The Man Of 1,000 Movies: A Sit Down With Iconic Drummer Steve Schaeffer

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There are few performers that I have met who have accomplished what iconic drummer and session master Steve Schaeffer has accomplished in his illustrious career; a career that is continuing as we speak. Steve 2Steve is an accomplished drummer and a seasoned veteran of the movie and television business as he has played on more than 1,000 film and original soundtracks including working on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), Forrest Gump (1994), Toy Story (1995), and, Monsters, Inc. (2001), just to name a few. (Indeed, check out Steve’s IMDb page here). In addition to that, Steve has appeared on more than 12 Grammy and Academy Awards shows. Believe me when I tell you, the list goes on and on.

Editor’s Note: Indeed, talent runs deep in the Schaeffer household and anyone connected to Steve. In fact, his step-son, Andres Pichardo-Rosenthal, is the Assistant Principal Percussionist in the Detroit Symphony. In addition to Andres, Steve has 2 other very accomplished children; Seth Schaeffer, a firefighter in Oakland, California, and, Megan Schaeffer, a holistic practitioner in Toronto, Canada. Safe to say with this bunch the apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Getting his start in New York City, at the age of 14 Steve joined Marshall Brown’s Newport Youth Band and at 17 he joined the Al Cohn/Zoot Sims Quartet in New York City. From there his career boomed and in the above interview Steve tells us about his story. Steve 3

What makes Steve and his story so compelling is his vast knowledge and experience in the entertainment industry as a musician. If it has happened, there is a very good chance that Steve saw it or he was there. And as Steve tells us, unfortunately many of the doors that he walked through during his career are gone with them probably never destined to open again. for anyone. It is quite the sobering journey into the business of music as only Steve Schaeffer can tell it.

Steve Schaeffer's beautiful Yamaha kit
Steve Schaeffer’s beautiful Yamaha kit

In addition to being a phenomenal musician Steve is also an artful teacher and after spending some time with this gentleman, I would recommend that any musician also listen to what he has to say beyond the music itself. Steve understands the entertainment business.

Steve Schaeffer's home studio
Steve Schaeffer’s home studio

In fact, when we spent an afternoon at Steve’s Los Angeles home, which includes a fabulous home studio, it is apparent that learning and creation are an everyday occurrence at the Schaeffer residence. Steve and his wife (Lisa) are unassuming but very accommodating and engaging people who certainly gave of their time when we visited. I myself could have listened to Steve talk for hours and I am convinced that there is even more to the story with this man than what is discussed here. Certainly, a book is in order here; there’s a lot to talk about.

Therefore, please take a moment to listen to Steve Schaeffer tell us just a portion of his story and it is quite a story at that. It would not surprise me one bit to one day find out that Steve is featured in a film instead of performing on its soundtrack. Rock on Mr. Schaeffer.

Editor’s Note: Steve has just told us that he will be performing with the Bob Mintzer/Russell Ferrante Quartet at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on June 17, 2016, from 6-8:00 p.m. For tickets please go here. Additionally,  Steve just finished working on a new John Williams score for Disney’s Big Friendly Giant which was directed by Steve Spielberg. Steve also just finished working on Independence Day: Resurgence which is slated to be released June 24 (composers are Thomas Wander, Harald Kloser, and David Arnold). Finally, Steve is currently performing on the score for La La Land (composer Justin Hurwitz), a comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone which is due out December 2. Keep it going Mr. Schaeffer.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor
K Bo and Steve Schaeffer
K Bo and Steve Schaeffer

 

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