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Happy Birthday, to the Who's drummer Zak Starkey


Happy Birthday to Ringo Starr's oldest child -- and the Who's drummer since 1996 -- Zak Starkey, who turns 48 today (September 13th)!!! Starkey, who's mother was Maureen Cox, was the second "Beatle baby" born, following John and Cynthia Lennon's son Julian Lennon who was born in 1963. Ringo and Maureen went on to have two more children -- Jason in 1967 and Lee in 1970 -- prior to the couple's 1975 divorce.

Although Keith Moon did not give Starkey his first drum kit -- dad Ringo did -- Moon is responsible for giving Starkey his first professional set of drums -- the white Premier drum kit which Moon used for his final tour with the Who in 1975 and 1976.

In 1996, the year he took over drum duties for the Who as they toured Quadrophenia, Starkey explained his unique childhood relationship with Moon, telling Hello magazine, "We would spend a few days with Keith at his house in Malibu when we went to visit my dad in America, after my parents divorced in 1975. When Keith moved back to England, he would often pop in to see me or take me to dinner. I thought of him as a mate rather than an adult. He was always a very calm person when he was with me. He gave me an enormous drum kit when I was 12. It was a big white set. . . He used to encourage me a great deal."

Part of the reason for Townshend's eagerness to play out with the Who over the past decade is his connection with Starkey: "He studied at the feet of Keith Moon. He was eight years old when I first met him, his dad is Ringo Starr, but Keith Moon bought him his first drum kit. He was a big Who fan as a kid. So when John (Entwistle) passed away, suddenly there was Zak and I -- and then what I realized is that he and I have this extraordinary chemistry. And it's innate. It's a chemistry that's based on the fact that whatever I do, he's already doing it."

Pete Townshend's younger brother and Who touring guitarist Simon Townshend also joined the Who in 1996. He told us says that although Starkey is reminiscent of Moon at times -- he's really is his own man: "I'm glad Zak does it the way he does it. He doesn't have too many restrictions and he certainly doesn't copy anyone. He uses ideas, but he doesn't copy anyone. He does his own thing."

Blondie drummer and co-founder Clem Burke has been a disciple of Keith Moon's since he first began hitting the skins. He says that Starkey and the Who make a perfect fit: "Zak Starkey's an amazing drummer, and obviously he's an amazing legacy with his dad, and he's doing a great job. So, Zak Starkey's the perfect drummer for the Who."

Roger Daltrey's solo drummer Scott Devours was forced to filled in for Zak Starkey during a handful of the Who's recent North American gigs and the entirety of their European tour due to a pulled tendon.

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