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Defaults on the go
Now fast forward to 2004, which finds him as the lead singer of Canadian rock band Default, complete with a platinum-selling debut album and more than a year and a half of experience touring the world and performing for thousands of fans.
"I'm glad we've been this successful," said Smith from his home in Vancouver earlier this week. "I honestly didn't think we'd even get signed ... we were just having fun writing songs and playing local shows.
"Everything just kind of fell into place."
DEFAULT'S SUCCESS with mainstream American audiences can be directly connected to the efforts of Nickelback, another Canadian band that had a hit single out in 2001.
Nickelback's lead singer, Chad Kroeger, served as the fairy godmother in Default's Cinderella story of success. Not only did he help produce and co-write a number of songs on the band's debut album, "The Fallout," but he also helped to open doors and make contacts necessary for his fellow countrymen to succeed.
"You need those connections ... to expose the band and expose the songs," said Smith about his relationship with Kroeger. "It was great timing, since 'How You Remind Me' was just taking off."
If Nickelback hadn't been successful on their own and Kroeger didn't help to grease the wheels for Default, "it would have definitely been a different path for sure," according to Smith.
"It's really hard to say ... we still could have gotten signed," he said. "(But) you have to have the right song at the right time -- everything has to line up."
FOLLOWING WHAT some might call a sophomore slump with the release of last year's "Elocation," Smith and fellow band members Jeremy Hora, Dave Benedict and Danny Craig plan to change the creative process a bit when working on their next album, due out late next summer.
Instead of burning the candle at both ends by touring and working on new material at the same time, Smith says the band plans to take some time off between gigs to return to Vancouver and focus on being creative.
"We're doing it differently now," Smith said. "We're recording at my house, doing some demos and stuff."
There's also a chance that Kroeger, Rick Parasher and Butch Walker, the producers who helped shape both "The Fallout" and "Elocation," might not be as involved when Default returns to the studio later this year.
"We haven't ruled out anything," said Smith. "It's just a matter of looking at the songs we come up with.
"I think it makes a more diverse album."
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