|Birth name||Cathal Joseph Smyth|
14 January 1959 |
Marylebone, London, England
Cathal Joseph Smyth (born 14 January 1959 in Marylebone, London), also known as Chas Smash, is an English musician, best known as the backing singer, trumpet player, harmonica player and dancer in the ska/pop band Madness.
In addition to trumpet, he plays the bass guitar (having initially joined Madness as a bassist), acoustic guitar and other various percussion instruments. He occasionally performs the 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 in 1988 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! He left Go Discs to reform the band. 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." Smyth introduced Morrissey to Boz Boorer, who went on to work with the former Smiths frontman from 1991 onwards. Smyth is the subject of the 1992 Morrissey single "You're the One for Me, Fatty".
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. 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 number 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 was rumoured to be working on several solo projects, including a dubstep album, entitled (according to Mojo) 'Chas Smash' Hi-Fi Sounds Of The New Boss. This has not been officially confirmed.
Smyth separated from his wife in 2005 after being together since their teens. He has three grown-up children: Casper, Milo, and Eloise; he appeared with Eloise at the 2012 Q Awards ceremony. After his marriage ended he started to practise Transcendental Meditation. He also spent time in rehab and moved to Ibiza in 2008.
In October 2014, Smyth said he may be leaving Madness.
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