lundi 6 juin 2011


exclusive interview with

His new solo album "Misinformation Overload" has just been released :
I'm especially proud to present an interview with
the legendary ADVERTS' (former) singer !

Exclusive interview with TV SMITH by Hans Wehrwolf, for WARDANCE.NET
30 august 2006

Hell-o Tim ! Can you please remind us briefly the ADVERTS'
biography and what was the band's line up, especially for the
youngest readers who perhaps never heard of you before ?...
THE ADVERTS were a four piece band who started up in London at the beginning of the UK Punk Rock scene, playing our first gigs at the Roxy club, the birthplace of punk, in January 1977. I wrote the songs and sang, Gaye Advert played bass, Howard Pickup played guitar, and for the first album Laurie Driver played drums. We replaced him for
the second album with Rod Latter.

How and why did you decide to form this band, at the beginning ?
I'd been writing songs for years and formed a band while I was still at school, then another one when I spent a year at art college. At the time I lived in the out in the country in the Southwest of England, but it was hard to get anyone interested in a band there. Gaye was my girlfriend and said she wanted to learn bass so we decided to move to London and start a band there. It was great timing that Punk started at the same time - it meant we had places to play
and audiences who wanted to come and see us.
Why did you chose that name of "THE ADVERTS" ?
Is it because you met each others by placing some adverts in papers
We did get our guitarist and drummer by placing adverts in the music
papers but that wasn't the reason for the name. It's a comment on the
fact that we're all being sold stuff in life, we're being persuaded we need things by the power of advertising until we don't know what we really want any more. A lot of music is just another product that is advertised and sold by the big record labels . By calling
ourselves the Adverts we wanted to show that we recognized that
culture in the music industry and we weren't going to be like that.
TV Smith
At that time, the ADVERTS' approach through your lyrics and songs
themes was often (and is still) regarded as being quite
"intellectual", in comparison with those of the usual and average
punk bands. How do you explain that ? What kind of things did you
intend to express, through your music ?
I wanted -and still want- to look at what's going on around us and turn it into some kind of poetry. I want to look hard at things and find something new in there.
Which other more or less well-known bands from this era did you
play with ? Did you especially go along with some persons in
particular ?
We played with just about everyone at one time or another. We played at the Roxy quite often and in just the first few months we shared the bill with SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS, EATER, THE DAMNED, WAYNE COUNTY, GENERATION X….loads of others too. In the summer of '77 we had a great month long tour of the UK with the DAMNED, and I've got on well with those guys ever since then. There are still some good people around from those early punk bands.
One of my favourite ADVERTS song ever remains "One Chord Wonders".
In my humble opinion, I think it's a timeless masterpiece, truly.
Regarding the lyrics to this song, were they really representative of
your own experience with the music industry ?
I wrote that from my experience of being in bands before the ADVERTS,
and wanted to say that if you're good it doesn't matter that no one
seems to recognize it. There are still hundreds of bands that don't
get the recognition they deserve, compared with all the terrible
bands getting pushed by the big labels and on television - but the
important thing is they keep playing anyway. That's the kind of band
One Chord Wonders was about. The ironical thing is, when we actually
formed the Adverts and played the song, Stiff Records heard it and
loved it, and within weeks it was released as a single !
Same question, but about "No time to be 21". Would you still
deliver the same message to the youth of today ?
"Life's short, don't make a mess of it" I think that's a message that
works for everyone, it doesn't matter how old or young you are.
Did the band split up in 1979 or 1980 ? And what were the reasons
for that ?
In '79. We just burned out really. It had been an intense couple of
years, going from first rehearsal to hit single and a endless touring
in six months. We weren't really getting on well together and
recorded a more experimental second album that wasn't much liked by
the punk public. When that flopped and the label dropped us we just
decided it was best to stop.
Gaye Advert
When you look back at the past, nowadays, what are your best and
your worst memories ?
I don't analyse the past. You just build on whatever happens and make
the best of it. The important things is to know what you're doing now
and why you're doing it.
Did you ever plan to reform the ADVERTS, and can we expect some
reunion gigs in the near future ? Or even some new
recordings ?...
There will never be an ADVERTS reunion. Gaye hasn't played the bass since the last day of the band, and the guitarist died a few years ago so any new version of the Adverts would be fake.

You still live with Gaye Advert, don't you ? What are her
activities nowadays ? Is she still interested in punk music, even
though she's not directly involved in this scene anymore ?
Gaye's working as a manager in social services. She still likes Punk,
although she's really a big Metal fan now.
TV Smith & Gaye Advert today
Do you still own some unreleased video footage ? If so, is there a chance for them to be officially issued as a DVD, one day or another ?
There is some footage around from various documentaries and TV shows,
but I don't own the rights to any of it so I couldn't release it.
I wish someone would! It would be interesting to have all those pieces
of film together on one DVD.
Let's talk about today, now. Your solo project, that you run
under your own name, sounds a very different way, since you mostly
use acoustic guitars. From your own point of view, do you think this
solo orientation has anything to do with your past involvement with
the ADVERTS or not ?
For me the ADVERTS was the outlet for my songwriting, and it's the same with the solo concerts and the occasional band gigs I play now - it's all about getting the songs out there. The idea of solo gigs started out because I wanted to strip the songs back to the basics and show that even with just an acoustic guitar they could still work, still be "punk" and still be high energy. It also gives me the freedom to play gigs all over the place that I'd never be able to do with a band, and to play whatever I want every night without having to do the same setlist.
I still get a thrill out of playing with bands though, and most of my records are still recorded with other musicians - the last one, "Misinformation Overload" has a lot of
electric guitars on it and sounds pretty much like a punk record.

What kind of people is your current audience made of ? Old
nostalgic punk rockers only, or younger people as well ?
All ages. I've had three generations of a family come to a gig and
they all enjoyed it. I think it's great that you can share the same
values no matter what your age is.
What's your personal taste in music ?
I don't listen to a lot. I'm playing more than 100 gigs a year and
just get to hear whatever's playing in the club most of the time.
When I get home I'd rather do some songwriting than listen to more
Do you manage to live from your music, or do you also have
another occupation ?
I live from it, and for it.
What are your next projects, now ?
More gigs…some things I'm really looking forward to: fan clubs gigs in England and Germany, where I just play rare songs from the back catalogue that I don't usually play at gigs. Then a couple of gigs
together with the bass player from my band after the ADVERTS, THE EXPLORERS, where we'll be playing quite a lot of songs from that band.
Then I'm joining the "Dead Men Walking" tour in October for three weeks of gigs in the UK. I also have my book of tour diaries "Getting There" published next month which will let people know what it's really like to be out on the road as an independent musician.

Well, thanks a lot for this interview !
The word of the end ?…
Let's not make this the end. Let's just meet further down the road at
a gig somewhere…
TV SMITH's official website :
- One Chord Wonders (Single - April 1977)
- Live At The Roxy, London, WC2 (Live Compilation - June 1977)
- Gary Gilmore's Eyes (Single - August 1977)
- Safety In Numbers (Single - November 1977)
- No Time To Be 21 (Single - January 1978)
- Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts (Album - 17th February, 1978)
- Television's Over (Single - November 1978)
- My Place (Single - June 1979)
- Cast Of Thousands (Album - November 1979)
- Cast Of Thousands (Single - November 1979)
- Live At The Roxy Club (Live Album - 1990)
- Live And Loud [with The Ruts] (Live-Album - 1995)
- The Punk Singles Collection (Singles Collection - 1997)
- The Wonders Don't Care (Radio Recordings - 1997)
- The Best Of The Adverts (Best Of - 1998)
- Tomahawk Cruise (Single - November 1980)
- The Servant (Single - April 1981)
- Last Words Of The Great Explorer (Album - June 1981)
- Have Fun (Single - June 1981)
- Perfect life Single - (October 1981)
TV Smith's CHEAP
- 3rd Term (Single - 1990)
- RIP... Everything Must Go (Album - 1996)
- War Fever (Single - 1983)
- Channel 5 (Album - 1983)
- Coming Round (Single - 1985)
- March of The Giants (Album - 1992)
- We Want The Road (Single - 1994)
- Immortal Rich (Album - 1994)
- Thin Green Line (Single - 1995)
- Generation Y (Album - 1998)
- The Future Used To Be Better (EP - 1999)
- Useless. The Very Best Of (Best Of - 9th April, 2001)
- What If ? / New Church (Single - 2003)
- Not A Bad Day (Album - 6th October, 2003)
- Xmas Bloody Xmas (Single - 29th November, 2004)
- Misinformation Overload (Album - 2006)
One Chord Wonders
I wonder what we´ll play for you tonight
Something heavy or something light
Something to set your soul alight
I wonder how we´ll answer when you say
"We don´t like you - go away,
"Come back when you´ve learnt to play"
I wonder what we´ll do when things go wrong
When we´re half-way through
our favourite song
We look up and the audience has gone
Will we feel a little bit obscure
Think "we´re not needed here,
"We must be new wave
- they´ll like us next year"

The Wonders don´t care
- we don´t give a damn

© TV Smith
No Time to be 21
Life´s short, don´t make a mess of it
To the ends of the earth
you´ll look for sense in it
No chances, no plans
I´ll smash the windows
of my box
I´ll be a madman
It´s no time to be 21
To be anyone
Hold back, see what you miss of it
Out of the shadows,
into the thick of it
No maybes, no guessing
I´m getting wound up
The plot sickens
It´s no time to be 21
To be anyone

Strip down to the bare facts of it
Into the cold heart, no hope and all that shit
No chances, no plans
I think I´ll be somebody else
Or else a madman
It´s no time to be 21
To be anyone

We´ll be your untouchables
We´ll be your outcasts
We don´t care what you project on us
It´s no time to be 21

© TV Smith
Gary Gilmore's Eyes
I´m lying in a hospital
I´m pinned against the bed
A stethoscope upon my heart
A hand against my head
They´re peeling off the bandages
I´m wincing in the light
The nurse is looking anxious
And she´s quivering in fright
I´m looking through
Gary Gilmore´s eyes

The doctors are avoiding me
My vision is confused
I listen to my earphones
And I catch the evening news
A murderer´s been killed
And he donates his sight to science
I´m locked into a private ward
I realise that I must be

Looking through
Gary Gilmore´s eyes

I smash the light in anger
Push my bed against the door
I close my lids across the eyes
And wish to see no more
The eye receives the messages
And sends them to the brain
No guarantee the stimuli
Must be perceived the same

When looking
through Gary Gilmore´s eyes

Gary don´t need his eyes to see
Gary and his eyes have parted company

© TV Smith
Bombsite Boy
Leapfrog over fences
Little time, less senses
Here by this railway cutting
Life goes quick and it goes without warning
That´s how life is in my bombsite dwelling
But I don´t believe you have to be an idiot
To get somewhere these days
I don´t believe you have to sell your soul
And do what everybody says
Or get carried away
Nowadays I fall among the empty shells and pray
Give thanks - I´m happy where I am
It´s just as well

Well, I thank God never closed my eyes
Thank God I never compromised
Bombsite boy, the bombsite boy
Thank God I wasn´t mesmerised
Bombsite boy, the bombsite boy, the bombsite boy

There´s a killer in your subway
An anarchist on your street
There´s a breakdown on your T.V.
You can´t find no relief
In fact no feelings at all
Your war is totally internal
At least I´m sure that mine is on the outside

Thank God I never closed my eyes
Thank God I never compromised
Bombsite boy, the bombsite boy
Thank God I wasn´t mesmerised
Bombsite boy, the bombsite boy, the bombsite boy

© TV Smith
Great British Mistake
The great British mistake was looking for a way out,
was getting complacent, not noticing the pulse was
racing - the mistake was fighting the change, was
staying the same. It couldn´t adapt so it couldn´t
survive, something had to give, the people take a
downhill slide into the gloom, into the dark recesses
of their minds.
I swoop over your city like a bird
I climb the high branches and observe
Into the mouth, into the soul
I cast a shadow that swallows you whole
I swoop, I climb, I cling, I suck,
I swallow you whole

String out the drip-feed, they´re losing their world,
they´re losing their hard boys and magazine girls,
adverts illegal, TV as outlaw, motive as spell.
They´ll see the books burn. they´ll be 451, it´s
people against things and not against each other,
out of the pre-pack, into the fear, into themselves.
They´re the great British mistake
the genie´s out of the bottle, call in the magician, they didn´t mean
to free him, devil behind them, devil in the mirror,
chained to their right hands. They´re the great
British mistake - they´ll have to come to terms now,
they´ll take it out somehow, they´ll blame it all on
something. The British mistake - when will it be over?
How can they avoid it?

© TV Smith
Safety in Numbers
What are you going to do with your new ways?
What are you going to do with your new wave?
Maybe it´s that you no longer care
Now you´re so great
you´ve just got to stand here
Or were you even bothered anyway
About the new wave
What about the new wave?
Did you think it would change things?

Here we all are in the latest craze
Stick with the crowd,
hope it´s not a passing phase
It´s the latest thing to be nowhere
You can turn into the wallpaper
But you know you were always there anyway
Withou the new wave

What about the new wave?
Did you think it would change things?

It´s just safety in numbers
When it´s tricky, when it gets tough
When you need to feel that you´re good enough
All you pretty people who´ve been taken over
Had better start looking for your own answers
´Cause there´s no safety in numbers anyway
Or in a new wave

What about the new wave?
Did you think it would change things?

It´s just safety in numbers
© TV Smith

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