Ringo Starr Recalls His First Drum Lesson To His Son And The Who Drummer Zak Starkey

The Beatles icon Ringo Starr recently accepted an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music and recalled when he first gave a drum lesson to his son Zak Starkey during his acceptance speech.

Ringo Starr is a talented drummer who achieved international success with his work with the Beatles. Zak Starkey, his son, also followed his father’s path and pursued a music career as a drummer. Starkey has been working with the Who since 1996. Apart from his tenure with the band, he has also worked with significant artists, including Oasis, John Entwistle, and Johnny Marr.

Zak Starkey also shared the same stage with his father on several occasions. In 1985, he joined Starr on the album ‘Sun City’ by Artists United Against Apartheid. During 1992 and 1995, Starkey also toured with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Moreover, he performed at his father’s 70th birthday party on July 4, 2010, at Radio City Music Hall.

In 1994, Zak Starkey joined John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey on the Who’s ‘Daltrey Sings Townshend’ tour. He then left his band Face to work with the Who in 1996 and received critical acclaim for his work with the band. After the Glastonbury Festival in 2007, the Who offered Starkey to become an official member. Though he rejected the invitation, Starkey has been playing with them for years.

After receiving an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, Ringo Starr gave a short acceptance speech. At one point, he remembered the time he gave drumming lessons in the past. Starr then gave a demonstration and said this was what he asked kids to do, and if they failed, he would tell them to learn to play piano instead.

Starr recalled giving his son Zak Starkey the same lesson and demonstrated Starkey’s second lesson, a more complex pattern. According to Starr, Starkey told him he could already do that, and he told him he was now on his own. Later, it turned out that Starkey was a pretty talented drummer, having an admirable career.

During the speech, Starr said the following:

“When I used to teach kids, this is all I asked them to do. And if they couldn’t do that, I’d politely hold them by the arm and say, ‘Maybe piano for you!’ And the other side of that story is that I gave my son Zak that lesson.

A couple of weeks later, I thought, ‘I’ll give him another lesson now,’ and lesson two was a more complex pattern. And he said, ‘Oh, I can do that, Dad.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re on your own.’ And he turned out pretty good!”

You can watch Ringo Starr’s acceptance speech below.