Rohan Zachariah always had a love for American music, whether it was rock music or country, his affinity for American artists was clear early on. Today, the young drummer is the backbone of the outlaw country band The Dale Justice Band as it prepares for a new fall tour and new album.

“Being a part of this band with such a great group of guys is a dream come true,” Zachariah said. “I didn’t know much about country music when I met Dale Justice but when I went to audition I felt at home playing with them – I had spent all night learning all 10 songs they wanted me to play – but I loved it!”

With a new tour beginning next month, Zachariah is top of his game to perform live in front of the band’s rabid fans who love its outlaw country style that echoes the music of such country music pioneers as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and others. The band, made up of singer/guitarist Dale Justice, guitarist Felix Matthiessen and Zachariah, will kick off its tour in January.

“We’re really excited about the tour and having Rohan keeping a solid beat for us come hell or high water!” Justice said. “The way he plays, it’s like he was born to play country music but in actuality, he grew up playing and listening to rock in India and he grew to embrace country music!”

Born in Chennai, India, Zachariah grew up listening to his father’s favorite rock bands like Queen, Deep Purple, Boston and others. He developed an affinity for the music and eventually gravitated to playing the guitar, keyboards and drums, before settling on drumming. He would go on to earn a film production degree at Madras University but all the while had the intention becoming a professional drummer.

After earning his masters in electronic media, to appease his parents, Zachariah was already playing with a number of top rock bands in India such as The Misfits and The Bureaucrats, ultimately performing on national television in India.

“But I knew I had to come to the U.S. and learn from the best at Musicians’ Institute,” he recalled. “It’s the only place on earth where you can have Chad Smith from the Chili Peppers sitting next to you, telling you how to play.”

But while still studying, Zachariah met Dale Justice and was soon a founding member of the new band that would make Roanoke, Virginia its home base after some brief travels.

“Working with these guys has been amazing. You get to know each other so well that once we’re on stage we already know what the other will do,” he said. “We’re currently putting the final touches on the album so we’re very excited about this first album releasing early next year!’

For more on Rohan Zachariah, visit www.facebook.com/rgz007/.