Viola Smith

The drummer with the biggest heart, 102-year-young Viola Smith

joins us on Drum Talk TV! In this interview, you’ll see a film of Viola from 1939 playing with Frances Carroll & The Coquettes; she talks about her 17-piece drum set, taking lessons from Billy Gladstone and owning one of his snares (He only made 40-50), spending time with Krupa, Bellson, Rich Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and others.

She and Dan discuss how people use the phrase “Female Drummer,” she talks about how she became the lucky drummer of an all-girl band in 1925, and what city she has the most cherished memories of, after traveling the world.


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Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country


From the Book: “In 1942, drummer Viola Smith sent shock waves through the jazz world by claiming in Down Beat magazine that “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. In Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country, Angela Smith takes Viola at her word, offering a comprehensive look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the courage and chops to break the barriers of this all-too-male field.”


Get the Book by Angela Smith!


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