Slik Toxik

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Slik Toxik
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Years active 1988 (1988)–1994 (1994)
Labels Capitol, EMI, Strawberry
Associated acts Virgin Angel, Portrait, Raised On Mars, Famous Underground (formerly known as Revolver), Dark Prophecy, Solus, TWIRL, Punishment, Infact
Past members Nick Walsh
Rob Bruce
Kevin Gale
Adam Headland
Neil Busby
Pat Howarth
Alex Murno

Slik Toxik was a Canadian glam metal/hard rock band formed in 1988 in Toronto.


Slik Toxik was formed from several different members of Toronto's hard rock/glam metal scene in the late 1980s. Glam metal band Virgin Angel was made up of singer/guitarist Nick Walsh, guitarist Rob Bruce, rhythm guitarist Kevin Gale, bassist Frank Currell, and drummer Alex Munro. Hard rock band Cardinal Sin contained singer/guitarist/keyboardist Dave Ferguson, bassist Pat Howarth, drummer Steve Ferguson, and a cast of rotating guitarists.

In 1986, the Canadian rock journalist Drew Masters convinced Virgin Angel to change their name, and they became Portrait. Over time, bassist Frank Currell left the band and was replaced by Dave Mercel. The band agreed to change their name again, and Slik Toxik was born. Pat Howarth soon replaced Mercel on bass and Neal Busby replaced Alex Munro on drums, forming the classic Slik Toxik lineup.

Slik Toxik was brought to the attention of Drew Masters and the band took to the southern Ontario hard rock touring circuit. Manager John Boyes[citation needed] saw the band performing at The Siboney Club in Toronto and signed Slik Toxik to a management deal. A demo tape was recorded and produced by Bob Potter (Scorpions, Hawkwind, Marianne Faithfull) and shopped to major labels. Capitol Records (EMI) signed the band in 1991 and issued an EP, 'Smooth And Deadly'. This was followed in 1992 by the full album Doin' the Nasty. Both the EP and full length album were produced by Paul Gross and recorded at Toronto studio Phase One. Slik Toxik toured Canada from coast to coast and released four singles which helped the album reach gold status in Canada and placed No. 61 on the Canadian music charts.[1] They won the 1993 Juno Award for Best Rock Album of the Year. The "Helluvatime" video won the People's Choice Award for 'Best Video Of The Year' as well as 'Best Metal Video Award' at the 1992 MuchMusic Video Awards.

Slik Toxik kept in close touch with their fans through mail-outs and contests, which earned the band an enthusiastic grassroots following. As an indicator of their openness toward their fans, they were invited to be the last act to play Toronto's popular Rock And Roll Bar, The Gas Works, before it shut down.

In 1992 they opened the Canada Day festival with Spinal Tap and 54-40 at Molson Park in Barrie, Ontario, and they toured North America as opening acts for Kim Mitchell, Faster Pussycat, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Black Sabbath before doing their own headlining tours with Sven Gali and Big House as their opening bands.

Hard rock had undergone profound changes in the period between Slik Toxik's formation in 1989 and 1994 when they reconvened to create their second album. In the confusion of the time, many successful and promising hard rock and glam metal bands were abandoned in favour of the newer hard rock trends. Bands such as Alice In Chains, Pantera, and Skid Row had successfully added crunch from the thrash metal scene to their music without compromising their hard rock and glam metal roots. Slik Toxik brought in various producers to add a similar heaviness to their own sound in order to stay true to themselves and their music. GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudvayne, L7, Ugly Kid Joe, Sick Of It All) was hired for the job, but that didn't work out for various reasons and the band contracted Glenn Robinson (The Tea Party, Kyuss) as a replacement. Gggarth went on to produce the debut album by Rage Against The Machine.

There were also changes from within the band. An intoxicated Pat Howarth stole and smashed a limousine at the 1994 post-Juno Awards party, which led EMI to question the stability of the band as well as their viability in the changing hard rock climate. Howarth was fired (or quit, depending on who tells the story) and replaced by new bassist Adam Headland. EMI also suggested that Slik Toxik be moved to one of their subsidiary record labels, but remaining band members decided to release their album on the fledgling Strawberry label instead.

Irrelevant was released in 1994 and distributed by A&M Records and was again produced by Paul Gross and recorded at Phase One Studios in Toronto. Despite the best efforts of all involved, the album was not well received by the press or the grunge-obsessed general public. With their fanbase and industry support gone, the remaining members of Slik realized that their days were numbered and they split up after performing a few farewell shows.

Subsequent activity[edit]

After the breakup of the band, individual members went their separate ways, joining new bands and releasing hard rock records in a wide variety of styles.

Singer Nick Walsh and lead guitarist Rob Bruce formed the modern rock/hard rock band Raised On Mars, and together they released a self-titled debut. Walsh went on to form the hard rock band Revolver with Crash Kelly's guitarist Sean Kelly. Revolver have produced two albums, one being a CD/DVD set. In 2011 Revolver changed its name to Famous Underground.

Rhythm guitarist Kevin Gale played in the modern rock/hard rock band Punishment. They have released Beautiful Suffering, a 4-song EP. In 2010, Kevin joined modern rock Toronto band Infract. As of 2012 Kevin has joined the band CORE scheduled to release the bands first album " Vol.1"

Bassist Pat Howarth joined Brave New World, a Thunder Bay-based progressive metal band. Brave New World recorded one unreleased independent album before going on indefinite hiatus.

Neal Busby spent time in Toronto death metal/black metal band Solus, who released three underground metal albums. After Solus split up, Neil toured with classic rockers April Wine in place of the ailing Jerry Mercer. Most recently Neal along with his wife Huguette Arsenault have had much success as a songwriting team known as TWIRL. They have had hundreds of songs placed in film, television and advertising such as: Pretty Little Liars, Piranha 3DD, Shameless, and Just Dance Kids 1&2. Busby teaches drums full-time and has released his first instructional drum book entitled The Ultimate Guide To Rock Drums, published by Mayfair Music.

The other ex-members of Slik Toxik have been mostly absent from the music scene.

Final line-up[edit]

  • Nick Walsh - vocals
  • Rob Bruce - guitar
  • Kevin Gale - guitar
  • Adam Headland - bass
  • Neal Busby - drums

Former members[edit]

  • Pat Howarth - bass (1990–1994)
  • Alex Murno - drums (1986–1991)
  • Frank Currell - bass (1986–1989)



Track 1 - Big Fuckin' Deal Track 2 - Riff Raff Track 3 - Mass Confusion Track 4 - Rachel's Breathing



  • "Big Fuckin' Deal" (Capitol Records, 1991)
  • "Helluvatime" (EMI, 1992)
  • "By The Fireside" (EMI, 1992)
  • "White Lies, Black Truth" (EMI, 1992)
  • "Sweet Asylum" (EMI, 1992)


  • Big Fuckin' Deal (1991)
  • Helluvatime (1992)
  • White Lies, Black Truth (1992)
  • By The Fireside (1992)
  • Sweet Asylum (1992)
  • Twentysomething (1994)
  • Dive (1994)

Related bands and side projects[edit]

  • Raised On Mars, Raised On Mars (independent, 1996)
  • Solus, Our Frosting Hell EP (Skinmask Productions, 1998)
  • Solus, Universal Bloodshed (Skinmask Productions, 1999)
  • Twirl, We Wuz Here (, available on iTunes,2005)
  • Revolver, Turbulence (Sony/BMG and Koch; available on iTunes, 2007)
  • Revolver, The New Blood Rock Show (2-disc live DVD/CD) (Babylon Music Group, available on iTunes, 2008)
  • Punishment Beautiful Suffering EP (independent, 2009)


External links[edit]