BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
The Faith of Zoro
By Mia Evans
The 700 Club
His pounding sound forces music fans to their feet. Meet the man behind the rhythm -- Zoro the Drummer. He’s rocked the stage with famous names like Lenny Kravitz, and during his stellar 20-year career, Zoro has toured with New Edition, Bobby Brown, Jodi Watley and Sean Lennon.
But “Z” doesn’t hang out in the shadow of celebrities. This bona fide rock star has made the cover of several music magazines. He’s consistently earned the title of best R&B drummer in the world. In the fashion world, the mark of Zoro makes a bold statement. It’s all thanks to his mother’s influential design.
However, the greatest gift she gave her son was Jesus. That’s why Zoro goes by another name: the "Minister of Groove".
Zoro’s mom came up with the famous nickname after a family trip to Mexico.
“I just bought one of those souvenir hats that you buy at the bull fights and tacked it on my wall. She said, ‘You should wear it ‘cause you’re kind of like the real Zorro,” he recalls. “’You have a heart for the people, and you always want to do good.’ I started wearing it, and the rest was history.”
Zoro grew up grooving to the Motown sound of the ‘60s. He started out banging on coffee cans and soon discovered percussion was his passion.
Music eased his growing pains. Zoro was raised in Compton, California, one of America’s toughest cities. His mom struggled to care for seven children on her own. Circumstances forced the family to move 30 times but love kept them grounded.
Zoro says, “I went to one of these vacation Bible school places and heard all the different sermons. They said, ‘Do you want to give your life to Jesus?’ Man, I just felt the presence of God, and I just went up there bawling and weeping.”
In high school Zoro saved up money to buy a used drum set. He threw himself into music and found his purpose.
“When I play the drums, I’m always grooving and I’m grooving for the Lord,” he says.
He also found a few friends at another high school.
“I was this little hurting kid who just wanted to be loved and needed attention and whatever,” Zoro says. “So I went to Beverly Hills High School with a ghetto blaster back -- when they made them good -- some drum sticks, a practice pad and my pimped out yellow suit. You can’t miss Big Bird out on the campus. Cranking some Earth, Wind and Fire. So I’ll just play the sticks until someone comes up and talks to me.
“The first kid that came up and talked to me was Kenny Gordy and then Lenny Kravitz. Kenny was the son of Barry Gordy, owner of Motown. Lenny was just some kid. He liked me, took me under his wing and introduced me to everybody as his cousin.”
With natural talent and determination, Zoro rose to the top of the music world. But it would be a long way down.
“I loved the Lord, but I was like many people,” he explains. “I was not fully surrendered and obeying Him. So I chose to marry someone, and I never consulted God. I never asked God. I didn’t have the wisdom to. I thought I don’t want to ask because what if He says no.”
After two years of marriage, Zoro rededicated his heart to Jesus and began tithing. His wife didn’t support fully his commitment to Christ. As he drew closer to God, he and his wife drifted apart. His marriage failed. Soon after, an earthquake destroyed Zoro’s home in LA. Though he was nearly broke, he continued tithing, and he became even more intent on following Jesus.
“I made a vow to the Lord that, 'I am gonna be celibate until You bring the woman of God that You have for me. I’m going to try it Your way. I’m going to see if Your Word really is true if I honor and obey You.'”
God opened doors for Z, and his career soared.
Life on the road brought Zoro around the world, including Nashville, TN, Music City USA. After a show, there was easy access to sex, drugs and alcohol. But Zoro had a secret weapon to fight against temptation.
“I went to my room, read my Bible, prayed, read Christian books and I got on the phone with different men of God. They said, ‘You’re gonna do it, Z. You’re gonna make it.’ I held myself accountable.”
Walking with Jesus has given Zoro true fulfillment. God has given him the one thing he’d been waiting for -- a beautiful wife and now two children. They’re the kind of things fame and money just can’t buy.
“It’s like God wants to give you the whole kingdom. He has all these things for you, all these treasures for us,” Zoro says. “But He’s just seeing if you’ll give Him your heart, if you’ll trust Him, and if you’ll obey Him when you hear Him -- not look at the circumstances and not look at everything that’s falling apart. But just come to Him and keep your heart pure and keep your heart right.”
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