RIP Shawn Smith

Migs Blog

April 7, 2019

Friday night I received word from a buddy of mine that Shawn Smith, frontman for bands like Brad, Pigeonhed, and Satchel, had passed away.

I would be lying to say that I knew Shawn, I only met him once, but I have many friends that were close to him and my thoughts are with them as they cope with this devastating news.

I can only speak about Shawn from a fan perspective…as many of his records have had a profound impact on my life. Hell, the music of Brad was the main soundtrack to my wedding as we used many of their songs for our ceremony.  

I first discovered the songwriting talents of Shawn Smith when I was in college. I was working at our college radio station in Plattsburgh NY, and we received in the mail the copy of Brad's first record “Shame”. 

I heard about the band prior to their debut record coming out, they were a band getting press as a band that featured the guitarist of Pearl Jam, Stone Gossard. Now this is fresh off the early success of Pearl Jam, so as a Pearl Jam geek… I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

The moment I put their CD in and heard Shawn‘s voice, I was instantly hooked. I was surprised by how mellow of a vibe the record started with, but the song is so powerful they had me instantly hooked. That song is “Buttercup”.

Another song I like to share is from their second record "Interiors", and it’ called “The Day Brings". If you were to ask me to put together a list of songs that I think are truly perfect…from the lyrics, to the music, to the overall vibe…this song would absolutely be on that list. I mentioned how their music was heavily used in my wedding…this song was the song that we had our bridal party come down the aisle to.

Earlier I mentioned I only met him once…and it’s a memory I’ll never forget. My band was playing a show (that he was playing at as well) a few months ago at the Highway 99 Blues Club.  

At some point the two of us were in the backstage area, and I had a few drinks in me, so I had the liquid courage to let them know how important his music was to me. It was a definite "fan boy" moment, and Shawn couldn't have been nicer about it. I told him how so much of his music was used in our which he replied, “should I send you my address for the royalty checks?”...he then smiled and thanked me for the kind words.  Then I just chilled in the backstage area, and listened to him on the piano, as him and our mutual friend Intisaar just busted into an improvised song...which led to many laughs.

My final memory I’d like to share about Shawn is a time I saw Brad at the Showbox back in April of 2010.  After their set, the members of Mother Love Bone jumped on stage, and with Shawn fronting them, they proceeded to blow all of our minds with a short set of MLB songs...whenever I’m asked of a favorite memory about the Seattle music scene, that’s my favorite story to share (the pic at the top of this blog is from that show).  

Shawn was buds with Andrew Wood, and at times would cover a Mother Love Bone song in his sets...including this great performance at the Sunset Tavern a few years back.  

Do yourself a favor and spend a day listening to Shawn’s music...may he soar like an eagle.