Photo Gallery

Here are some photos I thought you might enjoy.

I have just completed 45 years as a professional entertainer (1965-2010) and I am beginning my second 45 years, after which I may retire. Here are some pictures of bands and entertainers I've worked with during the first 45 years, Please don't look too closely at the recent photos because I have lost over 100 pounds since those were taken!

Tom in the `60'sTom in the `70'sTom in the `80'sTom in the `90's & 2000's

Here's a recent photo taken at the "Wood `n' Lips Open Mic" session at Friendly Grounds Coffee in Santee on Thursday, August 26, 2010.

Here are four new photos of "Rightside" taken at our CD release concert at Pathways Center in Santee, CA on May 22, 2010. These photos were taken by our media technician, Diane Benoit, who also operates the teleprompter for our shows. I played with Rightside from November 2009 through May 2011.

Here are two photos of "Rightside," the country gospel rock group I played with from 2009 - 2011. We needed some recent photos for our new CD ("Living on the Rightside") coming out in May 2010, so we posed for about 100 shots last month..

Here are two recent photos taken at the newly rebuilt "Audio Barn" recording studio as I am working on my next CD, "For The Faithful," which should be released in October. After the fire destroyed my original studio, I could not afford to build a separate building for the new studio as I had before, so the new studio is housed in one of my extra bedrooms. The bedroom closet proved to be a handy place to store my guitars, amps and microphones as I need them for the projects. When I'm not using the instruments, I still use secure off-site storage. (Also, please watch for another new CD I recently completed at the "Upper Room" recording studio in Santee: "Living on the Rightside," a country gospel rock CD by the 8-piece band "Rightside." It's going to be a great CD and I think most people that hear it will really like it! Release date is May 22, 2010)

I haven't posted any photos for a few months, so here's one taken at the "Wood `n' Lips Open Mic" session at Friendly Grounds in Santee on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010.

Here's a photo of my latest "toy." I played tuba in the school bands since the 5th grade, and in my first two years of college I played in the Community Concert Band. I was a tuba major in my junior and senior years of college because I transferrred to a school where guitar major was not offered. I've wanted a tuba ever since, and it's been many years of waiting patiently, but it has arrived! Maybe I can play with an Octoberfest band during the festivities each year!

Here are some recent photos taken at Friendly Grounds Coffee House in Santee, CA

October 2009

With Billy and Yvette

June 2009

July 2009

Tom with Hofner guitar

In April (2004), I took some promotional photos for Hofner Guitars. I know that some of you have been following my music career, so I thought I'd share this picture of me with my Hofner "New President" guitar, which was hand-made in Germany.

I usually play this guitar or my Carvin Custom Shop AE-185. At Carvin, I was able to select a guitar that met my needs exactly.

I also play a Martin 000-28EC, which is the "Eric Clapton Signature" guitar. Martin guitars have been around since 1833, and are handmade in Pennsylvania.

Update note: The Hofner and the Martin 000-28EC were lost in the October 21, 207 wildfire. The Hofner was replaced with a Heritage Golden Eagle and the Martin was replaced with a Martin D-42 K2 (See the "My Equipment" page for more info).

Here's a recent photo of Peggy selling CD's at a banquet I performed for in October. One interesting thing about being with an Independant Label is that you get to do all the work yourself - book shows, set up equipment, do your own driving, sell your own CD's, collect your own pay, etc. Think of all the fun I would be missing out on if I went with a national or international record company!

Peggy selling CD's

Tom recording at Audio Barn

Here's a recent shot of me working on my new Christmas CD "Christmas In The Alleghenies" at Audio Barn Studios. I'm no longer selling the CD, but if you want to order one, let me know. I'll also have some available again next Christmas.

Here is a sketch of "PrimeTime," a band I recently performed with. I worked with Primetime in the early `80's, when we were playing contemporary Top-40 music. As fate would have it, we are now back together. The music is a little more reserved, as we are all now 20 years older! (Who knows, we might have played for your grandmother's wedding reception!). Lately, Patsy and Dennis have been having some medical problems, so I've been playing as as solo entertainer, and may have to do that for a while as their recovery is going slower than anticipated.
Left to right: Dennis - Patsy - Tom.

Primetime - A swingin' dance band

Tom with Dan McCarthy ("Gold Dust") preparing for a New Year's Eve show at Ramona VFW (2005)

Tom with Dan McCarthy

Tom at Cafe Salotto

South Bay Fish and Grill

Tom at the Barrett Junction Cafe and Mercantile, where he appeared every Saturday and Sunday afternoon earlier this summer on the new outdoor picnic/party dance & concert area.

Dave Dinsmoor (considered by many to be the best drummer in San Diego) joins Tom at the Barrett Junction Cafe and Mercantile on April 22, 2006. Dave went to meet his maker on June 6, 2007. (Click here for more information.)

Happy 40th Birthday to my 1966 Fender Pro Reverb amplifier - purchased new the first week of May, 1966.

Here's what it looks like from my view - taken during sound check on April 22 before the patio opened.

If you've already looked at my pictures from the `60's (link button is at the top of this page), you may have noticed that I was playing a Silvertone "Jaguar" guitar. I also had a Silvertone amplifier, but had traded it on a Fender amp before the picture was taken. In June 2006 I had the pleasure of purchasing the exact same model guitar (Silvertone 1478L 2-pickup "Jaguar") and amplifier (Silvertone 1482 15-watt 1X12") as a "set" from a local (San Diego) collector. Talk about a trip back to the past! My thanks goes to Robert for making me an offer I could not refuse!

Tom playing some blues on the harmonica at Cafe Salotto (Eastlake) on May 13, 2006. (Photo by Jack Riley)

Here's a rare shot of Tom playing bass! The date is July 1, 2006 and the event is "America's Fest" - a fundraiser to benefit the Kiwanas and Volulenteer Fire Company of Potrero, CA. The location is Potrero County Park, Potrero, CA.

Telemagica 2007

On Friday, May 25, I had the opportunity to open the musical festivitiea on the Main Stage at the 2007 Telemagica Festival & Celebration, "The Golden Thread'" in Jacumba, CA.

The official website for the event,, desctibes the event as an opportunity for painters, sculptors, musicians, poets, photographers, performance artists, neo-vaudville, graffiti artists and creative ritualists to come together for exchange of ideas and talents, for connectivity and collaboration on projects, and for rejuvenation in a world where the support for the arts has been evaporating.

"Telemagica is about restoring the focus on the Arts without competition for fashion dollars, and moving beyond the painful history of politics and religion. We believe that embracing the creative potential of the individual, and working towards manifestation of that potential, is the way out of the quagmire, and the way to achieving greater awareness. In this gathering, we are actualizing a new platform for rebirth and the widening of our percpetion."

"Telemagica is a festival of talent that is both embracing the known world and moves beyond it, into fresh vistas of the imagination of all generations. We hope that the combined effect of the magical sacred landscape and aritstic regeneration will have the power of taking people from the usual assemblage point of reason and into SILENT KNOWLEDGE. The combined energy of a group of people sharing in Silent Knowledge has the potential to bring on the shift we are all yearning for."

If all this makes sense to you, then you should have been there! Be sure to attend next year. The 2007 dates are May 24 - May 28, and over 20 bands from all over the Southwest are featured. As you know, I moved from the city to the backcountry in 1999, so I can relate first hand to how the serenity of the natural surroundings can contribute to artistic growth. Since my move, my music has improved 300% and I have written more songs the last few years than the rest of my life!

Here are a few photos from that magical event:

Here is a photo from our local newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, taken by John Gastaldo for publication 3/14/06. Most people might guess that this is Denver or some other city, but it is indeed San Diego! If you scroll to the right and look up into the mountains, that is where I live. There was no snow at my ranch, but I found lots of it when I drove about 14 miles to the east.

Snow in San Diego

After waiting almost 20 years since our last fanily portrait, here is the Smerk family as of April 6, 2007. From front to back and left to right: First row - Benjamin, son of Georgette; Abigail, daughter of Catherine. Second row - Tom & Peggy Smerk. Third row - Shaun, son of Catherine; Trinity, daughter of Melody. Fourth row - Tim Tinnell, husband of Catherine; Catherine, Melody and Georgette, daughters of Tom & Peggy.

Smerk family portrait - April 6, 2007

How would you like to have to pay his much for gas? (Photo taken June 8, 2007 at the Cima Road exit off Interstate Highway 15 in the Mojve Desert near the California-Nevada border.)

Regular gas: $4.29.9 per gallon

Here's a more recent update (March 17, 2008) at the same Mini-Mart in the Mojave. Their sign was no longer standing, so I photographed the price as it displyed on the pump. Remember, this is for REGULAR gasoline!

Regular gas: $4.44.9 per gallon

Peg and I were able to attend the 40th Anniversary of the Summer Of Love concert on September 2, 2007 at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. The TV news said "some of the bands had only one or two original members because the rest of the band wad dead!" I had a chance to see some of the bands that played the free concerts in the park 40 years ago. A lot of young people were also present, and the one common theme that arose from the event is that we all need the "peace, not war" feeling now just as much or even more than we did then. In 1967, we were against an unpopular war and an unpopular president. Need I say more? I wish these concerts were a weekly thing, and happened all over the USA. We learned our lesson about drugs, so we wouldn't have the same problems we did in the `60's, but why have we forgotten about peace, love, understanding, sharing, equality and brotherhood?

That ledgendary intersection where it all began! You probably can't see from here, but a nice touch was the flowers placed all around the front of the stage. Some of the local ledgends were present again.
It's amazing the stores still had what I needed to wear! 50-60,000 people attended.
The scene was strangely familiar, buit everybody looked older for some reason! The famous house on Ashbury Street once occupied by the Grateful Dead.

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Copyright 1996-2009 by Thomas M. Smerk