|Stuart Smith - Los
By Hotbands Editor-Pat Ferris
I'm not really sure how Stuart's agent came to contacting us, but he was somehow directed to our recording guy, Richard Cagle, who ended up with a copy of his CD. Richard was so impressed with the CD and guest artists, that he suggested I featured him on our 1st issue of new millennium.
After contacting Stuart's Agent (that was a clue there!) I figured he was probably a pretty happening musician, and after checking his website I not only knew I wanted to feature him, but thought it incredibly coincidental that I had a second featured band that had close relationships with Deep Purple.
When I received his promo pack, I was impressed with the Dean Markley brochure with a photo of Stuart on the front (the pic of him in the red shirt in the first picture on this page), and set up the interview as quickly as I could considering the lack of time during the holiday season, and here is how the interview went:
<StuartSmith> Kelly sings on four songs on the Heaven and Earth CD. The
1st, 5th, 9th and 11th.
<Hotbands> It seems the other way around for most musicians!!! Most musicians go
for the music FIRST and fall back on the "normal" world if the music doesn't
work out for them!
<Hotbands> I just listened to track 5....Kelly is awesome
<Hotbands> So after you started your band....how and when did you fall in with
the Deep Purple gang?
<Hotbands> When did he figure out you were following the band around?
<Hotbands> I mentioned to you when we spoke earlier today that a couple months ago I featured a gal from Orlando named Jill Towers and her Executive Producer was Ian Gillan. When I mentioned to her that I was going to feature you for our website and that you were friends with Ritchie, she said Ian and Ritchie aren't too chummy these days.
<StuartSmith> No, unfortunately they haven't got along in quite a while. it's a shame because I think they made incredible music together.
<Hotbands> Much like CREAM....the band
together was totally mind-blowing if you could put up with the fist-fights between Jack
Bruce and Ginger Baker during the shows!
<StuartSmith> That's too funny!
<StuartSmith> Yes, it was just bad luck that the hotel gave us that room.
<StuartSmith> It's kind of a long story but when I signed with Samsung they were going to be distributed by WEA but then the Asian economy collapsed and they lost that deal so I found Frontiers Records to license it for Europe and Pony canyon for Japan. I'm still looking for a company to pick it up for the States. Samsung put up the money for the album.
<Hotbands> It seems that a lot of musicians are so fed-up with the record
industry that they are turning to selling their products exclusively over the internet.
What are your thoughts on this and do you see the Internet as the holy-grail for musicians
looking for a break?
<Hotbands> I know....I think it's cool that there are lots of bands exposed to the world because of the internet because it levels the playing field, but I've also seen problems with the internet. One of the main things I have seen that I don't like is that ANYBODY can get out there and make "music"...and I use that term REAL loosely. There are a lot of nerds that sit behind a screen and make total garbage as far as I'm concerned, upload it to MP3.com and now they have a new record...taking up space on MP3.com's website, using their bandwidth and creating more competition for REAL musicians that have spent years perfecting their craft. I think there is an equilibrium for musicians and that the demand for the music will be based upon how well it goes over with the public, but with so much crap to sift through, it makes it in a lot of ways, easier for bands to be heard, but harder for them to be NOTICED or found.
<StuartSmith> Yes, you're right, but the good thing is that people can hear it before they buy it so the dross like Limp Bizcit wouldn't stand a chance. I think Cream always rises to the top and one of the other good things about the Internet is that a lot of people like yourself are creating their own magazines which will help guide people to decent music. I'm sure the same is true of trashy music. There'll be sites dedicated to that and people with no musical taste whatsoever can go and listen to it there :-)
<Hotbands> yeah....no kidding! So your current lineup in your band is Kelly, Bjorn, Richie Onori and Ray Rodriguiez?
<StuartSmith> Yes, more than likely. There may be a couple of special
guests. I guess we'll probably start working on it in January and it will follow
along the lines of the last one. Some Rock some blues some classical and who knows.
<Hotbands> On the promo pack I had sent to me, it said "To play the blues, you have to first be out in the cold" or something along those lines. Do you consider yourself a "Blues" artist, or more of a rocker?
<StuartSmith> "Before you can play the blues, you've got to have been out in the cold". That slogan was for an ad being put together by Dean Markley, my string company. The stings I use are Blue Steel which have been cryogenically frozen so there's kind of a triple entendre in that saying. First of all, I'm standing in the snow on the CD cover and the strings have been treated with cold. Also, I haven't brought anything out in years so I've sort of been out in the cold. I play the blues as well as rock and I play BLUE Steel strings. That idea was put together by myself and Rich Friedrich who was the head of A & R at Dean Markley but sadly died a couple of years ago.
<Hotbands> Your music doesn't sound like "blues" but more like straight ahead rock along the lines of Rainbow.
<StuartSmith> I guess I'd consider myself a Blues Rock player. I always
considered Deep Purple and Rainbow to be blues rock bands.
<Hotbands> The bigger picture for this is that we may incorporate a web-cast so it can be heard around the world as well. This actually isn't a "may" but a "will", but is dependent upon some bigger things that Hotbands is putting together with some larger Internet companies right now.
<StuartSmith> That would be great. I know a lot of stations are broadcasting from their web pages via Real Audio.
<Hotbands> We also have the opportunity if it goes well to have the show syndicated....since I may be traveling around the country considerably in the upcoming months, that would make it really a happening event for people to listen to since it will incorporate many genres from many regions of the country.
<Hotbands> Stuart, one of the last things that I want to ask you on this
interview is something that I have asked most of the bands that I've featured, and that
is: What would you say to the new, emerging artists that are tuned in to our site, to give
them encouragement and any hints to the successes you've had over the years? How
would you recommend that one learns without going to the school of hard-knocks?
<Hotbands> So an ounce of prevention is worth the time invested.
<Hotbands> Is there anything else you want to say to the readers before we log
off our interview?
<Hotbands> Yikes....I better not print that!!...maybe I will anyhow to show you
have a sense of humor.
<Hotbands> Are you spending New Years eve with Ritchie again?
<StuartSmith> Actually, My wife is Heather Locklear's Sister and I'm planning an evening with the family.
<Hotbands> Well, make sure to tell Heather Locklear I said hello !! (As if... !!!)
<StuartSmith> I'll do that.
<Hotbands> By the way, I'm a HUGE Monty Python fan!
<StuartSmith> Same here. Ritchie Blackmore and I used to have some of our favorite sketches off by heart.
<Hotbands> Me too...I'm sure that it's people like us that drives guys like John
<Hotbands> Only the true Messiah would deny being the Messiah....
<StuartSmith> All right.... I am the Messiah, now F%#!! Off !!
<Hotbands> TOO FUNNY!!! Thanks Stuart! It's been a lot of fun chatting with you and I look forward to working with you in the future!