Oh, and 3.) Their former drummer, Steve Smith, is giving a drum clinic in San Luis Obispo today (Wednesday).
First, a little about Journey. When I interviewed Neil Schon in 2005, the band was pretty much a washed-up act. In fact, they were giving away copies of their latest CD to anyone who came to the show at the Mid-State Fair. (See previous blog entry on this.) But since then, the band has made a comeback. Their last record was a top ten hit, and suddenly you’re hearing Journey songs everywhere — on TV, in movies, at baseball games. It’s crazy.
We’ll have more on Journey as their show here nears. But now we’ll focus on Smith, who puts on a clinic for the Drum Circuit at the Mercy Church in San Luis Obispo.
Smith, of course, was with Journey during their most commercially succesful years (78-85), establishing himself as an arena rock drummer. (Check out this great solo — with lots of hair – from 1981.) When he left the band, he became both a session drummer (Montrose, Mariah Carey, among others) and a jazz drummer. (Check out a more recent solo – with no hair –here.)
There are a lot of drummers who can play fast, but Smith plays fast with rhythm. He’s excellent with the double bass, and he incorporates lots of syncopated cymbal action into his solos. That’s probably why “Modern Drummer” readers voted him #1 all-around drummer five years in a row.
Smith took his first lessons at age 9 and later went on to study music at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He’s definitely competent enough to hang with my list of favorite drummers.
The Drum Circuit, by the way, has hosted many excellent drummers. In the past, they have brought in guys like Kenny Aronoff (former John Mellencamp drummer and top session guy), Steve Gadd (another popular session guy, who has recorded with Paul Simon) and Johnny Barbata, the former San Luis Obispo resident who played with Starship. Whether you play drums or not, the clinics are informative and entertaining.
The clinic will be held at the Mercy Church in SLO. Tickets are $20.
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