Brian Smith: all the drumming

August 16, 2010


I’ve been playing drums since I was 9 years old. I took my first lessons at Baton Music in the U City Loop with a rental snare and a Beatle haircut. A year so later I received my first drum kit, a cheap, used Apollo with blue sparkles, the kind of thing teenagers probably got for Christmas in the 60’s.

I eventually studied with Tom Stubbs of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and learned marimba and xylophone and tympani.  I actually considered being a professional musician until I had to decide where to go to college and I just knew I was better at visual art then I was at music.  I did not have that obsessive drive to practice ALL of the time. Though, my parents were always supportive; they bought me the kit I still use to this day: a set of Pearl drums with fiberglass shells and a chrome finish.

Brian onstage with Octave (or Periodic Drip!). That's future Love Expert tom Fulton on guitar.

Brian onstage with Octave (or Periodic Drip!). That's future Love Expert Tom Fulton on guitar.

I started my own rock band in junior year.  We never did come up with a decent name.  Mostly we were Octave, but briefly we were Periodic Drip (don’t ask). I’m still tight with the bass player Larry, and the guitar player was Tom Fulton, who later became an original member of the Love Experts.  We did all covers by obvious bands Beatles, Stones, Who, Pink Floyd, The Cars, and even pulled off a good version of “Yours is No Disgrace” by Yes.

I am a Who freak and even though I don’t try to play like Keith Moon he still is my favorite. All the great bands have had great drummers.  They made the bands great.  Period.  Starting with Ringo. Other drummers I admire are Al Jackson Jr., Simon Kirke, Steve Gadd and Bernard Purdie.

Brian at Abbey Road in 1983.

Brian at Abbey Road in 1983.

After college I kind of retired from playing because I was establishing my career as an artist and eventually a college professor.  No drumming until 1999 when I started jamming with a bunch of Webster Groves folks who got together most Fridays, drank martinis and beer and did mostly blues and 70’s covers.  In 2001 I joined City Heat a band formed by a guitar playing lawyer who was trying to change careers. We rehearsed every Tuesday in a huge house in the CWE for about a year.

When my wife Debbie and I finally bought a house in 2005 I was able to play again because I finally had my own basement! And I decided I was actually gonna get good at drumming and started taking lessons once a week with Steve Lord at The Drum Headquarters.  We have never had a bad lesson and I have become a better teacher by becoming a student again. Improving my skills and gaining the confidence and admiration of other musicians has been tremendously gratifying and has led me to being in the Remodels.  I really have John Ellis to thank because we have worked together so much for the past 18 months and it has led to this project.


Brian playing with Lisa Warner and John Ellis

Surprised he left this out, but we won’t! Brian is also an accomplished painter. See his work here.

One Response to “Brian Smith: all the drumming”

  1. Hey, I was hoping you could help me find an old friend. It’s Tom Fulton and I grew up in Chesterfield but have lost touch with Tom and wanted to see what he was up to. Last time we talked was about 7 or 8 years ago.
    Carter Maxey