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Steve Smith

In His Own Words
In 2016 Steve Smith rejoined Journey and on April 7, 2017 Smith, along with Journey band members Gregg Rolie, Aynsley Dunbar, Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

"Rock and Roll means many things to many people, as the diversity of the Classof 2017 clearly Illustrates. I started out in 1963, at nine years old, as a jazzdrummer. I thank my parents Bruce and Lorraine Smith for finding me anexcellent private drum instructor and supporting my musical passion. Back then, my favorite bands were the Count Basie Big Band and the Buddy Rich Big Band.It wasn’t until 1969 that I discovered Rock and Roll, when my friend Pudge Greenhalgh, from Cape Cod, showed me his brother Dave’s record collection. He played me Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin. What I heard was MitchMitchell, Ginger Baker and John Bonham, at that moment I could relate to rockdrumming and rock music.
Disc Jockey Alan Freed — a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee — once said,“Rock and Roll is really swing with a modern name. It began on the levees andplantations, took in folks songs, and featured blues and rhythm.” He said this inthe 1950s. Now that we live in a global community, more influences have beenadd to, and will be added to, the definition of what is Rock and Roll.


For me, one of the most explosive shifts in musical direction came in 1971 withthe creation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman and Rick Laird. With drummer Billy Cobham, and acouple years later, Narada Michael Walden stepping into the Mahavishnu Orchestra, jazz officially rocked! In many ways, that funk-rock, jazz-fusiondrumming concept was the template for my work with Journey.
I’m grateful for my touring with Ronnie Montrose where we were the support actfor Journey in early 1978 and talent scout Neal Schon noticed what I bringing toRock and Roll. Later that year, Neal, Steve Perry, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory andHerbie Herbert invited me to become a Journey band-member, and it’s been aneducational and rewarding ride!

Thanks to my children Ian and Elizabeth for keeping me in their hearts while Iwas away on long tours. And very special thanks to my wife Diane. We havebeen sharing our lives for the last 24 years, I love you dearly. Thanks to JonathanCain for the gifted song-writing and Arnel Pineda for keeping the legacy sound ofJourney alive and moving forward. And a most important thanks to our fans fromaround the world that have kept Journey in their hearts and on their stereos."

- Steve Smith of Journey
Count Basie. Photograph: AP Photograph: AP
Steve Smith Journey Force Post Card 1981
 Credit: Las Vegas Review-Journal, Inc.
The Fabric of Rhythm
Steve Smith has now teamed up with Los Angeles based visual art team SceneFour to release a collection of artwork called ‘The Fabric of Rhythm”.

“I call my collection ‘The Fabric of Rhythm’ because I feel that this art is a view into the inner workings of the motions I use to make rhythms. With drumming, we hear only part of the motions that we make, and because the sticks and hands are generally traveling so fast, we don’t see all the motions being used. We hear the impact of the stick on a drumhead or cymbal, but we don’t hear the motions made in the spaces between the notes. The spaces in-between the notes are as important as the notes that we hear
With some percussion instruments like shakers or tambourines, we do hear the entire motion and it’s important that the motions are smooth and symmetrical, in order to get a grooving rhythm. To me, this means that the entire motion that you use with a drumstick is important. With the process that we used to make this art, you see both the impacts and the spaces between the notes, it’s as if we are looking into the very fabric of the rhythms.”
A Legend
Over the past 40 years, world renowned American drumming legend Steve Smith has toured and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz and rock. He has appeared on recordings selling over 100 million copies worldwide with acclaimed artists including Journey, Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Zucchero and Jean-Luc Ponty. His intricate solos, command of rhythms and unparalleled talent has allowed him to continue pushing the boundaries of all styles of drumming to new levels.

In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue developing his career as a session player, bandleader and educator and launching his jazz-fusion trios Vital Information and Vital Information-NYC Edition, with he continues to record and tour, mesmerizing audiences worldwide.

Among his many accolades, in 2001 Modern Drummer magazine acknowledge Steve Smith as one of the top 25 drummers of all time, and the magazine’s readers voted him the best All-Around Drummer five years in a row from 1987-1991. In 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique – History of the U.S. Beat, was voted #1 Educational DVD.”
Among his many accolades, in 2001 Modern Drummer magazine acknowledge Steve Smith as one of the top 25 drummers of all time, and the magazine’s readers voted him the best All-Around Drummer five years in a row from 1987-1991. In 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique – History of the U.S. Beat, was voted #1 Educational DVD.”

In 2003 his Drumset Technique/ History of the U.S. Beat was voted the best Educational DVD. DRUM! magazine’s readers voted Steve Smith as the best Jazz Drummer in 2008, 2009 and 2010  Drum Legacy: Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants was voted the best educational DVD of 2009.

In 2012 Modern Drummer readers poll, Steve was voted “#1 Fusion Drummer. Steve Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Journey on April 7, 2017 and in 2018 Modern Drummer readers voted him #1 Classic Rock Drummer.
Credit: Hudson Music
Vital Information
Steve Smith has been touring and recording with his all-star group Vital Information since 1983. The line-up of Vital Information NYC Edition incorporates players from all of Smith’s bands: guitarist Vinny Valentino (from Vital Information and The Groove Blue Organ Trio), pianist Mark Soskin (from Jazz Legacy and Buddy’s Buddies), bassist Baron Browne (from Jazz Legacy, Buddy’s Buddies and Vital Information), with Smith on drums.

Since 2016 Smith started touring again with the iconic rock band Journey, the group in which he recorded nine albums with multiple massive hits. In 2018 alone, Journey played for over 1,000,000 fans in arenas and stadiums across North America.
With VI NYC Edition performing at clubs and festivals around the world, it’s a perfect opportunity to see Smith with his jazz-fusion band in an intimate setting, with great sound, where you can appreciate the details of their high-level musicianship, their sense of joy onstage and experience their collective virtuosic improvisation.

Steve Smith had this to say about Vital Information NYC Edition’s philosophy: “Our music allows for individual expression and re-invention. We thrive on swing, groove and creativity. We want to surprise each other every night on the bandstand with new ideas and in the process keep our audience ‘in the moment’ with us.”
“With drumming, we hear only part of the motions that we make, and because the sticks and hands are generally traveling so fast, we don’t see all the motions being used. We hear the impact of the stick on a drumhead or cymbal, but we don’t hear the motions made in the spaces between the notes. The spaces in-between the notes are as important as the notes that we hear. With some percussion instruments like shakers or tambourines, we do hear the entire motion and it’s important that the motions are smooth and symmetrical, in order to get a grooving rhythm. 
To me, this means that the entire motion that you use with a drumstick is important. With the process that we used to make this art, you see both the impacts and the spaces between the notes, it’s as if we are looking into the very fabric of the rhythms.” - Steve Smith

In his process of playing with light-sticks, Steve Smith visually captures the motion and sound of his drumming, with each piece expressing various facets of his musical genius, whether it be rhythm, improvisation, groove, or motion, achieving mysterious and extraordinary results.