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Learn How To Play “Separate Ways” On Drums (By The Guy Who Wrote The Part)

Steve Smith  /  Aug 5, 2022

“‘Separate Ways’ was a song we put together knowing we were going to be playing in large arenas and stadiums, so we wanted a song that had a powerful hook, a big sound, and had the effect to really rock the house.”

Steve Smith wrote and recorded the drum parts on the track back in the early ’80s. It’s since become a legendary song (it even got the remix treatment in season 4 of Stranger Things) with a ton of different fills. In this video, the former Journey drummer breaks down each part and plays through the full tune.

You’ll see:

  • How Steve used different toms to make one part more melodic
  • An overview of the big fills in the middle section
  • How adding the snare on beat 2 adds energy and drive

You can get the note-for-note transcription of this performance inside Drumeo – plus two full courses from Steve Smith (“The Art Of Drum Soloing” and “Beyond The Books”) and so much more. Click here to learn more and start your free trial!

Watch: Steve Smith Breaks Down His Drum Parts On “Don’t Stop Believin'”

Steve Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and voted “Best All-Around Drummer” five years in a row in Modern Drummer's Readers Poll. Steve is best known as the drummer for Journey where he recorded six albums, including their most popular album Escape. That being said, Steve is a jazz drummer at heart. He has been the bandleader of his group Vital Information since the early 1970s and has been a sideman for artists such as Jean-Luc Ponty, Steps Ahead, Dweezil Zappa, Bryan Adams, and Savage Garden. Steve performed at the inaugural 2020 Drumeo Festival with his group, Vital Information.

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