An Interview with Tuk Smith!
For this installment of ‘Dawson’s Pick’ I am delighted to bring you Tuk Smith and The Restless Hearts! Many of you already know Tuk as the very charismatic front man from The Biters.
My dear friend Cheryl Wildcat insisted I watch Tuk’s pandemic house concerts this past year. Cheryl and I often turn each other on to née and exciting music, but my BFF is a true Biter’s fan so I knew this would be cool. It was VERY cool.
Tuk is that real deal rock and roll ‘it’ guy- talented, commanding and….well, sexy on stage. And he knows the formula for good rock and roll. Cheryl connected us and I was able to have a great pandemic style conversation with Tuk – in other words, I asked some questions and he was cool enough to answer. There are numerous videos on YouTube of both The Biters and Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – do check them out.
Tell us about your new project, Tuk Smith and The Restless Hearts! When did this project start and being that we are navigating a pandemic, what was your focus on concerning keeping this project going?
My last band was called the biters and we played for nine years…We had a great run but in the end record label and internal conflicts forced us to go on indefinite hiatus. For me to be able to continue pursuing music I had to go solo… I recorded a full length record and then I put the restless hearts together afterwards.I put the band together in March/April 2019 .All of my tours were canceled and my record release was canceled.. so I have just been trying to figure out how to recover once the world opens back up.
Tell us about the band members and how you all ended up playing together for this new band?
Ricky who plays guitar in the restless hearts played bass in the biters for the last year and I really Enjoyed his attitude and he is a great guitar player. I searched high and low for a drummer in a bassist and I met my drummer Nigel through a mutual friend and he just left his band so it lined up perfectly. I could not find a bassist anywhere and out of the blue someone told us about this rock n roller working at a clothing store in NAsheville… On a whim I just hit him up and he coincidentally played bass! He’s an excellent bass player musician and I’m very proud do you have those guys backing me up.
The Biters have been quite successful ( as far as Rock and Roll bands go with so little industry support.) The Cynz have actually been on several playlists on radio along with The Biters. Recently it was on the Underground Garage.
Can you tell us a bit of background as to that band and your journey to the present, musically?
I had a band right before the biters called poison arrows and it was the The first band where I was the front man and primary song writer. That band was riddled with drug addiction and disaster after disaster, Much like my previous band before that one was. I started Biters with the intent to really go for it… I was really driven when I started Biters.
I was trying hard to quit being consumed by the lifestyle and the pitfalls that come with it and I was working some shit job washing dishes and that band gave me a lot of hope and a lot of motivation to get my shit together. The biters really took the DIY approach. booked our own shows booked our own tours, made our own merch blazed a trail as hard as we could. I was really going for it . By the time the band dissolved we were pretty war torn.
What are some of your own musical influences or bands you are really digging these days? My column is about discovering new music so I’m always interested in what musicians I like are listening to!
When I’m not touring i produce bands and I am a fan of all the bands i work with , Wyldlife, Fast Eddy, Ravagers, Bad Mother, to name a few. There’s a few cool bands coming out of U.K. like Bad Nerves and the Speedways I dig . I dig an alt band called Rmblr… I’m always searching for bands with a great songs. I am always a huge fan of the classics and Motown.
Cheryl Wildcat turned me onto you. She’s a huge Biters fan and then sent me your pandemic house concert links over the past year. I’m rarely overly impressed but you did some pretty cool home shows. How important was your fan base support during this very strange year?
It’s really been a wild ride… And to be honest I am not a fan of Livestreams or pandering on social media but I know it is part of the job… The label I was on really pushed me to do the live streams and reluctantly I did… I’m really glad I did it because it was great. I was doing them twice a week from my attic studio for a while and the support was absolutely unbelievable… so grateful for all the support and love. It really kept me going.
I love being in the studio. Where have you been recording and what is the creative process like for you?
Being in the studio is where I spend most of my time… I have a home studio where I can really make high-quality demos and I spend an enormous amount of time demoing out and writing songs in my home studio. I usually sit at the piano every morning with my coffee and work on songs… Sometimes I become a bit obsessive with writing songs and neglect other parts of my life. I work with other songwriters and producers and bands as well. Whether I’m in the rehearsal space doing pre-production for a band or doing a songwriting session or working with my own band I try to really submerge myself in that Environment.
Live shows seem to be your forte. Where do you draw from for live performances? There’s an energy that artists pull up that always fascinated me.
I cut my teeth in the punk scene so I come from the school of full tilt rock ‘n’ roll live shows.When you’re nailing it ,it is the best moving meditation in the world and the highest you’ll ever get with out drugs. Before every show i usually find a quiet spot and do meditative breath work and visualize myself playing on stage and what I want to give off during the show. It’s something I take very seriously and I’m sure my heroes did as well even if they didn’t act like it. Bands like the Clash in 1979-80 were Combustible and I love when the energy feels like the train could fall off the track any moment but never does.
Video link for a favorite new track of yours – live or other and a merch link please!
Looking forward to seeing you guys live!