Tom Smith, co-founder of the experimental noise ensemble To Live and Shave in L.A., has died. Smith’s partner, Claudia Franke, confirmed to NPR that he died on Thursday (January 20) from colon cancer. He was 65.
Smith and Frank “Rat Bastard” Falestra established To Live and Shave in L.A. in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1990. They released their first album, 30-minuten männercreme, in 1994. The group featured an expansive, ever-shifting pool of members, which included Thurston Moore, Andrew WK, and Weasel Walter at different points. Memorializing Smith on Instagram, Moore wrote, “All yr pals will never forget you, how could we? You were the king.”
In a lengthy interview with The Quietus in February 2020, Smith described his upbringing in Georgia and early inspiration from King Crimson, Miles Davis, and Sun Ra. To Live and Shave in L.A. issued several dozen albums and recordings of live improvisations during their tenure, with 2015’s Unwept to Meet Strange Clay as their most recent formal release. In addition to his time in Pussy Galore and other collaborations as an improviser and producer, was a member of Peach of Immortality in Washington, D.C. beginning in the mid-1980s.