Smokie (Mick McConnell) – Smokie Step Up

The veteran pop purveyors bring their melodic rock songs to the mix of great artists set to appear in this major music collection at renowned venues in 2019. It so happens that Smokie lead guitarist Mick McConnell is a friend of JLTT and he kindly agreed to the following Q&A session. Many thanks to him…

Supplied By Impressive PR

You and the band do a lot of touring – which European countries give you the best reception?

At this moment in time, we can do no wrong in Scandinavia. Concerts are selling out weeks in advance, especially Norway. Having said that, We have just had the most amazing response on our recent German Tour.

On the proposed package tour we are discussing, which acts are best-known to Smokie?

Suzi Quatro. We have done many shows with Suzi especially in Germany. I think we’ll all look forward to working with David Essex for the first time too.

Which of the hits do you get the biggest kick out of playing live? Is there one that reminds you of joining the band?

“If You Think You Know How To Love Me” was the band’s first hit and it shows off what I feel the band is all about “Easy listening and harmonies.”

What stage gear and instruments do you favour for Smokie tour dates?

I need a versatile 3 channel amp, because I play clean a lot of the time, I also have a lot of solos so need that crunch and smooth lead sounds. I’m covering a good cross section of Smokie’s history.

I always use a Stratocaster and a Les Paul or something similar. I’m currently using a Les Paul Junior and a Musicman “Luke” . . . . I like to change my guitars now and then. It sometimes makes me play a little different, I like to have the option to pick and choose.

You chide me on FX! And I don’t mind….but are there any you like to use?

I’m using a Helix at the moment, It gives me all those lush chorus sounds, and I like to replicate the reverbs and delays that I used on the albums. It’s all programmed up for easy recall. I get lot’s of compliments about my sound, which is nice.

What’s the heaviest tune in the Smokie stage repertoire?

I would probably say “Wild Wild Angels.”

How do you look after your voice? If you do…

I never drink alcohol when I’m touring. I have never smoked and I always get plenty of sleep when I’m on the road.

The radio is on in the kitchen…what would you cross the room to turn up? And what would you want to turn down?

I’m currently listening to a lot of Brian Culbertson, I’d turn that up! . . . anything that resembles hip hop . . . I’d just pull the plug!

Suggest two great guitar intro’s to recordings – any song, any artist

“All Along The Watchtower” by Hendrix . . . That for me was one of the biggest guitar sounds ever recorded!

In recent times “Summer Of 69” by Bryan Adams . . . such a simple chord, but it gets your attention, that’s hard to achieve! . . . Bryan did that with just a “D” chord.

I went through a stage where I pretty much listened to just jazz/fusion material – did that ever happen to you?

Yes, I listened to Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour, but I actually prefer songs, that’s why I loved Steely Dan so much.

Your favourite Motown recording? And why?

“Get Ready” by The Temptations . . . That song was Rock, but it was sung “Soul” if you know what I mean?

Glenn and I interviewed Albert Lee recently – is he an artist you have ever seen?

I first saw him with Eric Clapton a long time ago. He’s rather good. Any guitarist would agree with me, I’m sure!

Which Smokie member makes the best suggestions to benefit the act? And who is the most cheerful, on the road?

We tend to talk amongst ourselves regarding any changes to the set, so we all get a say. I think for most part, I’m generally pretty happy on the road, I drive the older end of the band members mad sometimes!

What’s the Smokie Road Diet?

We stay in the best hotels and eat in the best restaurants, so it’s easy enough to eat healthy and eat well. After the show, we have pizza, ourselves and the crew “dig in” . . . . Personally, I’ve become a pescatarian on the road. I find fish is much lighter and doesn’t lay heavy on the stomach, which is important when you have to sing later that night.

Which Everly Brothers tune should Smokie perform?

If we were to look at doing one live I would say “Wake Up Little Suzie” . . . I’m sure that would get them out of their seats!

Pete Sargeant


(Thanks to Mick for his answers and to Federica at Impressive PR)

Feature Image Supplied By Impressive PR

Additional Photos Supplied By Smokie Website

You can read all of our articles on Mick McConnell here:

For more information on Mick you can visit his official website here:

Smokie will tour the UK in April 2019 as part of the ‘Legends Live’ 2019 UK Arena Tour.

For tickets and more information visit the official tour website here:

For more information on Smokie visit the band’s official website here:

The April 2019 ‘Legends Live’ 2019 UK Arena Tour will visit the following venues: 

Tuesday 9th April 2019 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, United Kingdom

Wednesday 10th April 2019 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Thursday 11th April 2019 -The SSE Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom

Friday 12th April 2019 –  Genting Arena, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Saturday 13th April 2019 – Echo Arena, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Sunday 14th April 2019 – BIC (Bournemouth International Centre), Bournemouth, United Kingdom