There’s a famous John Lennon one-liner that people like to trot out a lot: an interviewer asked him if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, to which John replied, “He isn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles.”
Now, this almost certainly didn’t happen – there is no footage, no audio, no news story in which Lennon ever said this, and considering there are fastidious records of everything The Beatles have ever done, it’s safe to say it’s just an apocryphal tale.
But it has added to – or neatly slotted into -–the myth that Ringo Starr is a sub par drummer. While he isn’t a jazz virtuoso, Ringo was an innovative drummer who influenced great swathes of popular music [he invented The Chemical Bros. entire career in one song] and kept damn good time while doing so.
Still, while it’s a bit much to suggest Paul was a better drummer [he is good, he drummed on ‘Back In The U.S.S.R‘ and ‘Ballad Of John and Yoko‘, plus the sleepy ‘Dear Prudence‘] it is pretty indisputable that, to appropriate John’s fake quote: Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in his family.
Enter: Zak Starkey – son of Ringo and Maureen Starr, and half of electro-punk band SSHH
SSHH is Zak Starkey’s electro-punk project, a duo with Australian Sshh Liguz. It’s hard to pinpoint their influences, such is the wide-ranging sound: think the scuzzier end of ’90s riot grrrl mixed with Baby Animals, Sarah McLeod’s solo stuff, early ’90s UK dance stuff, real early Hole (but tidied up), Spacemen 3(ish), and Jack White’s many projects.
As I said, it’s hard to pinpoint.
Check out ‘Rising Tide’ by SSHH:
Now, let’s take a trawl through Zak Starkey’s many other projects.He has been the drummer for The Who since 1996.
You may know The Who as one of the biggest stadium rock bands of all time, with half a century of chaotic, epic live shows under their belts. You may also be aware their original drummer Keith Moon is widely regarded as one of the greatest drummers — rock and roll or otherwise — to ever have walked the earth. He is also the greatest drummer to have ever drunkenly driven a Rolls into a swimming pool.
For Zak to be the drummer who plays that massive, complicated catalogue night after night, for 22 years, is a testament to his immense ability.
Check out ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ drummed by Zak Starkey:
And here’s a link to one of the worst YouTube videos I have ever stumbled upon, in which a guy named Donn talks in great detail, and for seven-and-a-half minutes, about the DW/Zildjian drum kit Zak Starkey used at the 2012 Olympics. And yeah, he played the Olympics, too.
Two more fun facts: Animal from the Muppets was based on Keith Moon, and Keith actually gave Zak his first drum-kit, when Zak was eight. He was his godfather, and one of Ringo’s dearest friends. I guess that’s four fun facts, really.
He was also the drummer for Oasis between 2005-2008, drumming on their final two (still very good) albums
I’m not going to argue this [nah, I will], but the final two Oasis albums — Don’t Believe The Truth and Dig Out Your Soul — are, to adopt Gallagher-speak, fookin’ mega. Two great, swaggering psych-rock records with minimal filler that added to the overall Oasis catalogue, while retreading enough familiar ground (this is Oasis, after all) that fairweather fans could appreciate them.
Here are the two finest examples of Zak’s drumming during this period: the stomping ‘Lyla’, and the swirling, epic ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’.
He was also Johnny Marr’s (from The Smiths, yeah?) drummer
Zak Starkey drummed with Johnny Marr for four years in the early 2000s, most notably on the 2003 album ‘Boomslang’ and the excellent lead single ‘Last Ride’.
Incidentally, the ‘boomslang’ is “a venomous, tree-dwelling snake of tropical and southern Africa”. Now you know.
He was born for this
In case Zak’s role in the three of the biggest acts in musical history distracted you, he is the son of Ringo Starr!
He isn’t some autumn-of-my-life ’90s baby either, he was born in 1965, when The Beatles were sliding into their finest creative streak.
His birth was the subject of news-reports, such as this one.
Look at Ringo’s face here. He knows. Zak is the future.