Steve Smith

insane drummer

Pioneer Member
Ok here it is... Steve Smith is an amazing player, I totaly dig his stlye. But I don't own any albums he drums on. Anyone who knows a little more about Steve Smith recommend which albums best showcase his work. If any are funk or funky that would be great...
Re: Steve Smith...

His main effort since the mid-80s has been his fusion band Vital Information.

Don't dismiss his Journey drumming though, as he implemented some very powerful and inventive drum riffs in the Arena Rock style of 70s-80s music.

I personally like Escape and Frontiers for some serious injection of high quality drumming, into a rather cliche-ridden rock band. The first time I heard the drum break/fills in the middle of Separate Ways, I knew I was gonna be a drummer (and I started that year).

He also played with Jean Luc Ponty before Journey after he graduated (Berklee?). Not funky, but still high levels of musicianship.
Re: Steve Smith...

Steve Smith is an amazing drummer ive gotten the privillage to see him play 5 times his high hat stick control is frickin amazing, his Sonar drum kits are top of the line his shuffles are kind of bizzare most people shuffle with there wrist down or off to the side but Steve Smith shuffles with his palm up i tried doing that once...never tried it agian lol
Re: Steve Smith...

Hes got such an amazing feel, with rock solid beats. Hes stripped down drumming to the bones and learned everything and more, I've got a video of his, man what a great drummer.
Re: Steve Smith...

This man is a true master he stripped his style back to the basics and really built everything back again as bttm said. His feel and ability to play multiple styles is awesome . The video Drumset technique/ history of the US beat is an absolute must have for any drummer but may be hard to work from short of being at an imtermediate level. I really dig the odd times and grooves that he plays with Vital Information but didnt remember being as impressed with the stuff he did with Journey. That is untill I started playing myself now I have a whole new opinion of the work he did with journey theres some really solid playing there. Did you know that Steve Smith and Neil Peart studied together under Freddie Gruber? They actually practice together quite a bit.
Re: Steve Smith...

I have many CDs with Steve Smith's awesome drumming. Here are some of the best ones:

Vital Information Come on In

Vital Information Show 'Em Where You Live

Vital Information Where We Come From

Gambale/Hamm/Smith GHS 3

Gambale/Hamm/Smith The Light Beyond

History of the U.S. Beat (DVD)
Re: Steve Smith...

Drumolator said:
I have many CDs with Steve Smith's awesome drumming. Here are some of the best ones:

Vital Information Come on In

Vital Information Show 'Em Where You Live

Vital Information Where We Come From

Gambale/Hamm/Smith GHS 3

Gambale/Hamm/Smith The Light Beyond

History of the U.S. Beat (DVD)

Thank you my fellow Louisiana-dweller. So whereabouts in Louisiana are you?
Re: Steve Smith...

And the other two being?

I'd put Steve Smith right up there , top 5 easy


to start...
Re: Steve Smith...

Has anyone on this forum studied privately with Steve Smith? If so, would you mind elaborating on the teaching method.
hello all,
I had a record a long time ago - "Focus con Proby" (Focus was a dutch 'progressive rock' band back in the early 70's)-, the drummer's name on some tracks (or most of them, can't remember) was Steve Smith. Does somebody know if this Steve Smith is the same drummer who's listed in the 'drummerworld' drummer list? Just curious, thank you.
Well according to a quote from Steve on his "Timeline" that is located on his Website (

"I recorded my first album, 'Enigmatic Ocean,' with Ponty, Darryl Steurmer and Allan Holdsworth, guitars, and Ralphe Armstrong, bass. That same year, I recorded an album with the Dutch band Focus. I also started endorsing Sonor Drums."

So I guess the answer is yes.
Of course that was in 1977 and as you can see that was a VERY GOOD year for him.
Here are some pictures from Steve Smith clinic in 03' in Chicago. He used two kits and also jammed with Fareed Haque (gtr) and Howard Levy (harmonic) among others.

Steve is such a great player and teacher. I just wanted to share the pictures and start a thread to hear what everyone thinks about his teaching and playing.


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Re: Steve Smith in clinic

OH man, those are awesome pics! I got extremely lucky and got pulled out of the crowd in 1985 to be his demostrator. So I got to play Steve Smith's drums with him telling me what to play! He was a great clinician, and I'm sure he's even better now.
Great pics!

Steve Smith is unbelievable. He is VERY dynamic, and very, very tasteful, and GOD can he groove! He fills out his beats so well and makes un-even time signatures flow naturally. He uses the whole kit so well, using toms to give his rhythms more drive, combining ride and hi-hat patterns... his drumming is pure class.

I'm amazed at how few people have posted in this thread!
Hi Everyone,

I had the opportunity to see the jazz fusion band Vital Information with the great Steve Smith on drums. For those of you that have bought Steve’s DVD (The History of the US Beat) know well just what an excellent drummer he is! But, to see him play live standing/sitting a few feet away is really a transformation.

I saw them at a small venue in Oshkosh WI. On March 31st while on their Midwest tour. It was a small room not that much bigger than what we as gig drummers might play.
Not only did I see him play live I also got to meet him and have a picture take with him and also Frank Gambale and Tom Coster and of course autograph CD’s. These guys were so gracious saying thank you, asking my name when signing CDs. Although jazz fusion isn’t for everybody, these four gentlemen played their buts off. Check out their new CD “Come On In” Steve does some real neat brush work on the song “A Little Something” my personal favorite on the CD.

If one day you have the opportunity to see “Vital Information” you will not be disappointed! And if you haven’t seen Steve’s DVD I would urge you to do so.
Take care,

Neil M.
I seen Steve the other nite @ a clinic with his band Vital Iformation. They were PHENOMENAL!! True genius......and his guitar player Frank gambale.....a total virtouso! I was Awstruck and felt honored just to be in the same room as them. It was fantastic! Steve demonstated his hi-hat solo, as on this site..... man, unbelievable talent! He even play off his ankle! It was cool!!
That hi-hat thing looks so damn good. When I saw him at Ronnie Scott's I had the best seat in the house. Directly behind the kit. It was awesome.

I went over and chatted drums to him and asking him about stuff. He is a big Johnny Rabb fan. He had one thing on his mind though....MY GIRLFRIEND! He started pretty much ignoring me and started chatting her up. I guess he is one of my all time fav drummers so I won't hold it against him.

Baron Browne is the man on Bass. Not to mention Coster and Gambale. Whaaaaaaaaaar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I took one 30 minute lesson from Steve Smith in 86 I think. He was giving a clinic at moms music in louisville, ky that night and was in the store just standing around. I recognized him from the Journey Videos I had seen on MTV and asked him how Journey was going. He told me he had left the band and was doing ???? (dont remember but it must have been the begining of Vital Information) I was maybe 15 at the time so I didnt know squat.He asked me to play and at that time it was 4/4 ala every breath you take and that was about it for me. He corrected my posture, told me to relax my stick grip, choke up the stick and advised that I begin working single and double stroke rolls. Showed me mama dada because I could not do a good roll back then. He was a very soft spoken (almost too soft) and friendly guy. I was in the right place at the right time and he didnt charge me a dime. The guys in the music store informed him I was the local "fly on the wall" and that they had to run me off often because I would cut school to hang out in there. He took pity on me I guess. hehe I wish I could have another go at it now that im older, wiser and can play fairly well now. I had no idea at the time that he was such a monster because all I knew from him was Journey and my av drummers at that time was Bonham and Umm (giggles) Tommy umm Lee. Did I just say Tommy Lee ?