Gerry Nestler was born in Los Angeles, California. He began studies at the piano at age 6 and picked up the guitar at age 14. Inspired by the burgeoning speed and thrash metal scene of the mid to late 1980s, Nestler formed the band Civil Defiance in 1989 which quickly recorded a three-song demo. The band frequently played venues such as the Troubadour, Raji's, Water's Club and the Coconut Teaszer, where they took part in several ASCAP-sponsored 'Best Kept Secrets' industry showcases. In 1991, the group issued a self-produced 4-song demo EP, Abstract Reaction, which showcased the band's varied influences and avantgardist approach, fusing classic thrash with everything from world music to grindcore.
In 1993, Nestler and Civil Defiance began recording their debut album with producer Alex Woltman at the helm. Titled The Fishers For Souls, it was issued on the band's own Blood Orange label in 1996 and licensed to German-based company Dream Circle for a European release in 1997. Noted violinist Lili Haydn makes an appearance on the song "Man in the Moon." A second full-length album, Circus of Fear, containing songs from different recording sessions and including the out-of-print Abstract Reaction EP, was released in 1999 via GSM/Nuclear Blast in Europe only.
Following the band's European tour with Psychotic Waltz in the summer of 1997, Civil Defiance went on hiatus with Nestler and bassist Juan Antonio Perez joining forces with former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo in a new project. Initially called Letter Bomb and then PHILM, the trio eventually settled on the name Kkleq Muzzil. Nestler and Perez were dealt a setback when Lombardo got the call to re-join Slayer in 2001. In his place, they recruited local drummer George Hernandez and recorded an album, mixed by noted bassist/producer John Avila of Oingo Boingo fame, for L.A.-based indie label Criterion Records and released it in 2002.
Disbanding Kkleq Muzzil shortly thereafter, Nestler formed punk rock influenced power trio Super Rider with bassist Eddie Solis and original Civil Defiance drummer Gabe Trevizo. The band played shows in the L.A. area and issued a sole album, Everything So Right, again mixed by John Avila, in 2003. Nestler would re-team with Lombardo on DJ Spooky's 2005 album Drums of Death, sharing guitar duties alongside Living Colour's Vernon Reid and playing on the songs "Tool Element", "Kultur Krieg", and "Terra Nullius (Cyborg Rebellion on Colony Planet Zyklon 15)." That same year, Nestler, Trevizo and former Civil Defiance bassist Brian Terry would also issue a 5-song EP, The Seasons Best, via bandspace.com under the name Look Past The Stars.
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