Shelley with Sonic Youth in Stockholm in 2005
|Birth name||Steven Jay Shelley|
June 23, 1962 |
|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, Sun Kil Moon, Gata Pyramide|
Steven Jay "Steve" Shelley (born June 23, 1962) is an American drummer. He is best known as a member of the alternative rock band Sonic Youth. Shelley is the current recording drummer for the indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, with whom he makes occasional live appearances.
Shelley was born in Midland, Michigan, 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.
In 1992 he founded the independent record label Smells Like Records, based in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he also resides. 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.
In February 2009, Shelley spent a weekend in Chicago recording with Chris Connelly, Sanford Parker, and Jeremy Lemos. The results of this collaboration were released under the moniker The High Confessions by Relapse Records on July 20, 2010.
In 2010, Michael Rother played shows in Europe with Shelley and Tall Firs guitarist Aaron Mullan as Halogallo 2010. 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.
In 2011 he joined Disappears. In 2012, he left the band due to scheduling conflicts.
Style and influences
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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).
Non-Sonic Youth discography
|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 CSCCD1073|
|2011||Disappears||Live at Echo Canyon||Plus Tapes|
|2011||Spectre Folk||The Blackest Medicine, Vol. II||Woodsist|
|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||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|
|2014||Thurston Moore||The Best Day||Matador OLE-1062|
|2015||Sun Kil Moon||Universal Themes||Caldo Verde|
|2017||Sun Kil Moon||Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood||Caldo Verde|
|2017||Thurston Moore||Rock n Roll Consciousness||Caroline|
- Azerrad, Michael. (2001) Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981–1991. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-78753-1.
- 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."
- "MUSICIANS FLOCK TO RECORD DYLAN COVERS FOR SOUNDTRACK". Contact Music.
- "Converse with Chris: Topic: – NEW PROJECT". Chris Connelly. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- US. "The High Confessions | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "Michael Rother's official site, news: "Michael Rother/Steve Shelley/Aaron Mullan trio debut in Europe"". Retrieved 2010-05-31.