TUK SMITH & THE RESTLESS HEARTS
Tuk Smith and The Restless Hearts is an American rock band from Nashville founded and fronted by former Biters leader Tuk Smith (originally from Atlanta). The band released their debut single “What Kinda Love” on January 10, 2020 and were also added as an opening act for The Stadium Tour with Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe on the same day.
Then came the onset of Covid 19. “When the pandemic hit, it was like hitting the reset button on my music career”recalls Tuk, “everything got taken away…album campaign, stadium tour, record deal. The world was in lockdown, and the only way to escape was to throw myself into writing. My thoughts began exploring the past, and the inspiration for the songs just came in tidal waves.”
The new collection is a rock ‘n roll silver lining that came out of the solitude and reflection of the pandemic. Ballad Of A Misspent Youth is the new single (and subsequent album of the same name) released summer of 2022 on Tuk’s new record label MRG, through Virgin Music.
Tuk explains, “I decided to make a rock and roll record for me and what I like because there was no label, there was no committee involved…just me and my stories. I wanted to create a setting and an authentic feeling about everything. I reunited with long time friend Dan Dixon and recorded these songs in his garage studio, and there is a purity to the work that came from all the circumstances of that time.”
Growing up as an outsider in rural Georgia, Tuk found solace in hardcore punk acts like Black Flag and The Exploited. From there, Smith branched out into exploring seventies New York bands like The Dead Boys and New York Dolls, which lead him across the sea where he embraced first-wave British acts like The Buzzcocks and the Clash. Smith wasn’t just a casual fan of these acts, he was obsessed with them and traced their lineage with fervent dedication. “I was always into the Clash growing up and Mick Jones’ favorite band was Mott The Hoople, so through the years I ended up developing a love of the first wave of British glam, power pop and things like that,” he explains.
Soon Smith was forming his own acts, touring relentlessly and building a following with his high-energy live shows, including his tour of duty as lead singer for the Biters, who he fronted for nearly a decade. He offers “Then after being on the road for years, I had a reckoning about where I was at and the future ahead. …I realized the only way to achieve something meaningful was to be a good songwriter…that clicked. I went on a musical diet where I stripped the obscure stuff away, and I really started focusing on the greats. When I started clicking that it was just about the songs, things changed. I had already put my 10,000 hours in the van to play in the dive clubs, but then I put my 10,000 hours into figuring out how to write. I also started working with other songwriters. I humbled myself… it was an education, like going to school.”
Tuk elaborates, “I wanted to kind of branch out musically and do different things, and I figured to go solo would be better. My manager actually suggested I call my new band “The Restless Hearts” and that’s what he would call me all the time. It was the title of a Biters song that people loved and I’d seen a few restless hearts tattoos at our shows along the way… and so Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts was born. I was in a period where I changed everything including the way I lived my daily life. I experimented with different ways to tap into positive/creative energy…it was an evolving overall process (and still is).”
Tuk summarizes, “Things used to be about debauchery, and now they’re more about dedication. I mean, I was always driven, but I was sometimes focusing on the wrong things. Now I focus on the music and the craftsmanship of writing and producing and performing.“