Leader of the Starry Skies – Cardiacs tribute now available

I just realised I hadn’t done a follow-up post about this. I also realised that I don’t have any photos of Tim anywhere: I once lost my entire photo collection in a house move. At least with most of the subjects in the other pics I have the possibility of taking new photos to replace them.

I’m not going to “review” The Leader of the Starry Skies: A Tribute To Tim Smith, because it’s too painful to sit there grading a musical hug to someone who deserves it. Suffice to say the album is great, since it’s predominantly by people in/ex Cardiacs, and associated acts (Levitation’s Bob White and Bic Hayes, Medieval Baebes’ Katherine Blake, etc). With well-known folks from XTC, Ultrasound and All About Eve contributing, it might even find an audience beyond Cardiacs’ devoted fanbase, and they’ll find plenty to enjoy.

I was very pleased to see it topping the “best sellers” chart over at thegenepool.co.uk

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Cardiacs tribute fundraiser album – out December

This is actually an incredibly difficult post to write. Most people reading this blog will know that I’m a long-time Cardiacs fan, and will probably have an inkling that they’re one of the most innovative bands of the past 35 years. Acts as diverse as Faith No More, Radiohead, Battles, Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, the Pixies, the Melvins and System of a Down have cited them as an influence. The band has also been a huge influence on me personally – and are just such lovely human beings that I feel truly lucky to have spent as much time with them as I did in the 90s.

The awful thing is that Tim Smith suffered a severe stroke and heart attack in 2008 and is still being treated in hospital. To raise money for his continuing medical care, a tribute album, Leader of the Starry Skies, has been recorded and will be released on Believers Roast on 6 December. The contributors are “friends and family” of the band, and include XTC’s Andy Partridge, Julianne Regan from All About Eve, Ultrasound, Knifeworld and Oceansize. Each has donated their time and energy freely as “a testament to the love we all have for Tim.”

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Pop Psychology: Part 2 (Cardiacs)

<< Part One: The Publicists (Revolution PR)


Tim Smith has been a Cardiac for 20 years. That’s 20 years of incalculably influential experimental jazz-tinged punk pop. Almost every band in Britain can be linked back to Cardiacs through around three degrees of separation. The band – Tim, Jim, Bob and John – all have various side-projects, including other bands, production credits and advertising jingles. The Cardiacs fan base is a legion of dedicated nutcases who will follow the band around the country. Their reward is the fact that Tim manages to make time to maintain good friendships with every single one of them – and we are talking a very large number of people here …



Tim: I personally have never had any expectations about anything ever … so … um. I saw that comet that’s been hanging about for the first time yesterday – Hale Bopp or whatever – I was thrilled, it actually looked like a real comet. Cardiac-wise, I personally have passed any ambition or expectations inasmuch as we still record and play any old stuff which we think is OK. We like to think that no rules surround music so … if we think a noise sounds good to us, then so be it. Music is a really great big thing, which should not be boxed in by people, whatever the f***ness, who think it is just a trinket to decorate a style or way of life, etc.

Music is wonderful and should be rejoiced as being such. But going back to your question about expections … the answer is … it has and it hasn’t. It has, inasmuch as we still do it (and some other bands do something similar inasmuch as the being-out-thereness is concerned). And it hasn’t, as far as, the people that dig this kind of s*** are still few and far between purely for the reason that it is an ignored art form, blah blah.

Did you choose the style you play or did it just happen?

Tim: It just happened and still does for some reason.

How has being in a band affected you in terms of how you treat people and are treated?

Tim: Doing what we do – I do – I forget to keep answering personally – OK – what I think – my mind is stupidly open to anything now. I will look at a door knob and see the art/design/thought and heartache that has gone into that work. Continue reading