The Ealing Years......
After playing in R n’ B and Soul bands in the mid sixties, Chris Smith moved to London to study at Ealing Art College. There he met fellow students Tim Staffel and Freddie Bulsara. Tim’s band, 1984, which included Tim’s friend, guitarist Brian May, had run its course. Chris suggested that the three of them form a new band, which they did, with Tim playing bass, recruiting the drummer, Roger Taylor. So the (now legendary) band SMILE was formed. This was a particularly creative time during which Chris started writing songs with Freddie.
As the music developed, SMILE evolved away from its blues roots. Because of their passion for American roots music, Chris, and then Tim, left the band. The rest, as they say, is the QUEEN story.
70’s – 90’s
In the early ‘70s Chris continued to develop his songwriting. He played a national tour of the university folk circuit with Bridgett St John and the late, great Isaac Guillory.
In the mid 70s he formed the Zephyrs, a group whose main influences were Little Feat, Tower of Power and Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band. They never seemed to have a permanent drummer, but played with some interesting characters, including Phil (Animal) Taylor (later of Motorhead) and Gary Husband (later of Level 42).
In the late 70s he joined a ‘supergroup’ with members of Wally (previously signed to Atlantic records), called the Trunks.
Whilst living in Chapeltown in Leeds, in the 80s, he played Hammond with Exiles in Tact , a local reggae band, and Enough Said, a funk band.
In the 90’s Chris played in an 8-piece soul band, The Blooze Doctors, from Harrogate whilst continuing to write original music. During the mid 90s he found a productive vehicle for his original music, The KING IVORY BAND, which appeared on the Paul Jones Show in 1996.
Chris now plays keyboards with THE WOLVES, the famous funk-blues band, which recently appeared on the Paul Jones Blues Show following the release of their first album, A Piece of Cake.
He has also formed the CJ Smith Band, a 6-piece playing more of his original music.
The King Ivory Band 1995
Nighthawkin’ (The King Ivory Band) 1998
Hallowed Ground (CJ Smith) 2001
Live in 2003 (The King Ivory Band) 2003
Healing Work (CJ Smith) 2010
The Best of... (CJ Smith) 2012
A Piece of Cake (The Wolves) 2013
Down By the Wharf (CJ Smith Band) 2014