Dingoes' Frontman Broderick Smith howls his last tune at 75

Wednesday 03 May 2023

Broderick Smith, the frontman of The Dingoes, has passed away peacefully at his home at the age of 75. Smith was an early rock music success in Australia and also played with bands such as Carson and The Big Combo.

Apart from rock, Smith also played blues, country, and many other types of music, while touring extensively across Australia and abroad. The Dingoes were inducted into the ARIA hall of fame in 2009, and Smith also worked as an actor, appearing in shows such as Blue Heelers and the State Coroner.

Smith's son, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, followed in his father's footsteps as a singer and multi-instrumentalist in the Melbourne psychedelic rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. "Hope you finally find the holy grail of harmonica tones wherever you are," Kenny-Smith said after his father's death on Sunday. "I love you so much. I am lost without you, but the show must go on. Goodbye for now, you beautiful lil weirdo wombat."

Smith was born in England but moved to Melbourne with his family as a child as part of an emigration movement which came to be known as 'Ten pound Poms' after the cost of the sea fare. He started playing harmonica, banjo, and guitar and singing in bands when he was just 14 years old.

His music career began to take off when he joined the Adderley Smith Blues Band in 1966, but was interrupted two years later when he was drafted for national service. When he got out of the army in 1970, he formed the country band Sundown, followed by Carson, a blues boogie group, in 1972.

Carson got a major label record deal with Harvest EMI, bringing Smith his first taste of sustained musical success. His next band was The Dingoes, who signed to the iconic Aussie Mushroom Records label in 1973 and released their debut 7' single Way Out West. Both that and the self-titled album that followed in 1974 were critical and commercial successes.

In 2018, Smith told the ABC that "there was a lot of madness in the Dingoes" at the time. After their initial success at home, the band moved to the US, where they recorded their second album, Five Times The Sun, which was released in 1977. A year later, having moved back to Australia, Smith formed Broderick Smith's Hired Hands, which was followed by Broderick Smith's Big Combo and his first solo record in 1984.

In the decades after that, he recorded with many seminal artists from around the world, including Cat Stevens, Jimmy Barnes, Steve Cropper, The Memphis Horns, Buffy Saint Marie, Phil Ochs, Ted Egan, Tommy, and Phil Emmanuel.

"Brod's been involved in the writing of somewhere around 200 songs, and his solo albums have seen him writing virtually all the lyrics," his website said. "He generally starts off with the lyric in a prose form, and then when the music is written, tends to change the lyrics to suit the music. Broderick believes lyrics should say something and not just be something to sing along to."

In 2013, he appeared on Eyes Like the Sky, the second album by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. He wrote and narrated all the lyrics on what has been described as a 'cult western audio book'. The story of the lyrics is based around child soldiers, native Americans, and gunfights, all set in the American frontier.