We are delighted to announce Brix Smith, guitarist, singer and songwriter, is our second President of The F-List
Born under a sign, the one that reads Hollywood, Brix Smith was never likely to be a shrinking violet, and soon looked further afield, eyeing creative opportunities, seeking out new adventures. And so the journey began …
Brix Smith – singer-songwriter, guitarist, author, actor, fashion commentator, and stylist; a high-profile life in music, television and the arts took shape after a chance meeting with Mark E. Smith at a show by post-punk icons The Fall in Chicago in April 1983, ultimately propelling her across the Atlantic Ocean, taking LA-born, Illinois-based Brix to a new life in Manchester, Northern England … and her destiny.
Initially featuring as co-founding vocalist, bass player and songwriter of Banda Dratsing while studying theatre and literature at the legendary Bennington College in Vermont, New England – where her contemporaries included Gen X literary set Bret Easton-Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, Jonathan Lethem, and Donna Tartt – Brix dropped out to take her first moves on to the international circuit at age 20 in 1983, playing an integral role in The Fall those next six years, featuring on six studio albums during a key period in this highly influential outfit’s long career. Along the way, she wrote, co-wrote, played on, sang and helped craft many of the band’s most acclaimed songs, and is duly acknowledged for steering them into a more mainstream, pop-oriented direction.
Brix made her first tentative steps away from The Fall in realising her long-conceived Sixties-tinged solo project The Adult Net alongside fellow Fall member Simon Rogers in late 1984, the first four singles issued in 1985/86, those early incarnations also including The Fall’s Karl Burns, Craig Scanlon, Marcia Schofield and Mark E. Smith plus Khmer Rouge’s Phil Shoenfelt, with production by John Leckie and Ian Broudie for Beggars Banquet, and later Craig Leon for Phonogram.
Having split from Mark E. Smith in 1989, Brix threw herself back into completing the project, LP The Honey Tangle following, bandmates by then including Smiths guitarist Craig Gannon (and for a while Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce), The The’s James Eller, and Blondie’s Clem Burke, going on to record a cover of iconic ‘60s singer-songwriter Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, collaborating with virtuoso classical violinist Nigel Kennedy and The Lilac Time frontman/early Duran Duran singer Stephen Duffy.
Returning to Los Angeles, switching between acting and music, Brix went on to play bass with former Bangles lead vocalist Susanna Hoffs, rekindling their teenage friendship, her collaborations in the following years including those with The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper, as heard on the forthcoming Lost Angeles solo LP, cataloguing Brix’s ‘lost years’ after leaving The Fall, finally set to receive a full release, a record where we find her ‘the most unfiltered, honest and vulnerable I have ever allowed myself to be as a songwriter’.
A brief return to The Fall’s ranks followed in the mid-1990s, re-joining on her own terms for live dates and work on 1995’s Cerebral Caustic and 1996’s The Light User Syndrome albums.
Almost two decades on – after switching focus to television, fashion and retail enterprises beyond her solo ventures – she bounced back with a critically-acclaimed memoir which in turn proved the catalyst for a return to songwriting, recording and performing, this time at the forefront of much-praised five-piece Brix & the Extricated, the stars aligning for a reunion with fellow Fall alumni Steve and Paul Hanley plus Steve Trafford, and Extricated lynchpin and proud Derry guitar virtuoso Jason Brown, five years of compelling live shows following, with three happening LPs inspiring rave reviews.
With the Extricated currently on hiatus, she’s now taking a fresh solo direction, releasing an album of brand new recordings as Brix Smith, the LP’s vibe described as ‘dystopian California’, working with Killing Joke bass player and production legend Youth, writing and recording in Spain and remotely – from her bedroom in Shoreditch, East London, amid pandemic lockdowns – on a set of new songs she says, ‘I’m really proud of’.
“This is the record I wanted to make before The Adult Net, and serves as the perfect follow-up, more than 30 years later. With Youth I’m able to realise what I always heard in my head but was never previously able to put down on tape. It’s taken a lifetime of listening, learning and grafting for everything to fall into place.”
There will be live shows too, Brix promises, revealing …
“I’ve put together an all-woman band for this project. It’s time for me to standup and put my head above the parapet, put my money where my mouth is,having been a strong woman in the music industry for however many years.I’m gonna make the mother**** of all-girl bands … with Youth as a guest star!” *
I’m gonna make the mother****** of all-girl bands!
*Photo credits Paul Scala
Brix says “The F-list is an incredible resource and a highly valuable support system for females within in the UK music industry. At long last there exists a vehicle which collates our talents and skills across multiple facets of the music industry, connecting us, supporting us, and highlighting our assets to the wider world.
I have been a female in the music industry for 38 years, (since the age of 19) when I joined The Fall as a guitarist and songwriter. If you look at my hands you will see the scars from punching the glass ceiling. Though at times it’s been daunting, I was lucky enough to have a strong mother who told me: “You can be anything you want in this world, don’t let the fact that you are a woman stop you.”
Before me, there were only a handful of high-profile female players who I could look to as role models. There were even fewer female music executives or women in positions of power within the industry to rely on as allies or to champion the cause of inclusion. Now at last the tide is turning and it is resources like the F-List, and its creator Vick Bain, that are helping to turn it.
The time for inclusivity and diversity, in all aspects of life, is now. I am proud to be a contributor in this change.
I am thrilled to be President of The F-List for 2021/22. I will endeavour to raise as much awareness as possible, while continuing to fight the good fight musically, and to level the playing field once and for all.
I believe that being a woman is my superpower. So, let’s harness all our superpowers and change the landscape.”