5 Drummerszone artists - Zak Starkey

Zak Starkey
* September 13, 1965
United Kingdom
"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 in Modern Drummer, July 1997
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).

Legend says Keith Moon (The Who) gave Zak his first drum kit. Actually, his father Ringo had given him a small four-piece Ludwig kit when he was eleven. In Circus Magazine (Oct 3, 1978) Keith (in an Aug 1978 interview) says he gave Zak "a new" drum kit for his birthday (Sept 1977). This was his first BIG professional-grade kit.

Zak did receive formal piano lessons at one point. As for the drums, Zak says he's been drumming "for a long as I can remember". He had one and only one lesson from his dad.
"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."

Zak lists his first professional studio gig as drumming for The Spencer Davis Group, at the age of 17. In Modern Drummer (July 1997) Zak explains:
"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)

1996 saw the release of the John Entwistle CD "The Rock", of which Zak was an original band member. This had been recorded back in the mid-to late 80's, but failed to get released due to label dilemmas. Zak plays drums on the album, but apparently was not a member of any incarnation that toured it 'round.

In the Spring of 1996, not long after joining his next band Face, Zak was asked to join Pete Townshend, John Entwistle & Roger Daltrey as their drummer for a special presentation of Quadrophenia.

Billed, not as The Who, but as Pete put it, "a Who Thing", (often referred to as TED) Quad was performed on June 29, 1996 in London's Hyde Park as part of the Prince's Trust Benefit.

Apparently all went well, as a German Teletex from July 7, 1996 proclaims:
" 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.

Zak's Who schedule forced him to drop out, and he was to have been replaced by drummer Tony Williams. (Probably best known for playing with Miles Davis, Tony unfortunately passed away Feb 22, 1997).

Late October/early November 1997 brought the announcement that Zak would be the new drummer touring with the UK band The Lightning Seeds.

And, as if this wasn't enough to keep Zak busy, there is Johnny Marr & The Healers - with Zak on drums.

In May 2000 the band played a number of warm-up club gigs and opened for Oasis on several European and UK dates. Their CD was originally expected in the fall of 2000, but after doing some label shopping, Johnny started New Voodoo/Pacific, and the first official single, "The Last Ride", was finally released Oct 1, 2001.

2003 brought the release of Johnny Marr's Healers album "Boomslang", as well as a brief February US tour, followed by the band opening for Pearl Jam in Australia.

In 2004 Johnny Marr & The Healers featured a new drummer, David Tolan, while Starkey had left to play with Oasis, replacing drummer Alan White, who was fired at the begining of that year.