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Tim Smith (Cardiacs)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tim Smith
Tim Smith in 2007
Tim Smith in 2007
Background information
Birth nameTimothy Charles Smith
Born(1961-07-03)3 July 1961
Carshalton, Surrey, England
Died21 July 2020(2020-07-21) (aged 59)
GenresArt rock, psychedelic pop, progressive rock, post-punk
Occupation(s)Singer-Songwriter, Music Producer, Music Video Director, Record Label Owner, Recording Studio Owner
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Mellotron, Flute, Recorder, Percussion
Years active1975–2008
LabelsAlphabet Business Concern
All My Eye And Betty Martin Music
Associated actsCardiacs
The Sea Nymphs
Spratleys Japs

Timothy Charles Smith (3 July 1961 – 21 July 2020)[1][2][3] was an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and music video director, best known as the frontman of the cult English band Cardiacs, which he formed with his brother Jim Smith.[4][5]


Cardiacs and associated music

In 1975, Tim Smith played guitar in a nameless punky, psychedelic instrumental band with school friends Mark Cawthra (drums) and David Philpot (keyboards).[6] In 1979, Smith helped record a 7", A Bus for a Bus on the Bus, at Elephant Studios in London.[7] When Ralph Cade and drummer Peter Tagg left the band he invited Mark Cawthra back to take over on drums. Singer Mick Pugh subsequently left and Smith decided to take over the vocals himself.[6] 1980 saw Smith recording the first and only Cardiac Arrest album, The Obvious Identity.[8] Eventually, 1000 cassettes were recorded, but only sold at concerts to save on expenditure.[9]

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.[6] After another line up change, Smith recruited Tim Quy (percussion), Sarah Cutts (saxophone) and Dominic Luckman (drums).[10]

The label Alphabet Business Concern was created in 1984.[6] 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).[11] From then until 1999, Cardiacs released six studio albums, as well as a number of singles, EPs and live albums.[10]

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.[12] Smith, his ex wife Sarah Smith, and William D. Drake were reunited as The Sea Nymphs, a "gentler" version of Cardiacs; they had recorded before in 1984 and released a cassette album, Mr and Mrs Smith and Mr Drake.[13] Smith also performed with Jo Spratley in Spratleys Japs, who released their album Pony in 1999.[14]

In March 2006, Smith toured with Ginger & The Sonic Circus as their support act, performing acoustic versions of Cardiacs' songs, along with his own material.[15] Cardiacs released their only single of the 2000s, "Ditzy Scene", in 2007.[16]

Work as producer and video director

Smith owned and operated his own recording studio Apollo 8 (at various locations, with the final one being near Salisbury, Wiltshire) and had a long list of production credits to his name.[17] Since the early 1990s, Smith 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.[18]

Smith created and/or edited pop videos for various bands including Sepultura, Dark Star, Zu and The Frank and Walters, as well as Cardiacs.[19] 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.[20]


On 25 June 2008,[21] Smith suffered a heart attack after attending a gig by My Bloody Valentine which caused brain damage through hypoxia and led him to develop the rare neurological condition dystonia.[22][23]

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.[24][25][26]

In July 2016, a special one-day concert took place in Preston, called The Whole World Window with all the funds going towards helping Smith get better. A cassette and CD album of the same name were also released via Hyena Inc containing performances by the same bands.[27] 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.[28][29]

On 25 October 2018, Smith received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His brother Jim accepted the honour on his behalf.[30]


Smith died on the evening of 21 July 2020 at the age of 59, following another heart attack.[31] His death was announced by his brother and bandmate Jim Smith and bandmate Kavus Torabi.[32] Musicians including Steven Wilson,[33] Faith No More and Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton[34] and Graham Coxon[35] and Dave Rowntree[36] of Blur paid tribute to Smith.


Cardiac Arrest


Studio albums and mini-albums listed only.[38]

The Sea Nymphs

Studio albums only.[13]


Spratleys Japs


  1. ^ "England and Wales births 1837–2006". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Benefit For Tim Smith (Cardiacs) with Mr Smith and the Big Ships, The Dogbones, Poino, Claire Lemmon & Dogstand live at The Windmill". 19 May 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Tim Smith, frontman of cult band Cardiacs, dies aged 59". the Guardian. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  4. ^ Cashmore, Pete (2 June 2015). "Cult heroes: Tim Smith led the Cardiacs in the face of hatred – and much love". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Tim Smith The Frontman Of British Rock Band Cardiacs Has Died". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "Cardiacs history". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  7. ^ "A Bus for a Bus for a Bus". Album of the Year. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (1992). The Guinness encyclopedia of popular music. 1. Guinness Publishing. p. 413. ISBN 9780851129396.
  9. ^ "The Obvious Identity". ProgArchives. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  10. ^ a b Buckley, Peter (1999). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides (3rd ed.). Rough Guides Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6.
  11. ^ Cashmore, Pete (2 June 2015). "Cult heroes: Tim Smith led the Cardiacs in the face of hatred – and much love". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Time Smith's Extra Special OceanLandWorld". Alphabet Business Concern. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  13. ^ a b "The Sea Nymphs". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Spratleys Japs". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Ginger & the Sonic Circus – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England, UK". 27 March 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Kavus Torabi's Guide To Cardiacs". 11 August 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Tim Smith Discography: Production Credits". Discogs. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Interview in Marden Magazine, 2001". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Tim Smith Discography: Visual Credits". Discogs. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Discography". The Wildhearts. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Cardiacs News Archive". Cardiacs Official Website. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  22. ^ Nugent, Annabel (22 July 2020). "Tim Smith death: Cardiacs frontman dies aged 59". The Independent. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Tim Smith Health Statement 2018". 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  24. ^ "The Alphabet Business Convention". Salisbury Arts Centre. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  25. ^ "The Alphabet Business Convention. Salisbury Arts Centre. Saturday 2nd May 2015". 7 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  26. ^ "The Alphabet Business Convention". 16 March 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  27. ^ "The Whole World Window – A Benefit for Tim Smith". New Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  28. ^ "The singer hoping to overcome brain injury to make music once more".
  29. ^ "Weʼre raising £100,000 to fund Tim Smith's healthcare costs for one year".
  30. ^ "Tim Smith Interview". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  31. ^ Kitching, Sean. "Remembering Tim Smith Of Cardiacs". The Quietus. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  32. ^ "Tim Smith, frontman of cult band Cardiacs, dies aged 59". the Guardian. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  33. ^ Wilson, Steven. "Tim Smith tribute". Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  34. ^ Patton, Mike. "Tim Smith tribute". Facebook. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  35. ^ Coxon, Graham. "What a joyful insane stupid racket..and a huge influence.."poor soldier..."- RIP TimX". Twitter. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  36. ^ Rowntree, Dave. "Really sorry to hear that Tim Smith, singer of @CardiacsBand died". Twitter. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  37. ^ "The Obvious Identity". ProgArchives. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  38. ^ "Cardiacs Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  39. ^ "Pony (Spratleys Japs)". Bandcamp. Retrieved 22 July 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 April 2021, at 17:02
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