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Death Looks at Me Through the Looking Glass, says, “When I’m done picking off your heroes, your ass is mine!”

Mike Smith, lead singer of the popular 1960s Beat group Dave Clark Five, has died. He was 64. Smith was admitted to a London hospital earlier in the week and passed away on Thursday after contracting pneumonia. The illness is believed to have arisen after the singer suffered a chest infection, stemming from a 2003 spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

They were probably my fave ‘English Invasion’ band. I used to get enraged when I’d bring up one of their songs in a conversation and some idiot would attribute the song to the Beatles. Now I just say, “No, moron.”

A friend (and fellow Berry denizen), John Lazzari (stage name: John Jarrett) had a band called “The Billies” that drew heavily from the DC5 songbook, regularly raising the roof at an enjoyable dump called “The Library,” over on Van Duzer Street. It was ‘slam the crap out of a couple of chords’ good old rock and roll; the Billies were immediately branded “punk rockers” because, I believe, nobody even knew that the DC5 songs were cover songs, and they dressed like refugees from the Bowery. No one, back then, caught the idea that they were just the easiest songs to rip off without any ‘Julliard’ kind of training; it was straight up, pure garage rock. Someone yells “we’re playing in da chord of G, now follow me!”

(although I did score an “Ooh Marc Elliot!” jacket–about as non-CBGB as you could go–when Johnny sang on that infernal commercial; he also did a lot of background work for Hall & Oates. And Google doesn’t seem to know him. Last I heard he was down in the Virgin Islands, having actually banked his money and bought a piece of land down there.)

There is no way anyone who claims to have loved punk doesn’t know about the DC5, especially in NYC; Thunders and the Ramones practically prayed at their altar.

DC5 are gonna be inducted into the R&R Hall as members of the Class of ’08 in a few days. It’s a shame Smitty didn’t live to see it.

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