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….
Paul ” Francis ” Madden .Dick Smith Band ….Lead …slide and rhythm guitars
Paul or ” Frank ” as he was known ….was the driving force behind DSB and to some extent sacrificed some of his own glory for the sake of the band …on the records he was sensational …but live he took it to a whole new level and it felt like a real privilege being on stage with him…I honestly always sort of knew that he had the talent to go anywhere and play with any of the great bands in the world and if an opportunity would have come up .. I would have told him to go for it….listen on the single ” Giving the Game Away ” to his slide playing ..it’s phenomenal …..I’ve listened to Motorway Madness quite a few times recently and to the intricacies of his rhythm guitar and he’s playing a completely different fucking tune ..I couldn’t get my head round it at first ..it sounds pretty complex….and he played that note for note live …but that’s the sign of true talent to make the difficult things look easy….
On stage Paul had the swagger and looks that all rock gods need…and perhaps out of all of us ..he should have made it ….he really should ….
Steve Swift ….Dick Smith Band ….Drummer
Swifty as we use to call him arrived just in time for DSB ……we were taking our music pretty seriously and needed someone who could take us to the next level…we had a succession of would be DSB drummers round to 198 Seaview rd, to audition ..one promising candidate calling himself ” the human clock ” was discounted after being two hours late for his audition…but we’d heard about Swifty and went to see him at a gig he was doing ..I know nothing about drums or drumming but the rest of the band did and he was offered the job on the spot…..rehearsals took on a much more intense feel about them… Swifty wasn’t here to mess about ….the band’s rhythm section went from good to ” shit hot tight good “…I asked Paul the other day what Swifty had brought to DSB and Paul said ” he brought it all together ” ..simple as that ……one of my favourite DSB tracks live was the set ending ” funky jam ” were I would introduce each band member and they would do a solo…I can hear Swiftys in my head now…always and absolutely right on the money….power and precision ….I would even applaud it myself…sometimes you get lucky in life …we were with Swifty and he became an absolute major part of the DSB’s sound and its success…
Paul “Conway” Stuart Dick Smith Band drummer No 2 .. Steve Swift left the band in 1981 and Conway joined … during the audition Conway set up his double bass drums .. numerous toms and symbols .. as if he was about to perform a magic trick … we all watched in amazement .. we’d never worked with a double bass drum heavy drummer before … Conway fitted in straight away … adding a real thunder to tracks like the Wanderer and Shine … he modelled himself on Harpo Marx .. looked like Harpo .. all of a sudden he would throw his leg over your arm … and grin at you … his drumming was superb … putting real flavour to tracks like Changing Places , Cigar Shaped thing and The Tribe … Conway stayed with the band until the end ….
Guitarist Paul’s brother Peter Michael Madden was DSB manager for most of the bands life and it’s funny really but when you are 21 years old and at the peak of your powers you don’t really think about bills and diesel for the van and mortgages and stuff like that …fortunately for DSB Pete did ….he bankrolled it…..I can’t particularly go into any great detail but suffice to say by buying and selling stuff Peter Michael Madden made sure we had somewhere to rehearse and store the gear…and somewhere for the band to live…namely 198 Seaview Rd in Wallasey England…..now this house was no ordinary house and to say there was ” traffic ” going through the house is a bit of an understatement …there were rogues..dealers..hippies..potheads…gangsters…chancers …….hangers on…friends…enemies…..you name ‘ em and they would have passed through 198 Seaview rd….everyone must have known what went on there and people like the police and the dole and all sorts of other organs of power didn’t like the fact that a sort of alternative society had sprung up right in front of their twitching noses….Pete seemed to take everything in his stride and with his dog Ben on one side and roadie and skins man Big Dave on the other Pete would control everything …and issue out the occasional laid back instruction….looking back I don’t know how he did it all …
Favourite memory of mine of Pete is this….We’d just come off stage after several encores and the place was rocking ..Pete was standing in the corner of the bar not quite believing the power and ferocity of the performance he’d just seen and walking towards him I could see the pride and excitement in those eyes of his…and Pete not one for shows of phoney emotion caught the moment perfectly when he just smiled and drawled ” get ya a brandy Dave ”
Pete passed away quite a few years ago now and in writing this short tribute to him all sorts of images of him have come into my head but the main one is of him laughing and smiling .. isn’t that great…So here’s to ya Pete…
Big Dave ….Dick Smith Band …Roadie..
Everybody loves Big Dave…..certain sections of his fan base used to call him ” Big Davey ” ……and he was almost a cult figure…I’m not saying that glibly…he really was…..not the worlds greatest sound engineer or the worlds most enthusiastic equipment carrier but give him some pot and boy could he smoke ….on DSB travels we would obviously meet some pretty seasoned smokers who would occasionally try and ” out smoke Big Dave ” …it was funny hearing their ” catch you laters ” as they stumbled incoherent to God know where and see Dave rolling another …understandably he wouldn’t speak sometimes for quite a while but would still find life in general hugely amusing….
I would sometimes get myself into self inflicted scrapes by being a bit too much and it would often be Big Dave who would defuse the situation with a gentle smile and a pat on the head of the would be protagonist…BD was after all 6′ 7″ tall and when riled looked even taller ….he wouldn’t take shit off anybody especially me and I have been scolded by him in a ” fucking grow up can’t you ” way a few times….
Obviously I’m not sure about this but I think if you asked members of DSB for an image that summed up Big Dave’s time with the band it would be this…
Pete Madden and Big Dave sitting upstairs in Petes front room at 198 Seaview rd….it would be say 10 am in the morning and the first of many callers might have been and gone….Pete would have made cups of tea for him and Dave and maybe a couple of pieces of toast and then as he did most days would have passed Dave a big lump of high quality hash..Pete may then have talked about jobs and stuff he had to do for that day and Big Dave would have sniggered …and probably said ” sound Pete…sound ” and then probably sniggered again….Big Dave was and still is a big part of DSB family …Dave ..we salute you…