A few weeks ago Gerard Smith, the bassist from TV on the Radio, died from lung cancer age 34. I found this out in New York, sitting in the flat of my friends who live above Union Pool – the very place I’d first seen TV on the Radio play with Gerard in a small, intimate, sweaty and fun filled gig. Sad news at any time, but especially so in that situation, and my thoughts immediately turned to his friends, family and bandmates and the shock of someone dying so young.
Like most TV on the Radio fans, I never knew Gerard as anyone other than a member of the band, playing wonderful music that made us smile, dance and sing. but one moment will stay with me that I wanted to share. In July 2009 TV on the Radio played Brixton Academy, shortly after playing a more intimate gig at Shepherds Bush. In coming out from the plastic cup strewn hall, we found a crowd of people gathered around a t-shirt vendor on the street. The t-shirts, bad knock offs of official merchandise, were laid out on the ground to catch happy fans on the way out of the gig. What made this scene so different from every other time, was that this time two of the band members themselves were helping sell the t-shirts. Jaleel and Gerard were laughing, smiling and trying to convince their fans that these were the best t-shirts ever much to the enjoyment of everyone around, especially the t-shirt vendor. A beautiful moment. Gerard, sorry the photo isn’t worthy of it, but the memory you left is one of the very best. Happy travels.