The Cardiacs’ Tim Smith Dead At 59
Tim Smith, leader of the British rock band the Cardiacs, has died at age 59, NME reports. Smith had reportedly been in poor health since suffering a heart attack in 2008, which led to him developing the rare neurological disorder dystonia. Smith discussed his battle with illness in a Quietus interview two years ago in the midst of a fundraising campaign to cover his healthcare costs. His cause of death has not been revealed.
“I’m sorry, on such a glorious day, to tell you the news that my dearest brother Tim passed away suddenly last night,” Smith’s brother and bandmate Jim Smith posted in a note on the band’s website. “Sorry it’s a brief message but I don’t have it in me to speak at length just now. Love to you all. Be safe. With respect, Jim.”
Born in Surrey in 1961, Smith formed the band Cardiac Arrest as a teenager with his brother Jim plus Michael Pugh and Peter Tagg. After their first album they changed their name to the Cardiacs and went on to release eight more with an ever-shifting band lineup, ending with 1999’s Guns. Their final release was the 2007 standalone single “Ditzy Scene.” Along the way their uniquely colorful and sometimes perverse twist on art-pop and psychedelia inspired fierce devotion among their small cult audience.
Damon Albarn was among that cult, and you can hear the influence of the Cardiacs’ funhouse pop-rock in Blur albums like Parklife and Modern Life Is Rubbish. Metal bands as diverse as Faith No More, Napalm Death, and Voivod all supported Smith’s health fundraiser in 2018, and nearly every mention of the band online refers to Radiohead citing them as an influence as well.
Check out some of the Cardiacs’ music below.