FUNKAHOLICS' DEBUT GIG PROMISES GREAT TIME FOR ALL
September 15, 2004
WIDELY seen as one of Britain’s finest drummers, Smiley is launching his new band — The Funkaholics — at a gig at Bracknell’s Bier Keller this Saturday.
The cheeky chappy, who originally hails from Wokingham, has played with an impressive list of artists over the years including Robbie Williams, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Squeeze, Archive and the Mock Turtles.
Last week, Smiley — real name Steve Barnard — told The Beat about his latest project and what fans can expect to hear.
He said: “We’ve cherry-picked all the best musicians we know to play all of our favourite songs. It’ll be stuff that everyone wants like James Brown, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five.
“The idea is to make people move. It’s been great fun getting it all together.”
The band is a mix of Smiley’s friends and colleagues over the years, from Robbie’s band, the Mock Turtles and Archive.
All they needed was a frontman, but after seeing Bier Keller regulars Dr Groove and the Sisters of Soul play one night, they decided instead on two frontwomen.
Smiley said: “We just sat around one night and we all decided what we should do but then we realised we had no one to lead.
“We saw them [Dr Groove and the Sisters of Soul] and said ‘if we nicked the girls we’d have the band’. So we did.”
Thus Kerry Shultz and Michelle Myers joined the band, and Smiley is pleased they are playing their first major gig in one of his old haunts.
He said: “It’s a really nice area and it is great to be doing something with my friends that we all really like, and it’s even better not to be touring!
“It is like your favourite pudding because there’s something for everybody. It’s like all your best songs played better than you’ve ever heard them before.”
“It’s lovely to have the chance to play such brilliant songs. Anyone who comes along to the Bier Keller will have a great time.”
Of his years as a session musician, Smiley is mostly asked about those he spent recording and touring with Robbie Williams’ first two albums — Life Thru’ a Lens and I’ve Been Expecting You — but prefers to talk about his two years as drummer with Joe Strummer’s Mescaleros.
He said: “I’ve kept in touch with him [Robbie] since but I don’t want to spend time talking about him — he’s a mate like any other.
“I went all round the world with Strummer and he was a legend. There aren’t many people who you can really call legends but he was definitely one of them.
“I couldn’t believe he died — I always thought he was indestructible. He was like Captain Scarlett.
“It just goes to show you should live every day as if it’s your last.”