Smith's drumming, while always decidedly modern,
can best be described as a style
embodies the history of U.S. music.
Originally drawn to the drums by hearing
marching bands in parades as a child in his
native Massachusetts, Smith began studying the
drums at age nine, in 1963. After high school,
Smith studied in Boston at the Berklee College
of Music from 1972-76, where he had private
lessons with both Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.
His original love of rudimental parade
band drumming is evident in his intricate solos.
Likewise, his command of jazz, from New Orleans
music, swing, big band, bebop, avant-garde to
fusion, plus his rock drumming sensibilities and
knowledge of rhythms from India allow him to
push the boundaries of all styles to new
In 1976, Smith began his
association with jazz-fusion by joining
violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's group and recording
the 1977 landmark fusion album
Enigmatic Ocean. It was while
touring with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later
that Smith was asked to join the popular rock
band Journey which brought his playing to the
attention of a rock audience.
Journey, Smith toured the world and recorded
numerous successful albums including
immensely popular Escape
(which includes the ubiquitous hit song “Don’t
both of which garnered the band many Top 40
hits. Journey’s albums have
sold in excess of
75 million copies worldwide to date. In 1985
Smith left Journey to pursue
passion, jazz, and to continue his developing
career as a session player,
educator. Over the past 40 years, Smith has
played on hits with such diverse
Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli and
Smith’s calendar often
includes many drum clinics in which he is able
to display his
phenomenal techniques and
concepts to drumming students around the world.
and solid timekeeping served to
gain him much acclaim from sources such as
Drummer magazine, whose readers voted
him the #1 Fusion Drummer of 2012 and 2105. In
2017 Steve topped an unprecedented three
categories in the MD poll: #1 Rock Drummer, #1
MVP and #1 Educational Product for his Hudson
Music book/DVD Pathways of Motion.
2018 Modern Drummer readers voted Steve #1
Classic Rock Drummer.
touring commitments have included the all-star
jazz group Steps Ahead and
virtuosos Hiromi, Mike Stern, Bill Evans, Randy
Brecker and tabla maestro Zakir
Since 1983 Smith has led his own group Vital
Information, which is touring to
their latest BFM Jazz release Heart
Of The City. Starting in 2019
Smith also tours
and records with his newest
group, The Groove Blue Organ Trio, featuring
Tony Monaco on
Hammond B3 and Vinny Valentino
In 2016 Smith rejoined Journey
and on April 7, 2017 Steve Smith, along with
members Gregg Rolie, Aynsley
Dunbar, Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain
Perry, were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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