It is 11:00am on a Tuesday morning at New York City’s famed Drummer’s Collective school of music (a.k.a The Collective). Fortunately, the school is on a week hiatus between semesters, which makes it a perfect locale for a private interview with New York City’s newest resident drum legend, Steve Smith. Slated for perhaps an hour-long interview, Steve informs us that he has practice time scheduled upstairs following our talk, allowing us a little flexibility with the time (Editor in Chief, Scott Kahn, didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to chat with Steve, either). Perfect!
Over two hours later, we were wrapping up a marathon filled with emotions ranging from serious banter to hearty laughter as well as amazing revelations about the music business and the more private life of this drumming superstar. After thirty years in the public eye, it is safe to say that Steve Smith is a household name in the drumming industry. Most drummers know him to be the versatile, remarkably-skilled master of many domains, while few others may still naively define him as “that drummer from Journey.”
Regardless of the circumstances, Steve is an icon in this industry who is loved and recognized by scores of musicians and drummers around the world. However, what enthusiasts may not know about Steve Smith is the unbelievable work ethic and arduous schedule he maintains just to keep his career moving along. Most drummers have witnessed his often-indescribable performances behind the set of drums. However, “behind the scenes” is a different story perhaps not known by many.
Revelations of self-management tasks like hotel reservations, flight bookings, gig advancements, and constant travel, not to mention personal practice time and familial obligations, are enough to fill up any musician’s daily schedule from top to bottom. And with all of that, he still somehow finds the energy to deliver that jaw-dropping performance each moment he hits the stage. Amazing.
Amongst many topics, Steve speaks about recent and upcoming projects, specific details of the new Vital Information CD, Vitalization, and his thoughts on the ever-changing music business, as well as an entertaining retrospective of essential Steve Smith recordings & performances. If you thought you had a great amount of respect for him before, perhaps you’ll find an entirely new undiscovered level of respect for him now.
Get out of the way of that rebound and let the stick come back off the head or off the cymbal.