welcome to riondrum.com!


I’m Rion Smith, and have now been playing drums for 30 years, and have been a professional for 20.  I have a lot to offer from my years of experience, and look forward to sharing with you where I’ve been and what I’ve been through, as well as what I’m currently working on, and where I’m going.

Like the ever expanding Universe we live in, music is something that you’ll never reach the end of, no matter how far you go.

This little Universe of riondrum.com will be growing, so keep posted, and please feel free to leave comments, so we can talk about this stuff!


ground work…

Yo Peeps!

I’m finally getting my stuff together-  puttin in the work.  I have a projected goal of executing an Official YouTube Channel Launch on April 1st, 2018.  It’s less than 2 months away, and I’ve got a lot of work to do—  If you’ve known me for a while, you might be asking, “Don’t you already had a YouTube Channel?”   In fact, yes, I do.

But, nobody knows about it.  Not nobody-  but a very small amount of people even know that my YouTube Channel exists.  I currently have 92 subscribers.  In the world of YouTube, that’s pretty much nobody.

I’m lucky enough to have a full-time position playing drums at Blue Man Group, Orlando.  Which is awesome-  many people would love to have this job, and I am very grateful to be so lucky.    While I appreciate this wonderful job that I have, I still have other aspirations and goals for myself as a drummer and musician.

My main goal right now is to create music and videos that I love, and to reach as many people as possible.  I’ve been working on creating videos, but I haven’t been very successful at reaching people.  So, that’s where I’m putting in the work now.  I’ve been learning about more effective ways to use social media, and so I’m starting to implement those techniques, and I’m just getting started, so it’s a slow process.  But I’m willing to do the work to make this happen-  it means a lot to me-  I feel like I’m beginning to make stuff that is worthwhile, and deserves to be seen-  but I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way, and the world of social media is exploding with tons of content being uploaded every day.  So I’ve got to be smart to be able to get my stuff and my self out there, and connect with people.

If anyone comes across this post, and has any suggestions, please let me know!  Let’s talk about it!  Let’s connect!

that’s all for now-




One Take #6: taking it to the next level…

I’m releasing this video on my 43rd birthday-  and it feels great!  I spent way longer than I had hoped on this video, but I learned so much in the making of it, and had a blast putting it all together.  It’s my first time incorporating my 11’x15′ green screen that I got off of Amazon.  My little 10’x11′ room, which also has all of my recording gear, and drum set, etc is definitely too small to be doing larger scale video shooting like this, but I managed to pull it off.   I’m thinking the next green screen experiment will be in the garage…  Next, I need lights, and a better way to hold up the green screen, and keep the wrinkles out of it.

But I feel very accomplished, and am proud of this video.  It’s very much a reflection of where I’m at in my life, and who I am, or who I’m becoming.  It’s crazy, because at 43, you’d figure that people pretty much settle into who they are, and are settled into their life paths, and are just kind of cruising- even if the cruising means working hard…   But I feel like I still have so much growing and changing to do, like there’s a part of me that wants to laugh, and dance, and sing, and play drums, and not care what anyone else thinks, much like a child does before they become self conscious.  I also feel in my gut, that when i’m able to get back to that child-like innocence, and combine that with my years of experience as a musician,  that there’s power inherent in that combination, and that power will set me free.  I’m 43 and I’m still a dreamer.  I still dream of a life where I’m at the helm, navigating through life’s waters, whether they be calm or rocky, and embracing the journey, rolling with the punches, constantly growing, constantly learning, constantly allowing more and more creativity to come through me!   And that life will support me for doing this.  I may or may not get “rich” approaching things this way, but I know that the experience I have will be the richest, tastiest nectar life has to offer.

So, dream on dreamers, no matter what life throws you!  Charge ahead, do the work, and stick with it.  That’s what I plan on doing.

Without further ado, here’s my latest creation-  and we’re only at the beginning-

Gigging in Tokyo…

On my last trip to Tokyo, I had a chance to play with the Jeff Curry band for a couple of shows.  The Band was Jeff Curry on bass, and Daisuke Kuroda on guitar, and myself on drums.  My friend, Zak Bond who sometimes plays with the group, arranged the whole thing.

To me, this is one of the beautiful things about music.  I had never met these guys in person before this trip.  We communicated on Facebook a bit, and Jeff sent me some of his tunes so I could give them a listen.  We arranged a rehearsal for the day of the gig-  and that rehearsal was literally the first time I ever saw them in person!  So we met up, went over some stuff, and went down to the venue to set up.

That night, we hit the stage in a small club, to a small audience, but it was such fun!  The group had a vibe from the get go!  It’s always one thing to rehearse with guys, because you’re just making sure that you know the material, and you’re not putting everything out there, but when you hit the stage, that’s when you really get to know what someone is made of musically.  So, it was a real treat to get to the stage, and see that these guys had a vibe, and a deep musical vocabulary from which to pull.

Unfortunately I didn’t record any of the first two gigs, but I set up my drumcam (although not a very good angle) for this, the 3rd gig we played together at a place called “What the Dickens”-  and Irish pub in downtown Tokyo.

So, here is “Hottentot”, a John Scofield tune as played by the Jeff Curry Band:

wreckTango! double drums and a whole lot more!

My latest and greatest!

This project really took on a life of it’s own…

What started as an idea to feature a bass player friend of mine, was thwarted when he left town sooner than I expected.  So I took the reigns and decided to see what I could do with it.  It picked up momentum, and the addition of Tim’s guitar on top was the icing on the cake that really brought it all together.

What you’ll see is one of the biggest projects I’ve tackled to date.  The video production was far beyond what my 2010 macBook should be able to handle, so I was constantly finding creative work-arounds to accomplish what I wanted.   All in all, I’m very happy with the results, visually and sonically, but you’ll see some little glitchy moments in there-  let’s just say that they add character!

This was also my first attempt at doing green screen video work.  Which, I learned a lot from doing, and know what I need to do to make it better.  Even still, some things turned out cool because I didn’t know what I was doing.  There’s a lot to be said for just jumping in and doing stuff, and figuring it out as you go.

I hope you enjoy wreckTango!  –  it’s not a Tango, but at least it’s not totally square!

One Take #4

#3 in my “One Take” series where I record myself playing drums, having no idea what the music will be like-  then I add music later, along with more percussion parts, and put the whole thing together into a video mash-up.

I’m using a GoPro,

an iPhone 5 with a fish-eye lens, and an iQ5 Zoom mic attachment

Reason 8 as my music software,

Final Cut Pro X


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One Take #3

This one comes to you with great thanks- as the drums and music were recorded on Thanksgiving Day.  I’m thankful for so many things in my life, but to keep it short, I’d like to say thank you to my wife and son who are in Japan right now, for their continued love and support, to my mom for everything, and a special thanks to Carol and Tom for adopting me on Thanksgiving, taking me in as family, and for letting me record some drums on their dock at their beautiful home!  I hope you enjoy!