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Stuart Smith interview

Hard To Kill:
The Stuart Smith Interview

Photo: Scott Itter Photography

Here's a man that refuses to go down. 
Stuart Smith is an insanely talented musician and songwriter that has struggled through the rock and roll ranks, and he has the battle scars to prove it. Wearing each scar like a badge of honor, he continues to write and perform some of the best rock music in the world today. He's been mentored by Ritchie Blackmore, and he has played with some of the most legendary musicians the world has ever known. Working through some bad timing and a few deals that fell through the cracks, Smith has been able to endure and assemble a group of top notch players that he calls Heaven & Earth.

Releasing their album Hard To Kill on September 29, Heaven & Earth are poised for mass acceptance within the rock world. When I talked with Stuart Smith about this latest album, he was confident that every fan of rock and roll would love it. It's getting it out to the people's ears that seems to be the tricky part. But Smith is a warrior on the rock and roll battlefield, and Hard To Kill is his weapon of mass destruction.

I discussed the masterful Hard To Kill record with Stuart Smith, and pride and passion filled the room. As he calmly discussed the making of the album and the intricate details of its production, it was clear that he is excited to bring his music to fans that need the return of rock and roll.


Dr. Music:   Did you record Hard To Kill with everyone together in the studio? 
Stuart Smith:   When we recorded we all went to the same room and recorded there. It's great to get the vibe when you're in the same room looking in each other's eyes, and you can sort of sense when things are coming. I always prefer to record that way.

DM:   I noticed that Steven Tyler has an album sequencing credit on Hard to Kill. How did that come about?
SS:   I played him the album and I said, "Hey listen, you're really good at this." He's the one that lays out Aerosmith's songs in the albums. I said, "I'm too close to it, would you help do that," and he said, "Sure!" He and Bruce Quarto, the head of our record company, listened to the album and came up with a rough idea, and he said "Yeah, just change this one, change that one, put this one here, and I think you're good." So we went with it.

Photo: Scott Itter Photography

DM:   Did you ever think about having Steven do a guest vocal? A duet with Joe (Retta) would be so cool!

SS:   Yeah! The next album, who knows? We spent the whole day jamming the other day. It was fun. Steven's great. He's one of the most kind-hearted, intelligent, funny people I know. He's so warm-hearted. He's just a blast to hang out with. Definitely one of my favorite people on the planet. I'm very honored to call him my friend.

DM:   Did you have any material left from the Dig album, or is this all brand spanking new?
SS:   No, we didn't use anything from Dig. There was a song which I wrote years ago called "Fool's Gold" when I was like 19, and that was basically "Hard to Kill." I demo'd it up and for some reason it didn't get used on a record, and it just sat there. I always thought it was a good song, so when we got together with the guys I just said, "Hey look, I got this thing," I started playing it, so Joe re-wrote the lyrics and there it was.

Photo: Scott Itter Photography

DM:   It's cool that you were able to use material that was written so long ago and it was still a viable song.
SS:   When I play guitar and get an idea I don't always record them, because if I know the idea is really good, I know it will come back or I won't forget it. I mean, I've written hundreds of songs over my career, but this was one that I felt something should've happened with.

DM:   What gear did you use on the album?

DM:   Will you tour? 
SS:   We've got agents working on booking shows. Next year is going to be the year we really start touring seriously. We're looking forward to really getting out there because every time we play people love the band. So it's just a matter of people knowing about us. I saw something just recently. Somebody requested to be a friend on Facebook, and I looked at their page. They mentioned about the band and said that they never heard about the band before, and then some friends of theirs filled them in on the history. He went along and heard it and then he was out there promoting it. 
DM:   Now THAT'S what we need.

For the review of Hard To Kill, click here.
To purchase Hard To Kill, click here.

Photo: Scott Itter Photography

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