Steve Smith & The Nakeds
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Steve Smith & The Nakeds

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"The Seanote, Nantasket Beach"

S T E V E S M I T H and
T H E N A K E D S are a 10 piece road tested party machine that keeps the pedal to the metal from the first to last note. With an immense horn driven sound that covers everything from Rock to Soul to Funk, there's no sitting down when these guys are in the house. A guaranteed dance-a-rama from start to finish. - Joe and Paula

"Marilyn Bellemore"

Get 'Naked' with these guys
Wednesday, June 07 2006
By Marilyn Bellemore
Steve Smith and the Nakeds, the 10-man ensemble whose music has been described as “hard drivin’ rhythm and blues music for the soul,” take the stage at the Newport Blues Cafe on Saturday, June 10. Formed in 1973 - then known as the Naked Truth - the band is still as strong as ever. NTW caught up with vocalist Smith, a lifelong Smithfield resident, husband and father of two teenagers, and Ed Vallee of Pawtucket, guitarist for 12 years and a founding member of popular 70s band — The Young Adults, to talk about their involvement in music, how the band has evolved and what’s in store for its future.

NTW: Why has Steve Smith and the Nakeds been successful for so long?

Smith: It’s a fun band. It’s party band. We’ve always traveled and kept the band on the road and keep it going at a high level. Because of our focus always being the music. When you see “Behind The Music” they start doing drugs and booze. We’ve not let the other things get in our way. The music has always kept our heads on straight and not be sidetracked by the other perks of being in a band.

NTW: How has the band evolved over the past 33 years?

Smith: It’s accomplished everything we tried to do musically. We have three CDs but we never really got a record deal. The web affords us to sell our own materials and get more exposure.

NTW: How long do you expect to keep on doing this?

Smith: I’ll keep doing it until the phone stops ringing. We’re still a viable product. Right now I think we only have three nights off this summer.

NTW: You graduated from Providence College in 1973 with a degree in graphic design and marketing. But music is how you make a living?

Smith: In 1989, with the night club industry it got harder and harder to book the band. I’ve had my own graphic design business since then.

NTW: You’ve written many songs on the latest CD “Never Say Never.” Tell us about your songwriting and the tunes “My Pauline” and “Miss Your Girl.”

Vallee: I write from personal experience. Something that moves me. It’s hard to write happy stuff. It doesn’t seem to evoke very strong feelings as much as traumatic things. Unrequited love seems to be a lot easier to write about than happy, successful relationships. “My Pauline” is about every woman - every green eyed monster that you’ve ever been with. “Miss Your Girl” is a song I wrote when I was in New York. It’s about a relationship that was breaking up. My favorite line from that song is “She’s not alone when you’re not at home and all the happiness you find is a temporary state of mind.”

NTW: Have you found true love?

Vallee: Yes. I’m happily married. I met my wife Paula a couple of years ago. I think when we met each other we just hit it off. You don’t have a reference point for anything as good as this.

NTW: You’ve been playing guitar since you were 14 years old growing up in South Kingstown. What guitar players left an impact on you back then?

Vallee: Hendrix and Clapton. But, then I have to acknowledge the Three Kings - B.B., Albert and Freddie King. When you start getting into guitar players and who influences you, you find out who they were influenced by and go further back. I heard Clapton say when you research guitar players, it’s like a funnel. It gets narrower and narrower and there are fewer influences. At one time there wasn’t any mass media. Things were handed down directly. Most of the influences we have are people who have made records.

NTW: You’re a full-time musician?Vallee: I used to be a development engineer in the electronics business. I did that for 14 years. The money was good and everything. The hours were long and I became stressed out from the job and decided to do music full-time in 1991. I teach private guitar lessons and at Dan’s Music in Warwick.

NTW: What do you play?

Vallee: A Fender Stratocaster. It was made in 1958 and it’s kind of rare. I bought it for 50 bucks in 1970.
NTW: Who do you enjoy listening to?
Smith: All the old soul stuff. James Brown and Wilson Pickett.

NTW: Best career moment?

Smith: We played for President Clinton in 1994 at Healthcare rally in Jersey at Liberty State Park.

NTW: You guys are regulars at the Blues Cafe. Why that venue?

Smith: It’s more into music and knowledgeable about music. People come to hear the band. It matters who is playing there. At a lot of clubs it doesn’t matter.

NTW: Who shows up?

Vallee: It’s a pretty wide range of people in their early 30s to an older crowd - people in their 60s and 70s. It’s surprising. I think it’s exciting for them to see a band that size with horns. It’s quite a production.

NTW: What does the future hold?

Smith: Traveling as much as we can, more recording and try to get some more stuff together to record. And, keep on rockin’.

- Newport This Week - Live

"Charles J Read"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 – Nakeds: Never Say Never

There are a thousand stories about The Nakeds, and Steve Smith is ready, willing and able to tell them all – well, maybe not quite all! Smith, manager and lead singer for one of the area’s best rhythm and blues bands, has stage presence even when casually chatting over lunch several days before the band’s appearance Thursday evening at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den. His pompadour of white hair and prominent jaw, as well as the athletic build that he maintains as the years swing by, are as striking as the smile that comes so easily to him as he recalls the beginnings of his musical career and the band originally called The Naked Truth.
One of Smith’s fond memories of his childhood back in Smithfield revolves around Uncle Frank, his godfather, who would have all the children in the family perform on Sundays – whether it was reciting, playing an instrument, or, in Smith’s case, even as a four-year-old, singing. “I sang ‘Love Letters in the Sand,’ because I had heard Pat Boone doing it on records and the radio,” Smith says. He hasn’t stopped singing since, albeit the beat has dramatically changed as one quickly learns by listening to a cut from The Nakeds’ latest CD, “Never Say Never”. The Nakeds are a 10-piece band with a five-piece horn section and four rhythm instruments. The music rolls from raucous rock to heart-wrenching ballads.
Smith loved the adulation he received from Uncle Frank and the family, and soon he was performing with his cousin John Cafferty as they made their guitars ring through the neighborhood with Beatles music. And if the name John Cafferty sounds familiar, yes, he is the heart and soul of the famous Beaver Brown Band.
”We played at local clubs, and by the eighth grade, we were with the band Night Crawlers, John on guitar and me singing,” Smith says. “It was with that band that John and I realized we could be more than kids fooling around with music. We entered a ‘battle of the bands’ with the Night Crawlers, against college bands. We won.”
Smith says his father was a big influence, buying him the “Meet the Beatles” record album and telling his son, “Listen to it.” His mother also contributed greatly as she sent her son, at age 7, for voice training.
”It was classical voice training, and I can sing all night without my throat getting tired,” he says. Also, he has never smoked.
As a goalie at Smithfield High School, he was named All-State and entered Providence College. “Trouble was,” he recalls, “PC didn’t offer scholarships to American hockey players, only Canadians. I joined a band at PC, Bloody Mary, and made money fronting them on Fridays and Saturdays as a sophomore. I found I just couldn’t handle the music, class work and hockey, too.”
Smith left the hockey team, even though he and coach Lou Lamerello (now general manager of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League) knew the young goalie was good enough to become a professional player.
”Was I a good goalie?” Smith laughs. “Do you see any scars on my face? I was good.”
Smith’s decision was a wise one. By his senior year, he made the dean’s list with a 3.8 grade point average and graduated with majors in graphic design and marketing.
Music became a major pursuit, too, in his off-campus life, and in 1972 he took a one-night gig with the Naked Truth at Stanley Green’s restaurant on Warwick Avenue. “They asked me to join the band,” Smith says, recalling the pride of that moment. “ I was thrilled. I always wanted to be in a horn band.”
Smith, who celebrated his birthday in 1975 on the day that Saigon fell, admits he was fortunate to have a college deferment during the Vietnam war. Upon graduation, he had a design job lined up at Hasbro. “But I wanted to be in a band. I wanted music full time,” he says. Smith went with his heart, and says he’s never regretted it – “although,” he says with a laugh, “the way Hasbro’s success has gone, I might be a high-priced executive now.”
Still, Smith is happy with the path he has chosen and says The Nakeds are still shooting for the top.
”We’ve accomplished a lot,” he says, pointing to gigs in Las Vegas and playing before President Clinton, and with such rockers such as Nils Lofgren and Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. But what has escaped The Nakeds so far is a record contract.
”There are three floors of professional musicians,” Smith theorizes. “On the top are those with record contracts, and they make the most money. My cousin John Cafferty with Beaver Brown is an example. Then next are bands such as The Nakeds. We play for union scale and most of the band members have to keep a day job. Below that are musicians who don’t play on a regular basis. We need to grab the gold ring to move up; we need a record contract.”
Thus, on the CD cover, a hand reaches for that gold ring on the carousel, and the CD title “Never Say Never” is the band’s motto.
”We always give an ‘A’ show,” Smith says. “We always focus on the music. We call ourselves a ‘team,’ and that’s our approach. I’m the business manager and I see that all 10 guys in the band get an opportunity to play, to get time on the CDs. That’s why there are 16 cuts on ‘Never Say Never.’”
This may be one reason the band has had such low turnover through the 33 years Smith has been with The Nakeds. He also helped set up a strong web site which makes money by allowing downloading of individual songs for 89 cents.
Although The Nakeds still travel throughout the country, and have performed in Canada, they basically play two nights a week, as many of the players are family men. Smith married 19 years ago, and says his wife, Karen, is very understanding of a musician’s life. They have two children, a boy, 16 and a girl, 14, and still live in Smithfield.
”Winter was rough for our business,” Smith says, “but I’m looking forward to a fantastic summer.”
- The Westerly Sun

"Steve Morse"

"The Nakeds are a party machine with their top grade, five-man horn section and road tested front man, Smith"
-Steve Morse, Boston Globe
- Boston Globe

"Geoffrey Himes"

"Rhode Island has exported a long line of fine rhythm & blues-rooted rock bands, Roomful of Blues, Duke Robillard & The Pleasure Kings, and now Steve Smith and the Nakeds"
-Geoffrey Himes, The Washington Post
- Washington Post

"Bob Gula"

“I bet local music writers in towns like, say, Charlotte or Denver or Sacramento don’t have the privilege I do of writing about great R&B. Providence has such a formidable tradition, such rich musical heritage in its blood, that it’s nearly impossible to shake, like a virus for which there is no cure. We may not be a “hotbed” of anything. We may not sign bands to major labels like Seattle or LA. Bands here may not even be that inspired to work their way out of the area and onto a national scene. But that’s OK, because we’re maintaining the kind of musical infrastructure in the area that’s almost impossible to rival, and impossible to deny. In this case, the R&B tradition pulsates like a healthy heart in the music and live shows in Providence and its environs of bands like Steve Smith and the Nakeds, whose record I am more than pleased to review.”
Steve Smith and the Nakeds:
Never Say Never (Still Huge)
Down in New Orleans, they had the Meters. In Memphis, they had Booker T and the MGs. In Mobile, they had the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. So in Providence, we’ve got the Nakeds. OK, maybe the comparison is really a stretch, but if you had to appoint a local parallel to those excellent R&B rhythm sections, the Nakeds would be an obvious choice. In the happy tradition of Roomful, Duke, and everyone else around here who found the glorious sounds of Stax and early Atlantic recordings exciting, come Steve Smith and the Nakeds, with a brand new and appropriately titled Never Say Never.
Twenty-seven years ago, Smith was asked to front the Nakeds after a show he’d performed, and he’s not stopped singing since. His voice on the new album still sizzles, the band – with its five-piece horn section and absolutely killer rhythm section of bassist Mike Marra and drummer/percussionist George Correia – is as good as it’s ever sounded. The steadfast groove on Clarence Clemons’ “Don’t Walk Away” (which I believe, has a Clemons sax solo on it) and the guitar-romp “Face the Music”, written by Smith buddy Nils Lofgren are formidable examples of great R&B, local or otherwise. The super-funky horn workout of Ken Lyon’s “Daytona Blonde” simply reeks of sweaty excitement. This is tough, tested stuff with loads of excitement built right in. In fact, now that I sink this disc into my stereo for the umpteenth time, it has just got my vote for the year’s very best R&B disc. Never Say Never indeed. Always say, “Steve Smith and the Nakeds.”
- Bob Gula, The Providence Phoenix
- Providence Phoenix

"Earl Knightwood"

Press Release: Providence, RI

What better way to celebrate thirty years in the business of rock & roll ! !

One of the factors that contributed to the renaissance in the city of Providence, Rhode Island over the past two decades is it’s vibrant music scene. One band that is keeping things vibrating in this music center will be celebrating thirty years in the business of rock & roll. Steve Smith & the Nakeds couldn’t think of a better way to get the party started than the release of their CD, “Coming to a Theatre Near You”.

The Nakeds, as they are affectionately known by their fans, are high mileage for sure, but it is all highway mileage for these guys. Since 1973 they have performed in concerts, clubs and special events all over the United States and Canada. In 1994 they performed in concert with E Street Band alumni Clarence Clemons for President Bill Clinton at his Health Care Rally in Washington, D.C. Widely acclaimed music artists such as Clarence Clemons, Nils Lofgren, Gary U.S. Bonds, and John Cafferty (Eddie & the Cruisers fame) occasionally use the ten-piece Nakeds band as their lineup of road-tested musicians.

The significance of the new CD release “Coming to a Theatre Near You” is that it was recorded in 1985, just as the city of Providence was at a turning point in it’s resurgence to vitality. The cover art of the original vinyl album (remember those?) was preserved for the new CD and it depicts the marquee at the front of the Palace Theatre in downtown Providence which has since been restored and is now called the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). During the days of the mid-eighties, you could walk downtown after business hours to find the streets desolate and deserted, quite in contrast to the restaurants, theatre, music and nightlife that thrives there today.

Throughout their history, as now, Steve Smith & the Nakeds are recognized as a hard-core working band creating memorable times for people who hear them play in the nightclubs of the city, or at some popular hangout at the beach on a summer night. These days, the boys have started their own record label, “Still Huge Publishing” with two other recent CD releases to date. Their presence on the internet ( has helped to bridge a gap in communication between the band and the public. The new media is a saving grace to the Nakeds, in an industry dominated by the megalithic record companies that continue to have a stranglehold on the radio airwaves and the record stores.

There was more than a little concern about the condition of the original master tapes from the 1984 recording sessions when the Nakeds first decided that to go forward with the remaking of “Coming to a Theatre Near You”. The tapes were in storage for more than fifteen years and restorative measures were taken to preserve and protect them before taking the risk of using them. Over a period of years, the adhesive layer that creates a strong chemical bond between the metal oxide and the mylar tape, is weakened by exposure to humidity. The actual process of restoration involves putting the tape into a convection oven at a constant temperature for an extended period of time to strengthen the chemical bond between the metal oxide and the mylar substrate. Without taking these measures, more and more metal oxide would be pulled off the tape by the magnetic playback heads of the tape machine every time the tape was played. Needless to say, the restoration was successful and future generations can continue to enjoy listening to Steve Smith & the Nakeds “Coming to a Theatre Near You”.

What is it about this band that kept it going for thirty years? It’s about music that creates a strong bond between the players and their audience. For as long as the Nakeds have been around, they have kept the music hot and kept the folks coming back to enjoy it.
- Publicist - Press Release

"Don DiMuccio"

By Don DiMuccio
May 25, 2006
The following is a story of a rock & roll dynasty, a
band whose reign stretches almost four decades of
performing on a seemingly non-stop junket. It’s a
story whose plot is more often than not driven by
the forces of serendipity, and sustained by the
dominance of its frontman. The singer is Steve
Smith, the band is The Nakeds, and together they
have traversed the rocky terrain of changing trends
and varying incarnations, all the while thriving with
their distinct brand of prestige and class.
Like all good American success stories, the genesis
of The Nakeds are steeped in humble origins. In a
family-built beach house set on Carpenter’s Beach
in Matunuck, Rhode Island, first cousins Steve
Smith and future Beaver Brown frontman John
Cafferty participated in their family’s Saturday
night tradition - a talent show presented in front of
the refrigerator. It was here in Eisenhower's postwar
America that a four-year-old Smith made his
"show business debut" with a rousing rendition of
Pat Boone’s "Love Letters In The Sand". The
groundwork was laid for a musical path which got
an early jumpstart after his father came home with a
copy of a new album under his arm with the
unlikely title “Meet The Beatles”. In a bit of
fatherly advice, the pre-teen Steve was instructed
that “these guys are gonna be great. I want you to
listen to them”. Father indeed did know best.
Armed with inspiration, Steve had formed his first
band “The Nightcrawlers” while still attending
Catholic School. Soon, cousin John Cafferty would
join, and in short order the new group was winning
Battle of The Bands contests throughout his native
Smithfield area, often annihilating the older, more
experienced competition.
As the sixties gave way to the seventies, a new
musical opportunity presented itself to Steve Smith.
Many may be surprised to learn that rather than
being a founding member, it was actually keyboard
player Frank Rapone who initially recruited Steve
Smith to his band Naked Truth, in February 1973.
The fledgling outfit, which had only formed six
months prior to Smith’s arrival, was desperately in
need of an identity. The band’s exigencies were
many. Steve was hired as one of two lead singers,
an issue which often led to power struggles within
the organization. In addition, they failed to reach a
consensus as to the style of music they’d be
concentrating on. He recalls the group’s early
dilemma accordingly: “The problem with Naked
Truth was there was 11 pieces and it was run like a
democracy. It was run where we would have a
meeting every week and it would take us 5 hours to
pick out one song that we liked to learn. There was
always in-fighting - Who wanted to do this and who
wanted to do that.” In an effort to steer the
promising band towards success, in 1975 Steve
stepped up and declared himself the sole singer and
bandleader. He informed the members, “If you
don’t like it, find another place to go.” (Guitarist
Spiro Haritos took him up on the offer and left to
form the successful heavy rock outfit Strutt). In his
new role, he ended the constant disaccord over setlists,
thus taking the horn-driven band in a direction
he felt would best suit his vocal capabilities. Under
the leadership of Steve Smith, Naked Truth would
be a rhythm & blues juggernaut!
With song direction a settled issue, the band would
still struggle to find a cohesive identity. However it
must be said that they always seemed to be in front
of the stylistic curve. Steve Smith explains: “We
were always one step ahead of what was happening.
And it was so uncanny because we were doing ‘The
Blues Brothers’ before The Blues Brothers came
out... It was like they almost came and saw us...
Then we started leaning toward Tower of Power, in
that vein, and then THAT became popular. Then
just as we had some [record company] interest,
Springsteen broke Southside Johnny, which took the
wind out of our sails again. Now Southside’s
popular, so now Steve Smith & The Nakeds are like
Southside Johnny.” Undaunted by the everchanging
trends, the group persevered in
establishing their own unique brand, thus garnering
an allegiance of fans along the way.
After years of constant work up and down the East
Coast, Naked Truth stepped into a recording studio
in 1984 to lay down tracks for their impressive
debut release “Coming To A Theatre Near You”. It
was at this time that a jarring realization had come
to light. Not only was there an established Long
Island horn band already named Naked Truth, but
the country held over 200 bands ALSO called
Naked Truth! At their producer’s counsel, the
group was re-christened The Nakeds (a shorthand
name their fans had long since given them). Soon,
Steve Smith & The Nakeds gained success with
their first single “I’m Huge”, which became a bona
fide regional hit in New York and Washington, DC.
Additionally, the video was shown on the then popular
MTV program “The Basement Tapes”, a
showcase for up-and-comers. Before long
Hollywood came a-calling, when Steve helped out
cousin John Cafferty and his Beaver Brown Band
with some horn arrangements for the soundtrack to
the iconic film “Eddie & The Cruisers”.
Steve Smith & The Nakeds were soon to get a huge
shot of credibility-adrenaline courtesy of a chance
meeting between Smith and the legendary
saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band,
“The Big Man” Clarence Clemons. Both were
pallbearers at a funeral for a mutual friend who had
died of complications from obesity. At that time,
the disease was still widely unknown, and the
medical community was sorely lacking in supplies
for those afflicted. After some think-tanking
sessions, Smith and Clemons set out to raise both
funds and awareness with a series of concerts called
“The Big Man’s Benefit”, whose roster would
include Nils Lofgren, Gary “U.S.” Bonds, as well as
Clemons, and The Nakeds. Under their guidance,
the shows staged in Washington D.C. would go on
to be held annually for 12 consecutive years.
It was during this period in the late 1980’s that
Clarence Clemons was unceremoniously laid-off by
Springsteen. Instinctively sensing a once-in-alifetime
opportunity, Steve Smith made the
unemployed musician an offer he simply couldn’t
afford to refuse. With some mild coaxing, Clarence
agreed to a series of gigs where Steve & The
Nakeds would open the night, followed by his own
thirty-minute set, and culminating with a finale
featuring all the musicians. Clarence did 20-30
such shows a year with The Nakeds until a fateful
day in 1997 when Springsteen would beckon
Clemons back into the E Street Band. Plans had
previously been laid for Clarence to record a album
with The Nakeds, which he graciously honored,
despite now having his old lucrative gig back. The
ensuing record “Never Say Never” would also
feature E Street alumnus Nils Lofgren. Steve
Smith wraps up his unique friendship with Clemons
this way: “We’ve had a relationship over the years
that’s been really good. Unfortunately for me now
he’s a millionaire again – When he was on the road
with us for 9 years he was hungry again. He
needed the money and I made him some good
money. But we did it through friendship more than
anything else.”
Through changing pop tastes, changing band
personnel, and changing levels of success, one
constant resolutely remains in the story of Steve
Smith & The Nakeds. These guys seriously rock.
Their masterful blend of brass, rhythm and fun is
nothing short of infectious. Rather than a carbon
cover of the multitude of Jersey-Shore-Asbury-
Park-wannabes, Smith & The Nakeds are keeping
the flame burning for all of us who enjoy hanging
out at the boardwalk on a warm spring night with
your best girl, listening to rock & roll being done
the way it should be… Steve Smith’s way. - Motif Magazine


Steve Smith and The Nakeds
"Coming To A Theatre Near You"
2002 Bonehead Music, Inc. (independent)

Steve Smith and The Nakeds
CD Single - "America, The Proud, The Free"
2002 Still Huge Publishing SHP 21402 (independent)

Steve Smith and The Nakeds
"Never Say Never"
2000 Still Huge Publishing SHP 42900 (independent)

All tracks are downloadable MP3 format, available on and most other major points of purchase on the global internet.



Band Bio

Steve Smith and the Nakeds have a thirty-three year history, performing
in concerts, clubs, and special events all over the United States and Canada, including occasional dates with E Street Band alumni Clarence Clemons
and Nils Lofgren. In 1994, they performed with Clarence Clemons for President Bill Clinton at his Health Care Rally in Washington, D.C.

The ten-man unit consists of a four-piece rhythm section, a five-piece brass section, and a lead vocalist. The members are Steve Smith, lead vocals; Ed Vallee, guitar/vocals; Frank Shanley, bass guitar; Joe Groves, drums & percussion; Frank Rapone, piano/Hammond B3 /vocals; Chris Schwartz, trombone; Steven DeCurtis, trumpet/flugelhorn; Jaime Rodrigues, alto sax; Dave Bolender, tenor sax; and Thomas “T.J.” Schwartz, baritone sax.

Steve Smith and the Nakeds released their compact disc entitled “Never Say Never” in the year 2000. Steve Smith, lead vocalist for the band, spearheaded the year-long recording project as the executive producer, along with co-producer and recording engineer, Phil Greene.

Clarence Clemons’ unmistakably evocative tenor sax is featured on several tracks including “Don’t Walk Away”, his original contribution to this collection. Other featured selections include three new original songs written exclusively for the Nakeds by E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren.

Twelve more superbly written and performed original compositions are included on this disc, the majority of them written by various members of the Nakeds band, along with two songs previously recorded by other notable performing artists. The styles of music represented on this recording range from R&B to Rock-and-Roll, and soulful R&B ballads.

All correspondence:
Bonehead Productions.
P O Box 17324
Smithfield, RI 02917
Tel: (401) 232-1031
Fax: (401) 233-2543