There's press releases, and then there's press releases, but as opening lines go, this one hooked me from the get-go. "A snare of drummers could be a collective noun for percussionists," I read to myself.
Sounds promising, then, I thought. Keep going: "Here, Nick Cash, once drummer with Fad Gadget and now with The Members, brings together 17 fellow drummers who also make art. An eclectic mix of work, encompassing painting, collage, video, drawing and sculpture. Drummers from cult punk and post punk bands, the NY No Wave scene, sound art and improvisors."
And what an impressive list it is, too, as you'll see (below). With pedigrees that range from the likes of Glen Matlock and Johnny Thunders, to Year Zero scene makers like Palmolive, Derek Goddard (The 101'ers), Brian Grantham (The Drones, Slaughter & The Dogs), and many, many more, Nick seems to have definitely covered the bases.
Having done a couple art shows myself, I related to the subject matter, and figured, OK, I gotta find out more here! It's always great to see events that happen without Somebody-Official-Or-Other giving the high sign, so I naturally had to email Nick -- who's currently working with his colleagues on a new album, that should drop by early next year -- and ask him about it.
So if you're in the neighborhood, by all means, drop by. If not, then go with the conversational flow below, check out the images, and follow the relevant links, as we touch on music, art, and how that drumming thing does -- or doesn't -- fit into the equation.
CHAIRMAN RALPH (CR): First, what inspired you to put this show together?
NICK CASH (NC): I was in an art exhibition curated by John Bunker, which by fluke had three drummers in it. John was going to make a show with us, but didn't know more drummers, and other projects took precedence. I asked to take on the Idea, and John was happy for me to take it on.
CR: As I can see, there's lots of recognizable names -- Chris Musto, Paloma McLardy, and so on -- and some that the eagle-eyed album credit reader may not recognize so well. How did you end up choosing the people who appear in it?
NC: You have to remember, there are only so many drummers that are artists and they don't necessarily advertise the fact. Once I put the word out, names were suggested, and I would ask if they were interested. The list kind of made itself.
Some people I knew slightly, like Chris Musto, and Chris Bashford, and I knew they made artworks. I had Kevin Teare, from NY, and Tony Smith on email, through John Bunker.
Giles Perring, I toured with in Fad Gadget, and then made two albums with as Unmen. An old friend artist writer and musician, Neal Brown, got me in touch with Palmolive and Derek Goddard. Dawn Evans I played with in Big Pig, and others were suggested to me.
Two exhibitors, David Mach and Richard Wilson, are well known artists and less as drummers. Richard I had met over the years, and when I got to talk to him, was interested in the idea. I didn't know David Mach was a drummer, but Victoria Snazell mentioned he was, and had his number.
CR: Tell me a little bit about yourself, and your own artistic ride, if you will. How long has it been, and what mediums do you work in?
NC: I went to St Martins 74/5, and met Glen Matlock, who took me to see the Pistols rehearse. Then saw the first gig on Nov. 6, with Bazooka Joe supporting. I applied to do sculpture at Ravensbourne, and got in to do a BA but got busy playing in bands, first prag VEC, then The Lines and Fad Gadget.
Over the years, I made some artworks, and when we started using samplers, I started to think what a visual version of sampling would be. I made some postcard size collage, using sellotape to "sample" the surfaces of magazine images, taking them apart, and rebuilding them.
I like collage. it is a very democratic medium, open to anyone with a few magazines or newpapers, and a pair of scissors. It can be very simple, where one intervention is made, or very sophisticated, e.g., Richard Hamilton, where the composition is very painterly. It can be totally abstract or figurative.
CR: Who really inspired you the most?
NC: The Nouveaux Realistes, especially Jacques Villeglé, and Gils Wolman. Steve Willats was not a direct inspiration much, as I like his work, but what interested me about him was the fact that he unapologetically described himself as an artist. And he involved me in various projects of his, which got me thinking about art again.
CR: What is it about drummers and artwork, exactly, that seems to make it a natural combo -- at least, judging from the length of the list? :-)
There's that whole image people have of the drummer being the quiet guy in the back, but it seems like there's more to the story, isn't there?
NC: I don't really think it is a natural combo, and I am sure some people are surprised that I could find 19 that made art. But I guess there are a lot of people in different professions that we don't associate with art. For example, there were a group of miners that painted https://wizzley.com/miners-in-art-and-pitmen-painters/. We shouldn’t be surprised, anyone can be an artist.
CR: What do you hope visitors to the show will get out of the experience? What do you want them to walk with?
NC: This is a very mixed group of people, with quite different forms of artwork. I don’t expect the audience to like everything, but it is intriguing to see things rubbing up against each other, and making your own connections in the work.
E.G., I noticed on Max’s panel there was a mention of Diz Dizley, who was mates with my dad, he was a fantastic guitarist who played with Stéphane Grappelli. Diz was notorious for borrowing money, even hitting me up for ten bob when I was a kid, I did get weighed out a year or so later.
CR: How does this show fit into the overall scene locally -- since I know there seems to be quite a flourishing one in the East End, right? Or, at least, that's what I've heard in the past.
NC: Not sure about that. The gallery Tension Fine Art is in Penge and is a bit of an outpost. It ploughs its own furrow and punches above its weight.
Ken Turner is the gallery owner. He is an artist and curator, and is doing an MA at Goldsmiths. He is a good man, organising the exhibitions, and giving emerging and mature artists a chance to exhibit in a constantly changing programme.
CR: Is this show a one-off, or is there a sequel in the offing? What else can we expect from your own artistic ventures?
NC: I'm hoping to do another Crash Ride Snare possibly in a city like Manchester or Glasgow and would very much like to hear from anyone who has a gallery and would be interested in hosting it.
I am doing a Paste Table Gallery event at Muse Gallery, in Portobello Rd, opening on Thursday the 7th Sept. all welcome to the PV. I continue to make analogue collage in my shed, on my allotment.
CR: Last, but not least, what can we expect from the forthcoming Members album?
NC: You can expect a group of interesting songs that will be quintessential Members. That means non-generic punk rock with other flavours that might disturb purists, but after a few listens, have you hooked.
Crash Ride Snare
135 Maple Road, London SE20 8LP, UK
11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun
Closes at end of day, Saturday, Sept. 26
Chris Bashford - Chelsea, The Ides of Sedition
Nick Cash- Fad Gadget, The Lines, prag VEC, The Members
Dawn Evans - Big Pig
Derek Goddard- The 101'ers
Brian Grantham -Slaughter and The Dogs, The Drones,
June Miles Kingston- The Modettes, Jimmy Somerville
Giles Leaman- Echo City , Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Rip Rig and Panic
Josh Ludlow - Mutant, Turbogeist
Paloma McLardy- Slits, Raincoats
David Mach - The Voyeurz
Chris Musto- Nico, Johnny Thunders, Glen Matlock
Dorothy Max Prior- Rema Rema, Psychic TV
Giles Perring - Echo City, Unmen, The Shout
Paul Raggity- Raggedy Anne, Roddy Radiation
Tony Smith - Kit
Kevin - MX80
Richard Wilson - Bow Gamelan
<LINKS TO GO>