Steve Smith Shares Secrets of His Success with Eager Audience
LOS ANGELES, CA — Drum roll please... On October 19, 2002, West L.A. Music, Zildjian, Sonor, Remo, Vic Firth, Shure and DW presented a drum clinic with Steve Smith, legendary rock and jazz fusion drummer for Journey and Vital Information. Over three hundred drummers from all over Los Angeles gathered to see why Steve Smith won Modern Drummer Magazine's #1 All Around Drummer award five years in a row and was voted one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time in a recent Modern Drummer readers poll.
Steve autographed all drums and drum accessories purchased at West L.A. Music. Winners received hundreds of dollars worth of gear, including Zildjian 16" med thin crash, Vic Firth sticks, Remo head pack, Sonor accessories, Shure drum mics and a DW pedal.
Steve Smith has a resume that stretches from Ahmad Jamal, Zakir Hussain and Steps Ahead to Mariah Carey, Savage Garden and Journey. In the last four years, Smith has led or co-led ten different jazz or jazz/rock projects for the Tone Center label. He is one of the most constantly evolving drummers on the scene today. Steve's been playing for 40 years, but he still practices about two hours a day in the morning at his home studio.
Steve played everything from rock to jazz to furious fusion for an intent and reverent audience aged 4 to 70. A natural showman, his playing style is precise and untiring, smooth and flawless, with organic transitions from one rhythmic concept to the next. He likes to throw in lots of single, double and triple paradiddles, flipping and juggling sticks all the while. He's no stranger to speed, and is able to maintain immaculate timing. How did he get that way?
Steve's Advice for Drummers
On practicing: "I like to practice quietly and slowly. By doing this you gain control at many volumes and tempos The key is to be completely relaxed, let the sticks driveŠkeep breathing slowly, take your time and let the idea sink in. Figure out the stickings and hand/foot combinations. With this process you gain an understanding of the information in the idea. With consistent, slow and relaxed practice you allow the information to enter your subconscious. Slowly work out the motions necessary to play the ideas and eventually allow the motions start to 'play themselves.' Breathe slowly, relax and use the practice as a meditation. Develop the habit of playing relaxed, don't hold tension in your body. Use a mirror to watch your motions. Eventually 'hear' the idea in your head and allow your body to respond and play it effortlessly."
Steve's Custom Kit
Steve plays a custom Sonar kit with DW bass pedals, Remo heads and Zildjian cymbals, expertly miked by Shure. Steve's kit includes Sonor Designer drums with 8x12, 10x8, 12x8 rack toms and 14x14, 16x16 floor toms. He has three BD sizes 18x14, 20x14, 22x14; and changes them depending on the music. He sets his toms up with Remo Clear Ambassador heads, top and bottom, with the bottom head tuned slightly higher than the top head.
Steve has played Zildjian cymbals from the beginning. "My main ride cymbal is a 22" K Zildjian Custom Medium, which sounds great for most of my jazz or jazz/rock gigs. I also use the new 21" K Custom Med Special Dry, which I think is one of the best cymbals Zildjian has ever made," Steve said.
As for bass drum pedals, Steve has used the DW double pedal with the nylon straps and the light footboards for over a decade. For sticks, he favors his new custom-designed Steve Smith Signature model from Vic Firth. He uses a Shure Beta 52 inside his bass drums and positions a SM98 clip on the toms, with an SM57 on the snare. For complete information on Steve's kit, see www.vitalinformation.com.
About West L.A. Music
For over 30 years, West L.A. Music has supplied music, audio and recording equipment to top artists around the world. The first music retailer to implement a "beat any deal" policy, industry insiders count on West L.A. Music's personalized knowledgeable service and comprehensive selection of professional products from leading manufacturers.
West L.A. Music supplies equipment for recording studios, broadcast companies, film and video post production facilities, major artists, producers, composers, and record companies, as well as schools, churches and government agencies.
West L.A. Music offers expert system design, installation, and training services for outfitting home studios, sophisticated world class studios, local clubs, concert arenas, and more.
For more information, call West L.A. Music at 310-477-1945