Wenn man von Punkrock spricht, sollte man unter keinen Umständen TV Smith vergessen. TV – mit bürgerlichem Namen Tim Smith -hat den Punk buchstäblich mit den Löffeln gefressen und mischt die Szene seit ihrer Geburt auf. Zwischen Legenden wie den Sex Pistols oder The Damned taucht 1976 seine Band The Adverts auf. Drei Jahre später ist die ganze Sache auch schon wieder Geschichte – das Musikmachen hat TV Smith deswegen nicht aufgegeben. Nach diversen Projekten ist Smith seit 1990 vorwiegend alleine mit seiner Akustik-Gitarre unterwegs und gibt Konzerte in ganz Europa. Letztes Jahr nahm TV irgendwo zwischen Helgoland, Spanien und Italien ein paar Minuten Zeit, um mir sieben Fragen zu beantworten…
LT: TV, you’ve been a solo artist since the 90s now. Any chance to say how many concerts you ever played? No need for correct numbers, an approximation will do!
TV Smith: I only started keeping a record of how many gigs I play when the website became active around the end of the ’90s. I know that when I first started playing solo I couldn’t get many gigs – it was just a few every year, maybe twenty or thirty, but for the last ten years or so it’s been more than one hundred every year. So, altogether I must have played well over a thousand solo gigs.
LT: You play shows all over the world without being backed up by a major record label or management – how do you get this going?
TV Smith: It started small. When no one in the business was interested I got invitations from friends and fans to play gigs and slowly I built up a network of people who liked what I was doing and wanted to get involved and help out. I would do all the organisation and coordination with these people myself, first by letter and phone calls – and then when the internet arrived, by email, which made communication so much easier. I’d play for almost no money and often not know where I was going to sleep the night. The main thing was, I’d never turn down the offer of a gig – if it seemed like there was any chance there would be some people there I would say yes. Over the years the audiences have got bigger and I’ve started playing a lot more gigs and I’m out on the road most of the time so it’s harder to do all that myself. Now I have a friend in a booking agency helps me, but I still work with most of my old friends and make sure they’re still involved. In fact, my rule number one is that I only work with people I like.
LT: According to what criteria do you do you choose the towns and the locations you play?
TV Smith: It’s a mix of places who approach me or the agency, and the places that have become my favourites over the years. I don’t make any pre-conditions about it – there’s no club, no town, too small or too big. As long as there are enough people in the area to make the gig work I will try and play it. I think that’s nice for the audiences too because every night is different: one day they’ll see me in some tiny bar, almost acoustic, the next day it could be in some huge punk festival with a few thousand people.
LT: I heard you speak a bit of german. How important is fan contact to you? And how difficult is it for you to learn German?
TV Smith: Fan contact is very important for me, and one of the main reasons I learnt German. When I first started coming to Germany it was embarrassing for me that all my new friends had to break off their conversations and explain what was going on to me in English. I wanted to be part of what was going on. I was also aware that as my songs are very lyric-based, it would be useful if I could say a few words about them onstage before I played them. Over the years that’s developed into a very important part of the shows. It was a struggle to learn it for the first few years and it’s far from perfect now, but I’m happy to say that it’s easy for me to speak German (badly) now.
LT: You’re already 54 years old – what pops into your mind first when hearing that teenagers like me are listening to your music and enjoy it? Do you feel honoured or does it feel weird? Because you witnessed Punk right from it’s birth in the 70’s and I think you’re still having the attitude of ’no heros anymore‘ – so isn’t it a weird feeling to be a hero to them nowadays?
TV Smith: First off, I have no problem being reminded that I am 54 years old! I am completely at ease with my age, and as I say often from the stage – I still feel like a teenager inside. It’s important for me to keep reminding people of that: your body gets older but the essence of who you are stays the same, you just get more experience as you live longer and can use that to make more sense out of life.
So it doesn’t feel unusual or weird to me to have young people who like what I do – in fact , just the opposite, I’m very thrilled about it because it makes me think young people are growing up with open minds and listening to an alternative voice, not just being swallowed up by the mono-culture. And although I’m anti-hero, if you can be a hero just by saying what you think then that’s great. We’re all some kind of ordinary heroes.
LT: Some of your concerts in Germany you play together with Vom – what comes first to your mind if people come to your concerts just to see him and not necessarily because of you?
TV Smith: It doesn’t really bother me. Usually people come because of Vom and leave being a TV fan too, so it’s actually a good thing. I don’t think many people leave the gigs thinking, „Loved Vom, hated TV.“
LT: Finally, why do you put ‚Only one Flavour‘ on first position on your setlist? Don’t you think it would be a better choice to save this impressive song for later in the evening?
TV Smith: Well, nothing’s fixed forever and it’s not always first song in the set but it does make a very good first song, particularly when I’m playing with Vom. The dynamics of the way it builds up, the lyrics („this is how it starts up….“), the way the audience instantly recognises it – that all leads to a great way to grab the audience attention straight away.
Das Interview führte Arabell || Pennsocke
Die Fotos schoss Daniel @ Rock´n Roll Knipserei