Steve Shelley is an American drummer 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.
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.