E. Doctor Smith
Drummer, Electronic percussionist
E. Doctor Smith began his musical journey as a teenager playing percussion in the District
of Columbia Youth Orchestra and in Maryland’s Montgomery County Youth Orchestra.
Inspired by the Miles Davis fusion bands of the mid-70s, he continued his studies with Paul
Sears, drummer of the Muffins. His first group, Oranus Rey, featured guitarist Paul
Bollenback, bassist Ed Howard, and saxophonist Tim Chambers.
In 1980 Doc moved to New York where he met fellow Music Building tenants Madonna and
her co-writer, Stephen Bray. With Bray, Doc performed in the Breakfast Club and The Same.
The Same was produced by Brian Eno and featured keyboardist Carter Burwell, guitarist
Chip Johannsen, singer Cloda Simmons, bassist Stanley Adler, and the motto "Semper
Following Bray and Madonna to Los Angeles, Doc assisted on many of Madonna's biggest
albums as well as other of Bray's projects including Nick Kamen, Gladys Knight, The
Breakfast Club, Brian Ferry, and Steel Pulse. In L.A. Doc’s sound engineering skills were
honed in sessions working alongside Michael Verdick and Tony Shepperd.
Back on the East Coast, Doc performed with the New England groups K2, Flash to
Bangtime, and Feat of Clay using a Simmons kit he called the “Beast." Inspired by that of
British drummer Bill Bruford, Doc’s 12-piece kit was the first embodiment of his love of
In 1995, as a member of the trio Between The Lines, Doc designed and built the
Drummstick, a percussion controller consisting rather humbly of a 2x6 piece of wood with
16 finger-pads. Borne of a desire to walk on stage, plug in and play like a guitarist, while
accessing his beloved and virtually infinite world of digital sounds, Doc’s Drummstick
developed a life of its own.
In 2000 Doc debuted his first CD of original music, The Drummstick, with his band of the
same name, which featured core members Jack Wright on guitar, Neil Mezebish on horns,
and Celia DuBose on bass. That year he also performed using the Drummstick with guitar
legends including Bon Lozago of Gong, Tom Principato, Bill Kirchen, Paul Bollenback, as
well as bansurist John Wubbenhorst, tabla master Sandip Burman, and the famed Howard
Now living in and loving San Francisco, Doc performed at the Edgetone New Music Summit
of 2006 with horn player Eric Dahlman. He is thrilled at the 2007 release of a new
Drummstick 2 CD, a long-distance collaboration with the original Drummstick band and
other musical friends (and the re-release of his first Drummstick CD) on Edgetone Records.
Doc also produced and performed on an Edgetone release entitled Robert Anbian and UFQ:
the Unidentified Flying Quartet. This timely and troubling work of jazz and poetry features
poet Robert Anbian, saxophonist Charles Unger, keyboardist Sam Peoples, and bassist
Doc's latest efforts include using the new Zendrum EXP, as well as performing with
keyboardist Sam Peoples in the UF2, The Unidentified Flying Duet, the Wilbur Rehmann
Quartet, Carlos Augusto's Levitation Blues Trio, and the Edo Castro Trio with keyboardist
My Jazz Story
I love jazz because it's "the final frontier."
I was first exposed to jazz by my Dad and his record collection.
I met Brian Eno in 1980, and later Roy Futureman Wooten in 2001; it changed me forever.
The best jazz show I ever attended was the "VSOP", with Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard,
Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter.
The first jazz record I bought was Take Five by Brubeck.
My advice to new listeners, "Keep an open mind."
"I only work with musicians that I like, love and trust..." -Henry Kaiser