Gary Smith, Drummer for Chase, Original Drummer for Survivor, Studio Drummer

Gary Smith, Original Drummer for Survivor
We've created this website to distinguish my music from the work of other musicians with the same name as mine. I am an American drummer who's been privileged to play and record with many fine artists. I played for the jazz/rock group Chase, was a founding member of Survivor, and have performed or recorded with classic jazz, big band, blues, rock, R&B and fusion artists including Joe Williams, Vic Damone, B.B. King, Leslie West (Mountain), Essence and Software. I've been on thousands of recording sessions, and have co-written
Gary Smith, Original Drummer for Survivor
songs for Chase, The Outlaws, 38 Special, Software and Survivor. It's been rewarding to play and record with great rhythm section players; musicians like Tony Brown, Terry Fryer, Bruce Gaitsch, Dennis Keith Johnson, Darryl "Munch" Jones, Will Lee, Patrick Leonard, Howard Levy, Charles Lewis, Larry Novak, Jaco Pastorious, Phil Porter, Elliot Randall, Steve Rodby, Bill Ruppert, Angel South, C.J. Vanston and others, many of whom are mentioned in these pages.
Drummer, Gary Smith

You've likely heard my drumming on radio and television, and if you've watched WGN, I was the drummer on a great deal of music for the Superstation in the 80's and 90's. Luckily, I've been able to work with world class producers like Bones Howe, Patrick Leonard and Ron Nevison, and award-winning engineers such as Bruce Swedien and the late greats Phil Bonnano and Roy Segal. 

The article "Jazz/Rock Pioneers," in the August 2002 issue of Modern Drummer noted my work with Chase in the company of drummers I admire. Bobby Colomby (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Danny Seraphine (Chicago) and Billy Cobham (Dreams, Mahavishnu Orchestra) all influenced my playing, as well as Chase's first, Jay Burrid, and it's gratifying to have my name associated with great drummers like these.

The Winter 2007 issue of Not So Modern Drummer, formerly published by drum making icon William F. Ludwig III and now by Poco drummer George Lawrence, has a feature regarding the first photo shoot for the "all endorser" Ludwig group ads we did in the 80's. The first was amazing for many reasons, not the least of which were the exploits of Ginger Baker. It's a true story from Bill Ludwig III and includes closing comments about the event from me. Bill III also reviewed the 2011 Chicago Chase concert in Classic Drummer, Vol. 12, #1, 2012, and offered his memories of the original Chase Band from the '70's. Visit to see Bill Ludwig III's new line of amazing custom drums. I'm proud owner of #17, and a member of the "First 50" Club.

In 2014, The Iowa Rock n' Roll Association Hall of Fame inducted me, as a member of Chase, with all of the Chase players, to the Hall. Chase Revisited played 3 great shows at Reggie's in Chicago, Labor Day Weekend 2014 to commemorate our induction and dedicated to the memory of Bill Chase. See my photos page for more updates.

So check it out, and thanks for visiting, Gary Smith
Quote of the moment:

"Living well is the best revenge." – George Herbert

38 Special's first hit "Rockin' Into the Night," played here live with Trace Atkins on "Crossroads," was co-written by Gary while with Survivor.

Gary does the drumming on this 1991 Chicago Bulls television promo featuring Michael Jordan. For more video of Gary's studio work with WGN click here. Special thanks to Michael Jordan and WGN-TV.

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