Smith is the former frontman of 1970s progressive rock act Crystal Ship (which is also the title of a song by The Doors), and it is fairly obvious from listening to his radio broadcasts that he thought pretty highly of the group, especially his contributions to it. It is not known when the group dissolved or if they were still active by 1992, the year Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is set. Smith is suprisingly calm and constantly reminds the listeners about the 70s and the classic "rock n roll" lifestyle".
Tommy is voiced by Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose. Smith's history runs somewhat parallel to Rose himself. They are both former musicians whose careers dried up after their bands split while their bandmates went on to more success. It is mentioned that all of Tommy's bandmates from Crystal Ship are still in the music business and performing, and Axl's bandmates formed Velvet Revolver after Guns N' Roses split up.
Tommy and Sage, who is the host of alternative rock station Radio X, appear to hold grudges against each other, presumably for dislike of the other's musical preferences. On air, Smith tells her to "get over it!" during the intro to Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream", which is ironic because Sage states on Radio X that she "slept with this guy once" before Guns N' Roses' hit "Welcome to the Jungle" (which Rose was credited to creating) commences.
After the song "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tommy mentions "I remember playing that song in a way to put my wife down... Just joking people, she survived", stating the he tried to murder his wife (Which could be a pun on Guns n' Roses song, "Used to Love her (But had to Kill Her)).
Tommy is also a drug addict as he says to his viewers after the mission Are You Going to San Fierro? he "wished he was there with a good pair of lungs" and after a brief weather report about fog he states because of foggy weather he tries to "stay as high as possible". Also after the "555 We Tip" mission he makes a reference to the DA caught with the drugs (which were planted by CJ) calling him an asshole for keeping that much of drugs to himself (Which is a pun on Axl himself as he, along with other members of GnR, were infamous for their bad drug habits). Tommy is also unfaithful as he says to his ex-wife that he was cheating on her all the time including with her sister (again, an obvious pun on Axl tumoutous relationship with his former ex wife, Erin Everly. who inspired the GnR hit, "Sweet Child of Mine").
- Smith is one of the featured celebrities on the Vinewood Walk of Fame in GTA V.
- Tommy is mentioned in GTA V on Weazel News during a report about a hotel offering new packages, including one called the "Tommy 'The Nightmare' Smith deal". At the end, the reporter comments about how the legendary guitarist actually drowned in his own vomit, meaning Tommy died some time after the events after GTA San Andreas.
- During an introduction for Rod Stewart's "Young Turks", Smith mentions that he is from Great Britain.