Greedy Smith

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Greedy Smith
Birth nameAndrew McArthur Smith
Also known asGreedy
Born(1956-01-16)16 January 1956
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died2 December 2019(2019-12-02) (aged 63)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresNew wave, rock
LabelsRegular
WEA
CBS Records
TWA Records
Liberation
Warner Music
Associated actsMental As Anything
The Space Shuttle Ramblers
Greedy's on the Loose
Greedy's People
Websitementalasanything.com

Andrew McArthur Smith[1] (16 January 1956 – 2 December 2019), known professionally as Greedy Smith, was an Australian vocalist, keyboardist, harmonicist and songwriter with Australian pop/new wave band Mental As Anything.[2] Smith wrote many of their hit songs including "Live it Up"[1] which peaked at No. 2 on the Australian singles chart.[3][4] Smith had a solo music career, had worked with other bands and was also an artist and television personality.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born Andrew McArthur Smith in Sydney, Australia, he later attended North Sydney Boys High. Showing an interest in art he moved on to the East Sydney Technical College (now known as the National Art School) in Darlinghurst in the mid-1970s while also holding down a part-time job as a bottle shop attendant. At college he met fellow students, Martin Murphy, Chris O'Doherty, David Twohill and Steve Coburn, whose band, Mental As Anything, had been playing art school parties and dances since May 1976.[2] While playing harmonica in another band at the time, Smith started appearing on stage with Mental As Anything from around December.[2] He was eventually cajoled by fellow Mental As Anything members to learn keyboards on an old wedding reception organ to fill in their sound and he quit his other band. He was given the nickname "Greedy" after eating 15 pieces of chicken on stage one night.[5]

Art career[edit]

All early members of Mental As Anything are also artists and have exhibited their artworks since 1982.[2] Although Smith is not as well known for his artwork, as his band member Reg Mombassa, of Mambo Graphics fame[2] his best known artwork is from his Storm Clouds Over the Piazza series that was exhibited at the Mentals III travelling art exhibition in 1997. These portraits are based on his legendary unfinished novel of the same name, a rambling WWII saga that he used to mention in interviews but is actually fictional in itself.

Mental As Anything[edit]

Solo and side projects[edit]

In 1982, Smith played with Twohill in a group called the Space Shuttle Ramblers that recorded an EP, however the tapes were destroyed in a studio flood prior to release. In 1992, during the Mental As Anything sabbatical he formed a side group called Greedy's on the Loose that played gigs and recorded however no product was released. In 1996 he recorded a solo album, Love Harmonica, for TWA at his home studio. This led to live work with a band dubbed Greedy's People and the re-recording in full band mode and subsequent re-release of the album. This new version of the album, also on TWA, was retitled Greedy's People and included a bonus recording of the Carpenters' "Close to You". Rock historian Ian McFarlane described Love Harmonica as an album of "easy-listening love songs that featured latin, pop and jazz rhythms with lush harmonica as the lead instrument."[2]

Media work[edit]

As the most gregarious member of Mental As Anything, in the early days he was often relied upon to give interviews for TV, radio and press. This led to further media opportunities such as hosting episodes and segments of the music shows Countdown, including the associated Countdown Awards, and Sounds. In the late 1980s he was often a judge on the "Red Faces" segment of Hey Hey It's Saturday and in the early 1990s he hosted Tonight Live With Steve Vizard for a week in the absence of the regular host. He had more recently appeared regularly on the music quiz show Spicks and Specks.

Death[edit]

On 3 December 2019 it was announced, via the band's website, that Smith had died: "It is with an incredibly heavy heart to announce that one of the founding members of Mental As Anything, Andrew Greedy Smith passed away last night from a heart attack."[6]

In an interview recorded on 30 October 2019 (five weeks before Smith's death) with Alan Gilmour, from the Australian Songwriters Association, to honour him and Martin Plaza as the 2019 Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductees, Smith stated "To have lived this long is a great thing."[7]

Awards[edit]

In October 2019 the Australian Songwriters Association inducted Smith and Martin Plaza into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame.[8]

Discography[edit]

Solo[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Love Harmonica – TWA (September 1996)

Singles[edit]

  • "Time Heals All Wounds" – TWA (September 1996)
  • "Always Thinking of You" – TWA (February 1997)

Greedy's People[edit]

  • Greedy's People – TWA (1997)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b ""Live it Up" search result". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Mental As Anything'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  4. ^ "Mental As Anything discography". Australian Charts Portal. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  5. ^ Sutherland, Donnie (3 December 2019). "From the Archives, 1979: How Greedy Smith got his name". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ "Mental As Anything". Mental As Anything. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  7. ^ "2019 Interviews Andrew Greedy Smith 2019 Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee". Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  8. ^ "The Australian Songwriters Association Hall of Fame Award Winners 2019". Retrieved 10 December 2019.

External links[edit]