She is currently the lead vocalist and guitarist with Brix & The Extricated.
Smith Start was raised in Los Angeles by her mother Lucy Salenger, a TV executive at CBS. Mother and daughter moved to Chicago in 1972 when Salenger married political economist Marvin Zonis and became a powerful regional figure in the film business as head of the Illinois Film Office.
Studying theatre and literature at Bennington College in Vermont, Smith Start formed a group, "Banda Dratsing", performing as bassist/vocalist and adopting the name "Brix" after The Clash's 1979 song "The Guns of Brixton".
Smith Start met The Fall vocalist Mark E. Smith at a Chicago concert in April 1983, and moved to his native United Kingdom, where they settled in Manchester and married in July of that year. She joined the group on guitar and vocals for the album Perverted by Language. Acknowledged for introducing a more mainstream, pop-orientated element to the group's sound, she remained in the group until her divorce from Smith in 1989. Smith rejoined for the recording and live promotion of the albums Cerebral Caustic (1995) and The Light User Syndrome (1996).
In 1985, Smith Start launched side project The Adult Net with fellow Fall member, Simon Rogers. Contributors included Mark E. Smith. The group released four singles for The Fall's label Beggars Banquet Records in 1985 and 1986, including a cover of Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints".
The Adult Net released The Honey Tangle in 1989 on Phonogram Records. This line up included Craig Gannon, The The member James Eller and Blondie drummer Clem Burke.
Smith Start reunited with former Fall members Steve Hanley and Paul Hanley as Brix & The Extricated for a one-off gig at the Manchester Ruby Lounge in December 2014. They played Fall songs to celebrate the launch of Steve Hanley’s book "The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall." The success of the concert saw the band start performing more gigs and in 2015 a national UK tour. They played the Rebellion Festival in August 2016 where Brix was interviewed by John Robb.
By this time new material was being written and introduced into the set. A single “Something to Lose” was released on Blang Records in November 2016 with a new album expected in 2017.
The current (November 2016) line up is:Brix Smith Start
After leaving The Fall and disbanding The Adult Net, Smith Start went on to tour with The Bangles. She became romantically involved with violinist Nigel Kennedy, and they collaborated on a cover of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" which was released as a single in 1993 on Nettwerk.
In 1994, Smith Start auditioned for Hole after the death of bassist Kristen Pfaff, but was in the group for one day. In 1997, she released the Happy Unbirthday EP on Strangelove. The EP is a collaboration with Marty Willson-Piper and includes a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". That year she released solo LP Neurotica as a digital download on Loser Friendly Records.
In 2014, she formed the band Brix & The Extricated with former The Fall members Steve Hanley and Paul Hanley (see above). In May 2016, she published her memoir, The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise with Faber & Faber, noting that "writing the book freed my creativity to play again."
Smith Start married fashion entrepreneur Philip Start and in 2002 the couple opened boutique Start in East London. Subsequently, the business has expanded to four boutiques and an online store. The Shoreditch boutique closed in May 2015.
In recent years Smith Start has appeared as a fashion expert on British television shows, including Channel 4's Gok's Fashion Fix. Smith-Start also appeared on Animal Planet UK's Top Dog, The Culture Show on BBC Two, the John Peel's Record Box, LK Today's 'What's Hot and What's Not' segment and Sky 1's Angela and Friends.
In February 2011 Smith Start appeared as a fashion expert on Sky television's coverage of the 2011 Academy Awards and in June 2013 she took part in the fashion commentary in Channel 4's coverage of Royal Ascot.
Smith Start presented the first series of Ultimate Shopper, broadcast in summer 2013 by digital channel TLC in the UK.