FAN CLUB - TV SMITH & THE ADVERTS
|TV Smith Adverts painting on Tim's office wall by Carol Penny of The TUTS. Later became a popular t-shirt.
Tim, we got in touch with you thanks to Hugh and the FAN CLUB dedicated to the Doctors Of Madness. Can you tell us before talking about the ADVERTS and TV SMITH what this band means to you ?
Doctors of Madness are my favourite UK band of all time.
MORE ON DoM…
Richard Strange and TV Smith are my favourite two singer-songwriters. Prior to finding Hugh Gulland’s Doctors of Madness website, I was considering creating a joint Richard Strange and TV Smith website. As things turned out I instead led the creation of the two informal fan clubs via a top twenty fans favourite songs charts. The fan clubs were called The Afterglow for the Doctors of Madness (Richard preferred this name over the other option of The Sons of Survival) and the TUTS (TVSmith United Tour Supporters). The TUTS name came from a tut I made about TV playing more gigs in Germany than in the UK. What started out as a quip swiftly grew into a fan club.
How did you discover the ADVERTS? It's much more common to be a fan of the great classics of Punk music (Pistols, Clash etc...), why this attraction for the band of TV SMITH and GAYE ADVERT?
In 1977/8 The Adverts were in the top ten punk bands in Britain appearing twice on Top of The Pops and once on The Old Grey Whistle Test. In 1977 I loved both The Adverts and The Clash. The attraction was the catchy tunes and intelligent and meaningful poetic lyrics. I loved the distinct drum beat and the rhythmic voice of TV Smith.
|Rare autographs from the Adverts in 1978
Is there a big community of fans of this band? If yes, do you meet sometimes?
There was a TV Smith (Explorers) fan club mentioned in Dave Thompson’s TV Times fanzine. Dave was probably the first TV Smith super fan, along with the likes of Dave ‘C5’ Allen. In 2001/2 a group of TV Smith fans (including C5) created the TUTS TVSmith United Tour Supporters fan club. I was the founder member working very closely with fellow founder Klaus. Klaus was another super fan. He created the first TV Smith website. Every year for a decade we would meet for a global Earthbound gig in England and in Germany mainly arranged by myself and Klaus. Fleagle, Simse and Uli also arranged one each of these TUTS Earthbound conventions.
The Adverts haven't released many records, how can you satiate your love for them?
Whilst I wish Crossing The Red Sea had been released in 1977 it was still an awesome album. John Leckie captured the heart of the band. The songs are in a different league to most punk bands. Intelligent raw creatively infectious tunes switch those mind-blowing lyrics. They still sound so powerful, meaningful, and catchy today.
Cast of Thousands was way ahead of its time and not a punk album. Cast of Thousands is my all time favourite song by The Adverts.
Do you have bootlegs from them?
Yes, several, including many live recordings of special TV Smith gigs like Earthbound.
Is there anything you would like to own about this band or have you already realised all your dreams about them?
No. I realise my dream every time I sing on stage with TV Smith (same goes for Richard Strange, Stoner and Urban Blitz from The Doctors of Madness).
|Tim singing the line “I stand between the two and its great” between TV and Stoner at the Leeds Exploring Madness gig in 2006. A dream come true.
Did you see them back in the day?
Yes. Twice at Leeds Polytechnic in 1977. THE true year of punk.
|I’ve been to see The Adverts twice and TV Smith way, way over 100 times. These are some of those times
Do you have a funny story about this passion?
Here is a passage from Getting There (the first of the amazing TV Smith on the road “Punk Rock Tour Diaries”). It is about the second time I conversed with TV Smith at The Tanner Hop in Northallerton...
“This is the fifth time I’ve played this venue and it’s a great success again. I play two sets and it goes down a storm. Someone comes up afterwards and reminisces about seeing me with The Adverts years ago. ‘I once touched Gaye Advert’s knee, you know,’ he says shyly.
‘Really? Where was that?’ I ask.
‘Ohhh,,,’ he gestures at the back of his thigh. ‘Round about here.’ “
In truth it was a joke I was making as I knew TV was really asking which venue was the gigs at. At least I got my first mention in TV’s Tour Diaries. 😊
I have a photo taken just after the Gaye Advert’s knee joke.
What is the most important piece of your collection and how did you manage to get it?
The most personal thing in my TV Smith collection is Sparkling in the Mud. It mentions in the sleeve notes that the enthusiasm for the demos from myself and Klaus (who coordinated the one off return of TV Times with myself and Fleagle) inspired TV to finally release his 80’s demos.
Can you tell us more about your collection?
I buy everything that’s released by TV Smith.
We can find some videos of you with TV SMITH. Can you tell us about your relationship with him? Do you know each other well and how did you come to meet him?
When I arranged a gig for TV he would thank me by inviting me on stage to sing a song of my choosing with him. The songs were agreed before the gig. I often went for the rare, then unreleased, 80’s demos. Although it all started with The Servant by TV Smith’s Explorers. The 80’s demos included People Don’t Know, Make My Escape and Carrying On (at my 50th Birthday party). I recall my best mate Smit singing a Earthbound backing vocals duet at Elland Brewery. The brewery he purchased after brewing an Exploring Madness beer with myself and the creator of a Supreme Champion Beer of Britain called David Sanders.
|Pump clips from six of the special TV Smith beers brewed by Dave Sanders at E & S Elland Brewery over the years
I first sang into TV’s microphone at Leeds Polytechnic in 1977 when he held the mic out to the stage during the chorus of Gary Gilmore’s Eyes.
I finally met TV in the late 1990’s in The Duchess in Leeds. I remember talking to him at the bar like a long lost friend. I walked back across the room to my drinking buddy. He said “who was that, some old work mate?” “TV Smith, I replied, as if I met him every week. I later bought several CD’s from TV like The Explorers, Channel 5 and Generation Y. TV shouted out “bloody hell, he’s bought the shop!
We got to know each other well from 1998. TV would often stay over at our house, when playing gigs in Yorkshire, and we’d have a few beers and some fascinating late night conversations together.
|Put ‘em up!!! TV and I messing about at an Earthbound TUTS fan club gathering in Essen in Germany
Do you also have contacts with the other members of the band?
I was a loving fan of Gaye Advert (and later Debbie Harry and Kate Bush) as a late teenager. Years later Gaye Advert once fell asleep on my shoulder in the back of a taxi. Who would have thought it? I’ve a lot of time for Gaye. She was a true inspiration to the many females that followed. The nearest I ever got to a Howard Pickup was the friendly pat on the back I gave him as he left the stage at Leeds Poly. I always felt that Howard was a bit of a giant Richard Strange type. Who would have thought that Richard would be offered the role to take Howard’s place a couple of years later. Richard turned it down full time, but did play synth on my favourite Adverts song, A Cast of Thousands. Richard also turned down the role of lead singer in The Damned around that time.
Whilst I got to know Stoner from TV Smith’s Explorers and TV Smith’s musical touchstone, Tim Cross, quite well (like TV many times, both have stayed over at our house), I never truly met Laurie Driver or Howard Pickup for a conversation.
|I’ve got loads of signed albums. This Explorers album was the first I think. I asked Stoner to sign it later when they both stayed over at our house as part of the Exploring Madness tour.
Can you tell us what happened to them after the band split up?
Gaye hung up her bass guitar for good and later gave it away. Gaye stayed together with TV for many years through thick and thin before leaving Gaye to return to his previous love in Devon.
Tim Cross also stuck with TV through the lean years. TV regarded Tim as his Touchstone. Howard passed away. TV bumped back into Laurie a few years ago.
You also followed TV SMITH's career after the ADVERTS, do you collect what he did?
The honest truth is that I am far bigger TV Smith solo fan than I was an Adverts fan. Although I did create a weekly favourite 75 bands chart in 1977 where I can clearly recall that The Adverts made my No 1 favourite band slot. Whilst Sparks are my favourite band in the world, and The Doctors of Madness are my favourite UK band, it is TV Smith who is my all time favourite singer-songwriter. Just don’t tell Richard Strange that he’s only my second favourite.
What is for you the best TV SMITH song (solo and with a band) and why?
My favourite song by The Adverts is Cast of Thousands and my favourite song by The Great Explorers is The Servant. My all time favourite TV Smith song is the ultra optimistic 80’s demo called Carrying On. A song I sang live with TV twice at my 50th Birthday Party at The Cross Keys in Leeds.
|Singing Carrying On at my 50th Birthday Lean Towards Starlight party.
What do you think would have been different in your life if you hadn't known the Adverts?
I was really inspired by bands like The Adverts and The Clash. To quote Carrying On I realised that “we can do anything and that’s the wonderful thing.” It’s interesting that my 21 year career as an executive coach and true potential guide started at the same time as Klaus and I co-created the TUTS (TV United Tour Supporters). TV was a huge inspiration behind my perseverance to keep going in my career, especially during the challenges of the credit crunch recession.
What is the most important thing that The Adverts brought to you in your opinion?
When I listened to The Adverts on the John Peel Radio show and then saw them live I felt truly ALIVE! Infectious tunes, raw energy and deep poetic meaningful lyrics. They inspire me to new heights.
I am a TV Smith fan for life. Like a cute little puppy, he’s not just for Xmas Bloody Xmas. I still sometimes listen to The Adverts. Out of all the original top ten punk bands their music still sounds the freshest and most timeless to me. TV’s latest album is TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers Replay The Adverts. This interview has inspired me to play it right now.
What do you think of TV SMITH's career after the band split up? Would you like him to form a band again, or are you perfectly satisfied with his solo shows?
I am perfectly satisfied with TV being a solo artist. In my opinion his later work has transcended his earlier work. For starters check out the final two albums with his touchstone Tim Cross; In The Arms of My Enemy and Coming Into Land. Although I still hold a soft spot for Last Words of The Great Explorer. I especially love March of The Giants and the 80’s Demos that Klaus and I inspired TV to release as Sparkle in The Mud and Lucky Us (his farewell tribute to the beloved Tim Cross). If anyone wants to find out why TV Smith had been a real life inspiration to excel in my own career as a true potential guide then check out the We Who Wait documentary. Featuring a brief glimpse of me and lots of awesome interviews with the likes of Richard Strange, Tim Cross, Dave Thompson and Attila The Stockbroker.
|I briefly appear introducing TV to the stage to sing it’s Expensive Being Poor at the start of TV’s set and the close of the documentary.
Tell us your favourite anecdote related to this passion, what is your best memory?
My favourite memories are singing on stage with TV Smith and Colin Stoner (as well as Stoner and Strange) at the Exploring Madness shows in Doncaster and Leeds. They are equal favourite memories with all of the TUTS Earthbound fan club conventions, especially all the ones at Elland Brewery in Yorkshire. They were simply magical. So many rare songs played too. Two hundred of them over the years if you include TV’s live shows on Zoom and Facebook during the pandemic lockdown.
In France, the ADVERTS are sometimes considered as a little known punk treasure. What about in England?
In 1977 The Adverts were in the Top Twenty charts and on Top of The Pops. They were also the first punk band to play The Old Grey Whistle Test. In my humble opinion they were a top ten UK punk band based on a lot of varied criteria.
Do you think the younger generation can be reached by the Adverts' music, or is it a band that could disappear from the history of music?
Without a doubt they can be reached at any age. When I listen to any of the great punk albums now, it’s the two by The Adverts that stand the test of time. After New Rose I bought the first 100 punk singles to be released. The Adverts were right up there.
Do you think that one day the band could reform? What would you be willing to do to make it happen (I'll sign right away if you make a petition)?
The original Adverts band will never reform. Laurie Driver was let go whilst in Hospital as it wasn’t working out at that time. Howard Pickup passed away. TV Smith left Gaye Advert to return to Devon and the girlfriend he had before he met Gaye. TV Smith has formed a new band that plays The Adverts songs. They are a Spanish band he calls The Bored Teenagers. TV has such honest integrity that he will not call them The Adverts. Partly out of respect to Gaye, Laurie and Howard and partly out of the integrity on not cashing in on the name of a band that only includes one original band member.
The craziest thing I ever did with TV was to arrange two reunion shows in Doncaster and Leeds in 2007. The shows featured TV and Stoner playing The Great Explorers songs, Richard Strange and Stoner playing songs by The Doctors of Madness and TV Smith, Richard Strange and Stoner playing songs from the 1978 demos which I named Raw Meat For The Missionaries. As well as arranging this 28 years later reunion show, I sang The Servant with TV and Stoner and Suicide City with Richard and Stoner. I also brewed a special beer for the shows with Dave Sanders of Elland Brewery and my best man, Mark Smith. (Mark later bought Elland Brewery to make this story even more crazy). TV once told me to give up on this dream as Richard had written in his book that he’d never do a reunion tour. I just couldn’t let it go. My good friend Rocket Ron Ellis helped arrange the Doncaster Leopard show. It really was a dream come true. I was even interviewed for the We Who Wait documentary by Jamie Palmer who had the whole Leeds Exploring Madness gig recorded for occasional use in the documentary. The final minutes in the We Who Wait documentary shows me introducing TV to the stage to sing It’s Expensive Being Poor.