My life south of the Watford Gap…


pop art is for everyone

There seem to have been two themes in my music life: 1. All the showbiz stuff and who I’ve known through the years and 2., my particular journey playing music for the love of it and in particular making r&b records, that is, songs with a beat. Which brings in the Beatles. Magical Mystery Tour. That’s it.

Harp strings, blurry image…………….

I discovered r&b music at 5 when I heard “let’s twist again” on the wireless: it was the bass drum. My grandparents taught me about classical music but Let’s Twist Again got me started in pop beats in 1960 when I was five, then I discovered Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles, amongst others, when in St. Albans Herts, 1967, at the time when Donovan was having love-ins in Verulamium. I played piano anyway but I got an electric guitar and an amp and it all began. I was into tape recorders too.

1970 I heard James Brown’s Sex Machine, I liked the record and then by 1973 I was playing in an r&b band on the US bases in Germany, where the (sadly conscripted) musicians there taught me the funk. Then I heard Elliott Randall’s solo on Steely Dan’s record, then I discovered Steely Dan and then Stevie Wonder who had all those LPs out. Plus there was Average White Band and the whole disco thing started to kick-off with Jive Talkin’.

By 1974 I’d signed to Chris Denning ie Johnathan King (there’s a story there!) but I moved on to work with Tony Arnold to learn production engineering, plus I’d recorded with Charisma, Regent Sound Studios, 20th Century Fox and Denmark Street in general before it all changed. I just caught the end of that.

Previously to that I’d met Robert Fripp so I knew of Brain Eno and David Bowie and that scene, in fact I’d seen King Crimson with the Stones at Hyde Park in 1969.

I gigged variously, went to Brasil with the Deodato connection and learnt samba, or rhythms anyway, came back and formed the Hit Men 19 1977 which worked with RCA and there was the single Red Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qagqtPbCgf0. There’s a long story in there.

Then I went to Red Bus in 1982 and toured with Hot Chocolate for 54 dates across the UK, so Errol Brown, Mickey Most, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Jolley and Swain, Imagination and all that.

Then the big money corporations took over in the mid ’80s and all the smaller companies disappeared so that was a tougher environment but we released records independently in the 1980s until I started www.arthouserecords.co.uk in 1998 and released LPs Funky Groovy and Pop Art.

Funk Groovy, 1998, is a best of so far (Electricity, Devil of Love) and Pop Art (If I Loved You; Work!) was the new LP in that year and was well-received, it seems.

After that I got into digital, recorded 2004’s Fly White Guy (whilst getting a psychology degree as it happens), then Art Pop (You’re the Love of my Life 20,000 downloads, my biggest ever and King’s and Queens remake 2nd at 19,000) in 2009 seemed to get things going again ( I recorded it and engineered it myself which was definitely too much!) and through Facebook I met up with all those people I’d worked with etc and that resulted in 2015’s Romantic Fiction, with new single and video Hole in my Heart and follow-up Baby Come back to be released later this year.

I wrote the score for Romantic Fiction using Sibelius with my transcriber Kieran, tranferred it to MIDI and recorded it on Cubase 7.5 with production engineer dave Thomas. I play all the instruments and sing all the vocals. I was advised by Elliott Randall and Deodato and it sounds like it to me. I love it. My influences are legion.

With the digital syatem I’ve been able to do all sorts of things I couldn’t before so I’m very happy with the sound.

Plus video-making has become more accessible so it’s not so much records these days as music-videos and just media. I always change with the times: I was taught that at home. And pop is always evolving.

Robert Luther Smith

Bio.

There are two themes: all the showbiz stuff and who I’ve known through the years

and

my particular journey playing music for the love of it and in particular making r&b records, that is, songs with a beat. Which brings in the Beatles.

However I discovered r&b music at 5 when I heard “let’s twist again”: it was the bass drum. My grandparents taught me about classical music but Let’s Twist Again got me started in pop beats in 1960 when I was five, then I discovered Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles, amongst others, when in St. Albans Herts, 1967, at the time when Donovan was having love-ins in Verulamium. I played piano anyway but I got an electric guitar and an amp and it all began. I was into tape recorders too.

1970 I heard James Brown’s Sex Machine, I liked the record and then by 1973 I was playing in an r&b band on the US bases in Germany, where the (sadly conscripted) musicians there taught me the funk. Then I heard Elliott Randall’s solo on Steely Dan’s record, then I discovered Steely Dan and then Stevie Wonder who had all those LPs out. Plus there was Average White Band and the whole disco thing started to kick-off with Jive Talkin’.

By 1974 I’d signed to Chris Denning ie Johnathan King (there’s a story there!) but I moved on to work with Tony Arnold to learn production engineering, plus I’d recorded with Charisma, Regent Sound Studios, 20th Century Fox and Denmark Street in general before it all changed. I just caught the end of that.

Previously to that I’d met Robert Fripp so I knew of Brain Eno and David Bowie and that scene, in fact I’d seen King Crimson with the Stones at Hyde Park in 1969.

I gigged variously, went to Brasil with the Deodato connection and learnt samba, or rhythms anyway, came back and formed the Hit Men 19 1977 which worked with RCA and there was the single Red Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qagqtPbCgf0. There’s a long story in there.

Then I went to Red Bus in 1982 and toured with Hot Chocolate for 54 dates across the UK, so Errol Brown, Mickey Most, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Jolley and Swain, Imagination and all that.

Then the big money corporations took over in the mid ’80s and all the smaller companies disappeared so that was a tougher environment but we released records independently in the 1980s until I started www.arthouserecords.co.uk in 1998 and released LPs Funky Groovy and Pop Art.

Funk Groovy, 1998, is a best of so far (Electricity, Devil of Love) and Pop Art (If I Loved You; Work!) was the new LP in that year and was well-received, it seems.

After that I got into digital, recorded 2004’s Fly White Guy (whilst getting a psychology degree as it happens), then Art Pop (You’re the Love of my Life 20,000 downloads, my biggest ever and King’s and Queens remake 2nd at 19,000) in 2009 seemed to get things going again ( I recorded it and engineered it myself which was definitely too much!) and through Facebook I met up with all those people I’d worked with etc and that resulted in 2015’s Romantic Fiction, with new single and video Hole in my Heart and follow-up Baby Come back to be released later this year.

I wrote the score for Romantic Fiction using Sibelius with my transcriber Kieran Marshal MA, tranferred it to MIDI and recorded it on Cubase 7.5 with production-engineer Dave Thomas. I play all the instruments and sing all the vocals. I was advised by Elliott Randall, Deodato, Jason Rebello, Ashley Slater, Tom Green and Wes Maebe. And it sounds like it to me. I love it.

With the digital syatem I’ve been able to do all sorts of things I couldn’t before so I’m very happy with the sound.

Plus video-making has become more accessible so it’s not so much records these days as music-videos and just media. I always change with the times: I was taught that at home. And Pop is always evolving.

kiss