|Birth name||Timothy Charles Smith|
|Born||3 July 1961|
Carshalton, Surrey, England
|Died||22 July 2020 (age 59)|
|Genres||Art rock, psychedelic pop, progressive rock, post-punk|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-Songwriter, Music Producer, Music Video Director, Record Label Owner, Recording Studio Owner|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Mellotron, Flute, Recorder, Percussion|
|Labels||Alphabet Business Concern|
All My Eye And Betty Martin Music
The Sea Nymphs
Timothy Charles Smith (3 July 1961 – 22 July 2020) was an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and music video director. He is best known as the frontman of the cult English band Cardiacs, who he formed with his brother James "Jim" A. Smith.
2 Work as producer, video director and label boss
3.1 Cardiac Arrest
3.3 The Sea Nymphs
3.5 Spratleys Japs
3.6 Albums produced
5 External links
In 1975, Tim Smith played guitar in a nameless punky, psychedelic instrumental band with school friends Mark Cawthra (Drums) and David Philpot (Keyboard). Smith was taken aback by the sound of David's Korg synthesiser and would later use the sound early on in Cardiac Arrest/Cardiacs.
In 1979, Smith helped record a 7", A Bus for a Bus on the Bus, at Elephant Studios in London. When Ralph Cade and drummer Peter Tagg left the band he invited Mark Cawthra to take over on drums. Singer Mick Pugh subsequently left and Smith decided to take over the vocals himself. 1980 saw Smith recording the first and only Cardiac Arrest album, The Obvious Identity. Eventually, 1000 cassettes were recorded, but only sold at concerts to save on expenditure.
Smith decided to change the name of the band to Cardiacs in 1981. He helped record the band's first album, Toy World, in the same manner as the Cardiac Arrest album – on cassette tape – at a small basement studio known as Crow Studios (owned and run by Peter Kunzler). After another line up change, Smith recruited Tim Quy (Percussion), Sarah Cutts (Saxophone) and Dominic Luckman (Drums) into the fold.
In 1983, Smith saw William D. Drake performing on a piano in a public house and drafted him into the ranks of Cardiacs as keyboard player.
The low budget label Alphabet Business Concern was created in 1984. Smith was asked by vocalist Fish to support his band Marillion on their forthcoming tour near the end of the year. Smith agreed but was not prepared for the hostile audience that awaited them on all legs of the tour (forcing them off the final three days of the tour).
In 1985, Smith was approached by students Mark Francombe and Nick Elborough with an offer to shoot footage of them at one of their live concerts as part of their coursework project. The Surbiton Assembly Rooms was chosen and the gig was recorded on 18 April 1985, but Smith was unhappy with the resultant footage and sound quality and canned the project.
The students then assisted Smith with making a promotional video, produced and directed by Smith himself, which would include a 10-minute feature called "The Consultant’s Flower Garden" and three music videos. The video was released.
During the 1990s, Smith took a break from Cardiacs to work on various other projects. During 1989 and 1991, he wrote songs for a solo album, Tim Smith's Extra Special OceanLandWorld, eventually released in 1995. He, former wife Sarah Smith, and William D. Drake were reunited as The Sea Nymphs, a folkier, more ethereal and relaxed version of Cardiacs. The threesome had already recorded before in 1984 and released a cassette album, Mr and Mrs Smith and Mr Drake. Smith also performed with ex-Cardiacs guitarist Bic Hayes in Panixsphere in 1993 (although no official recordings exist yet) and with Jo Spratley in Spratleys Japs from 1995. 1999 saw the release of the latest Cardiacs' studio album, Guns, on the Alphabet label.
The 21st Century has seen Smith (with Cardiacs) release one single, "Ditzy Scene", in 2007. He has used most of the time again touring and working on new recording output for the near future. In March 2006, he toured with Ginger & The Sonic Circus as their support act, performing acoustic versions of Cardiacs' songs, along with his own material.
On 25 June 2008, Smith suffered a heart attack, which caused brain damage through hypoxia and led him to develop the rare neurological condition dystonia, from which he was in the process of recovering. As such, all plans for the new Cardiacs' album and other future work have been postponed indefinitely. However, a tribute album was released in December 2010 on the website of The Genepool.
In 2013, 2015 and 2017, events dubbed "The Alphabet Business Convention" were held in celebration of and with all proceeds funding Smith and his ongoing recovery. Among other things, they featured live music from bands within the Cardiacs' circle.
In July 2016, a special one-day concert took place in Preston, England, called The Whole World Window with all the funds going towards helping Smith get better. A cassette and CD album of the same name was also released via Hyena Inc containing performances by the same bands.
In November 2016, the long-awaited second Sea Nymphs album, On the Dry Land, was released. This was achieved in part due to Smith's health being well enough to return to the studio in 2015 and 2016 to supervise completion of the album.
In January 2018 an appeal was launched on the crowdfunding website JustGiving with the aim of raising £40,000 to fund Smith's ongoing care. The target amount was exceeded in the first day and a new target of £100,000 was set to provide for a year's care.
On 25 October 2018, Smith received an Honorary Degree as Doctor of Music from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His brother Jim accepted the honour on his behalf.
Work as producer, video director and label boss
Smith owned and operated his own recording studio – Apollo 8, currently based near Salisbury, Wiltshire – and has a long list of production credits to his name.
Since the early 1990s, Smith has produced recordings for a variety of musicians and musical groups, many of whom belong to the so-called "Cardiacs family". These include Levitation, Sidi Bou Said, Eat, The Monsoon Bassoon, Wildhearts frontman Ginger (including his Silver Ginger 5 and Howling Willie Cunt projects), Stars in Battledress, Oceansize, William D. Drake, The Shrubbies, The Scaramanga Six and The Trudy.
Smith has created and/or edited pop videos for various bands including Sepultura, Dark Star and The Frank and Walters, as well as Cardiacs.
In 2008, Smith created a film called The Wildhearts Live in the Studio: A Film By Tim Smith, featuring The Wildhearts playing their self-titled album along with surreal interludes.
A Bus for a Bus on the Bus 7" (1979) TOR 002
The Obvious Identity Cassette (1980)
Toy World Cassette (1981)
The Seaside (1st Version) Cassette (1984) ALPH 001
Seaside Treats 12" EP (1985) ALPH 002
Big Ship Mini LP (1986) ALPH 004
Rude Bootleg Cassette/LP/CD (1986) ALPH 005
There's Too Many Irons in the Fire 12" (1987) ALPH 006
A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window LP/CD (1988) ALPH 007/TORSO CD060
Is This The Life? 7" and 12" (1988) ALPH 008/TORSO 70060
Susannah's Still Alive 7" and 12" (1988) ALPH 009
Cardiacs Live LP/CD (1988) ALPH 010
Night Tracks (The Janice Long Session) 12" EP (1988) SFNT 013
Baby Heart Dirt 7" and 12" (1989) ALPH 011
On Land and in the Sea LP/CD(1989) ALPH 012
Archive Cardiacs Cassette/CD (1989) ALPH 000
The Seaside (2nd Version) LP/CD (1990) ALPH 013
Songs for Ships and Irons CD (1991) AlPH 014
Day Is Gone 12" and CD single (1991) ALPH 015
Heaven Born and Ever Bright CD (1991) ALPH 017
All that Glitters is a Mares Nest CD (1995) ALPH 018
Sampler CD (1995) ALPH 019
Bellyeye CD single (1995) ORGAN011
Sing to God CD (1995) ALPH 022 (limited edition DOUBLE CD), ALPH 023 (CD One), ALPH 024 (CD Two).
Manhoo CD single (1995) ALPH 025
Odd Even CD single (1995) ALPH 026
Cardiacs/Camp Blackfoot CD single (1998) ORG056
Guns CD (1999) ALPH 027
Signs CD single(1999) ALPH 028
Cardiacs and Affectionate Friends CD (2001) ORG228
Greatest Hits CD (2002) ALPH 029
The Special Garage Concerts Vol I CD (2005) ALPH CD030
The Special Garage Concerts Vol II CD (2005) ALPH CD031
Ditzy Scene CD single (2007) ORG419
The Sea Nymphs
Mr and Mrs Smith and Mr Drake Cassette (1984) ALPH 003/CD Reissue (2007) AME CD004
Appealing To Venus 7" (1991) ALPH 016
The Sea Nymphs Cassette/CD (1992) ALPH 021
Appealing To Venus CD Reissue (1998) ORGAN044
On the Dry Land (2016)
Tim Smith's Extra Special OceanLandWorld CD (1995) ALPH 020
Pony CD (2001) AME CD001
Hazel CD single (2001) AME CD002
Eat – Epicure LP (Fiction, 1993)
Oceansize – Relapse EP (Beggar's Banquet 2002)
Levitation – Need For Not album (CWWNN ltd. 1992)
Sidi Bou Said – Bodies album (Ultimate, 1995)
SilverGinger 5 – Black Leather Mojo album (Sanctuary, 2000)
Stars in Battledress – Secrets and Signals album (House of Stairs, 2003)
The Monsoon Bassoon – In Bold Gardens EP (Unreleased, 1996)
The Monsoon Bassoon – I Dig Your Voodoo album (Weird Neighbourhood, 1999)
North Sea Radio Orchestra – North Sea Radio Orchestra EP ()
The Scaramanga Six – Cabin Fever album (Wrath Records 2005)
The Scaramanga Six – The Dance of Death album (Wrath Records 2007)
The Shrubbies – Memphis in Texas album (Merlin Audio 1997)
William D. Drake – William D. Drake album (All My Eye And Betty Martin Music, 2003)
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