Former Tonic drummer tells a “Zoo Story”

6-4-01 antiGUY

Kevin Shepard is best known for pounding the skins on Tonic’s multi-platinum debut album, “Lemon Parade”.  Kevin parted ways with his former bandmates a couple years ago but hasn’t disappeared from the music scene. About a year ago he teamed up with his lifelong friend, Randy Coleman, to help out on Randy’s solo project, Paperback. Coleman had also recruited his best friend’s roommate, guitarist Carlos Rivera, to work on the project. At the time Rivera was working on a Masters Degree in Composition at USC. Kevin asked his friend and former Tonic bandmate Dan Lavery to apply his bass expertise to what would become the Zoo Story demos. 

It didn’t take long for Randy, Kevin and Carlos to realize they had the making of a great band, the spark that inspired them to begin making music in the first place was rekindled, so they sought out a full time bass player to complete the band. They filled the post with Nick Sample, the son of legendary jazz pianist Joe Sample. 

That was where Zoo Store began. Taking their name from the play by Edward Albee the band began playing around L.A. and would eventually land a deal with the new Universal Records imprint, 3:33 Music Group. 

From the beginning Fate seemed to have smiled on the band. Although Zoo Story may have never began in the first place. Randy tells antiMUSIC, “I gave up music, man. I was sort of burnt out on the whole music thing so I started pursuing acting and I went back to school at Cal Arts and got my Masters Degree in theater and really surrendered and gave up music. And that’s actually when I started to really write because I didn’t care anymore and I wasn’t writing for anybody.” Randy continues, “I was just writing for myself. By the time I finished at Cal Arts I had two things. I had a Masters Degree in Theater and I had some songs. I had just met Carlos so it was very serendipitous.”

Musically the band is rather diverse landing somewhere on the musical scale between U2 and Led Zeppelin. In fact, Randy’s vocals at times are a dead ringer for Bono except the music comes from a much heavier place than U2’s. 

Zoo Story are about to breakout beyond L.A. with the release of their debut 3:33 Music Group CD on July 24th. 

If you are interested in a preview of Zoo Story’s music you can hear tracks from the forthcoming album at their official site – zoostory.net. Also, look for the full interview with all four members of Zoo Story on our sister site Rocknworld.com in early July. 


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