Check out Steve’s drum solo from the Louisville, KY show!

We had the opportunity to sit down with Modern Drummer’s September 2017 cover artist, Steve Smith, before his recent show with Journey in Louisville, Kentucky. From the serene confines of Steve’s dressing room—or “zen room,” as he likes to call it—we were given exclusive access to Steve’s warm-up routine.

Utilizing a full practice-pad drumset and low-volume cymbals, Steve walked us through an array of exercises that any drummer can use to get his or her hands and feet ready for performing. Steve has been playing both right- and left-hand lead on the Journey gig, so many of the exercises in the video involve him switching the hand that plays the ride or hi-hat pattern. That’s a basic practice principal that you can use with any drum groove that you’re working on.

As you dive into the exercises below, start by playing on just one drum. As you gain fluidity at one tempo, start to move the pattern around the entire kit. Then you can add a basic foot pattern such as chomping the hi-hat on beats 2 and 4. The idea is to get your muscles warmed up and moving around the kit effortlessly.


Paradiddles with Flams in Triplets

Ex. 1

Ex. 2

Ex. 3

Ex. 4

Ex. 5

Swinging Paradiddles

Ex. 6

Ex. 7

Ex. 8

Ex. 9

Ex. 10

Ex. 11