Zoro (drummer)

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Zoro (born Daniel Donnelly, June 13, 1962) is an American drummer, mainly in the styles of rock, R&B, and hip hop. Zoro is known as 'The Minister of Groove'. His outstanding feel, drive, syncopation and deep philosophies towards drumming have made him one of the most well-known and respected drummers in the world today.

An interesting part of Zoro's playing is his foot technique. Unusually, he plays mostly heel-down. His reason is that he has always played heel-down and he claims to get a "fatter sound" by quickly striking and releasing the beater from the bass drum head, rather than 'planting', as so many contemporary drummers do.

Zoro has toured and recorded with Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, New Edition, Jody Watley, Sean Lennon, Philip Bailey, Lisa Marie Presley, Throttle Body Motorcycle Club, and many others. He has been consistently voted number one R&B drummer and number one clinician in Modern Drummer magazine, as well as receiving awards from other magazines, including 'Drum!.


Zoro is the author of four books. "The Commandments of R&B Drumming" earned him a Modern Drummer Reader's Poll #1 Educational text vote. The book was expanded and re-released by Alfred Publishing in a 10th anniversary edition. The follow up, "The Commandments of Early R&B Drumming" was written with Daniel Glass. In 2011, he published "The Big Gig", a book centered on achievement in the music industry. In September 2016 he released "SOAR!: 9 Proven Keys For Unlocking Your Limitless Potential"[1]

Christian Faith[edit]

In addition to his work in music, Zoro is an increasingly well known Christian Motivational speaker who appears at festivals and churches around the world, sharing his faith in Christ through his life story. He has been featured extensively on Christian television, including the 700 Club, Daystar Celebration, Jc-TV, The Joni Show, MorningStar Ministries, and other broadcasts.

Ministry and Motivational Speaking and Teaching[edit]

Now working out of Nashville, TN, Zoro is increasingly focused on his Ministry and motivational speaking work for groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Compassion International.

Zoro is currently a percussion instructor at Belmont University in Nashville.

Gear and Equipment[edit]

Zoro is endorsed by DW Drums, Evans, Latin Percussion and other manufacturers. His most recent set of note was played during his 2004 engagement with Lenny Kravitz, as drummer on that artist's "Baptism" tour. The set comprised the following:

DW Drums

Collector's Series Maple drums in Red Sparkle FinishPly with Gold hardware

16x20 Bass Drum (x2)

9x12, 10x13, 11x14, 16x16 Toms

6.5x14 Collector's Brass Snare Drum

Pedals and Hardware

9000 Single Bass Drum Pedal

9500 Hi-Hat Stand

9300 Snare Stand

9700 Straight/Boom Cymbal Stand (x2)

9999 Single Tom/Cymbal Stand (x2)

9100 Throne

Evans Drumheads

20" EQ3 Resonant Black 22" EMAD Batter Clear 22" EMAD2 Batter Clear 14" Genera 14" G1 Coated EQ Pad Bass Drum Damper 06" J1 Etched 14" Hazy 300 10" Genera Resonant 10" G1 Clear 10" G2 Clear

Proud Evans Artist Since 1979.

Sabian Cymbals

HHX groove Hats 14"

HHX X-treme Crash 18"

HHX groove Ride 21"

HHX X-treme Crash 18"

Vic Firth Sticks

Zoro Signature Stick (SZ) An enlarged SD4 with a barrel tip for great tone while grooving on the cymbals and hi-hat. Light and fast for R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz and Fusion. L = 16 3/8", Dia. =.555"

AUDIX Microphones

Zoro uses i5 for snare, D2 for toms, D4 for floor tom, D6 for kick, ADX51 for high hat and overheads.


Snare Wire only

Latin percussion


External links[edit]