ABOUT THE BOOK
'CLANG! Smiley Drops A Few' is the brainchild work of Steve Barnard, better known (by everyone!) as Smiley! He is best known as a drummer, songwriter, producer, and owner of his own, Sunshine Corner, studios. Smiley has, over the past 25 years, played with a plethora of the great and good (and, sometimes, not so good) of the music industry. His CV is littered with artists such as, Robbie Williams, Joe Strummer, The Mock Turtles, From The Jam, The Alarm, and, Archive; to 'CLANG!' just six.
This book is packed full of stories around many years of live shows, tours, TV, Radio, festivals , pub gigs, corporate events, and, often hilariously, weddings. It gives an amusing insight to life from inside the music industry, a view from the back of the stage, but also from the next door dressing room. There are, inevitably, highs and lows; but all are approached, and told, in Smiley's own, inimitable, way.
Smiley engagingly recalls stories connected to all sorts of showbiz luminaries, from Liam & Noel, Weller, The Who, The Foo Fighters, and The Chili Peppers; right through to encounters with Sting, Zoe Ball, East 17, and Peter Andre.
One of the great joys of the book is the tongue in cheek style in which these stories are recounted. It’s not in any way boastful, but chock full of showbiz inspired anecdotes; hence the title, 'CLANG!'. Everybody loves a name drop, and this book is stacked high in funny, and off the wall, stories. If you like a good old tale about a household name (and, let's face it, who doesn't?) then this is definitely the book for you.
I had a row one time with, CLANG! ... NOEL GALLAGHER, revolving around Zak. I'll tell you that story later. Anyway, one afternoon I was sat in his kitchen, Zak's not Noel’s, and he was looking anxious. I asked him why, and he told me he was waiting for a phone call that could change his life forever. 'Is it The Who asking you to join?' I said, for absolutely no reason. He glared at me and said if it all went wrong it was my fault for jinxing it. God only knows why I said it. But after three rings and a lot of ‘Yes, yes, ok, ok's’, Zak's future as the highest paid drummer in the world, and my new name as Nostradamus Smiley, were both assured. Now I didn't put two and two together at this point. I was just chuffed for him, and a little envious obviously; but he now being a Who man meant he couldn't be a Face man, but I could. I duly got a call from the bands management and suddenly I was a Face.
So, let me, as promised, tell you the Noel story. It must have been around the year 2000, and I was at Shepherds Bush Empire watching The Who, with Zak Starkey on drums. Also there, sitting three seats away to me on my left and mainly air drumming, was Oasis guitarist and brother of Liam, Noel Gallagher. After the show I was in the backstage bar, chatting to my friend Matt Hay who was then working for the band. Behind me was Noel and about eight of his mates. As we turned face to face, I complimented him on his air drumming skills. He laughed, and I noticed he may have been a teeny-weeny bit hammered, as were all his entourage. 'He's a bit good isn't he' I said referring to the son of the Beatle and, as he agreed, Paul Stacey, a now world famous producer/guitarist, who I had by this point worked with on a few occasions, flew into the conversation. He was a big mate of Noel's. 'Alright Smiles?' he said with a hug. He then explained to Liam's brother that he hadn't seen me since we played together with Robbie. 'Williams?' said Noel. 'Yes' I replied'. 'Well then I don't wanna talk to you', and he proceeded to turn his back on me, much to the amusement of his little man gang. I tapped him on the shoulder and told him there was no reason for that. He once again announced, to his now guffawing hangers on, that he would no longer be talking to me. This went back and forth three or four times until I brazenly said, 'Why don't you ask me who I drum for now?’ Silence. 'Who?’, he asked, somewhat ironically, given to where we were in this conversation. CLANG! … ‘JOE STRUMMER. Is that cool enough for you Noel?' I stuck out my chest, walked away, and didn't look back in anger.
I have a sneaky feeling that story may have gathered some legs over its copious retells through the last two decades, but the basis of it is true. To give him his dues, I met Noel again while playing with Strummer at V2000. He was side of stage with CLANG! ... PAUL WELLER, and was sharing his latest gag, with everyone within a fifty yard side of stage radius, about me being, wait for it, drumroll, Joe's Drummer. Hilarious. Then he had a drunken wee up the side of Tony Mullins's white transit. Now that joke popped up again recently with the drummer from Shed Seven trying to claim it. I duly popped him back in his place via Facebook messenger.