Led by the inimitable Peter ‘Digsy’ Deary (vocals, guitar), Liverpool, Merseyside, England group Smaller have origins in a three-piece band who were financially supported by the DHSS on the condition that they play morning and afternoon shows for the elderly in state nursing homes. One of those playing subdued versions of ‘It’s A Long, Long Way To Tipperary’ was the pre- Boo Radleys Martin Carr. His piano-playing accomplice was Deary, who enjoyed a brief moment in the spotlight when Merseyside pop group Cook Da Books achieved some glowing reviews in the early 80s. He is also the cousin of members of the Real People, while his grandmother played banjo in George Formby’s backing band. However, to the 90s generation, Deary is best known for his name-check on the Oasis song ‘Digsy’s Dinner’, and the line ‘Come around for tea, and we’ll have lasagne’. Though he knew Noel Gallagher in the late 80s, Deary refuses to accept he would ever have made the now-superstar any such meal. Smaller had already been formed by this juncture, with his brother Stephen on drums, Jason on bass and Paul on guitar. The group’s debut album, Badly Badly, reflected on his numerous misfortunes since those halcyon days in the company of ‘old age pensioners’. The subjects tackled included the absence of girlfriends, money, opportunities, etc., as well as the several years Deary spent ingesting large quantities of drugs. However, he was keen to distance himself from the boasting that usually accompanies every band from the Merseyside region: ‘We’re not the best band in the world... We’re not even the best band in fucking Liverpool’, he told the New Musical Express. Considered by some to be ‘the anti- Dodgy’, there is little jocularity in Deary’s songs, but he retains an ear for a good tune and many are attracted to the mocking self-appraisal of his narratives.
- Liverpool, England