093 – Steve Smith: Drum Legend, Touring Again with Journey, New Book: The Pathways Of Motion, Defining Drum Set Technique, Nashville Drummer Jam Tribute
Steve Smith‘s drumming, while always decidedly modern, can best be described as a style that embodies the history of U.S. music. His command of jazz, from New Orleans music, swing, bebop, avant-garde to fusion, is applied with his powerful rock drumming sensibilities and allows him to push the boundaries of all styles to new heights.
Originally from Massachusetts, Smith began studying the drums at age nine, in 1963. After high school, Smith studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1972-76. There he received valuable instruction from such renowned teachers as Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.
Smith’s professional career began in full at 19 years old and began touring and recording right away with jazz artists like violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and rocker Ronnie Montrose. In 1978, Smith was asked to join the popular rock band Journey which brought his playing to the attention of a rock audience. In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player.
Steve began leading his own fusion band, Vital Information while still a member of Journey. The group recorded their first album in 1983 and continue touring and recording to this day. He has also maintained an extensive touring and recording career, appearing with many jazz luminaries such as Mike Mainieri’s group Steps Ahead. Other high profile jazz touring and/or recording gigs that have filled Steve’s schedule include such artists as Ahmad Jamal, Michael Manring, Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker, Zakir Hussain, George Brooks’ Summit and the Buddy Rich Big Band.
As a drummer, Steve has worked for, and with, the best. He is consistently pushing the boundaries of creative drumming and constantly expanding his strong musical voice at the top of the international drumming community. As an educator, Smith is both the eternal student and perpetual teacher of the drums with many books and DVD’s to his credit including his latest book/DVD combo: The Pathways of Motion.
In this podcast, Steve talks about:
His touring schedule in 2016 and the variety of styles he covers
Mixing yourself and creating balance on the kit
Using in-ears for the first time with Journey
Preparing for the Journey tour
Creating a center of balance on the kit
His new book “Pathways Of Motion”
Defining “Drumset technique”
His lessons with Freddie Gruber
Learning to play the instrument in the information age
His art project: The Fabric of Rhythm – stevesmithdrumart.com
This episode is sponsored by Sonor Drums