Throughout the past three decades, drummer Zak Starkey has enjoyed a unique career that shows no signs of slowing down. The son of legendary Beatle Ringo Starr (real name: Richard Starkey), the younger Starkey inherited the drumming bug and has successfully navigated the upper echelons of rock ever since, whether drumming for Oasis or joining the performing lineup of The Who in 1994.
Aside from prepping for an upcoming summer tour with The Who, Starkey is hot off of a series of gigs at South by Southwest with latest project SSHH alongside partner Sshh Liguz. The long-gestating electro-punk project is readying for an album later this year, and today on Billboard, Starkey premieres the video for a SSHH cover of the Bob Marley/Peter Tosh-penned classic “Get Up, Stand Up." He also talks life on the road with The Who, how SSHH came to be, and teaming up with Mick Jagger’s activist daughter Lizzy to spread a message of equality.
You’ve been playing with The Who since 1994 and have a tour coming up with them this summer. How do you prepare for something like that?
How it started last time was, I walked off the plane in London and went straight straight into a windmill. We arrived at 10 in the morning, was in rehearsal by 11 and we were in three days rehearsal for Tommy and then we did the Tommy shows, and then four of our hits shows. We do very little rehearsal. When John Entwistle was alive, we didn’t do any!
As the years go on, does this touring lifestyle get easier or harder?
I think it gets easier. Especially with The Who because I think everyone is a little bit mellower and more comfortable with how it rolls since it’s more of a hits show now, and not the kind of freeform blood bath that we sometimes used to do. Me and Roger (Daltrey) find this a bit more fun. It’s always an ordeal that’s always worth it. Though Pete (Townshend) can hurt himself some nights. Those guys have still got a bit of energy, but they also got to take it easier at their age, I hate to say it.
Your dad is Ringo Starr and you were very close with Keith Moon. What’s your earliest memory growing up?
Keith Moon was my dad’s best friend, or one of them, and he kind of took me under his wing. Me and my brother used to stay with him and spend weekends, stuff like that.
By: Rob LeDonne