Noises off
December 9, 2004 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Hugh McIntyre has died. The retired librarian was the bass player for The Nihilist Spasm Band, widely considered the first noise band. Started in 1965, the band operated way underground for most of their career, but achieved no small notoriety in the 90s, ran their own noise festival for a few years, had a great documentary made about them, and jammed with REM (!) about a month ago. My favourite memory of Hugh would be watching him time noise improvs with his stopwatch to make sure they weren't too long. RIP big man.
posted by stinkycheese (7 comments total)
Quoth Thurston Moore (1999): "All these people who sort of put themselves on stage and want to be super rock stars. ... There's no way they can ever attain the majesty that Hugh has on stage".
posted by stinkycheese at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2004

This is sad. I was hoping to see them this year. Some of their output can be found here, with special emphasis on "No Record."
posted by gcbv at 7:36 AM on December 9, 2004

The Blue is starting to look like the obits today.
posted by caddis at 7:51 AM on December 9, 2004

His music was wonderfully playful. Also, he had a great face.
posted by Peter H at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2004

Very sad - I saw Hugh at last year's No Music festival (which was a lot of fun - especially the Incapacitants) in the after hours jam sessions (which often are the highlight of the festival by the way). The performances I saw him participate in these last few years he often looked sickly & tired but there he was, always playing with his buddies, always playing with what looked like a great deal of joy... and he did have a great face.

Though there may be better noise musicians out there, NSB always had a great DIY ethic - few of these guys actually knew how to play instruments (though they did get a little better over the years). They also are a great symbol of friendship - these guys, senior citizens now, getting together & playing every week their sometimes difficult cacophonic sounds to a handful of people for the last 30+ years. I hope I can be doing what I want with old friends like that when I've become snaggled-toothed & wrinkly. I think it is also important to note that they are also a Canadian band that rarely, if ever, gets airplay in Canada (despite our Canadian Content regulations).

For an idea of what the NSB sound like check out the MP3s housed at this radio station archive. The archive is mentioned in one of the above linked articles but I thought I would highlight the links for convenience. And the tribute album has a few free mp3s of their songs but by other people.

Favorite NSB song - What About Me

Oh and for more crazy Canadian outsider music you don't hear on too many radio stations outside of WFMU and college radio - check out these MP3s of the late local K-town legend Ed Schneider
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:10 AM on December 9, 2004

posted by guruguy9 at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2004

six comments on 'r.i.p. creator of revolutionary artistic movement' thread, and a hundred-twenty-some on the 'r.i.p. play-a-million-notes-per-second pantera guitarist' thread... sad but true.
posted by ism at 9:40 AM on December 10, 2004

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