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Judge Smith
[Late 1968 - present]

xxx Personnel xxx
(Chris) Judge Smith:
 vocals, drums, perc, euphonium, bass,
 Chinese shawm, autoharp, kbds, sampler

Steve Robshaw: gtr, piano
Ian Wolstenholme: bass
Max Hutchinson: piano, gtr, bass, sax
Martin Pottinger: drums
Ivan Watson: piano
Malcolm Watson: violin
Dave Mitchell: sax, cello
Peter Hammill: gtr, bass, voc, harmonium
David Jackson: sax, flute
Hugh Banton: piano, gtr, organ
Steve Hicklin: gtr, bass
Ben Burrow: drums
Raynar Falconer: electric piano
Lene Lovich: voc
Tony Harris: gtr
Richard Manwaring: drums
Robert Pettigrew: piano
Ian Fordham: bass, dbl bass
John 'Fury' Ellis: gtr, mandolin
Paul Roberts: voc
Arthur Brown: vocals
Pete Brown: vocals
David Shaw-Parker: gtr, banjo, voc
Paul Thompson: vocals
Joe Hinchliff: accordion
Rikki Patten: gtr
René van Commenée: tabla, ghatam, tambura
Tammo Heikens: sitar, tambura
Nick Lucas: vocals
Gwendolyn Gray: vocals
Mike Bell: vocals
VdGG III / Usher
Cousin Mary
Cousin Mary
The Modern Beats
Peter Hammill IV/[solo]
Crazy World Of/
Kingdom Come/[solo]
Battered Ornaments/Piblokto
[author, actor]
Crazy World of Arthur Brown
David Jackson
J. Smith & The Y.O.
The Modern Beats
The Modern Beats
The Modern Beats
PH II/PH IV/[solo]
PH II/PH IV/[solo]
J. Smith & The Y.O.
Tragic Roundabout
J. Smith & The Y.O.
The Astor Ensemble /
The Raj Mohan Ensemble /
J. Smith & The Y.O.

xxx Discography xxx
Dome Of Discovery
Curly's Airships
The Vesica Massage
Oedipus Recs
Oedipus Recs
Masters of Art
Masters of Art

xxx History xxx

Judge joined the Scientologists for a couple of years after Heebalob's record deal fell through. "I went off and sailed the Seven Seas with L. Ron Hubbard" (Pilgrims no. 16). He wrote the song Go Clear as a sort of Scientology anthem with the help from his neighbours and friends (and non-Scientologists) Lene Premilovich (who later shortened her name) and Les Chappell. The song was never released. Later he wrote a play based on the original Dracula novel, worked in Maxwell Hutchinson's architecture company, and the two of them wrote many songs and then started writing full-length musicals together, words by Judge and music by Max. "Since we were writing short catchy commercial songs and not getting them recorded, we thought we'd stop that, and write something long, involved and totally uncommercial and not get that recorded instead." (Judge, Pilgrims no. 17).

The first musical The Kibbo Kift, about a sort of Boy Scouts and Green activists movement in England in the 1920s, was produced at the Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Festival of 1976 and at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield the following year. It made Judge an expert on the subject.

The Ascent Of Wilberfocrce III (from where the excellent Four Pails on PH's Skin originates) was also produced at the Traverse Theatre, in 1981, and at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London in 1982. It was subtitled The White Hell of Iffish Odorabab and takes place in the Himalayas in the late 1920s or early 30s. An international expedition intends to climb the legend-haunted and un-conquered peak Wilberforce III. A silly Norwegian professor insists on using Esperanto as the only means of communication in the expedition (he dies early on because no one else speaks the language properly). It also involves a beautiful female disciple of Aleister Crowley and the Yeti! Judge certainly knows how to pick original ideas for his projects!

Mata Hari was a music-theatre piece about the famous, original Dutch, femme fatale who was successful as a sort of ethnic dancer (and also mistress) in Paris in the early 20th century. She was convicted and shot by the French as a German spy during the First World War. The piece was written by Judge, Lene Lovich and Les Chappell and staged at the Lyric Theatre in 1982 starring Lene as the leading lady.

In 1974 Judge made the international award winning short film The Brass Band about a man being chased by a, yes, brass band! In fact it was Michael Brands Brass Band. Later, thanks to Judge, the MBB Band participated on This Side Of The Looking Glass on PH's album Over. Michael also helped to write down and arrange Judge's Latin Requiem Mass in 1975 (nine movements for rock band, choir and brass) which still awaits its first full performance. At least the song Dies Irae was recorded by The Imperial Storm Band in 1977 and included on Judge's Democrazy album. Much later Judge provided the libretto (lyrics) for Michel Brand cantata Pioneer 10 premiered in September 1992 for choir and wind orchestra, about the voyage through the solar system of the Pioneer 10 Jupiter probe. Judge wrote the libretto for classical composer Joseph Horovitz's oratorio Samson, too, premiered in a radio broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall in 1977. He has also written the chamber opera The Book Of Hours all on his own which was directed by Mel Smith at the Young Vic Theatre, London in 1978.

Judge's songs/co-written songs have been performed by VdGG, PH, Lene Lovich, Not The Nine O'Clock News and Mel Smith. Lene's single What Will I Do Without You (Stiff 1980) by our man climbed to no. 58 in the British charts in spring 1980. This means Judge probably is the only VdGG-member to be involved in (almost) a hit single! Lene's album Flex (Stiff 1979) included What Will I Do Without You and You Can't Kill Me by our man. He also contributed backing vocals to the album that made it to no. 20 in the British album charts winter 1980. The Not The Nine O'Clock News album included Judge's Gob On You and went all the way to no. 3 in the UK album charts December 1980.

The Democrazy album is a collection of demos penned between 1967 and 1977 and includes songs by line-ups very close to Heebalob I and II and a couple by The Imperial Storm Band. Democrazy also includes songs by groups never to be, such as The Theta People (1970) and Five Jolly Jivers (with Max, in the wake of FART). Most of the people mentioned in the upper half of the personnel list above contributed to the album. Dome Of Discovery is very much a solo effort, recorded at Judge's home studio.

Judge has been busy with his recording project Curly's Airships since 1993. It tells "the true and extraordinary story of the 1924 Imperial Airship Scheme, a grandiose plan to link the colonies of the British Empire with a fleet of Zeppelins; a dream which ended with the destruction of the world's biggest airship, the giant dirigible R101, on its maiden voyage to India in 1930." The guest list includes Hugh Banton, John 'Fury' Ellis, Ian Fordham, Paul Roberts, Hammill, Jaxon, Arthur and Pete Brown among others. The double CD was finally launched in October 2000. There's a home page entirely dedicated to Flight Lieutenant Curly McLeod of the Royal Air Force and his airships, see the Sites section.

There is no-one else in these pages with such an overt sense of humour in his music; as Judge puts it himself: "There's fundamentally, deep down, a deep strain of stupidity in everything I do, crucial in the understanding of my work." (Pilgrims no. 17)

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