Ringo Starr is one of the best drummer in the world. But he was not a source of inspiration when his eldest son, Zak Starkey, started playing drums. Jack credits The Who with drummer Keith Moon. Zak only wanted to be a drummer because he had heard Moon work with The Who. Lucky for Jacques, Moon was already a family friend when he realized this. In fact, Zak refers to Moon as “Uncle Keith”.
No one knew at the time that Jack would later step into Uncle Keith’s shoes (like a drum stool) and become The Who touring drummer. It’s a good fit, however, and Moon would be proud.
Zak Starkey initially wanted to play guitar
When Ringo and his wife Maureen welcomed Zak in 1965, Ringo announced that he did not want his firstborn to be a drummer. For a while, Ringo got his way because Zak initially wanted to play the guitar. After seeing the rock band T. Rex live in concert with his father as a child, Zak asked his parents for a guitar. He wanted to be like his father’s friend Mark Bolan.
“When I was about 7, I went to see T. Rex with my father, and I said to my father, ‘I want to be like that guy. I want a guitar,’” Zak told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2019. “I took a guitar and started learning, and I’d been playing guitar for two or three years.”
Ringo probably didn’t want Zak to become a drummer, but one of his children most likely followed in his footsteps, given that they were constantly being musically inclined. However, after playing guitar for a few years, Zak’s instrumental preferences changed rapidly.
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Jack Starkey started drumming because of his babysitter, Keith Moon
After years of playing guitar, Jack realized he wanted to learn drums after watching Keith Moon play with The Who on his parents’ record. Suddenly, the man who wanted to raise her as a child was prompting her to become a drummer.
“I found a Who record in my parents’ record collection, and I made this connection between the guy on the cover and a guy who was always round at our house,” Zak explained. “This guy used to come with me and my brother and play Monopoly and feed the hamster and stuff.”
Zak, who was 10 at the time, played The Who meaty bt big and bouncy, and the energy “just blew me away, and that day I started drumming. I started learning to play the drums by listening to The Who and playing with him.
Maybe Ringo initially didn’t want his son to be a drummer, but he wouldn’t let Moon take all the credit for getting Zak on drums. Soon he was showing Zak the ropes. “One day we were in the studio together, and he said, ‘Do you want me to show you how to do this?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he gave me a lesson and came back the next day and said, ‘Try to do it,’ and I said, ‘I can do that,’ and he said, ‘You’re on your own, friend.’”
While his father left him to his own devices, Uncle Keith was there for him too… sort of.
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Uncle Keith gives Zak Starkey the premiere drum kit
Moon was such a family friend that Zak would often refer to him as Uncle Keith. When Ringo took his kids to his house with Moon, Zak would talk to his hero about everything and anything. “He was a really fantastic person to hang out with. He wasn’t crazy in any way, except for that look in his eyes,” Zak told modern drummer.
He talked about many things. However, it appears that Moon had a similar way of teaching Ringo the drums to Zak. Moon wasn’t very forthcoming with his drum lessons. Instead, he presented Zak with the necessary tools he would need. They gave 10-year-old Zak a white and gold premiere drum kit with double bass and Elven Toms, which later sold at auction for $16,000 in today’s money. A year later, Zak was using the kit at gigs.
After playing with various bands in his early career, Zak got an opportunity he had probably never seen before. In the early 1990s, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend invited him to play as the touring drummer for The Who. He said replacing Zac Moon was the best match to play. Zak has been praised for his work with the band, especially for not trying to sound like its protagonist, Not Like That’s Possible Anyway. Moon often played the song differently each time.
Now, Zak has been with The Who for over 20 years, much longer than the time in Uncle Keith’s band. We know the Moon will have something to say about this.