Former Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith reminisces about meeting David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Hall & Oates, performing alongside Gilda Radner and crafting the Wayne’s World theme song in the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s The First Time video series.
While SNL was a revolving door of celebrities, Smith — who releases his new album Stony Hill with soul singer LeRoy Bell on August 28th — admitted the first time he was ever starstruck was when he crossed paths with David Bowie.
“I met David Bowie just downtown at a party. I was a big fan,” Smith said. One of those chance meetings resulted in Smith being cast as “the guitarist” in Bowie’s music video for “Fashion.” “And then I got to do a little bit of playing with David. He was around New York City a lot then, and we actually got to be friends,” the guitarist said.
Smith also recalled helping Mike Myers write the theme song for the SNL sketch-turned-movie Wayne’s World. “Mike came in and said ‘I’m gonna do this thing called Wayne’s World.’ He explained to me what it was, it was these two guys in their basement,” Smith said. With only six words as lyrics — Wayne’s World, it’s party time, excellent — Myers told Smith, “‘I want it dumb. Some dumb rock and roll chords.’ Well, I got those. Play these chords,” Smith joked; soon after, Aerosmith performed the song on SNL.
Elsewhere in the interview, Smith also discussed being part of the house band at the legendary Live Aid, his memories about his first encounter with a guitar — “The whole universe snapped into place” — and how he was tricked into auditioning to be a part of Bob Dylan’s touring band.