I can’t claim to have known Gerard Smith well. Over the years, we’d say hello and exchange a handshake when we ran across one another and that was the extent really. But I knew enough to know he was a very lovely individual and I have, these brief, infrequent memories that I’ve often thought of fondly.
I’m thinking back tonight to days before T.V. On the Radio and before I was doing anything, we were both busking in the same subway stations so we’d say hi and chat as our ‘shifts’ overlapped. I would know coming down the steps exactly who was playing and would never mind giving up the spot to Gerard. He played a nylon string guitar seemingly in any style and always beautifully and If I’m being honest I was a little jealous of some things he could do.
One afternoon we stood on the street and I traded him a badge of my band for one of the two YYY’s badges pinned to his cap. These were early days it was all localized and it was just friends supporting one another waiting for the world to notice. A long, long while later I walked into a venue to hear TVOTR–who I had actually only ever seen as a two piece–playing incredibly, sounding massive, and there in the middle of it all was Gerard and immediately you could see that that gentle, wise beyond his years look of his, had found a home and a chance to let out all that talent and that the world was most certainly going to notice.
It’s distant now, all a long time ago and grows hard to place but, the sound of his guitar, echoing in the tunnels of an empty station, that’s a memory I’ll fight to preserve for a long time to come.