Wednesday 5th August
6:30 pm - 8pm
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX 
Festival Village below the Queen Elizabeth Hall 


Find out how Smutty Smiff met Leee Black Childers, ended up in Andy Warhol’s Factory, photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe and playing to 30,000 people with Levi and the Rockats ...

Smutty will read from his upcoming book “Smutty the only Essex boy in Warhol’s Factory, show Leee Black Childers photos and talk about Lee, DJ and introduce special guests for one night only.

What links the following? Southend-on-Sea, the Anarchy Tour, David Bowie, Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood, Sid & Nancy, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Billy Idol, Johnny Thunders, Stiv Bators, Ronnie Wood, The Stray Cats, Debbie Harry, The Mud Club, Joan Jett, John Belushi, Keith Haring, Neil X, Italian Vogue, Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Leee Black Childers, CBGBs, Betsey Johnson, Paulina Porizkova, Tom Waits, The Chelsea Hotel, Boy George, George Michael, KISS, TIna Turner, Thin Lizzy, The Bowery, The Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen, Stern Magazine and Unbound…

The answer is me, Smutty Smith.

As a cheeky young market trader in Essex I never imagined that my love of music, alcohol, drugs and partying would take me to Andy Warhol’s Factory, photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe…and a lot more!

Now for the first time I am telling my story about all the madness and mayhem of my journey from Essex to the centre of Punk and Warhol in New York in 1978. It's totally uncensored and I won’t spare any blushes.

It all started when I joined Levi and the Rockats as stand-up bass. I was lucky enough to be managed by Leee Black Childers. Leee brought the Heartbreakers to Britain to join the Anarchy Tour with the Sex Pistols and the Clash, and we all played and partied together.

Leee took us first to LA where I spent time with Tom Waits in the car he was living in and got very up close and personal with Joan Jet in a cupboard doing LSD, but we all wanted to get to New York.

Getting there was tough: we were broke, but once there I found my spiritual home. In 1978 there was nowhere more exciting, decadent and creative than Downtown. It was a world of drag queens, punks, artists, chancers, rock stars, junkies – just the sort of place I knew I could have a bit of fun, and I did.

I never lost my Essex boy’s love of life. I think that’s why I ended up being photographed so many times by Robert Mapplethorpe and hanging out with Andy Warhol and being interviewed by Debbie Harry on Andy’s cable TV show. Of course it didn’t hurt that I was a good-looking boy with amazing tattoos as well! I ended up being represented by Click model agency and appearing in Italian Vogue and Stern magazine.

This weird and wonderful story will bring a fresh voice to the final days of punk and Warhol as the marketing and commercial might of the eighties sucked the life out of the bohemian world of the Bowery in New York and the wrong end of the Kings Road in London. If you want to find out how I persuaded Andy Warhol to draw and sign a picture on my body, Robert Mapplethorpe to photograph me, David Bowie to buy me drinks, Joey Ramone to jump through a window to party with me, and virtually everybody who was anybody to misbehave with me, you better pledge for my book.

Smutty xxx


Born in Southend-On-Sea, Smutty played bass in groundbreaking punk rockabilly band Levi and the Rockats. They moved to America in 1978 and were regulars at CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City.

They went on to get national airplay, appearing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and toured coast to coast. Asked by Rolling Stone to appear in a twenty year anniversary book of the most influential people in pop history, Smutty got his own full page.

Still touring with the Rockats and, now officially a rock n' roll legend, Smutty is based in Iceland where he works as a DJ.

If you were to look back at any of the iconic moments in rock history over the last forty years, you'd almost certainly find Smutty there right in the middle.


Stephen co–wrote Punk: A life Apart, the definitive history of Punk (Cassells, 2001) and Inside Music (Random House, 2004) and collaborated with Leee Black Childers on his last book. He has curated several large exhibitions with photographers including Nat Finklestein, Leee Black Childers and a recent Bob Gruen exhibition with Smutty.