For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with drums. I actually had my first set before I was 5 years old. Unfortunately, at that age, the only thing I knew how to do with them was poke holes in the heads… 🙁
During my childhood, through my teens and on to adult hood, drumming would remain a dream. You know how it is – single mother raising 4 kids, apartment living, no money. Drums were the last thing on my mothers mind.
Even so, for as long as I can remember the drums have always intrigued me. When I listen to music, I listen for the drums. I listen to the beats. I woud close my eyes and imaging myself on the throne, keeping time. Playing one of those Bonham style rock solos.
Back in 1980, I discovered the group Journey. This group had become one of my “staples”. The music of such albums as Escape, Infinity, Evolution and more defined my late teens through early 20’s. No other music transports me back to this time period the way Journey does.
But aside from the awesome lyrics, the crooning of Steve Perry, or the unique guitar style of Neal Schon, the drumming of Steve “The Animal” Smith is what caught my attention. His drumming exudes both power and style. From both a technical and creative standpoint, he immediately became my favorite drummer. You could immediately hear the jazz influence in his play.
Fast forward to 1998. At 33 years old, I FINALLY decided to get myself a drum set. I took a few lessons from a good friend who used to play professionally, but then I really just stuck to playing along with the radio and my CD’s. Mostly rock and roll from the 70’s and 80’s because most of it is simple.
My goal was never to join a band, but to simply fulfill my childhood desires to play. I stll play, though not all that well…
When I started drumming, my musical taste expanded more into the Jazz scene. Let me tell you, if you like drumming, there is simply NOTHING like Jazz Drumming. And this is where I rediscovered my Journey hero Steve Smith.
I won’t go in to his history, as you can find out all about it at his website, Vital Information (his jazz/fusion band he started in 1983).
Fast forward again to earlier this year…while checking out his tour dates, I found his band would be at the Irridium Jazz Club in the heart of New York City. I bought tickets on the spot! The show was a few night ago (May 16th).
My wife and I got a table up against the stage, so close to the drums that I could reach out and touch them. Here’s a really dark picture of his drum kit:
When the show started, we were treated to about 90 minutes of some of the best drumming I have ever seen/heard. Now, the entire band and the music was absolutely awesome, but for me to be sitting close enough to my drumming idol to see the sweat pouring off his bald head, well, let’s just say I was in heaven.
After the show the band got a table in the back of the club to meet and greet and sign autographs. Of course, I couldn’t miss that. Here’s yet another dark picture (new high-tech PPC with camera…):
Now, it turns out that not only is he an awesome drummer – he’s a really nice guy. We chatted for a good 10 minutes. Told him about being a fan for the past 27 years or so…he took everything well in stride.
So, meeting my long-time idol for the first time is an experience I will always remember. I plan to see them next time they come around. Like I said – his drumming is phenomenol. To get an idea of what I mean, check out the video on this page (it will auto start…but really watch).
Ok, enough of this off-topic stuff. Thanks for taking the time to read. If you have a dream, I highly recommend trying to make it happen. It’s awesome!