Todd Youth - The Chelsea Smiles Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 23:18


1toddyouthThe Kohl-lined eyes at Über Röck HQ hung heavier than usual on the day that The Chelsea Smiles announced details of their last ever show. Myself and Johnny H had been lucky enough to spend a couple of nights in the company of Todd Youth and the band when they toured the UK earlier this year supporting Wednesday 13, and mighty fine nights they were too. The second, self-titled Chelsea Smiles album that the tour was in support of will no doubt be in the upper reaches of many of our albums of the year lists come December. To say that we were saddened to hear that one of the coolest bands on the planet might be heading for the exit door was a gross understatement. We had to know more..... we were straight on the rock 'n' roll wire to Todd, trying to find out the truth behind the rumours. Was this really the end of the band? Was it a promotional stunt? We had to know. Of course, it would have been rude to trouble the incredibly busy Mr Youth and not ask about that newest Cheap Trick record that he played on.....and about Glen Danzig getting punched......and about Gunfire 76.....and, you get the idea, right?!



So, exclusively for Über Röck, the legendary Todd Youth has news for you......





Just how much feedback did the messages about The Chelsea Smiles' "last ever show" get?


Man, I actually got some hate mail! This one guy wrote me saying I'm his favourite guitarist, the Smiles are his favourite band and why do I have to be such a band whore, why can't I stick with one band, blah, blah, blah. You know, I kept this band going for five years, released two really good records and a killer EP, toured all over the world, played with some of my favorite bands - Backyard Babies, NY Dolls, Social Distortion - but, as clichéd as it might sound, sometimes you gotta close one door to go through another.



Uber Rock spies claimed that you guys were merely "creating a buzz" about the band - true? What's the full story?

1toddlivesq2No, we're not trying to create a buzz, thats silly. Someone just posted that on our Myspace page.



So, is there a future for The Chelsea Smiles?

No, but here's the whole story.....and you guys at Über Röck are the first ones I'm telling it to. With all the line up changes - Skye leaving, getting RJ, Skye coming back - we got home from our UK tour and started writing, and it felt really fresh and new, so we've decided to change the name. It really is a new band now, so Karl, RJ, Skye, Johnny and myself are still playing together, we're just changing the name.



What happened to those recordings that you guys said you were recording over the summer?

We're almost done with the record. It's being produced by Howard Willing - he did a bunch of1toddlivesq Smashing Pumpkins, the new Cheap Trick and the Glen Campbell record I worked on - and it sounds KILLER!!!!!!!


When we spoke in the spring, when you were touring the UK with Wednesday 13, you mentioned two possible further trips to Britain - what happened??


When we started working on this record I realised it was time to put the Smiles to bed. We did a few West Coast shows and called it a day, and went back to the lab.



Had you experienced any problems with your UK label, DR2?

No, just typical record company b.s. - no promotion, no support. Are they even a label anymore?



The Chelsea Smiles recently played as the backing band for Australian songstress Katie Cole - how did this happen and how was it?


Katie is an amazing singer/songwriter. I had played on her record, along with Roger Manning and Jason Falkner from Jellyfish. She had some shows to do and doesn't have a band here so I said, "I know a band"!!!!! It's a breath of fresh air to play with different artists, different genre of music. I like to keep myself well rounded as a musician, and I'm lucky enough to be able to work with such an array of talented people like Katie, or Glen Campbell or Cheap Trick or Danzig.



1toddhornsI have to ask you about Wednesday 13 and Gunfire 76 - did Wednesday have some kind of rock 'n' roll epiphany when touring with the Smiles, resulting in his new haircut and musical direction?


I think he watched us and realised that real rock n roll is a lot cooler than the spooky guy thing - there's not much room to grow when you're singing about Rambo!!!



How involved in Gunfire 76 were you? It was initially billed as you and Wednesday's side project, then your name disappeared.....


You know, I wrote some music for it, and it just didn't work out for me. I wish Wednesday the best of luck with it.



What are your thoughts on the Gunfire 76 record?



I haven't heard it yet, but the snippets I heard online sound good.



Although it happened when you were "between Danzig jobs", so to speak, what were your thoughts on that infamous scuffle between Glen and the singer from The Northside Kings?


That's a good one. I was laying in bed with the missus and I start getting phone calls like crazy -1todd2 the last time that had happened was when the World Trade Center went down. So Joey C. who's the drummer in Q.O.T.S.A and Eagles Of Death Metal calls, he was the drummer in Danzig when I joined the band. He tells me I gotta go online and, man, I watched that video about 100 times; slow motion, regular speed, big, small - I was dying. Imagine if one of your bosses, who is a douche bag, gets knocked out and it's online...priceless. Then I started feeling bad for G.D. - I knew he'd never be able to bounce back from that one, plus he is an old man now.



What has been doing the rounds on the Youth stereo lately? What have you been listening to?


The new Cheap Trick is amazing! I've been listening to a lot of Buck Owens lately. Me and Karl from the Smiles just did a few weeks in Vegas doing SGT Pepper live with Cheap Trick, so a lot of Beatles. We were doing the opening, backing up Joan Osborne and Ian Ball from Gomez plus a 40 piece orchestra - it was killer. Watching Cheap Trick do Pepper every night for three weeks was awesome. Plus the usual suspects; Big Star, Motorhead, Hanoi, Thunders, Dead Boys, Stooges....



Are there any bands/musicians out there that you can recommend to Uber Rock readers - bands that they might have missed out on or have yet to discover???



There's this all girl band from LA I love called Civet that are killer. Dizzy Reed from Guns N' Roses has a record coming out one of these days that I played on that's really good too.



What are your immediate plans, music-wise?


Man, it's never ending! Did the Cheap Trick thing in Vegas for three weeks. The night I got home I did the Smiles last show here in Hollywood, then did a show with Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus from Guns N' Roses - with the WASP rhythm section - then spent a couple of days writing songs with one of my musical heroes (can't let the cat out of the bag on that one yet) and tomorrow, me, Phil from Monster Magnet and Karl from the Smiles go into the studio to record some songs for a project we started trying to get together for the past TWO years called CAPRICORN; total Motorhead speed freak Rock n Roll. We're doing a single for this label out of Sweden called Deleted Art. Next week I go to New York for a week to do some shows with Katie Cole, and beginning of November we finish the "formally known as The Chelsea Smiles" record.




Über Röck Söldiers rejoice - there's more action coming down! This is not an exit! Huge thanks to Todd for giving us this World Exclusive!!! Todd was also cool enough to give us a classic Gig From Hell tale that you can find here!!!!!