TV SMITH & RICHARD STRANGE BIOGRAPHY
TV Smith wrote three of the most iconic songs of the punk era – One Chord Wonders, Bored Teenagers and the hit single Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. He has released 14 albums to date. His live shows are legendary for the fervour and the almost religious zeal of his fans.
Writer, musician, composer, nightclub host, curator, actor and adventurer, Richard Strange was born in London in 1951. His proto-punk rock band The Doctors of Madness (“The missing link between David Bowie and The Sex Pistols…” wrote The Guardian in May 2017) was first unleashed on an uncomprehending public in 1975 (the band was supported by the Sex Pistols, The Jam and Joy Division) he has been a Zelig-like figure whose presence has been felt in every corner of London’s cultural life.
He founded the hugely influential mixed-media Cabaret Futura in 1980 and has subsequently worked as an actor, appearing extensively on stage, in films and on television. Strange has been seen in films as diverse as Batman, Mona Lisa, Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves, Gangs of New York and Harry Potter. He has made numerous TV appearances, including a number of episodes of Men Behaving Badly, and as a stage actor, he has worked alongside household names such as James Nesbitt, Peter Capaldi and Marianne Faithfull.
As a writer, he is a regular contributor to publications as diverse as The Guardian, Tatler, Culture and Travel and Vogue. In 1989/90 he toured the world in a Russian Hamlet directed by Yuri Lyubimov.
In 2003 he toured the UK with the award-winning dance theatre company Protein Dance, contributing as an actor, narrator, musician and writer.
Throughout 2004-7 Richard worked with Marianne Faithfull on the Tom Waits/William Burroughs/Robert Wilson collaboration “The Black Rider”, performing in theatres in London (The Barbican), San Francisco (ACT), Sydney and Los Angeles (The Ahmanson).
Between 2010 and 2016 his two monthly events, Cabaret Futura and A Mighty Big If were critically-acclaimed fixtures of the London art and cultural calendar, and his guests on the latter, an informal live chat show held in Soho’s Church of St Barnabas, included such giants of their genres as film-maker Mike Figgis, composer Michael Nyman, theatrical maestro Robert Wilson, musician, producer and composer Nile Rodgers, Gary Kemp, Marc Almond, Peter Capaldi, Brian Cox, and the artists Cornelia Parker, Richard Wilson, and Gavin Turk.
In 2012 he was also commissioned to write the song for the closing credits of the Hollywood film Dark Hearts. The resulting song was called BloodBrother and Dark Hearts and was screened at The Cannes International Film Festival in 2012.
Increasingly involved in the worlds of education and academia, he teaches Creative Musicianship to BA students at Tileyard Education in London and is also a mentor for the National Music Education charity, Music For Youth.
THE ALBUM (1978)
TV Smith and Richard Strange originally wrote produced and recorded an album in 1978. The tracks on this album have never been officially released before now. The eight songs on this album were recorded in 1978 on a 2-track stereo Revox A77 tape recorder. It was finally released on the 17th of July 2021 on record store day.
The recordings are unashamedly analogue, using one microphone and guitars plugged directly into the tape recorder. Bouncing down tracks irreversibly as they went on, forced to make creative decisions that could not be undone. Some hard choices had to be made with the mix, but no record company meant no record company agenda. TV Smith and Richard Strange could write and record whatever they wanted – and did! It has been an enormous pleasure to rediscover these recordings, the result of a friendship of two artists emerging from broken bands and each about to embark on a lifelong adventure in words and music.
TV SMITH – I wasn’t having a lot of fun in 1978 when Richard asked me to collaborate on a song he was writing called “Summer Fun.” I was in the final stages of songwriting for the second Adverts album “Cast Of Thousands,” a project that already seemed doomed to failure given an unenthusiastic record company, a band in the throes of falling apart, and a dwindling audience – but my creative juices were in full flow and I was ready for something different. I already knew Richard, of course, from the Doctors Of Madness, who I’d followed in the years before punk when I was still living in Devon and they were one of the few bands to come and play in the area. I considered them a warped poetic glam band with gothic leanings and was slightly surprised when the song I’d been invited to work on turned out to be a kind of California surf pastiche. But I was game to get involved, and after we’d finished it and ventured forward with regular writing and recording sessions over the following weeks it soon became clear that “Summer Fun” was just a gateway drug, and the songs that were emerging from our combined forces were going to quickly become much deeper and much darker.
RICHARD STRANGE – Watching the remnants of a musical dream being swept away by the juggernaut of corporate punk rock in 1976, I felt a combination of jealousy and resentment towards many of the key players who had been responsible for our demise. The Sex Pistols had supported my band Doctors of Madness early in their career, and nicked not only our future but £12.00 from a pair of trousers in our dressing room in Middlesbrough Town Hall! The Jam, who supported us over four shows at London’s fabled Marquee Club, were how I imagined The Who would be if they’d joined the Young Conservatives. Warsaw, our go-to support band in Manchester, had just changed their name to Joy Division, and Johnny and the Self-Abusers, our Scottish flag-wavers, had become Simple Minds. All were being feted by the all-powerful music press, while we were being buried. But there was one punk band for whom I never had anything but the greatest affection …The Adverts.
WHAT DID I DO WITH TV SMITH AND RICHARD STRANGE?
In October 2021 Richard & TV Smith did a UK tour of their album. It was organised, promoted and booked by AEG.
Richard wanted to do something a little bit different with his London show and wanted something that had a stripped back vibe, the band consisted of Clifford Slapper (David Bowie, Sarah Jane-Moris, ) on piano, Patricia Ramirez Reinoso (Jimi Summerville, ABC, Tony Hadley, Orlando Seale, Various Orchestras) on Viola, Lilybud Dearsly (Sarah Jane Morris, The Glare) on backing Vocals and myself on percussion.
2021 Tour Dates
London (Camden) – 5th October – Powerhaus
Manchester – 8th October – The Peer Hat
Leeds – 10th October – Brudnell Social Club
London (Oxford St.) -15th October – 100 Club
Bath – 23rd October – The Bell Inn
We only play the two London shows with Richard. On the 5th of October was supporting Richards’s good friend, Johnny Brown and his band The Band of Holy Joy.
The second date was at the legendary 100 Club on Oxford Street.
TV Smith posted this message on Facebook on 29th October 2021 – “Thanks to everyone who took part in our collaborative project to make a video for the new TV Smith/Richard Strange single “Don’t Panic England” at our recent gig at the legendary 100 Club in London. Here’s the result!”