Origin Story

Nerds With Guitars is the hardest-working nerd-folk acoustic duo in the Greater Toronto Area, to the best of their knowledge.  They regularly storm stages, house parties and anywhere else they’re allowed to show up with their instruments to spread the good word of nerd-folk.  Their songs are quirky, introspective and sometimes offensive looks at modern life as a geek; they cite Jonathan Coulton, Flight of the Conchords and Forty Creek Rye among their primary influences.  Their stage show is indescribable in words; it must be seen to be believed, but was once described as “like watching the nerdiest train wreck ever, with an unduly well-produced sound track.”

But from whence did this paragon of nerd culture emerge, one may be inclined to ask if one cared.  The story began in 2005 when Alex “Big Al” James was introduced to “Guitar” Sean May by a mutual friend who prefaced the meeting with the all-too-familiar disclaimer “oh, he’s a musician too, you’ll like him.”  Musicians will tell you this is the last thing they want to hear before meeting someone, because invariably the meeting will go one of two ways: A) the musician friend in question is patently terrible and can only stumble through one or two songs and the lick from “Stairway to Heaven”, or B) the musician friend in question is patently awesome and is therefore harmful to the ego of the first.  Big Al was faced with Option B when he discovered Guitar Sean’s star-studded talent that led to his nickname, but fortunately for the world at large, Al’s ego was not sufficiently bruised to deflate the potential for a collaboration.  Thus, a legend was born.

The name “Nerds With Guitars” was coined a couple of years later after Sean and Al had been regularly playing as a cover outfit for house parties on a semi-regular schedule.  After several whiskies it was determined that if Al and Sean were to continue collaborating, a name would inevitably become necessary (because Al is a showboating jerk and needs to call himself something grandiose on stage).  Al brought up the name Nerds With Guitars as a joke, saying “there’s no way we could possibly call the band this” to which Sean replied “why not?”  A brief Google search remarkably turned up no band, anywhere, with claims to the name, and so NWG became the preferred branding for Sean and Al’s musical baby.

So: five years, extensive gig-playing and several dozen bottles of whiskey later, Nerds With Guitars has evolved from a couple of geeks playing Tragically Hip covers to a couple of geeks writing their own songs, finishing an EP and opening a website, all with the long-term goal in mind of Taking Over The Internet and changing the face of nerd culture (both in Toronto and the World At Large) forever.  Come join the nerd-folk prophets as they preach the benefits of gaming, guzzling and geeking out to the masses.


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