Jerry Smith started out with Rod Piazza, Richard Innes and Buddy Reed which became Bacon Fat. In the early 70's Bacon Fat toured with the Johnnie Otis Revue, playing with the Platters, Chubby Checker, Sugie Otis and Little Richard, At the end of the tour Little Richard was so impressed with the Bacon Fat rhythm section that he hired on Jerry, Richard Innes and Buddy Reed and they continued on touring with Little Richard for several more months then rejoined Rod Piazza and George Smith.
Because of Rod Piazza's hospitalization, when Hollywood Fats with Al Blake and Fred Kaplan, were forming the Hollywood Fats Band Kaplan garnered part of Piazza's band of Jerry Smith and Richard Innes, with Larry Taylor from the Canned Heat later replacing Jerry Smith.
Jerry played with most of the great blues musicians in the 60's and 70's. Bo Diddley, Lowell Folsom, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Mama Thorton, T Bone Walker, Fred 'Mississippi' McDowell, Louisiana Red, John Lee Hooker, Mike Bloomfield, Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vincent, Albert Collins,Charlie Musselwhite to name a few.
Prior to playing with Bacon fat Jerry was a member of the El Cariso Hotshots. On November 1, 1966, the El Cariso Hotshots, a U.S. Forest Service Interregional Wildland Firefighting Crew, was trapped by flames as they worked on a steep hillside in Pacioma Canyon on the Angeles National Forest. An unanticipated upslope wind came up in afternoon and a spot fire was fanned and funnled up the steep canyon. The crew was cutting handline downhill and part of the crew was unable to reach safety in the few seconds they had. Ten members of the crew died on the Loop Fire that day. Another two members died from burn injuries in the following days. Most of the 19 El Cariso crew members who survived were critically burned and remained hospitalized for some time. The Downhill Indirect Checklist, improved firefighting equipment and better fire behavior training resulted, in part, from lives lost on this fire. Jerry overcame 30% 3rd degree burns and mainly to the hands and had an amputated little finger but continued to play.
In 1986 Jerry went back to school and in January of 1988 earned a degree as a Registered Nurse specializing in Rehabilitation working with catastrophic injuries - Spinal cord injuries, Strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and burns. He continues as an RN to this day and still plays bass, sometimes for his patients and occasionally for the public.
No relationship to the Jerry Smith who played with the Flock