Chris Judge Smith
Drums, vocals and assorted gadgets

Interview with Judge
(February 2003)

Judge Smith at the Cobden Club. The new album: The Full English.
The new DVD: "Judge Smith - Live in Italy 2005".

(The Full English and Dome of Discovery are also available for 7.99 from iTunes)

"An eye-opening trip to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury section during the summer of 1967 inspired British-born drummer Chris Judge Smith to compose a list of possible names for the rock group he wished to form. Upon his return to Manchester University, he began performing with singer/songwriter Peter Hammill and keyboardist Nick Pearne; employing one of the names from Judge Smith's list, the band dubbed itself Van Der Graaf Generator (after a machine which creates static electricity), eventually earning an intense cult following as one of the era's pre-eminent art rock groups. Despite the early involvement of Judge Smith and Pearne, the group found true success as a vehicle for Hammill, whose dark, existentialist lyrics made him the focus of considerable attention. After the release of the 1968 single "People You Were Going To," Judge Smith left Van der Graaf Generator, which by then consisted of Hammill, keyboardist Hugh Banton, bassist Keith Ellis and drummer Guy Evans".
-Rough Guide to Rock


Judge in 1968

Judge and Peter Hammill in 1973
Judge in Dark Star 1979
All you wanted to know about CJS from the N.M.E.
(up to May 28th 1977 that is).

During the 70s and 80s, Judge wrote several stage musicals in collaboration with composer Max Hutchinson: THE KIBBO KIFT was produced at the Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Festival of 1976 and at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield the following year. THE ASCENT OF WILBERFORCE III was produced at the Traverse Theatre in 1981 and at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1982. Later the same year, the Lyric also presented MATA HARI, a music-theatre piece he co-wrote with (and which starred) Lene Lovich.

As a librettist, his works include the text for classical composer Joseph Horovitz's oratorio SAMSON, premiered in a radio broadcast from the Albert Hall in 1977, and for Michael Brand's cantata PIONEER 10 (1992).
Following a twenty year collaboration with composer Peter Hammill, their opera THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER was finally completed and released in 1992, and in 1999, a revised and re-mastered recording was re-released on Fie! Records.

His own REQUIEM MASS for rock band, choir and brass was published in 1975 and still awaits its first full performance, but his chamber opera THE BOOK OF HOURS was directed by Mel Smith at the Young Vic Theatre, London in 1978. His short film THE BRASS BAND, which he wrote and directed in 1974, has won several international awards.

His songs have featured on the early 80s TV comedy show NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS. A collection of his early recordings, DEMOCRAZY, was released by Oedipus Recs in 1991, and a CD of new songs, DOME OF DISCOVERY, is currently available on the same label.
- From "Judge Smith - A Biographical Note"

Chris Judge Smith has recently been involved with a musical extravaganza entitled Curly's Airships.


Read also this interview with Judge about the project.

As mentioned above, he also co-wrote "The Fall of the House of Usher" with Peter Hammill. Although outside the scope of this site I give you a link to CJS's Usher page

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