"Playing with the Who is the biggest rush there is. At eleven years old I used to go to bed dreaming about what I'm doing now. I don't know how many people can say that."Zak Starkey is born Sept 13, 1965 at 8 AM as a son of Maureen and Richard Starkey, the latter best known as Ringo Starr, drummer in The Beatles (real name: Richard Starkey).
- Zak Starkey in Modern Drummer, July 1997
"When I went to give Zak a second lesson, he said, `I can do that.' And I said, `You're on your own.' [..] He was 10. And so we threw him out of the house. [Laughs] He's been on the road ever since".Zak's take:
"He gave me one lesson when I was 10, then told me 'If you want to learn the drums, teach yourself,' so I did."He surprised many with his determination. He would come in every day from school and play to the music through headphones: "I used to drive my mum insane."
"When I was about sixteen, there was a studio very close to where I lived that did quite a bit of business. I got to know the studio owner after jamming with him in a pub one night. From then on I started to do a lot of sessions there. It was mostly stuff you've never heard of, but I did some work with the Spencer Davis Group, who had reformed at the time. I was getting paid like fifty pounds a day, and I thought that was it, I had made it."His first release credited to him as artist occurred June 24, 1985, with the release of Eddie Hardin & Zak Starkey's Musical Version of Wind in The Willows. There was talk of staging it in London in 1986, but it did not happen. (But a Live concert presentation was done in Germany in 1991)
" Zak Starkey To Join The Who: ...Zak Starkey has been forced to quit his up and coming British rock group Face - to become a permanent member of The Who. The delighted 29[sic]-year-old drummer was reportedly given the news on Monday after he played with the band at the Quadrophenia concert in Hyde Park. Starkey has already signed up to perform Quadrophenia with Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle for six nights at New York's Madison Square Gardens from July 16 and more dates are expected to follow."In an interview with Ira Robbin (Oct 1996) Pete Townshend talks about working with Zak:
"We're really pleased to have him in the band. He's just stunning. He's very easy to play with. Mind you, I'm very spoiled with drummers. I don't fuck around anymore. I only play with people who are really easy to play with: Simon Phillips is a different kind of drummer, but he's very easy to play with, he's very much a listening drummer. But what Zak has is a lot of karmic Keith Moon about him, which is wonderful. It's easy to make too much of that - - he really is his own drummer. He has his own style. But he's very intelligent. What he did was adapt his own style as an imitator of Keith Moon -he does a garage band imitation of Keith Moon which is probably unbeatable- but he's modified that, moderated it, in a very intelligent and musical way so that he won't be directly compared. He won't evoke uncomfortable memories for the audience."Next thing Zak found himself slated to do some session drumming for (Smithereen) Pat DiNizio's solo album - recording of which was scheduled to take place in April 1997 with Don Dixon producing.