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
Released on Sleaszy Rider Records The 12″ Vinyl .. 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”
Have a listen on Spotify , SoundCloud … Digital Download at iTunes / Bandcamp
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….
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…
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 “
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