Tony Thunder Smith

153: Tony “Thunder” Smith talks Lou Reed, Bowie, Berklee and more…

In this podcast I talk to Tony “Thunder” Smith who is known for his wide variety work with Lou Reed, David Bowie, John Mc:Laughlin and more. Now, as a Berklee professor, Tony continues to not only tour and record but he also teaches the next generation of drummers and equips them for the real world of being a professional musician. And it’s worth nothing that he’s one of the best storytellers I’ve ever talked to and equally as humble.

“Only fools let compliments get to their head, and criticism to their heart.” (Tweet this)

Tony Thunder Smith talks about:

  • Starting playing drums at 15
  • How he landed his first gigs
  • An “accidental” session with Carlos Santana…when he was 17
  • The Lou Reed story
  • How to count 32nd notes (which I’ve never known how to do)
  • His work at Berklee

I try to get the students to understand what the real world is and what they’re going to be required to do. – Tony Smith

Resources and people/links mentioned:

Tony Smith Plays:

  • Evans Drumheads
  • Paiste Cymbals
  • Pearl Drums
  • Vic Firth
  • Ddrum Electronics
  • Tunebot Tuner

Podcast Sponsors

DW Drums: I’ve been playing DW for years…not only because they make high-quality, handcrafted drums but because they support and foster drumming initiatives all over the wold, much like this podcast. I’m thrilled to announce that DW has signed on to support Drummer’s Reosource for 2016! Be sure to check them out today and

Dream Cymbals: Dream Cymbals are a different kind of cymbal company because they keep it simple. Their approach is simple: Make high-quality, handcrafted cymbals and gongs and sell them for a reasonable price. Check out their new “ignition packs” that are made for the professional and priced for the beginner. These packs will inspire you to start your engine!! Check them out at


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