Nihilist Spasm Band

Zev Asher, "What About Me: The Rise of the Nihilist Spasm Band" (2000)

The Nihilist Spasm Band (NSB) is a Canadian noise band formed in 1965 in London, Ontario. The band was founded by Hugh McIntyre, John Clement, John Boyle, Bill Exley, Murray Favro, Archie Leitch, Art Pratten, and Greg Curnoe. Leitch has since retired, Curnoe was killed in a bicycle accident in 1992, and McIntyre died of heart failure in 2004. The band members are mostly local artists. They were one of the artists named on the Nurse with Wound lists.

The term "spasm band" refers to a band that uses homemade instruments. Most of the NSB's instruments are modifications of other instruments, or wholly invented by the members. In addition to the homemade instruments, members are encouraged to improvise. The range of the improvisation is such that instruments are not tuned to each other, tempos and time signatures are not imposed, and the members push the ranges of their instrumentation by engaging in constant innovation and ever-increasing volume over the course of a performance.

Zev Asher's documentary film What About Me: The Rise of The Nihilist Spasm Band premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2000. Drawing from the inspiration of finding a copy of the Nihilist Spasm Band's first L.P. No Canada in the pile of 1970's ephemera in his family's basement; the documentary explores the legacy of the NSB as Canadian noise music pioneers.