R.I.P. Chas
October 16, 2007 08:16PM
gods. i don't want to start this by saying, 'it is with great sadness' blah blah blah. But damn if it isn't true.
Chas passed on this morning. He was a truly good, sweet dude and to say he will be missed doesn't begin to cover it.

Rev. Stang has already said everything else i might say here, said more, and said it better, so go read his blog because - just do it.
Its linked from subgenius.com. i'm gonna - go do something else now.
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 16, 2007 09:59PM
thanks for sharing the subgenius link -

there's talk at the station, but no official public thread yet - thanks for starting it.

i think people are just in shock.
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 17, 2007 02:27PM
Many fond memories of Chas, from his asking me to be a part of Brainrot Radio Theatre early on, to sharing an office with him for some three years, to seeing him get down with that Theramin. Many more of course. Give my regards to his family for me. I can't be at the memorial due to work in Illinois, sadly.
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 18, 2007 02:25PM

Obituary: Chas Smith
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Alana BaranickPlain Dealer Reporter

Chas Smith, who lectured on the "Roots of Rock and Soul" at Cleveland State University and fronted the ever-morphing space-age rock band, Einstein's Secret Orchestra, died Tuesday at Cleveland Clinic Hospital.

The 50-year-old Cleveland resi dent and his band - some times called Einstein's Se cret Outlaws but better known simply as ESO - performed at many Church of the SubGenius "devivals" in northern Ohio.

Smith, whose birth name was Charles Vincent Smith, also provided music - with or without ESO - for the well-known religious-cult parody group's X-Day gatherings at the Brushwood Folklore Center in the southwest corner of New York state for several years.

"His onstage attire was quite entertaining," said his niece Jennifer Jusko. "He always had some kind of crazy costume. Sometimes an alien, sometimes leopard print, glam-rock shiny, camouflage. Anything kind of spacey. It was as fun to watch as it was to listen to."

Smith sometimes spiced up his everyday outfits - black shirt, black jeans, black hat - by wearing high boots, leather pants or spurs in the classroom. He often opened his classes by sitting at the piano and singing a song for his students.

He taught them about modern rock stars drawing from blues, bluegrass, soul, funk, country and gospel music to create their own sounds. He also wrote textbooks covering the same themes: "From Woodstock to the Moon: The Cultural Evolution of Rock Music," "The Soul of Sunrise: Grassroots Music in America" and recently completed a third tome.

The East Cleveland native, whose own influences included Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, and New York Dolls, began playing keyboards for garage rock bands at age 14.

Not long after graduating from Wickliffe High School, the son of a surveyor and a parochial school teacher moved to Arizona.

At 19, he learned he had Hodgkin's disease and returned to Lake County. His cancer was in remission for decades, but Smith's family believes the disease and radiation treatment he received probably compromised his immune system and contributed to his dying from complications of pneumonia and a stroke.

In the late 1970s, Smith got into punk rock. He played first with The Clocks and later The Pagans.

CONTINUED 1 | 2 Next

Page 2 of 2
He formed ESO and hosted Thursday night's "Swamp Radio" show on WCSB FM/89.3, while working on his bachelor's and master's degrees in music and later teaching at CSU.

Smith, whose other band credits include Venus Envy and Cobra Verde, sang and played an assortment of musical instruments, including the theremin. The early electronic music device produces eerie sounds that can be heard in classic horror and science fiction films and in The Beach Boys' recording, "Good Vibrations."

The Rolling Stones, the aging rock band that draws huge multigenerational audiences to its fast-paced concerts, gained Smith's stamp of approval as "the greatest rock and roll band of all time."

He told his students that the band is "still putting on a hell of a show and having fun with it. They're saying to all of us, 'The road goes on forever and the party never ends.' "

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

abaranick@plaind.com, 216-999-4828

Chas (Charles V.) Smith


Survivors: Parents, Stanley and Theresa of Wickliffe; brothers, Richard J. of Warren and Thomas H. of Northfield; and sister, Patricia Ann of Willoughby.

Services: 10 a.m. Friday, Brickman Bros. Funeral Home, 37433 Euclid Ave., Willoughby.

Online tribute: www.chastribute.com/
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 18, 2007 03:50PM
Passing along something I received in an email:

Here's a statement/bio/eulogy that The Reverend Ivan Stang wrote:

This morning, Oct. 16, our friend Chas Smith peacefully vacated Earth Plane One for greener pastures.

Chas was hospitalized a month ago with double pneumonia, and had a severe stroke while in the hospital. He had also been fighting Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer which he had beaten in his youth but which killed his brother several years ago, and for which he had recently started getting radiation treatments. Chas was a really tough old soldier but nobody could fight this so many illnesses and traumas forever.

Chas had just turned 50.

As a music professor at Cleveland State University, Chas taught the most popular course at the whole school, a class in the history of rock and roll and its roots. Chas put much more into his class than just the history, however. He was beloved by students as much for his spontaneous rants on life and society in general, or on space and science, or whatever had grabbed his interest that week, as for his musical subject matter.

He also taught regular and very popular workshops in music and consciousness at Starwood, Winterstar, and Sirius Rising. He taught basic musical composition to little kids through a program with the Cleveland Opera. He authored three textbooks on the history of rock and roots music: "From Woodstock to the Moon: The Cultural Evolution of Rock Music," "The Soul of Sunrise: Grassroots Music in America," and another which was only recently finished.

The focal point of his life, however, was playing music. He was in The Clocks, a popular Cleveland punk band in the late '70s and early '80s. During the 1990s and early 2000s he fronted Einstein's Secret Orchestra or ESO (with Dave DeLuca, Bob Mozick and Michele George (to whom he was married for several years). Two excellent studio albums and many good live recordings exist. In recent years ESO became more of a blues, classic C&W and jam band with many different members. Chas also toured with Cobra Verde as keyboardist.

Cleveland radio listeners heard Chas's weekly show on WCSB, Swamp Radio, every Thursday night for over 20 years. This eclectic show included not only whatever music Chas was into at the time, but live performances, jams, and also improv comedy and plays -- first with Brain Rot Theater (radio comedy sketches by Dave DeLuca, Dan Didonato, and Chas) and later with DeLuca, myself and my wife "Princess Wei." Chas also took calls from listeners -- and he got some pretty wild listeners. The bits recorded on Swamp Radio were a mainstay of the syndicated SubGenius show "Hour of Slack" for almost a decade.

Almost all SubGenius events in the Cleveland and Northern Ohio area featured ESO (or sometimes just Chas, solo) as the musical headliner from 1992 to 2002.

Chas was an outdoorsman -- not a hunter, but a hiker and camper. His seasonal camp at Brushwood Folklore Center in western rural New York grew into a sort of giant art gallery and performance area where some of the coolest events at Brushwood took place -- and if you're familiar with Brushwood, that's saying quite a bit. Variously called Tranquility Base and Club Tiki Banzai, Chas's parties (including the annual Rumble in the Jungle) are legendary. When Chas wasn't playing, he was DJing.

The camp -- and his performance costumes or "rock star duds" -- were outlets for Chas's considerable graphic arts talents. He had some of the most psychedelic outfits I've ever seen in rock shows, decorated by hand in his inimitable style. His home and especially the recording studio in the basement benefited from his handiwork and seemingly boundless energy.

Chas will be remembered by thousands -- his almost countless former students, his many fellow musicians and performers, his camping buddies and the many communities to which he was such a big contributor -- Brushwood, A.C.E. in Cleveland, The Church of the SubGenius, WCSB, Cleveland State, and probably many more of which I have yet to learn.

Chas wasn't the only reason I left Dallas for Cleveland, but he was definitely one of the main ones. He is already greatly missed.

A deep and heartfelt thanks to Bob Mozick for being such a rock for Chas and his family and friends through this whole hard time.

Visiting Hours will be: Thursday, October 18th 4:00pm - 8:00pm

Memorial Service will be: Friday, October 19th 10:00am

37433 Euclid Ave.
Willoughby, Ohio 44094

Contributions would be appreciated
Charles Smith Fund
U.S. Bank
26410 Lake Shore Blvd.
Euclid, OH 44132
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 19, 2007 06:35PM
"The path you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own,

But as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea,

And tears run to a pre-destined end --

Find peace for eternity ... my son."

-- the Gypsy prayer from 'THE WOLF MAN'.
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 20, 2007 03:48AM
I feel immensely fortunate to have witnessed
Chas' deep appreciation for the very few moments
we are lucky enough to experience in this universe .

My life is profoundly richer for the opportunity to have known him .

A few pictures and short video clips
from last nights & todays services ,
for anyone who may have wanted to attend ,
but couldn't .


- [ Click "More from user" at Right for 4 short video clips
from Thursdays' & Fridays' services ] .
Re: R.I.P. Chas
October 22, 2007 06:04PM
Thought some of you may be interested in this. It is on Steve Wainstead's blog today on myspace.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chas Smith interview, parts 1 and 2
Current mood: sad
Category: sad Music

I interviewed Chas Smith for the second issue of my zine Ragnarok on January 3rd, 1990. Yesterday I found the tapes. I burned them to CD and made MP3s, which are here:


Chas played in the Clocks, the Pagans, Venus Envy and many more bands. His love of sound eventually lead him to the Music Department at Cleveland State University. This interview is a little under two hours long, and he talks about his life and music.

Currently listening :
Killing Joke
By Killing Joke
Release date: By 26 July, 2005
Re: R.I.P. Chas
November 10, 2007 07:49PM
For those of you that have not heard, a concert to benefit the family of Chas Smith has been scheduled at the Beachland Ballroom on Friday, November 23. Full information can be found at [www.chastribute.com]. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for Thanksgiving and won't be able to attend but I hope some of you can. Contact information is available for the promoters at [www.chastribute.com] if you or anyone you know might be interested in performing or contributing to the evening.

-Keith Newman
Chas' former on-air appendix, removed in 1993

PS I don't know who put together the tribute site but they deserve some serious praise.

Scruggscorp Syndicated Radio
Sunday Nights, Midnight- 2 AM
Re: R.I.P. Chas
November 12, 2007 04:30PM
Amen to that, Keith. If you can give me just 24 hours, I will make certain I print my tribute to Chas -- the poem "Sage Of The Swamp" -- on both this site and at chastribute.com. I should have brought a copy with me prior to logging on today, but I was preoccupied.
Re: R.I.P. Chas
November 15, 2007 04:45PM

The Sage of the Swamp told us so many things over the years,

When he was paddling down the bayou in his kayak,

When he was rolling down the InterState in his 18-wheeler,

When he was holding medicine-service in his sweat-lodge,

Or even simply over a quantity of Coors and Jack Daniels at the 2400 Club,

The Sage of the Swamp who spoke to us through the electromagnetic hearth,

Who spoke to us through speech,

Who spoke to us through song,

Who spoke to us through keyboard and drum,

Or who even spoke to us through NOT speaking to us --

It was as he told us:

"The TANUAL is everything which can be explained in words --

The NAGUAL is everything which CANNOT be explained in words."

Could the Sage of the Swamp ever be explained in words?

The Sage of the Swamp told us so many things:

-- About computer-rain in the subterranean spaceports of Pangea,

-- About the Tarzan cameo in 'THE WIZARD OF OZ' [it was in the "Jitterbug" segment, which was edited out of the final print],

-- About the "nation of informers" and the "symbolism police",

-- But ALAS! He tells us these and other things no more ...

Or does he?

-- Just because the heart has stopped ...

-- Just because the voice is stilled ...

-- Just because the electromagnetic waves cease ...

-- Just because the flesh is interred ...

Does that mean we will never see or hear the Sage again?

Does that mean we are truly and forever without him?

Does that mean his love and friendship have forever been taken from us?

Take heed!

Such are facile assumptions,

The Sage himself has shown us the universe is NOT so facile,

And we cannot allow even something so seemingly certain to deceive us -- no ...

A certain man of knowledge once said TANUAL and NAGUAL were not the actual terminologies --

But even he admitted the principles are indeed accurate --

So his interpretation was probably compromised, but that goes without true relevance,

To return, at least in memory --

To the Sage -- a Sage of sagebrush, a Sage of music, a Sage of the Dance of Life --

Even as he was our Sage of the Swamp ...

To return --

To that antique Zenith radio with the grillwork which makes it look like a 1947 ice truck --

To the iodine seeping in under the cover of darkness --

Night --

When the electromagnetic hearth sings and speaks in a brighter glow than any boob-tube --

He knew ...

And he advocated ...

Somewhere and some day --

Pontooning through the swamps of bayou country --

Hiking down the InterState --

Riding your android-mare at breakneck speed across the Great Plains --

Parking your RV at the edge of a toxic swamp --

Might we not have a reunion coming?

Mayhap ...

We know who speaks for the nations, but who speaks for Earth?

We now know better than to try to understand IN WORDS ...

COPYRIGHT@2007, 2008, 2009 by Thomas G. Tobie.
In memory of Chas Smith.
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