TV Smith was founder member, singer and songwriter for the Adverts, who formed in the summer of 1976, and became one of the leading bands in the first wave of British punk rock. In early 1977, they performed regularly at the seminal Roxy Club in London, and gained cult success with the Stiff Records single “One Chord Wonders.” This turned to notoriety when their next release, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” became a hit record, leading to frequent radio and TV appearances and extensive media interest. A further single, “No Time To Be 21,” also entered the charts, and the band spent the rest of the year playing live, including major tours with The Damned and Iggy Pop. The album that followed in 1978, “Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts,” is still considered a genuine classic, and appears in many Top Ten Punk Album lists.
The Adverts released one further album, “Cast Of Thousands,” before their split in 1979. Slammed by the critics at the time, the album was re-released recently on Fire Records to universal acclaim, and described by Mojo magazine as “the long lost punk album that rivals The Clash’s ‘London Calling,’” Many people, including long-time fan Henry Rollins, now rate “Cast Of Thousands” as one of their favourite albums from the punk era.
In the early 1980’s TV formed TV Smith’s Explorers, who achieved a U.K. hit with the single “Tomahawk Cruise” and released one album, “Last Words Of The Great Explorer.” He then spent some years away from the live circuit concentrating on writing and recording, re-entering the live arena in the late 1980’s, playing sporadic gigs with his band Cheap, before performing his first gigs as a solo artist in the early ’90’s. He went on to release a succession of critically-acclaimed albums, including “March Of The Giants” (1992), “Immortal Rich” (1995), “Generation Y” (1999), “Not A Bad Day” (2003), “Misinformation Overload” (2006), “In The Arms Of My Enemy” (2008), “Coming In To Land” (2011) and “I Delete” (2014). He has also been involved in a number of collaborations with other bands, most notably with German superstars Die Toten Hosen, which led to them performing as TV’s backing band on “Useless: The Very Best Of TV Smith.”
Meanwhile, fiercely independent and determinedly embodying the original spirit of punk rock, TV continues to tour the world, bringing his epic solo show to ever-increasing audiences. Remarkably, TV plays his marathon concerts without a setlist and every performance contains a different selection of songs chosen on the night. He plays more than 100 gigs a year, and has recently performed in the USA, UK, Japan, Australia, South America, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic – and even Heligoland. Earlier this year he played a six week European tour with the UK Subs.
Not content with playing live, TV wrote about his on-the-road experiences in books of tour diaries published by Arima: “Getting There”,”How To Feel Human”, “Tales of The Emergency Sandwich”, “To Heligoland and Beyond” and “Book of the Year” . TV’s song “Expensive Being Poor” was chosen by Wim Wenders for inclusion in the film “Land Of Plenty.” A full-length documentary on TV Smith titled “We Who Wait: TV Smith & The Adverts” was broadcast on BBC 4 and he also appeared in the BBC’s “Punk Britannia” series, as well as being interviewed by Jools Holland on “Later.”