Friday, January 30, 2009

Journey Drummer - Steve Smith

Cover of "Trial By Fire"Cover of Trial By Fire

Famous Drummer - Steve Smith by Drew Mers

Steve Smith is widely known for being the drummer of American rock band Journey. He is an all-around drummer, collaborating with hundreds of artists to date. With his powerful drumming and command of jazz, he has captured the attention of audiences of different ages.

Born on August 21, 1954 in Whitman, Massachusetts, Smith found interest in drums upon hearing marching bands during parades in his hometown as a child. He received his first drum kit at two years old. In 1963, at an early age of nine, he started studying the drums with a local teacher, Bill Flanagan, who had his share of playing in big bands in the swing era. He had his first real drum set at twelve. As a teenager, Smith performed in the school band program and garage bands. His first paid gig was with a garage band. He later played in a professional Brockton concert band and in the big band at the local college, Bridgewater State College. Smith went on to study music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where learned under renowned teachers, Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.

In 1974, Smith joined the Lin Biviano Big Band, with whom he toured and recorded for two years. He also toured with jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty in 1976, as well as with Ronnie Montrose in 1977. It was during his tour with Montrose that Smith was asked to join the rock band Journey, replacing Aynsley Dunbar. He joined singer Steve Perry, lead guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Gregg Rolie, and bassist Ross Valory in the band.

Smith played drums, toured and recorded with the band from 1978 to 1985, during the period which is considered most successful for the band. The group then decided to take some time off in 1985. Smith focused on jazz, and pursued his career as a session player. He has played on numerous hits with various artists, including, Mariah Carey, Savage Garden, Bryan Adams, Andrea Bocelli, Corrado Rustici, and Ray Price. He also played with a number of high-profile jazz artists, such as Mike Mainieris group Steps Ahead, Tom Coster, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, Anthony Jackson, Mike Stern, George Brooks Summit, Scott Henderson, Buddy Rich Big Band, and many more.

In 1983, while still a member of Journey, Smith formed his own jazz/fusion group, Steve Smith and Vital Information. He is also the bandleader of Steve Smiths Jazz Legacy, featuring Andy Fusco on alto sax, Walt Weiskof on tenor and soprano saxes, Mark Soskin on piano, and Baron Browne on bass. The group pays tribute to great jazz drummers.

In 1995, the band re-united and recorded a comeback album, Trial by Fire, released the following year. The recording included the chart-topper When You Love a Woman, a single that gave Journey a Grammy nomination. The band planned a subsequent tour following the success of their album; however, Steve Perry sustained a hip injury, so the band decided to look for a new vocalist. It was during this time that Smith also decided to leave the band.

Steve Smiths explosive solos gained him much acclaim. He was named in 2001 as one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time in Modern Drummer Magazine after being voted as #1 All-Around Drummer for five consecutive years. In 2002, he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. The following year, his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique - History of the U.S Beat was voted #1 Educational DVD of 2003. Smiths calendar is filled with drum clinics, which showcases his exceptional drumming techniques and concepts to students all over the world.

Smith plays Sonor drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth Signature Sticks and Tala Wands, Sonor Hardware, Roland Electronics, Shure Microphones, DW Bass Drum Pedals, Puresound Snare Wires, and Remo Drumheads.

Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers rehearsal studios in Long Island City, Queens, New York - about 10 minutes from midtown Manhattan and consultant to City Closet Storage, one of the largest New York self-storage companies.

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