Drummers / Percussionists
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BIOGRAPHY

Zigaboo Modeliste (photo by Dino Perrucci)

Zigaboo Modeliste, born Joseph Modeliste on December 28, 1948 in New Orleans, LA, is an American drummer best known as a founding member of the funk group, The Meters.

Many consider Modeliste to be one of the most innovative, and highly acclaimed drummers ever to hail from New Orleans. A pioneer of second-line funk, Modeliste remains a strong influence for drummers with his syncopated drumming style.

A New Orleans legend and the most highly-acclaimed drummer ever to hail from the Crescent City, Modeliste’s creativity has been a wellspring of funk influence for over three decades, inspiring many Hip-Hop tracks. His innovative work as a member of the internationally acclaimed R&B group, The Meters, as well as his side work with artists like Keith Richards, Robert Palmer and Dr. John, have garnered him an unparalleled level of respect among musicians and fans. His unique style, mastery of creating grooves and new concepts for funk drumming, consistently demonstrates Modeliste's brilliance as the premier funk drummer of the contemporary era.

The LPs of the original Meters were all recorded with Zigaboo at the drums. His drumming has been sampled numerous times over by artists such as Musiq, Queen Latifah, Run DMC, NWA, Ice Cube, Salt N’ Pepa, Cypress Hill, EPMD, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Naughty by Nature, and Tweet, just to name a few. Modeliste is a BMI award winner for the Young Gunz track, "Can’t Stop Won’t Stop." His drum sound also provided the main loops for Amerie’s "1Thing," which was nominated for two Grammy’s and was #1 on the R&B charts.

Modeliste has written over 200 songs individually and collectively with The Meters. His songwriting displays both his musical genius and original funk style — his songs have been released on over 56 albums nationally and internationally. Modeliste's tunes have also graced such movies as Two Can Play That Game, Jackie Brown, Drum Line, 8 Mile, Hancock, Red, and a Nike Commercial for Footaction. Zig was featured in producer Mark Ronson’s 2011 Re:Generation Music Project, where he wrote and performed the original song “A La Modeliste,” with Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Trombone Shorty, and members of The Dap Kings.

Zigaboo’s latest 2011 release, “New Life,” was praised as an amazing slide of funk — proof that Modeliste’s fountain of rhythmic imagination shows no signs of running dry. Ziggy’s first solo CD, Zigaboo.com, was released in 2000 and was reviewed as one of the most outstanding comeback records of the year. In 2004, the follow-up CD, I’m on the Right Track, featured special guests, Dr. John and Bernie Worrell. Funk Me Hard Live is a collection of funk originals recorded in 1980 and released in 2009. All these ever-grooving solo iconic albums were released on Zigaboo’s own label, JZM Records.

In 2013, Drum Channel and Zigaboo Modeliste released a DVD, The Originator of New Orleans Funky Drumming — a history/biography of Zigaboo’s New Orleans Style Drumming approach and technique. Zigaboo was featured on the cover story in the August 2013 issue of Modern Drummer magazine. 

In 2014, Zigaboo’s drum work was sampled in Eminem’s award (A Billboard # 1 BMI Award) winning single, “Berserk”, later that year Zigaboo along with his work with the Meters was showcased in Dave Grohl’s and HBO’s docuseries, “Sonic Highways”.


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