Cathal Smyth


Madness Discography - Cathal (Chas Smash) Smyth


Nickname: Chas Smash

Full Name: Cathal Joseph Smyth

Date of Birth: 01/14/1959

Place of Birth: Fitzrovia, London, England


Cathal Joseph Smyth was born on 14 January 1959, in Middlesex Hospital, Fitzrovia, London, England, and grew up in Marylebone. As a child he went by the name of Carl. His parents were Irish immigrants. His father worked in the oil business and moved the family from Ireland to England, then to the Middle East because of his work. Smyth has said he was bullied at school in both Northern Ireland and London. The Smyths were competitive Irish dancers, and Cathal grew up around dance, but never took much of an interest until he began to dance as a performer.

In 1976, the North London Invaders recruited Smyth to play the bass guitar with them when he was 17, but he was replaced the following year by Gavin Rogers. During the late 1970s, he became friends with members of the band Madness, and performed as a dancer on stage at their concerts.

In addition to trumpet, Smyth plays the bass guitar (having initially joined Madness as a bassist), acoustic guitar and other percussion instruments. He performs lead vocals on some Madness tracks, such as “Michael Caine”, “Wings of a Dove”, “One Step Beyond” and “Madness (Is All in the Mind)”. Initially an occasional songwriter, he became a more frequent contributor and was credited as co-writer on the band’s international hit “Our House”.

In 1980, Smyth became the last of the seven original Madness members to join the band. He soon moved on to playing other instruments instead of bass. After Madness broke up in 1986, he formed a new short-lived band The Madness in 1988 along with Suggs, Lee Thompson and Chris Foreman.

In 1990, Smyth became an executive for Go! Discs, where, at his suggestion, the label signed The Stairs. He was also responsible for reforming Madness in 1992 for Madstock!, and left Go! Discs to reform the band. In 1989/1990, he became friends with former Smiths singer Morrissey, who had once asked him to be his manager. Smyth declined, claiming “I didn’t fancy having to iron his socks.” Smyth introduced Morrissey to Boz Boorer, who went on to work with him from 1991 onwards. Cathal is also the subject of the 1992 Morrissey single, “You’re the One for Me, Fatty”.

In 2009, Madness released their first album of new material in ten years, The Liberty of Norton Folgate. At the time, Smyth was rumoured to be working on several solo projects, including a dubstep album, according to Mojo. In 2012 Madness followed up “Norton Folgate” with Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da.

Smyth announced that he was leaving Madness in October 2014. His departure was characterized at the time as a break to concentrate on his solo career and not necessarily a permanent departure, but he has not rejoined the band.


Extensive efforts have been made to gather factual information and knowledge on madness from various sources and document them. These sources include publicly accessible websites, books and publications, historical artefacts, and other pertinent materials. As a result, a comprehensive index of resources has been compiled and integrated into the website. These resources, if relevant to this article, are listed below.

ReferenceSource Website