MENTAL as Anything singer ‘Greedy’ Smith earned his nickname by downing 16 pieces of KFC during one of the band’s early gigs.
But as he ages, all Smith is Greedy for is more gigs.
At 61, Smith is a road warrior – and that’s the way he and the rest of The Mentals like it.
“We expect to be playing – I get a bit touchy if I haven’t been playing for a while,” Smith said.
“Each weekend I usually get the train to the airport in Sydney and get on a plane to go somewhere and play.
“The longest break I’ve had from touring, since the 1970s, is about six weeks when I fell off a horse.”
That hunger for live music makes the month-long APIA Good Times Tour a perfect fit for Greedy and Mental as Anything.
Kicking off in May, the line-up is a who’s who of classic Australian acts, with Colin Hay, Joe Camilleri and Deborah Conway all on the bill.
Greedy has played with each before and can’t wait to hit the road with them again.
“The APIA tour will be different because it’s really quite intensive,” he said.
“For us it’s really more of the same, but in illustrious company this time.”
Mental as Anything was formed in the mid-’70s when art school friends Smith, Martin Plaza, Reg Mombassa, Peter O’Doherty and Wayne DeLisle decided to start a band.
For a spell during the mid-to-late 80s, they were one of Australia’s biggest bands, on the back of hits like Live it Up, Rock and Roll Music and Too Many Times.
Smith described the band’s peak as a blur and the members’ ambitions were far more humble than international stardom.
“You haven’t got much money so you put a band together to play for free drinks,” he said.
“It sort of seemed to make sense.”
What: APIA Good Times Tour
Where: Perth Concert Hall
When: Saturday, May 20