Alex Soria of The Nils R.I.P.

Alex_soria I heard the sad news that Alex Soria of seminal Canadian band The Nils and Chino died on Monday. Alex was only 39. Referred to as “Canada’s Paul Westerberg” Alex started The Nils in 1978 at the age of 12 and were often cited as “Canada’s answer to the ramshackle brilliance of the Replacements and Husker Du” according to an obituary in today’s Montreal Gazette. Unfortunately, record company woes and personal demons never allowed the band to attain the recognition that they deserved but their influence on the Canadian music scene and on fans such as Bob Mould cannot be overstated. My connection with Alex though is more personal and extremely fleeting. Years ago when the Nils were just a struggling band trying to land gigs they practiced regularly in the basement of a buddy of mine. On one occassion I gave my buddy a hand carrying in some drums that the drummer had just bought off of another friend so after dropping them off I hung around for a bit while Alex and a bunch of guys jammed. During a break I sat behind the drums just for the hell of it and started pounding away while pretty much annoying everybody but Alex started playing some riff and I managed to keep a very basic rythym going to his guitar and he made the comment “Hey, you should play the drums, you have natural rythym.” The whole thing lasted maybe 5 minutes and then he was off jamming again and I returned home but that comment never left me. I had been struggling to learn to play guitar but I decided then and there to get a drum kit and try out the drums instead. Since that time I have gained enormous personal satisfaction in playing all types of music and all because of one little off-hand comment by a guy that I barely new. Thanks Alex. I never really knew ya but you changed my life regardless. Rest in peace. As we approach Christmas this year, never underestimate the power that music and a kind word can have on a total stranger.
Update: Further coverage can be found at MuchNews.
Later.

2 Comments

  1. Mark,

    This is a wonderful story, and as a close personal friend of the man for 23 years, I can’t tell you what it means to me and what it will mean to the family. The thing is, it sounds just like him. One of the things I’ve been saying to people is that Alex was the kind of guy who, if you looked like shit that day, he’d tell you “you look like shit!”. If you were looking good, he’d say “you look great, man”. You’ve captured his honesty, but you’ve also captured his ability to spot what people were naturally good at, as he did with you.

    There’s going to be a wake for him. This will definitely be read there. If you’re in town please come to the Green Room at 5386 St. Laurent, Sunday Dec 19 from 19:00.

    Thanks again for this story. If you haven’t already, please check out the RIP thread for Alex at http://www.20hz.ca/boards/viewtopic.php?t=32357&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

    –john campbell

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