In December 2004 we lost Hugh McIntyre on bass (John Clement has shortened the shoulder strap on Hugh's bass and taken it on more-or-less full-time). Various "outsiders" may join in and play either by themselves or with the band on Monday nights. Typical locals include Pat Gregory, Jeremy Hobbs, Owen Curnoe, Sarah Legault, Cameron MacDonald, Conal Smiley, while non-locals have included Disguises from Toronto, Josef Turner from Vancouver (Suzuki Kid), Peter Conheim from San Francisco (Negativland), Carlos Giffoni from NYC (Monotract), William Rieflin from Chicago (Ministry, KMFDM, NIN, RevCo, R.E.M.), Peter Buck and Mike Mills from Athens Georgia (R.E.M.). We still play almost every Monday night and an audience is welcome, but not necessary.