Old Zak Interview 1982
pkeets at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 4 23:55:12 CDT 2004
See website for photos:
>From The Sun 23 September 1982
BEING RINGO'S SON IS A TOTAL PAIN, SAYS ZAK
As Ringo Starr has swanned his way around the world with ever-wilder friends
and ever- more-beautiful women, his 18-year-old [sic] son, Zak, has been
sitting at home quietly seething.
"To be perfectly honest, being Ringo's son is the single biggest drag in my
life," says Zak. "It's a total pain. I'm always written about as Ringo's
son, always classed in with him in every single thing I try to do."
In the past Zak's anger led to truancy and bitter rows with teachers at his
expensive private school in North London, plus a tendency to spend long
nights drinking too much. But now he has thrown all his energy into playing
frenetic and magnificent drums with a brilliant new band called Monopacific.
And he looks all set to become a star - sorry about that! - in his own right
as Zak Starkey (Ringo's real name is Richard Starkey).
"I just don't want always to be known as his son," says Zak. "This is a
really, really good band - and I'd much rather be respected for my drumming
with the rest of the guys than earn a million pounds."
Certainly Zak's furious playing has left everyone who has heard him reeling.
Recently Pete Townshend, The Who's leader, was moved to write to tell me:
"Zak has the most accurate emulation of the late Keith Moon's style. Luckily
Zak also has a style of his own - but many have been moved when listening to
his explosive solos to say: 'Oh my God, it's him!'"
Zak not only plays with the manic intensity of Moon, he also wears his hair
in the same shaggy style, talks exactly like him and drinks similar
quantities of Remy Martin brandy - as I discovered to my cost during our
quiet drink in a quaint little pub near Ascot, Berks.
"See my old man was never here," says Zak. "During my puberty Moonie was
always there with me while my old man was far away in Monte Carlo or
Friends say Keith took Zak into his home and treated him as the son he
always wanted - but never had. Now Zak plays on a £4000 drum kit given to
him by Moon one drunken night in Los Angeles. He has a picture of Moon
pinned to the wall in the band's rehearsal room. And Monopacific is managed
by Peter "Dougal" Butler, who worked as Moon's personal assistant for ten
"My old man's a good timekeeper, one of the best," says Zak. "But I've never
thought of him as a great drummer, not really - at least not until the album
he is working on now. But Moonie was the very best in the world. He was just
amazing." Nevertheless, it was Ringo who started Zak off as a drummer. "He
gave me one lesson - just one - when I was very young. Then he just told me
to listen to records and play along with them."
Zak's reservations about his father's drumming prowess also extends to The
Beatles. "They were obviously a really good band," he grimaces. "But I don't
remember them in the days when they were playing together. And, to be
honest, their music doesn't really appeal to me. Now The Who's music, that
was different. I've been into The Who since I was six."
Though Ringo allows Monopacific to use the studio in his Ascot mansion when
it is free and to rehearse in a disused lodge in the grounds of his 74-acre
Berkshire estate, he is careful not to spoil Zak. "People might think I have
a lot of money but they would be very wrong," Zak says. "Last Christmas my
old man gave me a hi-hat cymbal for my drums which cost him about £40 and my
mum - who I live with in North London - gave me a jumper. When I come to
rehearsals I have to get a train and walk from the station. I'm every bit as
hard-up as the rest of the band. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I
want to achieve anything I achieve on my own merits - and nothing else.
"I've got to live in the shadow of my father always and that's a drag. But
it's something that I can overcome. You see I don't want to be famous as
Ringo's son, I want to be famous as a great drummer. I don't want to be
known like Julian Lennon is - for being photographed in places like
Stringfellows or Tramp with girls. I think Julian is a very nice bloke but
he has been steered in completely the wrong direction. I have tried to talk
Julian into getting into a band and doing some work. But he doesn't want to
know. He just says, 'I'm all right as I am, don't worry about me.' I think
he's acting really stupidly. If he got any money from his dad it's going to
run out. He's got to do something with his life. But he is just being talked
into doing so many stupid things.
"I've been to nightclubs with my mum occasionally - but the people in them
are so awful. Most of those kind of people haven't got money because they've
earned it - and they come up to me and talk to me just because of who my dad
"I'd much rather go for a drink in a local pub where they know me, with old
friends and simply have a laugh. Even if I get successful, I don't want to
live like my old man - on a big estate and all that."
"I'm not into things like that. I want to be a really good musician with
Monopacific. That's all, nothing more."
Interview by John Blake
Comment from the webmistress: I've reproduced this article purely for
historical purposes. It's well-documented that Zak and Ringo had their
differences when Zak was younger, and also that they've long since put these
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