The band released a statement saying: “It is with an incredibly heavy heart to announce that one of the founding members of Mental As Anything, Andrew Greedy Smith passed away last night …
“Our grief and confusion at this time are little compared to what Andrew’s family will be feeling – our hearts and prayers go out to them.”
Australian musicians Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool, Mondo Rock) and Ed Kuepper (the Saints, Laughing Clowns) were among those who commented on social media today, following reports of Smith’s death.
The most recent line-up of ‘the Mentals’ with Smith front-and-centre played in southern NSW’s Tathra on Saturday night and was scheduled to perform in Melbourne on Thursday.
The group was formed in Sydney in August 1977 by Smith, along with Reg Mombassa, Martin Plaza, Wayne “Bird” Delisle and Peter O’Doherty.
Smith was also a vocalist, alongside Plaza, and keyboard player.
Smith was a regular on Countdown, not only performing with his band, but as a guest host who had a natural charm and enthusiasm for television. He was also a familiar face on TV show Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
As well as writing songs and singing in the band, Smith also played keyboards, harmonica and bounced around the stage, smiling the whole time while fellow original members, including guitarists Plaza and Mombasa and Peter O’Doherty on bass, appeared to get on with the more serious side of rock ‘n’ roll.
And that was what genuinely set Smith aside from most people in rock and new wave bands, he genuinely looked like he was having the time of his life up on stage, and fans easily related to his sense of fun and exuberance.
The current line-up of the band was on a national tour with Smith, which first burst onto the Australian music scene with debut album Get Wet in 1979.
Mental As Anything had top 10 Australian hits with If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?, Too Many Times and Live It Up. The band’s debut album featured the song The Nips Are Getting Bigger, which charted inside the top 20 in Australia and is still regularly played – among many other Mental As Anything songs – on radio stations around the country.
Mental As Anything was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2009. Last month, Smith was inducted into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his fiancee Fiona Docker and son Harvey.
Martin Boulton is EG Editor at The Age and Shortlist Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald