Basic Background Info

Birth: August 21, 1954
Location: Brockton, Massachusetts
Band: Journey, Vital Information
Genres: Rock, Jazz
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician



Steve Smith ruined his first drum kit. He "played" it for a few months, until it broke because the heads were paper! The drum kit was a Christmas gift in 1956 when Steve was two years old. In 1963, Steve started taking drum lessons with big band drummer Bill Flanagan. Steve Smith finally received his first real drum kit for Christmas in 1966. The following year, Steve Smith got a job delivering newspapers to buy cymbals to accompany his new set. His set complete, Steve joined his first band, The Road Runners, playing brass and swing music. Steve Smith's next band, Clyde, covered Cream and Jimi Hendrix tunes, sometimes getting paid for playing small gigs.

While in high school, Steve Smith joined a local college big band with Dave Wilczewski and Tim Landers. Steve studied at the Berklee School of Music under Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson. In 1974, Steve Smith started touring with the Lin Biviano Big Band throughout the East Coast and the Midwest. Steve Smith also played with jazz trio The Fringe, before leaving Berklee and touring the world with Jean-Luc Ponty. After touring and recording with Ponty, Steve moved to Los Angeles and started playing with Ronnie Montrose supporting Journey's first head-lining tour. Steve seamlessly transitioned to drumming with Journey. After touring with Journey, Steve Smith recorded his first album with the band Evolution in 1979. In the early 1980s, Journey's fame peaked, and in 1980 alone the band recorded three albums and a Japanese movie soundtrack and toured arenas around the world for nine months.

Somehow finding a break from the demands of a superstar band, Steve Smith created his own band, Vital Information with Dave Wilczewski, Tim Landers, Mike Stern, and Dean Brown. Vital Information released a self-titled album in 1983 before Steve recorded Frontiers with Journey and toured supporting it. That was Steve's last tour with Journey and in 1985 he recorded Raised On Radio and then left the band.

After leaving Journey, Steve Smith continued playing with Vital Information and also joined Steps Ahead with Michael Brecker, Mike Mainieri, Mike Stern, and Daryl Jones. Steve's drumming expertise and his range of genres assisted him creating the instructional videos Steve Smith Part One and Part Two. From 1987 to 1992, Modern Drummer readers awarded Steve the honor of Number One All Around Drummer. While continuing to perform with Vital Information, Steve also drummed with Kit Walker, Steps Ahead, and The Storm, before reuniting with Journey in the late 1990s for studio album Trial By Fire. At the same time, Steve Smith recorded a lot of jazz fusion and performed with the Buddy Rich Big Band.

Steve Smith's success and versatility have not gone unnoticed. In 2001, Modern Drummer dubbed Steve one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time and in 2002 inducted him into their Readers' Poll Hall of Fame. Steve Smith is also an accomplished clinician. Rather than slowing down, Steve's career and work are speeding up. He called 2004 "the busiest year of my life." Steve Smith toured with Buddy's Buddies, George Brooks' Summit, SoulBop, and Vital Information, released a live album with SoulBop and a studio album with Vital Information, and provided countless clinics around the world. In 2006, he created Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy after Buddy's Buddies disbanded. And in 2007 and 2008, Steve continues touring and recording, sharing his experience and talent around the world.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1977 Enigmatic Ocean Jean-Luc Ponty
1977 Pure as Rain Gil Goldstein
1978 Focus con Proby Focus
1979 Evolution Journey
1980 Departure Journey
1981 Captured Journey
1981 Changes Marlon McClain
1981 Escape Journey
1981 T.C. Tom Coster
1982 Here to Stay Neal Schon & Jan Hammer
1982 Ivory Expedition Tom Coster
1983 Candid Conversation Journey
1983 Frontiers Journey
1983 Here to Stay Jan Hammer
1983 Vital Information Vital Information
1984 Orion Vital Information
1984 Reckless Bryan Adams
1985 Champion Jeff Berlin/Vox Humana
1985 Dream After Dream Journey
1986 Dancing on the Edge of the World Kit Walker
1986 Edge of Insanity Tony Macalpine
1986 Live in Tokyo 1986 Steps Ahead
1986 One Mind Joaquin Lievano
1986 Raised on Radio Journey
1986 Story Time T. Lavitz
1987 Global Beat Vital Information
1987 One Woodworks
1987 Players Players
1988 Fiafiaga (Celebration) Steve Smith & Vital Information
1988 Greatest Hits Journey
1988 My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama Dweezil Zappa
1989 Did Jah Miss Me?!? Tom Coster
1989 Fire in the Lake Kit Walker
1989 Late Nite Neal Schon
1989 Metropolis Turtle Island String Quartet
1989 N.Y.C. Steps Ahead
1989 Richie Kotzen Richie Kotzen
1990 Ten Y&T
1991 Emotions Mariah Carey
1991 Note Worker Frank Gambale
1991 Storm The Storm
1991 Vitalive! Steve Smith & Vital Information
1992 Easier Done Than Said Steve Smith & Vital Information
1992 Guitar on the Edge, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1992 Lone Ranger Jeff Watson
1992 Time 3 Journey
1992 Yin-Yang Steps Ahead
1993 Let's Set the Record Straight Tom Coster
1994 Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich Various Artists
1994 Thonk Michael Manring
1995 Back to the Innocence Jonathan Cain
1995 Beyond the Thunder Neal Schon
1995 Foreign Matter Peter Horvath
1995 Hallucination Shaw-Blades
1995 Higher Octave Collection, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1995 Spirito DiVino [Alternate Version] Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari
1995 Spirito DiVino Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari
1995 Wild Indian Summer Matalex
1996 Best of Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari's Greatest Hits Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari
1996 Georgia Original Soundtrack
1996 Horses with Wings Bruce McCabe
1996 Prendere e Lasciare Francesco De Gregori
1996 Ray of Hope Vital Information
1996 Trial by Fire Journey
1996 Welcome to Us Dennis Gonz·lez
1997 Body Language Jonathan Cain
1997 Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich Various Artists
1997 Electric World Neal Schon
1997 In Deep Tina Arena
1997 Jazz Fusion, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1997 Jazz Grunge Matalex
1998 #1 Remixes Lisa Stansfield
1998 Cause and Effect Larry Coryell/Tom Coster/Steve Smith
1998 Collection: Escape/Frontiers/Infinity Journey
1998 Crossroads Jeff Berlin
1998 Greatest Hits Live Journey
1998 Merry Axemas, Vol. 2: More Guitars for Christmas Various Artists
1998 Neal Schon & Jan Hammer Collection: No More Lies Neal Schon & Jan Hammer
1998 Pipes & Flowers Elisa
1998 Show Me What You Can Do Frank Gambale/Stu Hamm/Steve Smith
1998 Smap 012 Viva Amigos! Smap
1998 Vital Tech Tones Scott Henderson/Steve Smith/Victor Woote
1998 Where We Come From: Live Around the World, 1998-1999 Vital Information
1999 Affirmation Savage Garden
1999 Dream After Dream Journey
1999 Emotion in Motion Mel Graves
1999 Invisible City Andre Bush
1999 Pop Music: The Modern Era 1976-1999 Various Artists
1999 Rock: Train Kept a Rollin' Various Artists
1999 Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies Steve Smith
1999 Stranger's Hand Howard Levy/Jerry Goodman/Steve Smith/Ot
1999 Two Coasts Michael Zilber
1999 Vitalive! Steve Smith & Vital Information
1999 We'll Be Together Again Peter Welker
2000 Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert Deluxe Set Various Artists
2000 Lara Fabian Lara Fabian
2000 Light Beyond Frank Gambale/Stuart Hamm/Steve Smith
2000 Live Around the World: Where We Come from Tour 1998-1999 Vital Information
2000 Outbound Stuart Hamm
2000 Pit of Fashion Peter Barshay
2000 Prisoner of Love Ray Price
2000 Room Full of Fools Kevin Coyne
2000 Steve Smith, Vol. 1 Steve Smith
2000 Steve Smith, Vol. 2 Steve Smith
2000 Steve Smith Steve Smith
2000 Very Best of Jean-Luc Ponty Jean-Luc Ponty
2000 Viaggiatore Sulla Coda del Tempo Claudio Baglioni
2000 VTT2: Vital Tech Tones, Vol. 2 Scott Henderson/Steve Smith/Victor Woote
2001 Anthology Jonathan Cain
2001 Chromaticity Tony MacAlpine
2001 Count's Jam Band Reunion Larry Coryell/Steve Smith/Steve Marcus
2001 Defying Gravity Vinnie Moore
2001 Essential Journey Journey
2001 Fabulous Sheena Easton
2001 Music Box/Emotions/Mariah Carey Mariah Carey
2001 Staring at the Sun Neil Zaza
2002 East 2 West Various Artists
2002 GHS3 Gambale/Hamm/Smith
2002 Paradise Is Awfully Nice Peter Welker
2002 Presidio Epilogue Paul Hahn
2002 Show 'Em Where You Live Vital Information
2003 Ballads Journey
2003 Greatest Hits DVD 1978-1997: Videos and Live Performances Journey
2003 Reimagined, Vol. 1: Jazz Standards Steve Smith/Michael Zilber
2003 Trial by Fire Journey
2003 Very Live at Ronnie Scott's London, Set 1 Steve Smith/Buddy's Buddies
2003 Very Live at Ronnie Scott's London, Set 2 Steve Smith/Buddy's Buddies
2004 Andrea Andrea Bocelli
2004 Christmas in the Northwest, Vol. 7 Various Artists
2004 Drum Nation, Vol. 1 Various Artists
2004 Greatest Hits Neil Young
2004 Happy as We Are Jen Todd
2004 Honkahillarockabilly Knut Bell
2004 Lee Ritenour Live/Live in Tokyo Lee Ritenour
2004 One Dirty Vegas
2004 Yo Miles!: Sky Garden Henry Kaiser/Wadada Leo Smith
2005 Anthology Bryan Adams
2005 Chronicles: You Want It, You Got It/Cuts Like a Knife Bryan Adams
2005 Collection: Escape/Frontiers/Infinity Journey
2005 Flashpoint Steve Smith/Dave Liebman/Eydin Esen/Anth
2005 Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour Journey
2005 Thrivemix, Vol. 1: Mixed by Mike Rizzo and St. John Various Artists
2005 Yo Miles!: Upriver Henry Kaiser/Wadada Leo Smith
2006 Departure Journey
2006 Duke, Billy and Tadd Peter Welker
2006 Escape Journey
2006 Frontiers Journey
2006 Funk Academy Various Artists
2006 Greatest Hits Journey
2006 Hallucination Tommy Shaw/Jack Blades
2006 Instrumental Collection: The Shrapnel Years Richie Kotzen
2006 Journey's Greatest Hits: Best of the Best Journey
2006 Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour Journey
2006 Mental Medicine Army of Trees
2006 Raised on Radio Journey
2006 Soul Bop Band Live Bill Evans/Randy Brecker
2006 Tony MacAlpine Collection: The Shrapnel Years Tony MacAlpine
2006 Trial by Fire Journey
2006 Vinnie Moore Collection: The Shrapnel Years Vinnie Moore
2007 Anthology Bryan Adams
2007 Collection Scott Henderson
2007 Funky Planet Earth: The Funkiest Guitar Players on Earth Various Artists
2007 Rewind: The Definitive Collection 1992-2005 Neil Zaza
2007 Vitalization Steve Smith And Vital Information
2007 World's Best Dad Various Artists
2008 Escape/Frontiers Journey
2008 Kingdom of Comfort Delirious?
2008 This Town Steve Smith
2009 The Satatanic Satanist Portugal, The Man
2009 Best of GHS Frank Gambale
2010 Yo Miles: Shinjuku Henry Kaiser
2010 Yo Miles: Lightning Henry Kaiser
2010 American Ghetto Portugal, The Man
2012 The Calling Neal Schon
2012 Live! One Great Night Steve Smith


  • After divorcing his first wife in 1993 after twelve years of marriage, Steve spent the following year at home raising his children, Ian and Elizabeth, and reprioritizing his life. In 2005, he married Diane, his partner of twelve years.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Sonor
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Heads: Remo
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips