Cathal Joseph Patrick "Carl" Smyth (born 14 January 1959, London, England), also known as Chas Smash, is an English musician, best known as the backing singer, trumpet player and dancer in the ska/pop band Madness. In addition to trumpet, he plays bass guitar (having initially joined Madness as a bassist), acoustic guitar and various percussion instruments. He occasionally performs lead vocals, such as on the songs "Michael Caine", "Wings of a Dove", "One Step Beyond and "Madness (Is All in the Mind)". He was initially an occasional songwriter, becoming a more regular contributor over the course of Madness's career, and was credited as co-writer on the group's major international hit, "Our House".
In 1976, The North London Invaders recruited the 17 year old Smyth to play bass until he was replaced in 1977 by Gavin Rogers. Three years later, he became the last of the seven original Madness members to join the band. Prior to that he was a friend of the band and danced onstage at concerts. After Madness broke up in 1986, he formed a new short-lived band The Madness along with Suggs, Lee Thompson and Chris Foreman.
In 1990, Smyth became an executive for Go Discs where at his suggestion the label signed The Stairs and he was also responsible for reforming Madness in 1992 for Madstock!. In 1989/1990, he became friends with Morrissey, who once asked him to be his manager. Smyth declined, claiming "I didn't fancy having to iron his socks".
He provided backing vocals on Morrissey's version of The Jam's "That's Entertainment". Smyth had a small part in Suggs's solo career, co-writing the song "Green Eyes" and he also performed backing vocals on The Lone Ranger album with his sidekick. Smyth led the folk-influenced band The Velvet Ghost which played at the Fleadh festival in 2000. In 2002, Smyth started up his own record label, RGR Music, at an office in Camden Town. He released a debut single, "We're Coming Over", with The England Supporters Band (billed as Mr. Smash & Friends) and it reached # 67 in the UK Singles Charts. RGR released an album and three singles by London rapper, Just Jack. The label also released material by dance and rap artists Autamata and Border Crossing. In 2004, after briefly moving his office to Islington, Smyth closed RGR and started to concentrate more on his Madness projects.
In 2009 Madness released their first album of new material in ten years, The Liberty of Norton Folgate. He is rumoured to be working on several solo projects, including a dubstep album, entitled (according to MOJO magazine) 'Chas Smash' Hi-Fi Sounds Of The New Boss. This has not been officially confirmed.
Smyth lives in Spain but also spends time at his family home in North London, where he has three children: Caspar, Milo, and Eloise. He appeared with his daughter, Eloise at the 2012 Q Awards ceremony.
Cathal Smyth is currently recording a new album in London with Madness.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography: Madness". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
- Chas Smash from Madness with his daughter The Q Awards 2012 held at the Grosvenor hotel- Arrivals London, England. (10-22-2012.) Retrieved 4-27-2013.