Neal Smith, the 'Platinum God', joined The Nazz in Los Angeles although he had been part of the Phoenix scene and known to them for some time while playing in rival bands. From within Alice Cooper Neal went on to be recognised as one of the greatest drummers in rock. Since the band split he stayed busy with various musical projects including B.D.S and Cinematik as well as a successful second career in real estate. Check out NealSmithrocks.com

Birthday

Neal was born September 23rd, 1947

Family

Neal has a sister, Cindy, who is married to Dennis Dunaway. Cindy also designed many of the early stage costumes.

Marriage

Neal married Babbette but they are now divorced. His current partner is Rose.


"My early influences were Gene Krupa, Sandy Nelson, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Ringo, Charlie Watts and last but not least Alex Dunthart and John Barry (producer).
Carry overs to my music: Krupa and Nelson solo tom-tom work, i.e.. Black Ju Ju and Slick Black Limousine. The great fills of Baker, i.e.. Under My Wheels. The great grooves that hold verses together like Ringo and Watts, i.e.. Caught In A Dream and Still Got A Long Way To Go. Mitch Mitchell's hi-hat work, i.e.. Killer (intro). Keith Moons energy and showmanship, i.e.. Black Ju Ju. John Barry's use of percussive dynamics and diversity, i.e.. Halo of Flies, Killer, Unfinished Sweet, Grand Finale, Man With A Golden Gun. Alex Dunthart's flawless snare technique, Second Coming. Just a few examples.
(Neal Smith, November 1999)

"Neal & I went to Camelback High School together, were in Marching band together, played in a group called the Night Riders together, the Laser Beats together, even lived together for awhile.
We used to practice over at his house after school. His mom was great with us kids and became like a second mom to me. His sister Cindy also has real long beautiful blonde hair, I'm the one who took her to the prom in High School. Neal has a great sense of humor! 6'4" of lanky class and stature. Lot's going on in there, Neal is talented in dynamics of using both visual and audio spectrums. In other words he twirls his sticks a lot!!! Runs silver dollars over his fingers, hates drum solos, but plays the hell out of them when he has to. He is very quick to learn a new style or pick up things that he hears. I had an electronic music tape that I did back in 1972, with some very syncopated accents that I could hear in my head as I listened to play backs an original called EGAC or cage spelled backward, which was also the chord progression, with a lead lick that was delayed a quarter beat running scales a third apart on the echoplex or DynaChord Super from Germany. Neal listened to it and me slapping my knees with the accents and picked it right up!
Never have I ever heard another drummer pick up and accent the way I wanted it! I asked Neal if he would record the drum track for me and he said "It would be an honor." We never did record it for lack of time and money, but Neal was the only person who got into it.

We used to try to think of publicity stunts to get our group better known. We had a big fat red haired Jewish lady named Chari Zelman for a manager. Neal Smith, Roger Eich, & myself would come up with wild stuff to try. Like, in previous years, like the 50's they would have these dance marathons to see who could dance the longest. In the 60's we wanted to have a band marathon where we would try to set a World Book Of Records for playing the longest gig. We loved playing music, we loved practicing as much as possible, so it was a natural. We tried to get our manager to find us a store front downtown to set up our equipment and play & live in a glass fishbowl till we dropped. Big problem with reality was no store had an insurance policy to cover us when we dropped. So, it never happened, Neal told me he even forgot about that. He wouldn't have if we did it!

Neal doesn't remember too much of his father, because he wasn't around that much. His dad was a professional drummer in the theatre, before the talkies. His father used to write music and drum parts because I saw some at practice once. Neal said he remembered his father holding him on his knee while he played the drums. While they were youngsters back in Ohio Cindy told me her and her brother wore metal braces on their legs because they had polio [in fact Neal never wore braces as his Polio apparently effected his throat, not his legs]. Lot's of water therapy and exercises helped to heal them both into the normal lives they lead today if you can call Neal normal. Actually he is a very special individual with developed talents that once may have been considered a handicap, to someone who has risen above the negativity to a majestic kingly style of drumming." (Skip Ladd, July 2000)

'The Platinum God'

'The Platinum God' was the title of Neal's legendary unreleased solo album from around 1975.

Billy Sheehan [David Lee Roth, Mr Big] was slated to play for Neal Smith's solo project that he was planning around 74/75. Smith had seen him play in Talas and was pretty blown away.
(Renfield, October 1995)

"I would only release the "Platinum God" tapes if they were re-recorded. The album was only half completed in the studio, so it was never finished although all of the songs were written. Also I was unhappy with Jack Douglas's production, but there were a few great moments. ... Maybe one day I will decide to complete the LP."
(Neal Smith, 1998)

The Platinum God album is available at last through Neal`s own label and will be available exclusively through his web site www.nealsmithrocks.com

Tracks and Musicians:

"Maneater Deadly To Her Prey" (4:47)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm Guitar:Mike Marconi
Lead Guitar:Richie Scarlet

"Baby Please Don't Stop" (3:24)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm Guitar:Michael Bruce
Rhythm & Lead Guitar:Mick Mashbir
Harmonica:Mick Mashbir

"Every Day's A Holiday" (2:52)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm & Lead Guitar:Mike Marconi

"French Quarter Cook'in" (3:43)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm Guitar:Mike Marconi
Lead Guitar:Stu Daye
Harmonica:Unknown

"Rock N Roll Radio" (3:14)>NOTE Totally Different Version Than The One From the B$B Battle Axe Album

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm & Lead Guitar:Mike Marconi
Horn & String Section:New York Philharmonic

"Set Me On Fire" (3:25)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm & Lead Guitar:Mike Marconi

"The Sea's A Maneater" (5:33)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm Guitar:Mike Marconi
Lead Guitar:Richie Scarlet

"Platinum God" (8:42)

Music & Lyrics & Lead Vocals & Percussion:Neal Smith
Bass Guitar:Dennis Dunaway
Rhythm & Lead Guitar:Mike Marconi

The Platinum Singers:Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway, Jack Douglas, Mike Marconi,Rockin' Reggie Vincent

I was not going to release "Platinum God", because I didn't have enough songs to complete the album. I had 6 songs and needed more, plus I hate my voice. Last summer "1999", I found two lost unfinished tracks in my studio, so I decided to finished them with the help of Richie Scarlet. But it was really the fans who convinced me to release the album. I still hate my voice, but I'm very happy with "Platinum God", eighth wonder of the world!"
Six songs on "Platinum God" are the original 70's mixes, I digitally mastered these songs. The first song "Maneater Deadly To Her Prey" and the seventh song "The Sea's A Maneater", have new vocals and new lead guitar tracks. I discovered the bed tracks (music only) for these two songs in my studio this summer. They are the 70's recordings of basically the same song, but a fast version and a slower version. The slower version being the original speed for "The Sea's A Maneater". I took the faster version and wrote a totally new song. I had to go into the studio to add vocals and Richie Scarlet added great lead guitar to both songs, and the album was finally finished after 25 years."
The photo (on the cover) with me wearing the zebra skin was taken in the Canary Islands in 1972 by Eillot Holceker. We came down from London to write the last song for the ACG album, Billion Dollar Babies and the song we composed was "Generation Landslide", one of my favorites. We did a photo session, group and individual photos as usual. This zebra skin shot was just taken for fun with no special purpose in mind.
The concept for "Platinum God" has been the same from the beginning in the mid 70's, but I did not think of the cover art until I recently finished all of the music. The "Platinum God" cover with the vintage photo and new artwork, works perfectly with the concept. And then I included some photos inside, that I thought the fans would dig.
(Neal Smith, GBM Mailing List Interview, November 1999)

Early Years

One of Neal`s pre-Alice bands was called 'The Nightriders' and they used to play many of the same shows as the ACG.

Other early Smith bands include The Holly grail, The Laser Beats, Evil, and The Cloth Of Many Colors.

"These were great days, I just loved to play as much as possible, whenever and wherever I could. And of course, it was always a great way to meet members of the opposite sex! At this point the only thing I can remember about the Night Riders is that I had a really big bass drum, a surfboard, I played "Wipe Out" every night and had lots of fun. The Laser Beats were the Night Riders with a singer, that actually I never really liked at all, but we won some battle of the bands. I played "Wipe Out" a lot and had some great times.
I can't believe you mention the sacred "Cloth of Many Colors", no one knows about that band as well it should be. We only did 2 shows and we opened for the "Nazz", I was the lead singer and front man (no drums). Our bass guitarist Roger, was the x-sax player from the Night Riders & Laser Beats, he played a fur covered fender bass and Skip (Ladd) played lead guitar. Skip was the only really cool thing about the band. We had a drummer and I don't know his name. Thank God we only played two gigs, the world would not have been ready for "The Cloth".
(Neal Smith, GWM Interview, November 99)

"Here in Phoenix, before Neal Smith joined Alice, while he was still playing drums for the Holy Grail, Neal was the MC for several of the Love Ins at the Encanto Park Bandshell sponsored by the City Of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department. One of them was with the Spiders when they did the song "Boris The Spider" Dennis squished the imaginary spider on the front edge of the stage. That may have been the time that the Holy Grail played with John Fitzgerald as lead singer, they were so good the Spiders made up a gimmick to gain attention. They stuffed some clothes to make a dummy and then kicked it around the stage. Kids loved it!
(Skip Ladd, February 2000)

"'Rampage', by the Laser Beats, which has Neil Smith in the group, dated 1966. The following is what I was given from Dennis at the GB egroup

"We recorded at Audio Recorders in Phoenix on Laser Records label. "Again" (the B side of Rampage - Chris) was a song that Neal wrote the lyrics to and I did the music.

"Rampage" was written by all of us for a theme song to a TV show that was never written. We had the same idea that the Monkey's had a year earlier but the writer got too involved with the Car Magazine he was also writing for and the Winter National Drag Races at Beeline Dragway. That guy said hind sight is 20/20 and he could have kicked himself in the ass for not promoting it more. Those guys made millions and couldn't even play, where we had already won the Battle of the Bands for two years in a row, 1964 & 1965. We also recorded "Barbara" on Audio Recorders label. The flip side was a novelty song called "Popcorn Man" a song about a popcorn machine that breaks and flows over and floods the streets with popcorn, we yelled and screamed in the background into the cork walls of the studio. I wrote the music to that one and Roger Eich, the sax player wrote the lyrics. These were released just locally in Phoenix, doubt very much if anyone would find copies. I have them in 45 RPM, also have the first record Alice ever did! MASCOT label by the Spiders "WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME" the flip side is "HITCH HIKE"."

Laser Beats
Skip Ladd - Lead Guitar
Neal Smith - Drums
Roger Eich - Sax
David Eich - Steel
Stan B. - Rhythm
Steph McLaughlin (Steve Hudson before name change)
(Skip Ladd, 2001)

"Rampage was written by Steve Hudson and the Night Riders for a theme song of a video production that Jerry Hicks and his wife were going to produce for KPHO channel 5. It was recorded in 1965 at Audio Recorders on 7th Street. Black & White video tapes were made so you could film on locations that year. We had been having rehearsals for acting and character study at Jerry Hick's house on Indian School Road. Some of the camera people were supposed to come over and work with us. At the time Channel 3, then ABC, had American Bandstand and Arizona Bandstand for their teenage viewing public.
Channel 5 was trying to find something to compete with ABC, sure they had Wallace & Ladmo, but they were mostly for the younger kids so they wanted us because we had just won the Battle of the Bands for the second year in a row at the Arizona State Car Show. First in 1964 with KRIZ radio, and the next year for KRUX radio, both of them AM stations, FM was only classical here then. We also were suppose to have Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss Arizona, help with the acting parts. Neal was a very funny actor! You gotta love that!
Jerry Hicks would sit each of us down with a reel to reel tape rolling in the middle of the kitchen table asking us questions that were a bit on the obscure hypothetical situations to see what our real characters were like, so the script writers could fashion the video scripts to our real personalities. Jerry had asked if we could come up with a theme song to play so that when teens would hear it in the next room they would come in to watch TV. We worked this tune out in a practice place we fondly called the F.I.B. which stood for Finger In Bowl, which was nothing more than a sound proofed garage at my brother Bill's house. We had curtains hanging all around the walls with room for mattresses behind the curtains to absorb the sound. We had the reel to reel for practice hooked up to the power so when anyone turned on the lights it started the tapes rolling. Made for some interesting High School tapes of guys & gals at play. Don't ask for the tapes, we probably taped over them to protect the guilty.
The singer was Steve Hudson, who later changed his name to Steph McGlophklin, he heard that Vince changed his to Alice for $30, so he did too. Neal couldn't stand him! Sure Steve was talented to sound like lots of singers, and gifted with a 4 octave range, but when it came to showmanship we thought he was missing a chromosome. As Cindy would say, "Jace!"
Yes there were 45's made of this song but when the local stations picked it up they were playing the other side "Again" which is a song that Neal wrote the words to. The 45's were made on the LASER RECORDS a gold label put out by our Manager, Chari Zelman. It also has the numbers L-101 on both sides.

Hope this helps clear up the Rampage, oh by the way, Jerry Hicks was writing for Vibrations magazine a year later when he told me he could "Kick himself in the ass for not going through with the video shoots on locations" He said a group called the Monkee's did the same thing we were doing in Hollywood making millions of dollars at it, and they weren't even as good a musicians as us! Then he proceeded to take my picture for the front cover of his magazine. (Vol 6.) Vibrations. Mr. Hicks said that he was very involved writing stories to cover the Winter Nationals out at Beeline Raceway. So busy writing stories for the Nationals that he never did the scripts for Rampage!"
(Skip Ladd, June 2001)

An 'Audio Recorders of Arizona' acetate 45 also exists featuring the songs 'Mr Popcorn' (written by NEal) and 'Barbara' but no evidence of a commercial release.

At one stage Neal wanted to make a drum kit completely out of Budweiser cans. Neal's drum technician called Budweiser to get permission. They wanted no money mind you, just the right to sell Budweiser beer at their concerts. Their response was an indignant no, and they went on to say that they would never have their name connected with them OR any other degenerate rock and roll band or music, period, end of discussion.

The Present


Torn Ticket Productions 1997

Neal currently has a thriving real estate company in Westport, CT. You can check them out at www.nealsmithrealtor.com.

"With the success of `Love It To Death`, I had a little extra pocket change laying around so I invested it into a property in Arizona. Within 2 years I tripled my initial investment. In the early 80's I went through a divorce and had to sell my home in Connecticut and met some great people that helped my become interested in a field that I was already familiar with. It is a great career because I still can make time for my music. It was not that difficult of a change for me, I love business. I'm a Libra, I need the balance of music and business."
(Neal Smith, November 1999)

He also played on an album by Antbee.

On October 10th 1997, Neal joined with Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton to perform together for the first time in over twenty years. They performed a selection of AC songs at the Area 51 club in Houston Texas.

Cinematik

Neal also played on the two Cinematik albums which can be obtained from www.nealsmithrocks.com:

New CD By CINEMATIK!!!
… at about 11:30, just before midnight…

Drums from all over the world meet up with worldbeat/rock guitar and bass. Drums in the hands of Neal Smith, former percussionist for the group Alice Cooper, Billion Dollar Babies and The Plasmatics, integrate and propel this explorative blend of songscaping.

Guitarist Robert Mitchell and bass player Peter Catucci, contribute vocals where verse and chorus structures diverge and merge with instrumental textures.

This mix is especially remarkable in the sonically stellar, supreme hands of Rob Fraboni (Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Rolling Stones, Sub Dudes, Bonnie Raitt, etc.)

The final combination of percussive, inventive and harmonic, elements is in-the-pocket while bouncing off at about 11:30… just before midnight.

Send $20.00 US (Money Orders Only! Covers CD + S&H)
Outside the United States $25.00 US.

PAYABLE TO: Neal Smith

MAIL TO: Neal Smith
Kachina Records
P.O. Box 125
Westport, CT 06881-0125

Solo Discography

1977 Billion Dollar Babies - Battle Axe (feat. Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce, Neal Smith) (Buy)

The Flying Tigers With Neal And Dennis1979 The Flying Tigers - Live at the Baranby's Club(Bootleg) feat. Dunaway & Smith. Also David Stackman - lead guitar and Paul Roy (deceased) - rhythm guitar and sang nearly all of the songs. Neal would always sing "Rock'N'Roll Radio" (from the Battle Axe album.

Neal was in the Neal Smith Band first---I'm not sure about exactly when that band formed--but they played club dates in Connecticut in 1978 (such as Toad's Place in New Haven and The Apple in Milford),,,,then Dennis joined in the Fall of 1978 and the new band was named the Flying Tigers...they performed for a couple of years or so. I attended many shows of both the Neal Smith Band and the Flying Tigers at numerous Connecticut clubs during those years. THE SHOWS WERE AWESOME. Cooper songs performed included "I'm 18", "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)" and "Under My Wheels". The Flying Tigers had several incredibly good original songs. Neal's drumming during those years was nothing less than SPECTACULAR...his drum solos during "I'm 18" were mind-blowing...I still have a broken drum stick from one of those drum solos. Dennis was great also, and very friendly to talk with during breaks at the shows. The chemistry onstage between Neal and Dennis was always fun to watch. It really seemed that they enjoyed themselves at these gigs quite a bit. My friend and I would often sit and dance with Cindy Dunaway and Babette Smith at these club shows.
(Sickthing Ray Ieronimo, August 1999)

"I am the friend Ray refered to in his post. I have seen the Tigers probably more than anyone, I have 2 separate live recordings of them from a small club right down the street from where I live in Ct. I also have their one and only 4 track demo recording that was done to get a recording deal. I first saw the Neal Smith Band @ their first gig in a club in West Hartford, Ct. called Stage West in 1977-78 and then they played Toad's in New Haven a few months later which I also attended. Dennis came onboard thereafter and I would say I saw them at least 50 times over the next 2 years until they disbanded in the summer of '80. As far as songs, Ray was correct w/ his listing of AC songs done. Some of the more popular songs by the Tigers were "Must Be Love" "American In Paris" as well as a smokin' cover of The Who's "Substitute". I would venture to guess that I had seen them play in 10 - 15 different clubs in those 3 years and during that time I also got to meet Mike Bruce & G.B. who were both just as nice, personable and friendly as Neal & Dennis. I even got to dance near Glen during "Under My Wheels" and get a high five from the Blonde Bomber. Neal was right in his quote, the live energy of their shows was hard to recapture in the studio.
(David Pugliese, May 2001)

"There are some studio recordings of Flying Tigers and NSB, but the energy is not there like in the live recordings."
(Neal Smith, November 1999)

1981 The Plasmatics - Beyond The Valley Of 1984 (Buy)

The 2 so called live tracks on "Beyond The Valley of 1984" by the "Plasmatics", were recorded in the New York studio with the rest of the tracks on the album. During the mix, the live crowd noise was added to sound like a live concert. I know, I recorded drums on every song, was there during the mixing and I've never been in Italy. It was pure studio MAGIC. (Neal Smith)

1982 Buck Dharma "Flat out" LP feat. Dennis Dunaway & Neal Smith

1989 Deadringer - Electrocution of the Heart LP feat. Dunaway & Smith

1997 Antbee - Lunar Musik (feat. Dennis Dunaway, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Neal Smith) (Buy)

1997 The X-Brothers - Solid Citizens (Neal and Dennis Dunaway co-wrote a couple of songs)

1999 Bruce Cameron - Midnight Daydream (also features Michael Bruce) (Buy)

2001 B.D.S. - Back From Hell (Buy)

2001 Cinematik - At About 11:30, Just Before Midnight (Buy)

2002 Cinematik - One Full Moon Away (Buy)

2003 B.D.S. - Live In Paris

2008 (February 14th) KillSmith - Sexual Savior - KillSmith is a second Neal Smith solo album. (Buy)

2011 KillSmith 2 (Buy)