Brix Smith

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Brix Smith-Start
Brix Smith.jpg
Brix Smith-Start with The Fall (left: Steve Hanley), Perverted By Language Tour, Hamburg (Markthalle), 13.April 1984
Background information
Birth name Laura Elisse Salenger
Also known as Brix Smith, Brix Smith-Start
Born (1962-11-12) November 12, 1962 (age 53)
Genres punk rock, post-punk
Occupation(s) Musician, fashion retailer and presenter
Instruments Vocals/Guitar
Years active 1983–present
Associated acts The Fall, The Adult Net

Brix Smith-Start (born Laura Elisse Salenger, November 12, 1962; as a musician, known as Brix Smith) is an American singer, guitarist and television presenter, best known for being a member of post-punk band The Fall, and later as a UK TV fashion pundit.


Smith was raised in Los Angeles by her mother Lucy Salenger, a TV executive at CBS.[1] Mother and daughter moved to Chicago in 1972 when Salenger married political economist Marvin Zonis[2] and became a powerful regional figure in the film business as head of the Illinois Film Office.[3]

Studying theatre and literature at Bennington College in Vermont,[4] Smith-Start formed a group, "Banda Dratsing", performing as bassist/vocalist and adopting the name "Brix" after The Clash's 1980 song "The Guns of Brixton".[5]

The Fall[edit]

Smith met The Fall vocalist Mark E. Smith at a Chicago concert in April 1983, and moved to Manchester in England where they married in July 1983.[6] She joined the group on guitar and vocals for the album Perverted by Language. Acknowledged for introducing a more mainstream, pop-orientated element to the group's sound, she remained in the group until her divorce from Smith in 1989. Smith rejoined for the recording and live promotion of the albums Cerebral Caustic (1995) and The Light User Syndrome (1996).

The Adult Net[edit]

In 1985, Smith launched side project The Adult Net[6] with fellow Fall member, Simon Rogers. Contributors included Mark E. Smith. The group released four singles for The Fall's label Beggars Banquet Records in 1985 and 1986, including a cover of Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints".

The Adult Net released The Honey Tangle in 1989 on Phonogram Records. This line up included Craig Gannon, The The member James Eller and Blondie drummer Clem Burke.

Solo work and other activities[edit]

After leaving The Fall and disbanding The Adult Net, Smith went on to tour with The Bangles. She became romantically involved with violinist Nigel Kennedy,[6] and they collaborated on a cover of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" which was released as a single in 1993 on Nettwerk.

In 1994, Smith auditioned for Hole after the death of bassist Kristen Pfaff, but was in the group for one day.[1] In 1997, she released the Happy Unbirthday EP on Strangelove. The EP is a collaboration with Marty Willson-Piper and includes a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". That year she released solo LP Neurotica as a digital download on Loser Friendly Records.

In 2014, she formed the band Brix & The Extricated with former The Fall members Steve Hanley and Paul Hanley. They first played live at the Ruby Lounge that December. In May 2016, she published her memoir, The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise with Faber & Faber, noting that "writing the book freed my creativity to play again."[6]

Fashion career[edit]

Smith married fashion entrepreneur Philip Start and in 2002 the couple opened boutique Start in East London. Subsequently the business has expanded to four boutiques and an online store.[1] The Shoreditch boutique closed in May 2015.[7]

In recent years Smith-Start has appeared as a fashion expert on British television shows, including Channel 4's Gok's Fashion Fix. Smith-Start also appeared on Animal Planet UK's Top Dog, The Culture Show on BBC Two, the John Peel's Record Box, LK Today's 'What's Hot and What's Not' segment[8] and Sky 1's Angela and Friends.[9]

In February 2011 Smith-Start appeared as a fashion expert on Sky television's coverage of the 2011 Academy Awards and in June 2013 she took part in the fashion commentary in Channel 4's coverage of Royal Ascot.

Smith-Start presented the first series of Ultimate Shopper, broadcast in summer 2013 by digital channel TLC in the UK.[5]


External links[edit]