Joseph Modeliste

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Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste (born December 28, 1948, also known as Ziggy) is an American drummer best known as a founding member of the funk group The Meters (1965-1977, 2000–present). He also cofounded The Wild Tchoupitoulas and has worked extensively with other musicians, notably Keith Richards, Robert Palmer, and Dr. John.

Modeliste is widely considered an innovator in modern funk and New Orleans style drumming. Due to his work with The Meters, Modeliste is credited as an integral part of bringing New Orleans second-line grooves into popular music.

Modeliste has written over 400 songs (as an individual and collectively with The Meters), and his work has been released on over 36 albums nationally and internationally. He is also well known for his drum grooves appearing in dozens of hip hop samples, television and film.

Modeliste was listed in Modern Drummer’s 2013 reader poll, and also graced the cover of Modern Drummer Magazine in August of 2012. He still tours and performs extensively—namely in New Orleans and in the Bay Area of California where he currently resides.

Early career

Modeliste was a founding member and drummer of the funk group, The Meters. The Meters were formed in 1965 and became well known in the vibrant New Orleans music scene. The band was eventually signed to Allen Toussaint’s record label Sansu Enterprises and served as Touissant’s house band. Over the years The Meters became staple artists and the purveyors of the traditional New Orleans funk sound.

Modeliste’s work with The Meters would solidify his status as an innovative and skilled drummer; this was further displayed when Modeliste, along with The Meters, were invited to tour with The Rolling Stones in 1975 and 1976 serving as their opening act.

The Meters also served as the backing band for acts such as Dr. John, Robert Palmer, Lee Dorsey, Paul McCartney and many more—all with Modeliste on drums.

When The Meters disbanded in 1977, Modeliste continued to tour and serve as the drummer for various musicians—even touring with Keith Richards and Ron Wood with The New Barbarians shortly after the split.

Legacy and influence

Since the late 1970s, Modeliste has partnered with an extensive amount of artists in both a touring and recording capacity. Some of these artists include: Dr. John, The Wild Tchoupitoulas, Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Keith Richards, Bill Laswell, Aaron Neville, Professor Longhair, John Fogerty, Harry Connick Jr., Mark Ronson, Yael Naim and Kids on Bridges.

Modeliste’s work has influenced both fans and musicians, alike. His signature drumming style has amassed a large following in the drumming community, in which Modeliste occasionally gives master classes and lessons to large audiences. Some of his best known grooves include the Cissy Strut and Look-ka Py-Py. Modeliste is a Vic Firth, DW, Sabian signature artist.

Modeliste recorded on all the original LPs with The Meters and has also been sampled many times over from artists such as Musiq, Queen Latifah, Run DMC, NWA, Ice Cube, Salt-N-Pepa, Cypress Hill, EPMD, Public Enemy, Digable Planets, DJ Shadow, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Naughty by Nature, and Tweet.

In 2005, he was a BMI award winner for “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” by Young Gunz - and also, his drum sound provided the main loops for Amerie’s “1Thing” - nominated for six Grammys and hit #1 on the R&B charts.

Modeliste has written over 400 songs individually and collectively with The Meters. This collection of songs has been released on over 36 albums nationally and internationally. His tunes have also been in movies such as “Two Can Play That Game”, "Red", “Jackie Brown”, “Drum Line”, and “8 Mile”.

Current work and projects

Modeliste released his first solo CD in 2000 - His next album I’m on the Right Track was released in 2004 with special guests Dr. John and Bernie Worrell.

In 2006, he released the single "Let's Get Fired Up" described as "A Fight Song for Our Saints." In 2007, he participated in Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, contributing his version of Domino's "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday", with Herbie Hancock and Renard Poche. Funk Me Hard Live, a live performance from 1980 recorded in New Orleans was released in 2009.

In 2011 he released his fourth solo album entitled New Life. This record has elements of rock, funk and blues and features such artists as arranger Wardell Quezerque and Trumpeter Mic Gillet of Tower of Power fame.

In 2011, producer and musician Mark Ronson collaborated with Modeliste, Eryka Badhu, Mos Def and Trombone Shorty for the song Ala Modeliste, which was named in honor of Modeliste’s influence on funk drumming and the New Orleans sound.

In 2013, Modeliste was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer Magazine, and was featured in the Modern Drummer reader poll in 2014.

He currently resides in Oakland, California and continues to teach, release records, as well as manage his publishing Company Jomod Music and record label JZM records.

Zigaboo Modeliste Drumstick Collection

Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 2.