Today, I started thinking about the music of Jesus Wore Dickies, and the huge impact it had on me. When I first heard it, I was like, "What are those sounds??? How does a person make this kind of music?" Listen to their album "Terminal Island" on Spotify. It's weird. And great. "When I Go" and "Hellven" are my favorites, but I love the whole thing. They were ahead of their time, and they totally changed the way I thought about music.
BRIAN SMITH, aka "Smitty", aka "Big B"... was the mastermind behind the music of JWD. He was a brilliant genius madman, and he left us at the young age of 23. I never got to meet him, but I've spent a lot of time with Andy Roth (Brian's best friend and band mate), and through Andy, I feel like I almost knew Brian. I've had dreams about playing music with Brian. I'm heartbroken that he's gone. If he was here, he'd be making incredible future music that we've never dreamed of!!! Seriously.
I was in high school when I found JWD. They had/have a cult-like following. Their live shows were ridiculous. DJ Doze scratching records, Andy singing and triggering samples, Matt Mueller tearing up the bass. It was exciting. Moving. I remember being a teenager, and sneaking into Di Piazza's through the back kitchen door to see them play. It's hard to describe the feeling... Feeling more alive than you've ever felt before? Wanting to create, scream, and implode? Something like that.
When I got to college, I wrote Andy an email telling him how much his music meant to me. (We had never met.) He asked me for my address, and mailed me a box that contained every JWD CD, some of their awesome comic book artwork, and a bunch of temporary tattoos. I was blown away. I then emailed him a song I recorded on my 4-track, he liked it, and we became e-friends. After college, I moved back to LB, and he and I started a band called "Smiddi". He helped me set up my first recording studio, which was 2 feet away from my bed. (my "bedroom" was in the living room, as I was sharing a 1 bdrm apartment.) Andy lived across the hall, and we spent lots of time recording together.
We didn't release much music, but I learned a ton. We wrote one song in particular that I really care about, and it's a tribute to Brian. We'll release it, although I don't know when. Andy and I are still great buddies. We'll make music together again.
My reason for writing this is to pay tribute to Brian Smith and the music of Jesus Wore Dickies. I'm so sad you're gone, Brian. Thank you for the music you made – it changed my life!