Steve Smith was originally drawn to the drums by hearing marching bands in parades as a child in his native Massachusetts. At age nine, in 1963, Smith began studying the instrument in earnest with local Boston area teacher Bill Flanagan, who played in big bands in the swing era.
Smith performed in the usual school band program and garage bands while in his teens, but also began to broaden his performing experience by playing in a professional Brockton concert band and even the big band at the local college, Bridgewater State. After high school, Smith began studying music at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1972. There he received valuable instruction from such renowned drum teachers as Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.
In 1974 Smith's professional career began in full, at 19 years old, with his tenure in the Lin Biviano Big Band, which he toured and recorded with for the next two years. At that same time he also performed with bebopper Buddy DeFranco and was a member of free-jazz group The Fringe featuring George Garzone. In 1976, Smith began his association with jazz/fusion by joining violinist Jean Luc Ponty and recording the album "Enigmatic Ocean" (Atlantic 1977), which also featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth. However, it was while touring with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later that Smith was asked to join the popular rock band Journey which brought his playing to the attention of a young rock audience.
With Journey Smith toured the world and went on to record Evolution, Departure, Captured, Escape, Frontiers, Rasied On Radio and Trial By Fire. His playing is featured on the majority of Journey’s Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits 2. Smith's inventive timekeeping, stadium sized tom-tom fills and deep sense of the groove enabled him to produce some of the most critically acclaimed rock drumming while at the same time propelling the band to much popular success. The Journey catalogue has sold over 70 million records.
In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player. Over the past 20+ years, Smith has played on many hits with such diverse artists as Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams, Zucchero, Andrea Bocelli, Ray Price and Savage Garden.
Smith began leading his own fusion band Steve Smith and Vital Information in 1983 while still a member of Journey. Vital Information NYC Edition currently features Mark Soskin on keys, Baron Browne on bass and Vinny Valentino on guitar. Vital Information's 20015 BFM Jazz release, “Viewpoint,” is a best seller and has gathered critical acclaim around the world.