The Rocks Off 200: John Smith, Goodtime Continental Club Manager

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

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Photos courtesy of John "Goodtime" Smith
Goodtime, right, and the rest of Polish Pete's army
Who? John Smith is the dapper, salt-and-pepper haired chap who is almost always the best-dressed gentleman at the Continental Club, where he has been general manager for the past three and a half years. Especially when he's taking a beer delivery at four in the afternoon.

But in a previous musical lifetime, he kept time for Chicago party-rockers New Duncan Imperials, a sort of Midwestern Dash Rip Rock that struck the proper balance between Dean Martin and the Ramones on albums like 1993's Loserville and '97's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vegas. These days Smith, much better known as Goodtime, does most of his drumming for Polish Pete and the Polka? I Hardly Know Her Band, the quasi-house band for special Continental occasions.

"We will play anywhere at any time," Goodtime swears. "We've played a 96-year-old woman's holiday party, the Rose Garden, the Beer Can House, Dan Pastorini's book signing, played on the light rail, and of course the Continental Club."


Home Base: Besides the Continental, Goodtime manages the Big Top and adjacent patio bar the Pachinko Hut. That puts him in the thick of "The Island," the compound of eclectic businesses on the 3600 and 3700 blocks of Main Street. (Disclosure: I rent an apartment upstairs at 3700 Main.)

"I love the block and all that is going on down there," Goodtime says. "There is something for everyone: record shop, barber/hairdresser/tattoo, coffee/exotic drinks, handmade clothes, vintage clothing, weird/psycho trinkets, tango and of course the Continental Club and Big Top."


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Photo courtesy of John "Goodtime" Smith
Why Do You Stay In Houston?"Since we moved here we have busted our tails and enjoyed every minute of it," Goodtime says. What could be better than managing the Continental Club for Pete? And we have an awesome group of friends that seems to grow and grow.

"Where else am I going to find a group of guys that want to start a Polka band because Groundhog Day is coming and we want to learn the Pennsylvania Polka? Or have duet parties where everyone does an act, (no laughing at, only with). And my son's band, Thrill, gets to play the club and street fests. Pool parties! I could go on and on.

"And honestly, I love the weather," he continues. "I can shovel the heat and humidity in no time."


Music Scene Pet Peeve: "Nothing has come close to making me want to leave," Goodtime swears. "I do have pet peeves, though. When a band is completely unprepared. They don't have guitar cables, forgot the cymbals, etc. Get it together, people.

"Or when the next band sets up their gear in the walkways," he continues. "Excuse me, are we in your way? How about underage girlfriends? 'But she won't drink.' Damn right she won't drink, not here, anyway. Tell her you'll see her tomorrow and do your gig."


Story continues on the next page.


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