From The Archives: Chris ‘Smiley’ Pailthorpe (Hush) Interview (1995)

SmileyJust over twenty years ago, Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain were sucking the ends of pencils at junior high schools somewhere in Seattle. The word ‘grunge’ had yet to be invented and America was rocking to the sounds of Kiss, Alice Cooper and Suzi Quatro, whilst England was being shaken by the likes of T-Rex, The Sweet and Slade. Much the same time in Australia, an energetic young Sydney band called Hush were churning out hit singles, and undertaking exhaustive nationwide tours. By far their two biggest selling hits were ‘Boney Moroney’ and ‘Glad All Over’, with ‘Boney Moroney’ shooting to number one and eventually becoming the biggest selling single for 1975.At their peak, they rivalled the likes of Sherbet and Skyhooks as kings of Australian pop. Hush consisted of Keith Lamb (vocals), Les Gock (guitar), Rick Lum (bass) and pounding the skins was Chris ‘Smiley’ Pailthorpe. Chris grew up in the Sydney suburb of Earlwood, and at seventeen started playing drums because he wanted to be a rock n roll star. He grew up listening to The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Vanilla Fudge, and as a drummer admired Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Carmine Appice and Keith Barber from the La De Da’s. In late 1972, Chris was told of an ad in The Sydney Morning Herald, for a band requiring a drummer. After landing an audition two days later, he packed his kit into the back of his kombi and was on his way. “Keith and Robin (Jackson-original guitarist) shared a great love of British music and we jammed on several Equals numbers. ‘Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys’ was among them” recalls Smiley of that first audition. Eventually beating over sixty other applicants, he played his first gig at Fairfield the following night, and every night after for the week following !

Opening support slots with The Jackson 5, and Status Quo in 1973 helped expose the band to larger audiences. They’d often play three shows a night at dances all over Sydney, but the constant gigging was starting to reap some rewards. The success of  ‘Boney Moroney’ and ‘Glad All Over’, coupled with appearances on Countdown, resulted in tours to all parts of Australia. “We toured for like eleven months of the year, and that other month was spent in the recording studio. We were one of the most intensive touring bands around” remembers Smiley. Whilst in the process of recording what was to be their last album ‘Touché’, Hush hooked up with Alice Cooper, supporting him around Australia and New Zealand. (Interesting to note that ex Vanilla Fudge member Mark Stein, who was touring with Alice played keyboards on Touché) The album didn’t sell as well as they’d hoped and in 1978 Hush decided to call it a day. They reformed briefly in 1979, and performed at 2SM’s ‘Concert Of The Decade’ on the steps of The Sydney Opera House, which eventually turned out to be their final performance. (‘Glad All Over’ was included on the double live album of the concert, which was released not long after). Smiley then played with King Dog, an outfit which also featured Phil Emmanuel. The last few years have been filled with study, study and more study. Smiley now divides his time between working at an architect’s office, and completing an architecture course at university. “There’s more late nights in architecture than there are in rock n roll” he laughs. Smiley still enjoys music, and lists The Cranberries, Enya, Sheryl Crow and The Black Sorrows as current favourites. As for favourite Hush songs ‘Something Tells Me Something’s Wrong’, ‘Everywhere I Go’ and ‘Walking’ are his personal faves. “I think ‘Walking’ has stood the test of time, and still sounds relatively fresh today” he adds. For mine though, you can’t go past ‘Man Eater’, ‘Rocking Gypsy King’, ‘9 to 5er’, and the beautiful ‘Nothing Stays The Same Forever’. With so many fond memories of a very special time, it’s hard to single out just one highlight, but Chris Pailthorpe breaks into a ‘smile’ and chuckles. “I guess when I was driving along New South Head Road one time and I first heard us on the radio. ‘Get The Feeling’ was blasting out and I turned it up real loud ! That was quite special.” For some, Hush hold a special place in their rock n roll hearts. They produced some sizzling rock n roll and if you ain’t heard ’em, hunt down their albums and GET ROCKED !


(Interview by Colin and Denis Gray. Archive Source: Vicious Kitten Fanzine Issue 1: May 1995)

One thought on “From The Archives: Chris ‘Smiley’ Pailthorpe (Hush) Interview (1995)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s