“It was down to Slash and C.C. DeVille – I don’t even think they even tried anybody else out. They wanted to go in a glammier direction, and C.C. fit that style”: Matt Smith was Poison’s original guitarist – and helped to choose his successor

Matt Smith, C.C. DeVille and Slash perform live
(Image credit: Courtesy of Matt Smith / Getty Images)

The portion of Poison's journey you logged on for will probably dictate which guitarist you most associated them with. If you came in during the ‘80s, it’s going to be C.C. DeVille's brand of badassery. If you dropped by in the early ‘90s, you’ll recall Richie Kotzen holding the fort. Blues Saraceno came next – but not for long, as he handed the baton back to DeVille, who has remained since.

Got all that? Well, not so fast; you’ll need to clear some additional headspace for the guitarist who predated them all: Matt Smith. Before Poison blew the lid off the glam scene, Smith was their capable six-stringer, who harbored a deep love for the rhythm chops of Keith Richards and the inherent sleaze of Joe Perry.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.