TV Smith and Gaye Advert
From the '70's punk band "The Adverts"
discuss Vegetarian quisine with June Bird
The Adverts were formed in mid-1976 - shortly after the first Sex Pistols show - by two art students: TV
(Tim) Smith on vocals and the distinctive, panda-eyed Gaye Advert on bass. One of the first bands to
become a familiar fixture at London's Roxy Club in Covent Garden, The Adverts' raw, enthusiastic
sound quickly came to the attention of the Damned's guitarist Brian James, who offered the group an
opening spot on the Damned's upcoming tour. Their debut single, One-Chord Wonders, is
retrospectively regarded as being one of the greatest early
UK punk singles. This single, along with Gaye's visual
appeal, prompted the much larger Anchor Records to sign
the Adverts in July 1977; and it was the band's next single,
Gary Gilmore's Eyes, that proved to be their most
successful - a UK Top 20 hit. It was one of the earliest punk
singles to find significant commercial sales. With her dark
sultry looks and trademark leather jacket, Gaye Advert
became a sex symbol in her own right through the pages of
the music press and several Adverts appearances on Top
Of The Pops. She gave up the music scene many years
ago. TV Smith has been a prolific songwriter over the years,
and he still performs today.
Interviewed by June Bird, October 2001.
(June Bird is a former punk rocker. She was there in the 'thick of it' in
London in the late 70s. She was a drummer in her own punk band
and ran a punk fanzine (Halitosis - extremely rare Don't Care). She
met Adam & The Ants at that time and did backing vocals for them, and she actually saw The Adverts play back in their
heyday.) ....Fast Forward to Summer 2001...
June: Tim and Gaye - I can't believe that we're finally chatting after all of these years! Okay - let's get down to the nitty gritty...
what's the story... how come you're vego's?
Tim: Started out cutting out red meat around 20 years ago, then over the next couple of years dropped chicken, and finally fish.
Gaye: Gradually - first stopped eating it at home, then in restaurants, and finally at parents homes about 15 years ago.
June: Have you found that it can be difficult?
Gaye: Yes, in some foreign countries that don't understand the concept and principles of being veggie, particularly when there's a
Tim: I sometimes find, particularly abroad, that the so-called vegetarian food has minced meat or ham in it, presumable because
that doesn't "count." On tour it can be hard to get quality food and variety into the diet, but I'd rather eat poor vegetarian food than
poor meat-based food.
June: Not eating animals makes me feel sooo good, but what's the best part for you?
Tim: Knowing you're not part of the global exploitation of animals, and not having to worry about what you might be eating.
Gaye: Not having to eat the results of factory farming and other cruel practices.June:What was the turning point for you to turn
Tim: Combination of ethical disgust at the meat business and physical repulsion at the idea of eating meat.
Gaye: I felt guilty about condoning murdering animals and hated the way they are treated with modern farming methods.
June: What motivated you guys to change your carniverous ways?!
Gaye: When I was about 8 looking out of the window at cows or sheep in the field at the end of my parent's garden while we had
roast beef or lamb for dinner. Also, reading Doctor Rat (William Kotzwinkle) when I was about 21.
Tim: I spent a lot of my childhood growing up in the country. Could never quite connect that those nice animals grazing in the fields
were going to be slaughtered and end up on my plate, but because that's "just the way it was" when I was a kid I never did
anything about it. My elder brother went veggie before me, after he worked in a butcher's for a while, and I suppose that
introduced me to the idea that it wasn't necessary to eat meat.
June: I hear so many people say "Oh, I used to be vego". It sounds like it was maybe just 'fashionable' at the time for them, I don't
know. Did folk ever think you'd change your mind and go back to meat eating?
Gaye:No-one has said so, probably because I've been doing it for so long.
Tim: You get a few people thinking that, others have this ridiculous conviction that "really" you're dying to eat meat, or that when
no-one's looking you do! Of course they're just trying to justify their own craving for it. I never, ever have the urge to eat meat.
June: What does your family think about you guys being herbivores?
Tim: Everyone I know is completely fine about it.
Gaye: Mother has mastered cooking a nut roast, but has to eat a limited diet herself so can't eat most veggie food, but always
makes sure there's something we can eat when we visit.
June: Will there be any TOONS from you Tim at some stage that'll promote a more compassionate lifestyle?
Tim: I'm sure there will be, it's a continuing theme in what I write. In the past I've contributed songs to anti-vivisection and anti
June: A lot of people are angry and antagonistic towards those who turn vego - I dunno, is that their guilt? Did anyone mention that
they thought you were 'slightly' weird?
Gaye:Not that I've noticed.
Tim: Only the most conservative people think of vegetarians as weirdos these days... and who cares what they think?!
June: That's right most people just play 'follow the leader' - if your mates eat meat then you should too - don't rock the boat! l've
never ever worried either what people think. (Is that the rebellious punk coming out?!) I hope that many more people start to
realise that there's no need to eat our animal friends to stay healthy. What about you?
Tim: Of course.
Gaye: Yes - I'm pretty healthy so people have said they should eat veggie too, and people like to tell me when they're eating less
Left: Gaye Advert on stage with The Adverts. Middle: The original Adverts line-up (Tim,Gaye, Laurie, Howard).
Right: TV Smith performing live UK 2000.
June: People sometimes stare at me and say "What do you eat anyway?"... I may sometimes look forlorn and reply... "Oh just a bit
of lettuce"..... derrr. What's your favourite foods?
Gaye: Italian, Greek, Thai and Mexican mostly. Tim's pizzas are the best in the world!
Tim: Apart from meat, I like everything. Pasta, Middle Eastern food, Indian, bread of all kinds... you name it.
June: When touring is there's plenty of good vegetarian fare to be had?
Tim: Frankly no, but if you have time you can usually find something. Trouble is that when
you're on tour there's often no time during the day to find something to eat, and by the time
you've finished the gig there's nowhere open except some awful fast food joint, but like I
said before, that's a problem faced by vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Gaye: Back when I did tour in the late '70s a cheese sandwich was the best you could hope
for. Germany was the worst.
June: Are you good at this cooking lark?
Tim: I'd say so, yeah. When I have time at home I love to cook, and I particularly like to cook
for friends... the results are so much more immediate than, for example, making a record.
Gaye: We cook what we like best but don't usually follow a recipe.
June: Have people made fun of your beliefs?
Tim: Really don't have that problem.
June: When dining at others people's abodes have you found that your hosts are
sympathetic to veggies, or do you just end up eating fried onions on a bread roll?
Tim: All our friends are either vegetarian themselves or totally sympathetic to the idea.
Gaye: Some friends use 2 different barbecues, one for meat and one for veg. Anyway, I quite like fried onions in a bread roll!
June: Do you still wear leather or have feathers in your quilt?
Gaye: I only wear leather shoes, no jackets, sofas etc. I only have feathers that I've found on the ground. If I see anyone wearing a
fur coat or pass a fur shop I will make my feelings known.
Tim: I avoid leather as much as possible - never wear leather jackets for example. The only exception is shoes... I bought a pair of
fake leather shoes before going on tour a couple of months ago and they just about crippled me. It was pretty unpleasant and as
soon as I got home I threw them away and reluctantly bought some leather ones again. All I can say is, a good pair of Doc Martens
will last me years.
June: Aaahh, well you don't know about www.veganwares.com do you?! They make a top pair of non-leather Doc Martens. So,
what's your thoughts on zoos, circuses with animals, and rodeos?
Tim: No, no, no.
Gaye: That sort of exploitation is so unnatural. I do feel sorry for the bored looking animals in zoos and I always avoid circuses and
June: Factory farming - your thoughts please?
Tim: Disgusting and unnecessary. All these exist only to make money for people in the "food business." If people really knew what
was going on in these places, I think even the most inveterate meat-eater would think twice about it. But of course, the real
horror is kept out of sight.
Gaye: It should be banned immediately. I'm a member of CIWF (Compassion in World Farming) and have written to my
(sympathetic) MP many times.
June: Is there one particular area of animal exploitation that you find particularly disturbing?
Tim: I really hate the exploitation that's purely to make money...those you mentioned above, and the vivisection that goes on to
develop unnecessary variants on products that we already have too many of.
Gaye: The long distance transport of live animals, factory farming, vivisection, fur farming, trapping - it's hard to say which is worst.
June: Do you know many other vegetarian musicians/artists?
Tim: WE'RE EVERYWHERE!!!
June: How have you felt since you turned vego?
Tim: I never noticed any difference in my health after cutting meat out of my diet. I'm out on tour the whole time, leading the most
strenuous unhealthy lifestyle imaginable, and most of the time I feel fine... I've survived this far anyway!
June: Do you pop vitamins?
Tim: Usually no. Very occasionally if I'm out on tour and eating badly I'll boost up with some vitamins in case I'm missing something.
June: Got any animals at your place?
Gaye: None at present, our dog died about five years ago, aged 16. I've also had mice, rats, a pony, rabbit and guinea pig.
June: Have you been involved in any animal rights protests?
Gaye: I've been to a few Anti vivisection protests organised by Animal Aid and the BUAV.
June: Do you think you've influenced others towards living a cruelty-free lifestyle?
Tim: I don't try and influence people, I just do what I believe in. If people see my lifestyle and see that it can work and are
influenced by it - great, but I don't push my beliefs at people. Everyone has to find their own way.
Gaye: I used to leaflet at tube stations for the BUAV but don't know how many people's views were changed by reading them.
June: What do you want people to know about vegetarianism and animal rights?
Gaye: The facts.
Tim: It's the logical way to go. We're evolving, becoming more civilised... we don't need to exploit animals any more, humanity's
advanced enough to find other ways.
Thanks to June for lending me this interview. For more on animal issues go here...www.animal-lib.org.au
And look out for an indepth Adverts page full of my faded cuttings and intrigue 'on the roof' of this here bag of spanners real soon!
Meanwhile check out .... TV Smith's website: www.tvsmith.com
"I wonder what we'll play for you tonight, something heavy or something light,
something to set your soul alight" - One Chord Wonders - THE ADVERTS (TV SMITH 1977)