Steve Shelley

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Steve Shelley
Sonic Youth live 20050707 03.jpg
Shelley with Sonic Youth in Stockholm in 2005
Background information
Birth name Steven Jay Shelley
Born (1962-06-23) June 23, 1962 (age 51)
Midland, Michigan
Genres Alternative rock, noise rock, hardcore punk, punk rock, experimental rock,
Occupations Musician, producer
Instruments Drums
Labels Alternative Tentacles, Geffen, Smells Like, SST, Matador
Associated acts Sonic Youth, Cat Power, The Crucifucks, Dim Stars, Disappears, Hallogallo 2010, The High Confessions, Thurston Moore, Spectre Folk, Two Dollar Guitar, Israel Nash, Lee Ranaldo and the Dust

Steven Jay Shelley (born June 23, 1962, Midland, Michigan) is an American drummer, best known as the drummer of alternative rock band Sonic Youth.

Biography[edit]

He played in several mid-Michigan bands, including Faith and Morals and Strange Fruit, and was among the original lineup of the punk band The Crucifucks. Since 1985, he has performed with the noise rock band Sonic Youth, when he replaced Bob Bert.

After leaving the Crucifucks, he moved to Manhattan, subletting the apartment of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon while the band was in Europe. When the band returned, they hired him as their drummer without an audition.[1]

In 1992 he founded the independent record label Smells Like Records, based in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he also resides.[2] Along with friend and Two Dollar Guitar musician Tim Foljahn, he helped advance Cat Power's musical career, serving as drummer on her first three albums. He also produced Blonde Redhead's debut self-titled album in 1993 and Cat Power's What Would the Community Think? in 1996. Steve was able to track down Lee Hazlewood in 1997 and secure permission to reissue five of the finest titles of the Hazlewood back catalog. Smells Like Records also released a collection of standards recorded in 1997, which was the first new recording from Hazlewood released domestically in nearly two decades. In 1998 Shelley played on the soundtrack of the film Velvet Goldmine as a member of Wylde Ratttz, along with The Stooges' Ron Asheton, Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Don Fleming, Mark Arm of Mudhoney and Jim Dunbar.

Other significant work away from Sonic Youth includes recording and performing with an array of artists such as Christina Rosenvinge, Chris Lee, John Wolfington, Michael Powers, Michael Rother, Howe Gelb, and Enrique Morente. In 2007, Shelley recorded a number of tracks for the I'm Not There soundtrack with a supergroup called The Million Dollar Bashers, featuring Lee Ranaldo, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, Dylan bassist Tony Garnier, guitarist Smokey Hormel and keyboardist John Medeski.[3]

In February 2009, Shelley spent a weekend in Chicago recording with Chris Connelly, Sanford Parker, and Jeremy Lemos.[4] The results of this collaboration were released under the moniker The High Confessions by Relapse Records on July 20, 2010.[5]

In 2010, Michael Rother played shows in Europe with Shelley and Tall Firs guitarist Aaron Mullan as Halogallo 2010.[6] This group performs music "in the spirit of" NEU! including some tracks by Harmonia and from Michael Rother's solo albums. Other 2010 concert dates included the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York and Incubate 2010 in Tilburg, Netherlands.[7]

His enthusiasm for the music of Daniel Johnston and Townes Van Zandt led to his appearances in the documentaries The Devil and Daniel Johnston and Be Here to Love Me.

Shelley is also in charge of operating Sonic Youth's own record labels, SYR and Goofin'. In 2010, he started a new label called Vampire Blues whose inaugural release was a 7" by Hallogallo 2010.

In 2011 he joined Disappears. In 2012, he left the band due to scheduling conflicts.

Style and influences[edit]

Steve Shelley is a "drummer's drummer" with a playing style that is precise and powerful without being overpowering. Hallmarks of his style include heavy use of toms, the innovative use of maracas, excellent dynamic control, and the ability to play in service of the song above displaying "chops". He anchors the music of Sonic Youth by composing drum parts that are generally as unchanging as the chord structures and melody lines of the songs, therefore providing an ideal foundation for their unique brand of organized chaos. He has also proven himself to be an astute improviser, performing admirably in that role when the need arises (as evidenced mainly on the SYR series).

Other drummers who have influenced him include but are not limited to: Pete de Freitas, Stephen Morris, Phill Calvert, Kenny Buttrey, Keith Moon, and Ringo Starr.

Non-Sonic Youth discography[edit]

Date Artist Release Comments
1983 Strange Fruit On Top of the Hill 7" Babel 01
1984 Strange Fruit Strange Fruit/Abiku split 12" Babel 02
1985 Crucifucks The Crucifucks Alternative Tentacles 38
1989 Maureen Tucker Life in Exile After Abdication 50 Skidillion Watts 007
1990 Daniel Johnston 1990 Shimmy Disc 028 (w/ Lee Ranaldo on "Spirit World Rising")
1991 Lucky Sperms Lucky Sperms 7" Ecstatic Peace! 15 (recorded in 1987)
1991 Dim Stars Dim Stars 3x7" Ecstatic Peace! 11
1991 Nikki Sudden Whiskey Priest 7" Singles Only Label 228
1992 Jad Fair I Like It When You Smile Paperhouse 009
1992 Richard Hell 3 New Songs 7" Overground 24
1992 Mosquito Down 7" ERL 9
1992 Makigami Koichi Koroshi No Blues Toshiba EMI 6496
1992 Dim Stars Dim Stars Caroline 1724
1992 Free Kitten/Mosquito Split 7" Time Bomb 09
1992 Mosquito U.F.O. Catcher Time Bomb 13
1993 Mosquito Oh No... Psychoacoustic 6
1993 Mosquito Time Was SLR 05
1993 Two Dollar Guitar Lost Bird 7" SLR 06
1994 The Raincoats Extended Play SLR 012
1995 Male Slut Male Slut 7" Stomach Ache 57
1995 Cat Power Dear Sir Runt 6
1995 Thurston Moore Psychic Hearts DGC 24810
1995 Mike Watt "Tuff Gnarl" Ball-Hog or Tugboat? Columbia Records C2-66464
1996 Cat Power Myra Lee SLR 019
1996 Cat Power What Would the Community Think Matador OLE-202
1998 Mark Eitzel Caught in a Trap... Matador OLE-179
2000 Hungry Ghosts Alone, Alone SLR 039
2001 Christina Rosenvinge Frozen Pool SLR 042
2001 John Wolfington John Wolfington SLR 043
2001 Chris Lee Plays & Sings Torch'd Songs... SLR 045
2004 Christina Rosenvinge Foreign Land SLR 050
2006 Michael Powers Prodigal Son Baryon 006
2006 Christina Rosenvinge Continental 62 SLR 053
2007 The Million Dollar Bashers I'm Not There Columbia COLB 12038
2007 John Wolfington American Dreamsicle SLR 054
2007 Thurston Moore Trees Outside the Academy Ecstatic Peace! E#91C
2008 Matt Madly Checkered P.O.S. 062808
2008 Christina Rosenvinge Tu labio superior Warner Spain 25646 93707
2009 Anna Ternheim Leaving on a Mayday Emarcy 06025178719-15
2009 Samara Lubelski Future Slip Ecstatic Peace! E#110
2010 D-W/L-SS D-W/L-SS / JBe 7" Sixgunlover SGL018
2010 The High Confessions Turning Lead Into Gold With the High Confessions Relapse 7084
2010 Hallogallo 2010 Blinkgurtel / Drone Schlager 7" Vampire Blues VB 01
2010 Circle of Animals Destroy the Light Relapse 7104
2011 Israel Nash Gripka Barn Doors and Concrete Floors CRS[disambiguation needed] CSCCD1073
2011 Disappears Live at Echo Canyon Plus Tapes
2011 Spectre Folk The Blackest Medicine, Vol. II Woodsist
2012 Disappears Pre Language Kranky
2012 Lee Ranaldo Between the Times & the Tides Matador OLE-980
2012 M. Ward A Wasteland Companion Merge
2012 Spectre Folk Ancient Storm Vampire Blues VB 02
2012 Chris Lee Bury the Kings Vampire Blues VB 03
2012 Lee Ranaldo Between the Times and the Tides: Demos Lazy8 01
2012 Lee Ranaldo Between the Times and the Tides: Alternate Mixes 7" Lazy8 02
2012 Lee Ranaldo/J Mascis "Albatross" Just Tell Me That You Want Me - Tribute To Fleetwood Mac Hear Music HRM-33327
2012 Carice van Houten See You on the Ice EMI 9782242
2012 Samara Lubelski Wavelength De Stijl IND115
2013 Dyveke Kuloy Gabriel 7"
2013 Howe Gelb The Coincidentalist New West Records
2013 Lee Ranaldo and The Dust Last Night on Earth Matador OLE-1041
2013 Lee Ranaldo and The Dust The Rising Tide Lazy8 03
2013 Lee Ranaldo and The Dust El Blues De La Revolución 7" El Segell Del Primavera PS006
2014 Sun Kil Moon Benji Caldo Verde
2014 Admiral Freebee The Great Scam Sony Music 0888430378728

References[edit]

  1. ^ Azerrad, Michael. (2001) Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-78753-1.
  2. ^ cgaretts. "Meet Your Neighbor: Steve Shelley", Hoboken Now, June 21, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2013. "Shelley -- who turns 44 on Saturday -- was born in Michigan but now lives somewhere in the Mile Square City; Smells Like Records, which he founded in 1992, also is based here."
  3. ^ "MUSICIANS FLOCK TO RECORD DYLAN COVERS FOR SOUNDTRACK". Contact Music. 
  4. ^ "Converse with Chris: Topic: - NEW PROJECT". Chris Connelly. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  5. ^ US. "The High Confessions | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: "Michael Rother/Steve Shelley/Aaron Mullan trio debut in Europe"". Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]