Label: Capitol Records - 4V 15781 • Format: Cassette EP • Country: Canada • Genre: Rock • Style: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Glam
T oronto's Slik Toxik formed from the ashes of Virgin Angel in the late '80s. After toiling on the scene for a few years which included a name change to Portraitfrontman Nick Walsh, guitarists Kevin Gale and Rob Bruce, Frank Currell on bass, and drummer Alex Munro decided to start fresh again.
They Mass Confusion - Slik Toxik - Smooth & Deadly on the bar circuit around southern Ontario and built up a loyal following, but it wasn't long before Mercel was replaced on bass by Pat Howarth, ex of Cardinal Sin. They were eventually signed to a management deal by John Boyles, whose first order of business Ben Kweller - Sha Sha to get the band into Mass Confusion - Slik Toxik - Smooth & Deadly studio to record a three-song demo tape with Scorpions, Marianne Faithful, and Hawkwind producer, Bob Potter.
The only song from the demo tape that made the cut was the song "Rachel's Breathing," and although the single "Big Fucking Deal" got no airplay for obvious reasons, the label execs were Mass Confusion - Slik Toxik - Smooth & Deadlyand sent them back to the studios later that year. The singles "Helluvatime," "By The Fireside," "White Lies, Black Truth" re-worked from the original demo tape and "Sweet Asylum" all got decent airplay on the FM rock stations, turning the album gold and placing it at a respectable 61 on the Canadian albums chart.
They ended up winning the Juno for Best Rock Album of the Year in '93, and the video for "Helluvatime" one of four done for the album also picked up a couple of pieces of hardware at the MuchMusicVideo Awards.
The band was also the last act to play at one of Toronto's most popular bars ever, The Gas Works, prior to it closing, and headlined their own series of dates with Big House and Sven Gali, while working on material for a new record. During the '94 Juno celebrations, Howarth stole a limousine, and ended up totalling it. In an effort to save face from the bad press the band was getting, as well as the trouble with EMI that ensued, he was replaced by new bassist Adam Headland.
Howarth went on to join Brave New World, then got out of the industry all together. Attempting to keep up with the quickly changing times in heavy metal, considered several producers to find the right sound. But by this point EMI reps had all but lost faith in the band, and vice versa. Despite the slick production on tracks like Rechteck - Filter - Rechteck / Sägezahn lead off "Twenty Something," "I Wanna Gun," and "Liquid Clam," the times were changing - and neither the fans nor the critics got it, and the band quietly disbanded by the end of the year.
Everyone wound up staying in the business in a variety of groups over the years. Walsh and Bruce ended up forming Raised On Mars, releasing one album in ' From there, Walsh formed Revolver, releasing a pair of albums prior to morphing into Famous Underground.
Busby spent some time in the thrash metal band Solus, releasing three albums, then was hired in the mid '00s to fill in for an ailing Jerry Mercer for April Wine 's tours. Along with authoring a drum instruction book called "The Ultimate Guide To Rock Drums," he's also scored a number of songs in various b-flicks and Canadian television productions over the years.
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