mems of Faith No More, Porcupine Tree, Blur, Voivod, Pinback & more pay tribute to Cardiacs’ Tim Smith
Today came the awful news that Cardiacs frontman Tim Smith passed away "quietly, albeit suddenly" at age 59, following a 12-year battle with a health condition that was "complex and poorly understood." Cardiacs never fully got the credit they deserved, but their influence spanned far and wide, and many of the musicians they've impacted have been paying tribute to Tim.
Mike Patton (of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and much more) wrote, "REST IN PEACE MY MAN TIM SMITH. THE CARDIACS WERE A HUGE INFLUENCE ON ME AS WELL AS MY BAND MR.BUNGLE. THEY DID IT RIGHT, INDEPENDENTLY AND WITH NO APOLOGIES. TONS OF RESPECT AND LOVE."
Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson wrote:
I am deeply saddened to read of the passing of Tim Smith from Cardiacs today. Even though Tim had been ill for many years, it's still hard for me to think of him as gone, as his music made such a big impression on me, and continues to do so.
He had one of the few truly unique sounds and musical personalities you could ever hope to hear, it was almost impossible to understand where his music came from and what his influences might have been.
In that respect he was a true original, and like many other true originals he paid the price of being a cult artist, relatively under the radar for most of his career.
But for those that 'got' Cardiacs they almost without exception went on to become their favourite band.
A few years ago when Tim first became ill I contributed a cover version of one of his most beautiful compositions Stoneage Dinosaurs to an album released to raise funds for his medical care, and I would like to share it with you here as my eulogy to Tim.
Blur's Graham Coxon wrote, "What a joyful insane stupid racket.. and a huge influence.. 'poor soldier...' - RIP Tim." He also shared two of the band's videos:
Voivod guitarist Dan “Chewy” Mongrain said to us, "Not many people on this earth are world changing beings, parallel universe creators, unifiers, enlighting the minds and hearts of many… Tim Smith is forever one of them, Rest in Peace beautiful soul, your legacy lives on."
Pinback frontman Rob Crow wrote:
So much I wanna say about Tim Smith right now, but afraid to mispeak or jump my lane.
I think I can say that over the last year I've directly & indirectly been working on Cardiacs related stuff, all of it drenched with hope and catharsis.
His is a life that demands celebration, but if you could understand how very close he was to reclaiming a semblance of happiness, communication, and creativity at home again after so many years of a constant electrical fire zapping his brain, well, it's enough let the wind outta any sails you got.
At least these were the positive thoughts he left us with when his heart decided to take a well-deserved rest during his sleep last night.
Rob also tweeted links to several Cardiacs albums on Bandcamp.
JG Thirlwell of Foetus wrote, "Deeply saddened to hear of the death of the brilliant Tim Smith of Cardiacs. He was a highly individual musician and songwriter who created epic and euphoric music. RIP."
Mike Vennart, frontman of now-defunct prog/post/alt-rockers Oceansize, posted a photo of him and Tim and wrote, "I’ll never forget you and what you gave to me." Mike previously made a list of his 10 favorite Cardiacs songs for Prog in 2015.
UK indie-progsters Dutch Uncles wrote, "Really sad news. A musical visionary and a massive inspiration. RIP Tim Smith x."
Prog-metal vet Devin Townsend wrote, "Rest in peace one of the finest ever. Tim Smith."
UK electronic musician Max Tundra wrote, "RIP Tim Smith. Your inventive splendour helped bend my ears to the very limits of what music can do."
Industrial metal vets Pitchshifter wrote, "Pitchshifter would like to pay tribute to Cardiacs and Tim Smith on this day of his passing." And frontman JS Clayden also wrote, "A sad day for music. Tim Smith was a very creative and talented individual. Use this day to discover/rediscover his music. RIP, Tim."
The Magic Numbers wrote, "RIP Tim Smith. Thank you for creating a very different world of music."
Silvery wrote, "Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Tim Smith of Cardiacs. An absolute genius and gentleman. Thank you for everything and big love to the Cardiacs family worldwide XXX. I wrote to Tim Smith in about 1997 and he wrote back with a little bit of sheet music especially for me. 10 years later we used to play it at gigs sometimes. RIP Tim."
Writer/musician Rhodri Marsden (who's a current member of new wave vets Scritti Politti and whose '80s/'90s band The Keatons toured with Blur in that band's early days) penned a eulogy for The Guardian which reads in part:
If Tim Smith influenced you, he really influenced you. His legacy following his death aged 59 might be small in the wider realm of pop, but for many of us it feels disproportionately massive. If you ventured far enough into his chaotic world of sound – somewhere between pop, psych, punk and prog – it would inevitably become an all-encompassing love.
The music he created, primarily with his band Cardiacs, pushed the standard structures of rock music into bizarre patterns: resolutely British, with any hint of Americana cast aside in favour of hymns, marches and misshapen folk melodies. The idiosyncratic sequences of chords he assembled were, in any traditional sense, completely wrong, but through sheer buoyancy of spirit they became unwaveringly right. At gigs, his music inspired devotion of the like I’ve never seen before or since. Countless friendships blossomed as a direct result of his work; whole families of groups were formed, all radiating from Tim.
Read the rest of Rhodri's eulogy here.
Chris Catalyst (who was a late-period member of The Sisters of Mercy and fronts his own band Eureka Machines) wrote, "Heartbroken. The leader of the starry skies is gone. RIP my hero and my wonderful friend, Tim Smith from Cardiacs. Thank you for a lot of very amazing memories. X."
Matthew Wright (a writer and UK television/radio personality who has performed with Hawkwind) wrote, "Just been told Tim Smith of Cardiacs fame is no longer with us. He’s singing to god in person I guess. My deepest condolences to his loved ones, his many friends and countless fans. A sad day for music."
Ginger Wildheart (of The Quireboys, The Throbs, The Wildhearts, and more) simply said, "Please listen to Cardiacs today."
Listen to more covers of Cardiacs here and watch their excellent 1990 concert film below.