Leroy Thomas was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and raised in Elton Louisiana. He comes from a family of zydeco musicians. His father Leo “The Bull” Thomas is the only zydeco musician to lead a zydeco band from the drums. Leroy’s father has a distinct method of drumming that inspired not only his sons, but is still emulated by many zydeco bands today. Other family related zydeco musicians are Keith Frank, a second cousin on his mother’s side, Geno Delafose, a second cousin on his father’s side, and Brian Terry a cousin on his father’s side.
At the age of eight Leroy decided to become a drummer like his father Leo so he and his little brother Lee Andrus Thomas made a set of drums with five gallon paint buckets. They used tree branches for drumsticks, and cardboard tubing from Christmas wrapping paper as a microphone. Leroy would play the bucket drums and sing without a care in the world. He didn’t know he was on his way to becoming a very talented musician. In his early teens with determination, imagination, and resourcefulness Leroy set his sights on playing the accordion. He heard that a man in town had an accordion for sale. With his brother and cousin in tow Leroy walked to town with a used cassette player as currency and purchased his first accordion. Leroy taught himself how to play that accordion with the same determination he had formerly brought to his drumming. At the age of 18 Leroy joined his father’s band on the accordion. Leroy was proud to play his fathers signature song, “Why You Wanna Make Me Cry,” which is the most frequently repeated song in zydeco for over 27 years now. For fifteen years father and son played music and toured the world together. In 1998 Leroy decided it was time to form his own band, “Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners.” Today Leroy and his band have performed in over 33 states and overseas and have released eight CDs. Leroy favors what he calls “Old School Zydeco.” He likes keeping the tradition of Louisiana alive and flowing. He throws in his own flavor but always comes back to original zydeco, the real deal.
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