Zak Starkey

Zak Starkey (born 14 September, 1965) is an English drummer, well-known as the first-born child of The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr (whose real name is Richard Starkey) and his first wife, Maureen Cox. Starkey is mostly noted for his unofficial membership in The Who in recent years. He is also known as being the third drummer for the English pop rock band Oasis. He joined the band in 2004, replacing longtime drummer Alan White. He subsequently performed on all but one track of their sixth studio album Don't Believe the Truth, released in 2005, toured in 2005–2006 and recorded in 2007 and 2008 for their 2008 release, Dig Out Your Soul. Starkey was invited officially in the band in 2006, and joined them in autumn 2007 during sessions with the band putting a group photo. On May 11, 2008, however, several newspapers broke a story about a row between Noel Gallagher and Starkey, reporting that his involvement with the band is finished despite completing work on the newly finished album. Noel confirmed this in an interview with Mojo magazine in July.

Starkey is the fourth drummer for the rock band The Who, playing with them live and occasionally in the studio. Both Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey stated that he is the best drummer The Who has had since the death of Keith Moon in 1978.

Starkey has also worked on session and touring basis with artists including: Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, The Icicle Works, the Waterboys, ASAP and the Lightning Seeds.

Early and personal life

Zak Starkey was born on September 13, 1965 at Queen Charlotte's Maternity Hospital in London. His parents divorced on July 17, 1975, when he was 9. Ringo Starr afterward married Barbara Bach and Starkey's mother married Hard Rock Café founder Isaac Tigrett. Starkey's mother, Maureen Cox, died of leukemia in 1994, despite a bone marrow transplant for which Starkey was the donor.

Starkey married Sarah Menikides in a secret register office wedding on 22 January 1985. His parents were not told of it until after the event, but shortly afterward Ringo Starr provided a small celebration party at Tittenhurst Park. On 7 September, 1985, a week before his 20th birthday, his daughter Tatia Jayne was born, making his father the first grandfather Beatle.


Early years (1977–1980)

At the age of eight, Starkey became interested in music. At ten, he started teaching himself how to play drums after receiving one lesson from his father, who reportedly did not want him following in his footsteps. Although Ringo praises his son's abilities, he said that he "always regarded Zak as a lawyer or as a doctor", not a drummer like himself.

Starkey received his first professional drum kit from his idol, childhood friend, and Godfather The Who's Keith Moon. The kit later sold at Sotheby's auction house for £12,000.

By the age of 12, Starkey was already performing in pubs with a band. In his teens, Starkey was a member of a garage act, the Next.

Although Starkey had previously worked with John Entwistle in Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band tours, he received his first opportunity to work with The Who in 1994, with Roger Daltrey in his "Daltrey Sings Townshend" tour. This tour developed from a two night performance at Carnegie Hall to celebrate Daltrey's fiftieth birthday, when he afterward recruited John Entwistle, Simon Townshend and Zak Starkey to complete a U.S. tour.

In 1996, Starkey left his band Face, to work with The Who on their Quadrophenia tour. He received very good reviews in this role for being a strong drumming presence but without explicitly imitating original drummer Keith Moon. Starkey was the full-time drummer for The Who beginning with their 1996 Quadrophenia Tour. Both Townshend and Daltrey stated that he is the best drummer The Who had since the death of Moon. He provided drumming for one track on The Who's 2006 album Endless Wire, and for two new tracks released in 2004 on The Who: Then and Now. However, he was unable to provide the drumming for the EP Wire & Glass or the album Endless Wire because he was on tour with Oasis at the time Townshend recorded the songs. Starkey worked with The Who on The Who Tour 2006–2007, which was to finish in Glastonbury in 2007. It finished at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland on 9 July.

Oasis (2004–2008)

In 2004, Starkey joined the Britpop band Oasis, following longtime drummer Alan White's departure. In May 2005, Noel Gallagher revealed to the BBC that Starkey had recorded in the recording sessions (March–December 2004) for their new album, Don't Believe the Truth. Starkey recorded all but one track of the sessions called "Mucky Fingers", which was completed before his arrival with Proud Mary drummer Terence Kirkbride. In an official promotional video for the album, Starkey commented on the band and the sessions, saying, "It was amazing. They're all singers, They're all guitar players, they're all songwriters, they're all producers... and they're all fucking drummers."

Starkey on stage with Oasis in 2005 Starkey participated in every show on Oasis' 2005/2006 world tour and also appeared in the promo videos for the singles. However, as he was not an official member of the band, he rarely appeared with the rest of the band in promotional activities such as interviews and photo shoots.

After the end of tours in April, Noel Gallagher confirmed that Starkey was invited to be Oasis' official drummer, but that couldn't materialize before his current working engagements with The Who were completed in mid-2007.

In February 14, Starkey sat behind the drums when Oasis received the BRIT Award for Outstanding contribution to music. The band played a set consisting of "Cigarettes & Alcohol", "The Meaning of Soul", "Morning Glory", "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Rock 'n' Roll Star". His participation in the making of the band's seventh album was confirmed on December 11, 2007 when the official Oasis website published a picture of him in the studio with the other members.

In March 2007 the band decided to pay their previous drummer Alan White around ₤350 000 in order to buy him out of their company Definitely Maybe — probably a move to free a place for Zak Starkey in the band and their company.

However, it was announced May 12, 2008 that Starkey would no longer perform live or in studio with the band after a falling out with lead guitarist and songwriter, Noel Gallagher. Gallagher later confirmed this was true and that Robbie Williams' drummer, Chris Sharrock, has taken his position in the band. Starkey and Sharrock have an extremely similar history, very often taking over from each other; Sharrock was Starkey's predecessor as the drummer for the Lightning Seeds.

Other work (1980–present)

In the early 80s Starkey landed work with a re-formed Spencer Davis Group.

In 1985, shortly after getting married, Starkey released a musical version of Wind in the Willows with Eddie Hardin.

In 1985, both he and his father Ringo Starr played drums on the recording Sun City by Artists United Against Apartheid.

In 1988, Starkey replaced Chris Sharrock as the drummer in The Icicle Works. He left the band in 1989, and did not appear on any Icicle Works recordings, although a B-side later issued by Icicle Works leader Ian McNabb featured Starkey on drums, and is presumed to actually date from Starkey's tenure with the group.

Starkey played on Silver and Gold a solo album released by Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith in 1989.

In 2000 Starkey was a founding member of Johnny Marr & The Healers, debuting with Boomslang three years later. There were rumours about a second album and short tour in 2004 and 2005, which were dashed when Starkey joined Oasis.

In 2007, Starkey was drummer on the Paul Weller single "This Old Town" along with former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and Mani on bass.