NICK WALSH INTERVIEW:
November 5, 2005
Nick Walsh is primarily known for his work with Canadian rockers Slik Toxik, who scored success with singles such as Big Fuckin’ Deal and White Lies, Black Truth. After disappearing for a few years he has returned with his new band Revolver and their debut album Turbulence is getting rave reviews around the world. Here Nick talks about the old days and the future of Revolver.
SR: You are currently promoting a new band called Revolver, how did the band come together?
NW: After being off of the stage and working from behind the scenes for awhile, it started to just naturally gnaw at me that I should be out there performing and rocking my bag off. I was working with a few younger bands from the producer’s chair and it just started to fuel my fire. I was always writing songs, that never stopped but it was time to put a band of able musicians together and bring it to the public.
SR: Revolver’s debut Turbulence seems to be getting great reviews, how pleased were you with the final product?
NW: I’m over the moon that after being out of the scene for this long that people are genuinely excited to be hearing something new from me. When working on music it’s really hard to be complacent with what you do. I mean the fact that it was recorded at my studio; we could be in there still recording ‘Turbulence’ (the never ending album). Sometimes we are our own worse critics, but we just have to learn when to let go.
SR: Why was the European version released with different artwork?
NW: Basically that was a marketing decision with Drakkar, they know the market better over there and I think they saw the CD and the title to have a little bit of a darker connotation.
SR: How have sales of Turbulence been?
NW: For a debut independent it’s been uphill. But you do know that in Canada without the help of a major label it’s hard to get recognized. “Big place with hardly anyone in it”.
Europe seems to be looking promising.
SR: Is Sean Kelly still in the band? If so, does that mean Crash Kelly is on hiatus, or will he continue with both groups?
NW: Sean is and as far as I’m concerned will always be in this band in some capacity. Sean will always do his own thing as well. As musicians we all need to bring our creations to life somehow and if being in multiple projects is a way to do that then so be it. We have already encountered some live conflicts, but have equally resolved them by having a longtime friend Steve Skull fill the shoes for some dates and if that’s how it has to be we can deal with it.
SR: Do you have any tours lined up for Revolver?
NW: We are currently doing some one off shows here in Canada, but are gearing up for the New Year in Europe.
SR: Do you worry that people won’t give Revolver a fair shake due to Slik Toxik’s involvement with the hair metal scene?
NW: It happens, but it happens by people who aren’t even real fans of music. I mean if you judge something based solely on the past or a picture then as far as I’m concerned FUCK OFF! If you listen and then don’t like it that’s totally cool at least you made a fair judgment.
SR: Tell us how Slik Toxik was formed.
NW: That band was formed out of multiple projects that I had put together when I was in my teens.
I had a band when I was very young that had Kevin Gale as a guitarist, and then he was replaced by Rob Bruce. At that time I was playing guitar and singing. I then decided to go frontman and Voila brought the 2 of them in together and the rest is History.
SR: Was it overwhelming to get so popular in Canada at such a young age?
NW: At the time I didn’t think so, but looking back at it I guess it could have been. I honestly think it went to the heads of some of the other guys very intensely, so much that they still believe they are living it.
SR: In 1993 you won a Juno for Hard Rock Album of the Year. How satisfying was that, and where is the award stored?
NW: It was pretty cool to be there and get some notoriety, I hate to say it but I will: That award means more to the Canadian public then it does to our music industry, it’s just an excuse for these corporations to have a good time, pat themselves on the back and use it all as a tax write off.
SR: Was it upsetting to lose at those same Juno’s to the Skydiggers (whatever happened to them) for Most Promising Group of the Year?
NW: You said it in your question, that award has always been the ‘bye bye’ award.
SR: Speaking of the Juno’s, what is the real story behind Pat Howarth and a limousine?
NW: The real story is that Pat was suffering with some mental stress, and was on medication and clearly should not have been indulging in alcohol, but obviously was. And decided he was going to go for a little joy ride, well you know the rest. I don’t condone that kind of thing at all, but would like to say if that happened in the U.S. it would have been press that couldn’t have been bought. Maybe the cover of Rolling Stone.
SR: Slik Toxik’s last album Irrelevant was some of your darkest material. Was this a dark period for the band and could you sense that the hard rock phenomenon was over?
NW: Dark period? Definitely. We had already finished writing more than enough material for the follow up for Doin’ The Nasty, but the record company as usual were looking ahead at the new trends and basically put us at square one, we were pissed. So we started writing again with a new take on things and also in a bit of a state of confusion. That’s why the album is less consistent than Nasty.
SR: If there is unreleased Slik Toxik material, will there ever be a chnace of it being released?
NW: Only time will tell my friend, only time will tell.
SR: What finally led to the break-up of Slik Toxik?
NW: It was getting real tired, and the fact that we had been together since the younger years people started to change and evolve. Some for worse and some for the better.
SR: Did your view of record company politics sour when rock bands like Slik Toxik were tossed aside in the early 90s?
NW: Yeah a little bit, I think it was more about the fact that we thought we had people who believed in us for what we did and who would help us develop, not just treat us like the next trend. But that wasn’t the case. Business is business.
SR: Some of Slik Toxik’s albums are impossible to find, any plans to reissue them?
NW: Well, it’s funny you should ask that. It was a thought a little while ago but as it stands right now EMI has the rights, and there is a lot of red tape to go through but I’m hoping eventually it’ll become available again.
SR: It seems almost every hard rock band has reformed lately, do you think Slik Toxik will ever reunite for one more kick at the cat?
NW: I really don’t think so, sorry to disappoint. However Revolver does play a couple of the old hits, so we can all relive those days through that.
SR: After Slik Toxik you formed Raised On Mars. Give us a little history of this band and was a CD ever released or do you plan on releasing a CD?
NW: That band was a very short lived project, and due to the climate of music and the typical bullshit that surrounds the industry we never made it out of the gate. However one song that survived that era was a song on ‘Turbulence’ called Jesus Wept.
SR: Here is a list of Canadian rock bands, what are your thoughts on each:
NW: Helped Slik Toxik get it’s start on the Toronto club scene.
– I Mother Earth
NW: Old label mates.
– Slash Puppet
NW: Under rated, and should have made it.
– Von Groove
NW: Grew up with Mathew Gerrard.
– Harem Scarem
NW: Great musicians, and good guys.
NW: Influenced me at an early age.
– Sven Gali
NW: Old touring mates.
– Killer Dwarfs
NW: Also helped Slik early on.
– Big House
NW: Were recording their album at the time, and in the same studio as Slik.
– Brighton Rock
NW: Gerry still rocks!
SR: You toured with Yngwie Malmsteen, was he as much of an ass as many people claim?
NW: He had his moments, but all in all it ended up being a great time.
SR: Do you ever look back on your career and wish you did things differently?
NW: Like everything in life, hindsight is always 20/20. But you have to look ahead, and take your past for what it was and embrace the good moments.
SR: As a partner of “Electric Machine Studios”, what bands have you produced? How satisfying is producing others compared to creating your own music?
NW: Producing other bands and artists is a treat. You get to be an observer with an opinion and give new ideas for something that already exists. Doing your own stuff is a little more difficult because like I said earlier, you end up being your own worse critic.
SR: Do you think we will ever see hard rock become a major commercial force again?
NW: I think that hard rock is and will always be around, but not in the same way that it was. There are way too many new styles of doing music now that evolution is inevitable. There are a lot of bands doing the retro thing right now, but with a twist. That’s what has always gone on and always will.
SR: What can we expect from you in the future?
NW: We will have a new album ready for the spring and are always trying to improve ways of getting the name out there. So as long as there are people who dig what we do, you can count on us to deliver the fix.
Thanks to Nick Walsh