I have met Steve Smith 3 times in small commitee and saw him at NAMM 08 as well. I must say that I can confirm the above statement. He was arrogant and not friendly at all. I love his music and I love his playing but I am not fond of the man.Fine drummer.
Singularly un-gracious person. I saw him last October at the NE Drum Expo in Manchester NH. His snare was a little out of place--rather than just move it like anybody would, he demanded some poor kid come scrambling over and move it for him while he sat there. Just ridiculous.
Then he broke the head on his snare. He asked for a new one--"Be sure to get me a Jeff Ocheltree snare". Again, some poor kid scrambled out and returned with a new snare--which Steve then instructed him how to re-position, right between his legs. Too important to just put it in place himself.
After the show, we were moving some gear out and walked right by him. I politely thanked him, said I enjoyed the show. He looked at me without reply--from 5 feet away with three other people in the room. I thought it good manners to express my appreciation for his efforts, especially in such close proximity where it would have been rude to ignore him.
Good drummer--sure, very good.
I've met several others (Mike Portnoy, Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Philips, Dave Weckl, Mike Mangini ) who are gracious and pleasant--and their obvious proficiency speaks for itself. In my professional life, I have dealt with Governors, Senators, White House staff. In that atmosphere, I've rarely come across anybody more self-important than Mr. Smith.
You always learn a lot about people when they don't know who they're speaking to. Just my own observation.
I have the chance through friendships with David Garfield and Neil Stubenhaus to have met tons of great studio musicians including Vinnie Colaiuta, JR Robinson, Steve Gadd, Ndugu Chancler, Michael Bland, Oscar Seaton, Gregg Bissonnette, Russ Miller, Oscar Seaton, Chad Wackerman, Simon Phillips, Ricky Lawson, Will Kennedy, Joe Porcaro to name but a few.... all were very friendly.... I actually only met four who were really unfriendly and/or arrogant and/or pretentious: Steve Smith, Rick Marotta, Jerry Marotta and Dave Weckl.