It is with the greatest sadness that we have to tell you that Steve Barrett, Dick Smith Band Bass Guitarist and best friend passed away on Thursday the 8th of October 2020. He died from Covid-19, complicated by other health issues. Personally I shared many of the best moments of my life with this man, he was funny, charming and a brilliant Bass player. Two favourites of mine are Motorway Madness by Dick Smith and Free Them by The Other Side. We would like to send our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones at this very difficult time.
The Dick Smith band… Considering the popularity of this band not an awful lot has been written about them…well I intend to right that particular wrong and not from an outside view ..I was in the band …yeh it’s me Dave Barrett…the “wild and crazy ” lead singer….I will enlist the help and memories of some of the other members of the band and anyone else who has got something to say…. So where to start…Now my memory of my time spent in the DSB is to say the least slightly hazy ….what I think I know from what people have told me ..is that the DSB live were probably one of the hardest rocking outfits around at that time…one of the things I used to scream was ” We Mean it ” and we did ….this was no pub band doing covers…our aim every gig was to knock people flat every single gig…I remember backstage before we went on we would honestly say things like ” let’s blow this place to fucking bits….” Especially if there had been a band on before us ” you thought that was good…well take a toke on this ” we fucking meant it alright…and that I suppose is why all these years later people still cannot believe that it finished when it did where it did… I’ll tell you the inside story…everything …if you wanna know.. Till next time, Dave
Was talking to a millenial the other day .. he’s 17 years old and and already he doesn’t believe anything he hears through mainstream media and has a really cynical view about governments ..global companies and the media working in tandem to suppress any independent thought from the population and this brought to mind a series of events with DSB that led me to the conclusion that the “powers that be ” saw our freewheeling “don’t give a fuck ” style as a threat to their own cosy idea of the Status Quo…now when it was all happening ..I sort of thought ” fucking bastards …haven’t they got anything better to do than follow us around ” …DSB was a band from a little seaside town in the North of England but in the space of a few months we were ..busted ….fortunately they didn’t catch us with much but dragged Alan ” full pot ” Pearce around the house in his underpants when he insisted his name really was “Micky Mouse “….we were followed upto Sunderland by dole officers who when they came round to charge us thought it was funny that our van ” the ambulance ” had broken down and the gig was a bum steer as are there really students at university in August …we were fined and kicked off the dole…but the one where I really had some power and could have done something was our infamous gig at the riverside in New Brighton were literally fifteen police vans had mysteriously turned up outside and this police chief came up to me and said something like ” the games up sonny….turn this shit off ” ….for a second I thought ” no lets go fucking crazy apeshit and have a fucking battle ” but then looked round at the half stoned audience and thought ” fucking hell we’d get slaughtered ” so told everyone to leave in an ” orderly fashion ” as instructed …if I had my time again ..I would most definitely have said ” let’s go crazy fucking apeshit “…you can’t fucking do anything in this country…talking to some hippy traveller the other day..working ..living in his van…gets people telling him ” he’s a fucking disgrace..and why doesn’t he pay his council tax ” ….I think we all need to take a look at ourselves and realise ” we are not as free as we may think ” …fucking hell…
Paul ” Pab ” Boothroyd ….Dick Smith Band ….sound engineer
” dae summkin abooot the soound …its shite man ” not the most obvious sentence to completely and utterly change one man’s life but change it it did….trainee auto engineer Pab then probably eighteen years old had come up to Scotland on a DSB mini tour mainly to make sure the van would get us there and back..and if he didn’t mind ” flicking a few stage lights on and off ” …simple …but life never is…and our poor reluctant soundman Big Dave really wasn’t into doing the sound ” too much fucking hassle ” but had gamely struggled on….and then that Glaswegian shout ..a disgruntled Big Dave’s ” fuck this ” …a quick slide over from lights to sound for Pab ( I genuinely remember the sound tightening up ) compliments all round after the gig and a world class sound engineer was born…he must have always had it in him…it makes you think doesn’t it….the sound of course was central to the DSB experience and had to be heavy and unrelenting and as the band got bigger so did the equipment ..much to Pab’s delight ….big Martin Bass bins…and heavy duty power amps and monitors and good drum mikes ..the whole caboodle …..We would do a gig and leave people thinking ” fucking hell..what was that ” heard a DSB live tape recently and the sound as the Americans might say was awesome..testament to Pabs fledgling skills …..of course DSB split and Pab went back to his day job and thought ” that was good fun ..shame it’s all finished ” but that was no end for Pab ..that was the beginning..and just in case you haven’t heard ask AC/DC or Paul McCartney if they know Pab and they will say ” of course we do..he’s our sound engineer ”
Pab and DSB are back together again working on among other thing DSB’s 40 th anniversary re release of their single ” giving the game away “
12″ Vinyl Released on Sleaszy Rider Records. The 40th Anniversary Release of Givin’ The Game Away / Way of The World with Motorway Madness Live at Sir James New Years Eve 1981 with 1,200 people mixed by “Pab”
listen on Spotify , SoundCloud … Digital Download at iTunes / Bandcamp
We received some very sad news this week , that Dick Smith Band Drummer Paul Conway Stuart passed away suddenly in 2015.
Dear Conway, I hope you can somehow see or feel that your old buddies, The Dick Smith Band and crew, are all thinking about you and saddened to hear that you’ve passed away. you will always be in our hearts when we listen to the awesome drums you played on the tracks we performed together. bless you Conway!
As a tribute here is “Conway” blasting away on The Wanderer Live 1981
David Kenneth Barret .. Lead vocalist and front man .. Dick Smith Band ..
Where do we start with this man .. I first saw Dave as a front man in a band in New Brighton before DSB started.. the band was crap but he looked the part totally… later when I got together with DSB I remembered how good he was…P.D had a song called Body Heat and Dave sang it with a determination and style that blew me away .. no rehearsing no “can we do that bit again” “can we change the key” It just came out of him .. he used his voice like an instrument constantly experimenting .. on stage he developed a crazy on the edge unpredictable mad style .. one gig I felt someone stick their head between my legs and up I went on his shoulders playing guitar.. P.D and Steve looked in horror .. every gig after that we all shuffled around trying to avoid take-off.. the shoulders went and it was just a grab and hope for the best.. Dave would aim blows at you missing by a few centimetres but always in all those times never made contact …
I turned around once and he was running across the stage wearing a car headrest , jumped from the top of the PA speakers , did a great pretend mime looking for his mike in the dry ice… he did a “Pow Pow” and a “We mean It” and a “Dick – Smith – Band” would headbutt the mike a few times try not to laugh and start singing. On top of all of this there is another side to Dave.. after DSB his song writing took off like a rocket … if you join us on this journey you will meet The Other Side.. In that band Dave wrote every song on keyboard.. he doesn’t know how to play keyboards doesn’t know what an “A” or Em is .. he just puts his fingers on the keys finds a sound and brings out the melody .. so when you listen to Free Them or Disappearing World … or any of them … remember that.. because that my friend is talent and is really cool…
Steve Barrett ..Bass player …Dick Smith Band
I don’t think anyone knew how good he was at the time..he certainly didn’t …but his bass playing style ..analysed by a few and copied by many remains the cornerstone and heartbeat of DSB…live he was ferocious and volatile but you knew what you would get with Steve ..one million percent commitment…his eyes would glaze over and for that sixty minutes he was someone else…driving..driving….like everything he did he wanted to “take it to the edge ” I got the feeling sometimes that his Rickenbacker bass had just about coped with the evenings performance and was somehow glad to be back in the safety of its flight case …..at some gigs he would plunge a butane gas canister into his mouth and blow flames for god sake ..this was no Gene Simmonds tribute ..this was done without any health and safety and certainly no emergency plan if it all went horribly wrong…..
After DSB Steve joined Dave and Paul Madden in forming The Other Side….his playing on tracks like Free Them and Disappearing world cementing his place among an all time list of great bass players….
Paul ” Dilly ” Downes …Dick Smith Band …..Lead and rhythm guitars
PD as we called him …lived round the corner from me and was regarded as one of the hippest dudes around …he’d lived in a temple in Switzerland someone had said ….I’d seen him around and thought he was too groovy to talk to me but one day in the post office we got talking about music and we started a band …PD knew Paul Madden and that’s how it all sort of got together ..PD wrote most of the very early DSB stuff and I think that’s what we played at our very first gig outside at Fort Perch Rock NewBrighton…great chords and mystical words…the audience loved it….I heard a very early demo of one of those songs the other day and apart from some very strange singing by me….the track musically at least I thought was brilliant…how we got from that to the super hard rock of DSB I’ve no idea…but as it got heavier so did the brilliant riffs PD would smash out….PD was a guitarist who like Paul” Frank ” Madden ” became ” Super Alive ” on stage….the riffs just kept on coming…..heavier and heavier …they would keep on coming…
PD didn’t wear shoes on stage…was adored by all female DSB fans …and formed a formidable twin guitar partnership with Paul ” Frank ” Madden…..
PD had his own style ….was one of the first true vegetarians I ever met and in many ways he was way ahead of his time both in where he was at and in what he knew and believed in….