TV Smith as from the beginning was most known as the singer in Adverts have I done some interviews with but it was 12 years since the last time so here we go again….december 2018.

 

It was 12 years since the last time I interviewed. May things have happened since 2006. What is the most important which have happened?

-It feels like everything’s changed and at the same time nothing’s changed. I’d like to say, Brexit, Trump, Syria, the refugee crisis…etc…etc. But in the end I find myself looking at a world situation that’s just a continuation of the greed, inequality and mismanagement that’s always been around. Same as it ever was. That’s why I keep writing songs about it, same as I ever did.

 

You are over 60 years now. How does it feel( I have 4,5 years left to then)?

-I’ve given up worrying about age. Some things get a bit harder, but that’s life. I do feel that my job isn’t finished so I’m happy to be fit enough to carry on touring - that’s the main issue for me.

 

What´s the biggest difference of being a punk now when you are over 60 if you compare when you were 21 and sang in Adverts?

-When I was 21 I was basically being pushed about by a music industry that saw money to be made from the new punk rock movement. Now the industry doesn’t care about punk and I do exactly what I want - with complete independence and forty years more experience to draw on. 

 

What does punk mean to you today and have your view on punk changed through the years?

-To be honest, I don’t really care about punk. The only thing that matters is to move forward, not to fit into a genre. A lot of the so-called punk bands around now are just embarrassing, stuck into a narrow idea of what they believe punk is supposed to be. That’s never what punk was about - it was about creativity, energy, rebellion, and a celebration of individuality.

 

I know you play more acoustic music but I always think it´s punk you are playing but I think it depends on your voice or how could we otherwise explain it?

-Well, like I say, who cares if it’s punk or not? It’s just a word. I suppose I have the advantage of remembering how it was when all the original punk bands, including The Advert, started out and there was no word for it. At the end of 1976 the term “punk rock” was only being used for a few American bands. The U.K. bands didn’t have a banner to march under. For me, punk is just another word for being authentic.

 

Do you play often out nowadays? Is it both alone and with a band?

-I’m playing around 130 gigs a year, so basically on a never-ending tour. 90% of those are solo, and the rest with a band.

 

Which band do you have today which is backing you, please tell me about them?

-I have a band in Barcelona that we call the Bored Teenagers when they play with me. It’s been a project that’s developed over many years. They started out, and still play occasionally, as a pop punk band called Suzy & Los Quattro. They backed me up on a few songs when I first toured with them in Spain, then it developed from there. Now we have a big repertoire and can play a complete Adverts set, as well as a complete set of my later songs. We’ll be doing both sets at next year’s Rebellion festival in the UK.

 

You live on your music? Have you always lived on your music?

-I do now. I don’t have a manager or anyone else helping me out so I don’t have time to do anything other than music anyway. When I’m not actually out on tour I’m booking gigs, organizing the travel - and of course writing and recording. But it’s certainly not always been that way. There was a period of at least ten years between the Explorers in the early 80’s up to my first solo gigs in the early 90’s when no one was interested in what I did. I couldn’t even find any clubs that would let me play. For a long time I was broke and didn’t earn anything from music. Slowly things began to change when I started playing solo. My philosophy became to take any gig I was offered. I learned to realise that every gig is important, no matter how small or how few people turn up - you have to give 100% every night. That’s still the way I think it.

 

You release your stuff on physical records, is it important to you and do you have the feeling if you only release the stuff digital you haven´t released any record?

-Yes, I still feel you have to have something you can hold in your hand before it feels real. I live with songs in my head all my life, but to have a physical object is a statement to give the songs a validity. They’re not just in my imagination any more, they’re real. There are things about the digital world of music I like though. For example, I like that the fact that a song can pop into your head and you can usually find it on the internet straight away and listen to it. It keeps good music alive.

 

Do you have a lot of material which is not released yet which could come out in a big box or something like that?

-Everything I have has been released now. A few years ago I gathered together all the unreleased demos and put them out over two CDs called “Sparkle In The Mud” and  “Lucky Us.” They’re still available. Since then I have released everything I’ve written.

 

I want you to tell me a little bit more about the following songs…

-We stand alone

A world where we are theoretically more in touch with each other than ever before, thanks to social media, and yet we actually feel more isolated.

 

Land of the overdose

How do we know when we’ve had enough when we are encouraged to always want more?

 

File it under not my problem

If people are stupid enough to fall for all the establishment lies…every now and then I think, there’s nothing I can do to make them change their minds…

 

Last lost sheep

…but usually I remember that it’s always worth keeping on trying. There’s always a chance that people will wake up and see what’s going on.

 

Please tell me a little about the record Sleaze which came out in 2012. It was recorded 1975 after what I understand? Is there any chance to get a copy of that?

-It was a record I made when I was at art college for a year in 1975. I’d already had a band at school before that, but I took it a step forward with Sleaze. We played a few local gigs, and hired a studio to record the songs I’d written for the band. We recorded it all in one take, then we pressed about 50 copies of the end result and sold it to friends and family. It’s kind of a glam/prog sound with long unusual songs. I wouldn’t exactly call it “punk” but it still sounds pretty interesting and unusual. A few years ago an American label approached me to give it a full release. That pressing has now sold out but one of the tracks will re-surface next year on a Cherry Red compilation called “All The Young Droogs.” 

 

And what about the CDr with Richard Strange- Raw meat for the Missionaries?

-Around the troubled times of the second Adverts album “Cast Of Thousands” I used to go to visit Richard Strange to get a different perspective on things and get outside of the restrictions of punk. I’d always been a fan of his band “Doctors Of Madness,” before the Adverts started. We worked on some songs together and recorded them on his eight track tape machine, without any view to releasing them. They are a very unique collection of songs and arrangements and I would still love to release them if I ever had time. In the meantime I believe they are available as a CDR from Richard Strange’s website.

 

Do you think it have came any new interesting bands lately?

-As I’m always out on tour I’m not really the person to ask that question. I don’t have time to go looking for new bands, although I do occasionally get to see people I admire on the same bill as me - mainly singer/songwriters like Pascal Briggs, Billy Liar, Louise Distras, Joe Solo…

 

Five records you can´t be without?

-Same answer, really. I don’t get time to listen to records. When I get some time, I work on my own records.

 

Which is the song everyone wants to hear on your concert?

-I would say, of the old songs, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” of course. There’s something about the status of a hit that just sticks in people’s minds. But these days there are a lot of new songs that I have to play every gig: for example most audiences would be very unhappy if I didn’t play “Lion And The Lamb,” “Expensive Being Poor,” “Generation Y”… 

 

When you play solo, are you playing songs from all your bands then?

-Yes, it’s always a mix, and I never have a pre-planned setlist so it’s whatever feels right on the night.

 

Which song do you think it´s the most fun to play live?

-Fun?! I’m not sure fun is what I’m about!

 

I have never seen you play, is there any chance to see you in Sweden soon?

-I would love to. I did my first dates in Sweden for a long time earlier this year and now I’m waiting to be invited back. I hope I don’t have to wait too long…

 

What about England now. How is it with Brexit and that stuff. In Sweden we had an election where the Swedish Democrates(The brown Party in my eyes) got 18,5 % of the votes….not so good?

-I hope people will come to their senses and see that this is an era where we need to be coming together to sort out the world’s problems, not splitting apart and trying to preserve as much as we can for ourselves. All this Nationalism makes no sense - you can’t live apart from the rest of the world. You can’t stick your head in the sand and hope all the problems will go away. We need global solutions to the global problems.

 

Is it as much fun to play today as it was when you were younger? What´s the biggest difference with venues, promoters etc?

-I enjoy what I do more than ever before. I have direct involvement in every aspect of it, from writing the song to coiling up the guitar cable at the end of the night. It’s bloody hard work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, the world I move in mainly consists of small clubs run by people who love music and are happy to have me come and play for them. It’s very honest and real, and proof that there is a genuine music scene away from the fake commercial music business.

 

Future plans for your music life?

-My immediate plans are to keep touring and play the new songs live to as many people as I can reach. Beyond that, I have no idea. Nothing I planned ever worked out the way I expected so I think it’s better just to take every day as it comes.

 

For yourself as a person?

-Same answer, really.

 

Any wisdomword to give us?

-Same answer!