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Zak Starkey

Zak Starkey
Starkey on stage with The Who, October 2008
Background information
Birth name Zak Richard Starkey
Born (1965-09-13) 13 September 1965
Hammersmith, London, England
Genres Hard rock, alternative rock, britpop, post-punk, pop rock, art rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion, guitar
Years active 1979–present
Labels Republic, Main Entry, RCA, Big Brother, SPV, Polydor, Geffen
Associated acts The Who, Oasis, The Icicle Works, The Waterboys, ASAP, The Lightning Seeds, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Johnny Marr and the Healers, The Semantics, John Entwistle, Penguinsrising

Zak Richard Starkey (born 13 September 1965) is an English rock drummer well known for his unofficial membership of the English rock band The Who, with whom he has performed and recorded since 1994. He is also the third drummer to have appeared with English rock band Oasis. He has also worked with other musicians and bands such as Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, The Icicle Works, The Waterboys, ASAP, The Lightning Seeds and John Entwistle.

Starkey is the son of The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and Maureen Starkey Tigrett, Starr's first wife.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • 1980s 2.1
    • 1990s 2.2
    • 2000s 2.3
    • Oasis: 2004–2008 2.4
    • 2010s 2.5
  • Equipment 3
  • Associated acts 4
  • Session discography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Zak Starkey grew up at Tittenhurst Park at Sunninghill in Berkshire.

At age eight, he became interested in music when The Who's drummer Keith Moon gave him a drum kit. As a result, he knew him as "Uncle Keith". Moon was one of Ringo Starr's closest friends and Zak's godfather, and although they "never sat together at a drum kit", he did discuss drumming with the boy. The drum kit was later sold at Sotheby's for twelve thousand pounds.[1]

At age ten, Zak began teaching himself to play the drums. His father gave him only one lesson, but afterward discouraged his growing interest due to the desire not to see him in the same business.[2] Although Starr has praised his son's abilities, he is said to have stated that he had always regarded him as a future lawyer or doctor.

By the age of twelve, Starkey was already performing in pubs and was later a member of a garage band called "The Next".[2]

He attended Highgate School until 1981.


Starkey on stage with Oasis in 2005.


In the early 1980s, Starkey appeared with a re-formed Spencer Davis Group.[2]

On 22 January 1985, he married Sarah Menikides. Their daughter Tatia was born on 6 September 1985.[2]

Shortly after his marriage, Starkey recorded a musical version of Wind in the Willows with Eddie Hardin.[3] In the same year he joined his father on Sun City by Artists United Against Apartheid. He replaced Chris Sharrock as the drummer in The Icicle Works[2] in 1989, leaving the band the next year without appearing on any recordings with them. Interestingly, Sharrock would later replace Starkey as the drummer in Oasis. A B-side later issued by founder member Ian McNabb, featured him on drums and is presumed to date from his tenure with the group. Starkey also played on the 1989 album Silver and Gold, a solo work released by Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith.[3]


In the 1990s, Zak Starkey worked with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band and on The Who member John Entwistle's solo album The Rock.[3] In 1994, he joined Entwistle and another member of The Who, Roger Daltrey, on a tour entitled "Daltrey Sings Townshend". This tour had developed from a two-night performance at Carnegie Hall to celebrate Pete Townshend's fiftieth birthday. In 1996, Zak Starkey left his band, Face, to work with The Who[2] on their Quadrophenia tour. He received good reviews in this role and was praised by the music press, for a strong drumming presence, without trying to emulate the band's previous drummer, Keith Moon. Both Pete Townshend and Daltrey stated that Starkey was the best match for the band since the death of Keith Moon.

Starkey with Roger Daltrey of The Who in concert


In 2000, Starkey was a founding member of Johnny Marr & The Healers, although their first album, Boomslang,[2] would not be released for another three years. On 14 April 2001, he featured in both of the backing bands for the "Steve Marriott Tribute Concert", appearing with acts such as Humble Pie, Rick Wills, Rabbit Bundrick, Bobby Tench, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller.[4]

On 20 October 2001, with Zak on drums, The Who gave an earth-shattering performance at the Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden. Heralded as the The Who's "comeback" performance, they stole the show, and Rolling Stone called their performance "one of the 50 moments that changed rock and roll". It was also one of John Entwistle's final appearances with the band.

In 2012 and 2013, he toured with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend for The Who's "Quadrophenia and More" tour.

Oasis: 2004–2008

During 2004, Zak Starkey joined the Britpop band Oasis and was featured on two tracks included on The Who's biographic album, The Who: Then and Now.[3] In May 2005, Noel Gallagher revealed to the BBC that Starkey had participated in the recording sessions for Don't Believe the Truth. Starkey had recorded all but one track of the sessions, which were originally called "Mucky Fingers". In an official promotional video for the album, Starkey commented on Oasis and on the sessions, stating: "It was amazing. They're all singers, they're all guitar players, they're all songwriters, they're all producers... and they're all f* drummers."

He travelled as a sideman on the year-long Oasis tour that followed and appeared in promotional videos for the associated singles. Despite this, he was not an official member of the band and rarely appeared with them in promotions. In April 2005, Noel Gallagher confirmed that he had been invited to be their official drummer, and added that this could not materialise before his current working engagements with The Who were completed in mid-2007.

Starkey on stage with The Who in 2008.

Starkey was not available to record The Who's 2006 album, Endless Wire,[3] as he had been on the road with Oasis. He was available, however, for the subsequent tour in support of the album, during which they headlined at Glastonbury Festival in 2007. The tour finished at the Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland on 9 July 2007. Pete Townshend's official web site, stated that Starkey was afterwards invited to become a full member of The Who, stating that "Some of you may have noticed in one of my recent diary postings that I welcomed Zak into The Who as a permanent member. This is something he doesn't feel he needs or wants. Let's just say that the door is always open to this amazing musician and whenever we can, we will always try to make it possible for Zak to work with The Who in the future."[5] This refusal to join may have been in order for him to continue to work with both Oasis and The Who.

On 14 February 2007, Zak Starkey appeared with Oasis when they received the BRIT Award for "outstanding contribution to music". Later in 2007, he featured on Paul Weller's single "This Old Town" along with Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and bassist Gary Mounfield, aka "Mani".[3] On 12 July 2008, Starkey drummed for The Who at the 3rd annual VH1 Rock Honors, which celebrated the band's long career.

His participation in the making of the Oasis album, Dig Out Your Soul, was confirmed on 11 December 2007,[3] when the official Oasis website published a picture of him with the other band members.[6] However, it was announced that he would not perform on the Dig Out Your Soul Tour. Instead, he drummed for The Who during their tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2008. A year later he recalled playing with them was "massive" and calling the band the "smartest musicians [he] ever met".[7]

In 2008, Starkey formed the band Penguinsrising (previously called Pengu!ns) together with his partner Sharna Liguz. The band's original line up also included his daughter Tatia.[8] Penguinsrising went on to support Kasabian and Beady Eye on their respective tours.

Starkey would leave Oasis in May 2008, after the recording of Dig Out Your Soul. Chris Sharrock would replace him, but the band split before he could officially participate in anything.


On 7 February 2010, Starkey appeared with The Who during the half time show of Super Bowl XLIV at the Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida.[9]

On 30 March 2010, he played with the band during their performance of Quadrophenia at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

On 12 August 2012, he played with The Who at the finale of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, and on 12 December 2012 he joined them at 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief.

Starkey also joined The Who on their 2012-13 Quadrophenia and More tour, but he had to back out on 5 February 2013 when he contracted tendonitis. Scott Devours, the drummer on Roger Daltrey's Use It or Lose It tour, was called in to take over on drums for the remainder of the tour. As a result, Devours appears on the Quadrophenia Live in London album instead of Starkey.

He was honoured that he was able to play at Ringo's 70th birthday party on 7 July 2010 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and to perform "With a Little Help from my Friends" and "Give Peace a Chance" with his father and guest stars Yoko Ono, Nils Lofgren, Little Steven and Jeff Lynne.

He toured with The Who during their The Who Hits 50! tour of North America. On 28 June 2015, Zak once again joined The Who as they performed as the headline act at the world famous Glastonbury Festival.


  • Drum Workshop drums with Remo skins
  • Clear Powerstrokes bass drums only
  • Coated Controlled sound toms
  • Emperor Snare
  • 2 22"x16 Bassdrums
  • 1 12"x8 Tom
  • 1 13"x8 Tom
  • 1 14"x8 Tom
  • 1 16"x16 Floortom
  • 1 18"x16 Floortom
  • 1 14"x6 Edge Snare
  • 14" Zildjian A Mastersound Hi-Hats
  • 21" Zildjian K Crash Ride (x2)
  • 22" Zildjian K Ride
  • Zildjian Zak Starkey Artist Series drumsticks, coloured with The Who's red, white and blue colours as seen on their live performance at the Super Bowl XLIV show.

Associated acts

Session discography


  1. ^ "Channeling Keith and More". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sutton Michael. "Zak Starkey, AMG biography". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Zak Starkey credits". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Steve marriott Memorial Concert 2001". 24 April 2001. Retrieved 14 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Zak Starkey, invitation to join The Who". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Zak Starkey with Oasis 2007". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Tom Porter (2009-05-19). "Zak Starkey on Oasis: "the smartest musicians I've ever met" | Zak Starkey | Guitar News". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  8. ^ "NME News Ex-Oasis man launches new band". Nme.Com. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  9. ^ Gomez Gina (2 August 2010). "Drummer Zak Starkey Of "The Who" Was Amazing in Super Bowl Halftime Show". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 

External links

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