I met Zoro one hot and sunny Los Angeles day after school on the lawn of my high school. I walked out of class and headed across the grass as usual to find myself staring at a character dressed in designer clothes, shades, a gold chain and a mother of pearl watch on an alligator strap. He was playing rhythms on a drum practice pad to Earth, Wind & Fire on a boom box. He had an attitude to match the look.
Z looked like a professional studio musician, and I knew he didn’t go to my school. I had to find out who this cat was and why he was there. Well, without going into the whole thing – and to make a long story short – the answer is vision.
Whether Zoro fully comprehended it at the time, he was following The Voice that spoke to him. He was told to sit on the lawn of that school because he had an appointment that would change his life forever. We both did.
After getting to know Z and hearing him play an actual set of drums, I realized he had an exceptional gift. He had a funky pocket and a repertoire of grooves that were superior to any of the drummers I had played with. I quickly showed him off to all the best musicians at my school, and I talked my music teacher into letting Zoro play with us in class. I was his agent. Z’s look may have gotten him the initial attention on the lawn of my school that day, but Zoro’s heart, discipline and passion is what propelled him to greatness.
Within weeks, I even arranged for Zoro to go to (Motown Records founder) Berry Gordy, Jr.’s house to display his skills. After a short time, we formed a strong musical and personal relationship. We played in bands together and started a mobile disco business, deejaying parties on the weekends.
When I moved out of my house at age 15 (over a rift with my father because he wouldn’t let me go to a Buddy Rich concert), Zoro picked me up and helped me move. We were together all of the time after that, driving aimlessly around L.A. listening to funk music. He would make me drive so he could use the dashboard of his Oldsmobile Omega as a drum pad, which he completely destroyed.
A couple of years after high school when I was recording demos around L.A., I was asked by Jheryl Busby of MCA Records if I knew a drummer who could go on tour with The New Edition. I sent Z, and the rest is history. The legend of Zoro The Drummer was born. He created a persona for himself that made him more than just a “drummer.”
Zoro became an integral part of their show. And before you knew it, he was gracing the pages of teen magazines. When Bobby Brown left the group, he took Zoro along – featuring Z on the road and in videos.
Soon thereafter, I recorded my first album, “Let Love Rule,” and asked Zoro to go on tour with me. It was full circle from high school to playing together professionally. It was a dream come true.
Now, with all of this history to give you some background, Zoro’s backstory is not what this is about. It is about Zoro’s character and the vision I spoke of earlier. Although he has played around the world as a premier drummer, Z’s greater purpose is one of a motivator. This desire was always in his spirit.
I remember walking the streets of New York with Z late one night for hours, when he told me about the details of this very book. That was 20-some years ago. In recent years, Zoro has spent much of his time as a mentor to young people. His music and life lessons are about using your God-given talents to the maximum. Z wants to see people follow their vision, turn their dreams into reality and follow that Voice.
With all of this said, I can tell you that I have the utmost respect for Zoro as a friend, musician, family man and educator. He is an inspiration to so many people around the world. I hope you find this book helpful. It was created as an act of love from a humble servant who would love to see you follow your vision and turn your dreams into reality.
—Lenny Kravitz, Grammy Award-Winning Recording Artist
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"The Big Gig is a story of persistence, diligence and faith, as well as a wealth of information. It’s an inspirational book packed full of tools for anyone wanting to do great things in life." Joyce Meyer
Best-Selling Author and Bible Teacher