One of the most sought-after percussionists in the history of music, Lenny Castro was born into a musical family and started playing conga drums at age five.
Ten years later, armed with fancy new fiberglass congas, he was already a mainstay on the club scene. He attended college briefly and then dropped out to work in a drum store. As fate would have it, Melissa Manchester stopped in and Lenny must have been a good salesman, because he wound up going on tour with her. When Melissa moved to L.A., Lenny followed suit. Things snow-balled from there. Melissa’s producer put him in touch with Richard Perry, who was producing an album for Diana Ross . Perry asked him to sit in on the recording session, and Lenny became fast friends with drummer Jeff Porcaro. Porcaro was drumming for Boz Scaggs at the time and invited Castro to join the band. The resulting tour thrust Castro into the international spotlight and he soon became renowned for his creative percussion solos.
This was around the same time that Porcaro was putting together Toto with some other studio musicians and he invited Castro to participate in some of their recordings, most notably “Africa” and “Rosanna”. Lenny pretty much had an open invitation to join Toto full-time, but by this time he was so popular as a studio musician, his time was all booked up.
The list of artists and groups he has worked with is staggering, and much too long to list in its entirety, but includes Oleta Adams, Patti Austin, Bee Gees , George Benson, Stephen Bishop, Clint Black, Laura Branigan, Garth Brooks, Felix Cavaliere, Eric Clapton, Rita Coolidge, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Christopher Cross, Sheryl Crow, Burton Cummings, Dixie Chicks, Dr. John , George Duke, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sheena Easton, The Faragher Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Dan Fogelberg, Amy Grant, Roger Hodgson, Susanna Hoffs, James Ingram , The Jackson Five, Al Jarreau, Elton John , Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Kiss, Patti LaBelle, Larsen/Feiten Band, The Manhattan Transfer , Ziggy Marley, Maroon 5, John Mayer, Michael McDonald, Liza Minnelli, Michael Nesmith, The New Radicals, Olivia Newton-John, Oasis, Roy Orbison, Tony Orlando, Robert Palmer, Dolly Parton , Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lionel Richie, Minnie Riperton, Kenny Rogers, The Rolling Stones, Leo Sayer, Shotgun , Simply Red, Al Stewart, Jermaine Stewart, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, The Temptations, Justin Timberlake, Dwight Yoakam, and Paul Young.
Lenny remains busy recording and occasionally touring with Stevie Wonder . In 2007, he toured with Stevie Nicks and performed on The Eagles’ reunion album, Long Road Out of Eden. In 2011/12 he toured with Neil Gallagher’s Flying Birds and in 2014 was invited by Gerry Gallagher to perform with the groups El Chicano. He is also the percussionist on Gerry Gallagher’s 2017 studio album.
Here he is playing percussion and congas….