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Zak Starkey's Gear


new-rd.gifZildjian's Zak Starkey inspired 22" & 21" K Crash Rides (Jan 2008)

The Beginning:

Zak with Keith  ©1978-2002 Danny Clifford - The legend says Keith Moon gave Zak his first drum kit. Actually, Ringo had given him a small four-piece Ludwig kit when he was eleven. In Circus Magazine (Oct 3, 1978) Keith (in an Aug 1978 interview) says he gave Zak "a new" drum kit for his birthday (Sept 1977). This was actually his first BIG professional-grade kit.

According to the Pete Townshend interview, the drums had "nude women on them". A Pictures of Lily kit???

Although I believe Zak does or did at one time own one or part of one of Keith's "Pictures of Lily" kits [a floor tom "donated by Zak Starkey" was on display at the either the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, or one of the Hard Rock Cafes in Sept 99] - the monstrous set given to him on his 12th birthday was white:

"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 which was featured on one of the Who album covers. He used to encourage me a great deal." - Zak, Hello! Magazine July 06 1996

The white kit given to Zak was Keith's circa 1975 Cream/White Premier kit with copper ("Gold") fittings and stands. Zak used this kit live and in the studio with a number of his early bands in the 1980's (The Next / Monopacific). It was sold through Sotheby's in 1992 for about $12,000 - reportedly to the Hard Rock Cafe. [Note that the auction does not account for the entire massive kit!]

A full description of the kit's original set up as used by Keith, as well as the set up as it appeared in the Sotheby's catalog in 1992 can be seen at WhoTabs, in their extensive equipment overview!

with Keith
keith at white kit
zak with keith's kit

Modern Drummer July 1987

A brief interview with Zak in the "Up And Coming" section revealed the following:
Zak at Pearl kit 1987

1989/90 ICE "A 2 Z" sessions

The special thanks section of the CD credits thank Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, and Gibson Guitars (he plays guitar in addition to the drums on most tracks).
Zak at Pearl kit

1991 - Tony Martin "Back Where I Belong" sessions:

The "Equipment Used" thank you section of the credits for this CD lists Zildjian and Yamaha for Zak's gear.


The 1992 All Starr Band:

The tour book credits thank:
zak's 92 asb kit
  • Zak Starkey's drum kit provided by DW Drums and John Goode.
  • Zak Starkey's drumsticks provided by Shawstix.
  • Zak Starkey's cymbals provided by Zildjian, Ian Croft and Mike Morse.

zak 92 asb shot
This kit appeared to be a dark green oyster with brass hardware.
The Drum Technician for this tour was Jeff Chonis.

The 1995 All Starr Band

The Drum Technician for this tour was, once again, Jeff Chonis.

    Zak's All-Starr DW setup included:
  1. 9x13 w/ STM
  2. 12x14 w/ STM
  3. 13x15 w/ STM
  4. 17x22 bass
  5. 5x14 Edge Snare
    colour: White finish ply* with Brass hardware
These are the spec's I was given from DW. I believe #3 should be "w/legs" rather that "STM" - am trying to double check. *Also the finish is actually a high gloss custom lacquer finish.

For you non-drummers (like me-self), "STM"'s are DW's "unique Suspension Tom Mounts [which] are a suspension type mounting system that does not restrict drum placement or head replacement". The "Edge Snare" is another DW exclusive: "constructed from upper and lower sections of solid brass and a center section of 10-Ply Maple precisely machined to fit and work together flawlessly. This patented design impeccably combines the tone, power and quickness of metal with the rich fatness and depth of wood; giving players the "edge" of having the sonic and performance advantages of both brass and maple in a single drum."

The 1996-1997 Quad Tours


Zildjian Advert from July '97's Modern Drummer.
[click for larger version]

Zak Starkey signature sticks
Zildjian Super 5A
complete with Quadrophenia mod target logo.
Zak's Sticks

The Quad drum setup appears to be a much enlarged version of the white DW set used in '95's All-Starrs, this time outfitted with a 3-d mod-target bass drum face.
The Drum Technician for this tour (the NYC and US first leg) was Yard Gavrilovic.

According to DW,
his Who setup includes:
Quad Kit, Rhythm Dec 96 RHYTHM (UK) Dec 1996
lists his setup as:
  • 8x10 w/ STM
  • 9x12 w/ STM
  • 9x13 w/ STM
  • 9x14 w/ STM
  • 13x15 w/ legs
  • 14x16 w/ legs
  • 16x22 bass
  • 5x14 edge snare
    colour: White finish w/ Brass hardware
  • Drum Workshop (DW)
    • two 22x16" bass drums
    • 10x9" rack tom
    • 12x9" rack tom
    • 13x9" rack tom
    • 15x13" floor tom
    • 16x14" floor tom
    • 14x6" Edge snare
  • Zildjian Cymbals:
    • two 20" K Dark Crash Thins
    • 19" K Dark Crash Thin
    • 22" K Crash / Ride
    • 14" New Beat Hi-Hat
  • Tama Rhythm Watch

For you ultra-gearheads, I found this blip on usenet

Subject: Re: Overheads? From: Cary N(deleted) 
Date: 1998/02/15 Newsgroups: Jesse wrote: > > Can 
anyone tell me what some good overhead mics would be for a > triangular micing 
setup? Any help at all would be appreciated. > > -- Hi Jesse. Good overheads should 
be (I admit not ALWAYS...but should be) electret, as they can be placed at a fair 
distance away, and take alot of SPL (sound pressure level) They can be battery 
operated but are now almost always "phantom Powered". Some one else wrote here 
that they should be omni directional....Nope. That will create too much feedback 
especially live. CAD makes a great mic in the E-100.It is a single diaphragm flat 
capsule. Claire bros used them on Zak Starkey's set on the last two Who tours. 
They list at 469. a piece. The specs are absolutely flat from 5Hz which makes it 
ideal for the bass drum as well. Peavey makes a decent mike in the PVM 480 
for about half that price. VERY good quality. Good luck Cary ------------------------------------------------------ 

Some more for the Gear-heads:

This comes from a fantastic book by Mark Cunningham entitled Live & Kicking - The Rock Concert Industry In The Nineties (Sanctuary Music Library ISBN 1-86074-217-3)

[from the chapter about the Hyde Park Masters of Music]
The microphone selection for Quadrophenia largely reflected The Who's long-term choice of Shure, with ten of Daltrey's favoured SM58s, twelve SM57s, two Beta 52s on Zak Starkey's kick drums, four SM81s around and above his kit, SM7s on brass, four ECL 24/Beta 58 radio systems and a WCM 16 headset on an ECL 114 radio system for Stephen Fry.

A word about Mark's book. This is an absolutely terrific look at what it takes to put on the productions that many a punter now take for granted. FULL of minute detail for the gear-head and professional who craves all, but don't let that scare you! Casual enthusiasts will find this very enlightening and entertaining. It's chronological presentation helps demonstrate the leaps and bounds that concert production has taken in just a small span of time. Mark is the publishing editor and chief writer of Total Production, an international live production industry magazine.

If it's studio production history that you crave, check out Mark's OUTSTANDING book Good Vibrations: A History of Record Production A must for anyone who has ever wondered "how'd they do that?" about a fave tune or lp! [Sanctuary Music Library ISBN 1-86074-144-4]

British Rock Symphony, April 1998

For the these three shows, he managed a MIGHTY powerful sound out of a scaled-down setup of his "Quad" kit!
Zak-BRS 04/19/98

British Rock Symphony Summer 1999
Lightning Seeds 1999
The Who 1999
The Who 2000

The first change was noted on the British Rock Symphony UK Summer Tour. Though the overall kit size and make-up seemed the same, the color was now a deep, yet bright red!

According to DW Drums, his current set up is:

  • 2-17x22K
  • 10x12-T
  • 11x13-T
  • 12x14-T
  • 14x16-Legs
  • 16x18-Legs
  • 5.5x14-Snr

The custom finish is described as "Very Red Black Cherry" - more Red than normal with black hardware.
Uses oversized 20" Zildjian K's

Zak at Bridge Benefit

Drum Tech for all of the above was once again, Yard Gavrilovic!

Overhead shot - Royal Albert Hall 2000
Zak's kit RAH 2000
click for larger version

1999 HOB Audio details:

For the total gearhead, there is an artilce all about the audio and recording set-ups for The Who at the HOB Chicago at - "Recording The Who Live At The House Of Blues Chicago" - by Timothy Powell. Items relating to Zak include:

Hear Me, Feel Me ...

Mark Cunningham of Total Production, shared many of the sound and stage details concerning the Who's 2000 gigs, in a wonderful article from the Winter 2001 issue:

At the monitor position, it is often personality, rather than equipment, that counts. This is certainly true for The Who: Bob Pridden has held the role of Audio Consultant since 1966 and probably knows the band's music better than they do themselves. Pridden, like [Robert] Collins, is not keen to repeat the insanity of the 1970s: "Holding the record for loudest band is nothing to be proud of. Everything's much more controlled these days, although the band still has that anger on stage that makes them who they are." In-ear monitoring has, he added, made an impact on the band, with Roger Daltrey employing both Shure IEMs and wedges, John Entwhistle[sic] using a single earpiece, and drummer Zak Starkey hooked up to a pair of IEMs and a stool shaker. - Mark Cunningham, _No Substitute: THE WHO From The Bush To The World_, Total Production, Winter 2001

Currently Zak is using 3# 50W Aura drivers screwed to the stool.


LP logoAlthough no specific info is given as to which products he uses, Zak is listed on the Pro's That Play LP on Latin Percussion Inc.'s company site.

The keen eye of Mike Bailey points out that Zak is using LP's
Jam Block (low pitch - red)
LP block
Cyclops Jingle Ring (atop his hi- hats)
LP tamb

2001 Advertisements

Zildjian Stick - 2001 Ad DW Drums Ad - 2001
zildjian 2001 advert from DW 2001 advert

The Who 2001

zak, blocked by  windmill Pete !Zak is still using the above Cherry-Red DW Kit, as seen at the Concert For New York performance by The Who.

DW’s Drummer’s Choice Snare Drums

zak starkey DW drummers choice snare by In March 2002, DW Drums announced their Drummer’s Choice Snare Drums collection. It showcases the diverse line of DW snares - DW Edge, Craviotto and Collector’s Series snare drums - as played by a select group of sixteen of DW’s top Drum Artists. The drums are the same type, size and finish as those used by the drummers they represent, and range in price form from $525 to $1535.

Zak Starkey (The Who) -- 6.5x14" Craviotto (Black Cherry Oil)

(first appeared my local DW dealer's shop May 6 - thanks for the 'heads up' Mike B !!)

The Who 2002

Portsmith 012702, Debbie WakefordThe cherry-red DW kit is still in service during The Who's January / February "warm-up" and Royal Albert Hall gigs .

He was spotted in March playing a bright gold/yellow rented DW kit while backing his dad at The Bal de la Rose Pop in Monaco.

zak, Who rehearsals 061402Zak is sporting a rather shiny metallic theme, with mirror finish bass drum heads on the DW's used in the June WHO rehearsals. He used this kit throughout the Who's 2002 US Tour.
The mirrored heads on the front of the bass drum are vented with small holes around the edges.
Yard Gavrilovic was again his drum tech.

Z>TIME 02 - Zildjian 2002 Catalog

pg 4 - The Buzz - advert about "What's up on the global Zildjian Scene" featured a pic of Zak, listed 6th as "Zak Starkey (UK) - The Who"
Zak Starkey in Zildjian 03 Catalog


remoani.gifZak is endorsed with REMO.
He is currently (2002/2003) using POWERSTROKE™ 3 - coated bass heads.
On the snare and toms he is using Coated AMBASSADOR™ heads.

Johnny Marr + the Healers 2003

kilborn_arial1.jpg For the Healers Tour 2003, he continues to use the DW double bass / metallic setup that he used on the road with The Who in 2002. This aerial shot is from the Healers' appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, aired Feb 10, 2003.

His drum tech for the Healers Tour was Martin Gavrilovic.

Sept 2003 Modern Drummer Magazine

0903mdcvr.jpg This issue sports a great shot of Keith in action on the white kit that he later gave to Zak. The article "Remembering the Who's Keith Moon" features interviews with Kenny Jones, Simon Phillips and Zak Starkey.
On newsstands 08/05/03.

Z>TIME 03 - Zildjian 2003 Catalog

inside rear cover: advert for "The International Sound". Zak's photo appears 3rd as "Zak Starkey The Who United Kingdom"
Starkey, Zak in Zildjian 2003 catalog

The Who 2004

The Forum and Royal Albert Hall 2004:
Although it appears from available photos that he was not using his metallic 2002/2003 DW kit, it seems it was just actually a trick of the light-ing.

Boston and NY, May 2004:
The 2000 Very Cherry Black Cherry DW kit with Black hardware was very clearly viewed in photos, this time with the mirrored DW vented bass drum heads from his 2002 kit. Size and setup appeared the same as usual.
The same kit was used for the UK, Japanese & Australian gigs as well.

His drum tech for these Who shows has been Martin Gavrilovic.

For the true Gearheads, there are quite a few details about the touring audio equipment in and article that appeared in Pro Audio Asia - "Who Dares" - by Cat Strom (talking with Paul Ramsay FOH mixer). Points relating to Zak's kit:

2004 DW Drums Hardware Catalogue

Rhythm Magazine Sept 2004 - Heroes

UK Drum magazine Rhythm featured Zak as one of the drummers their "Hero" series.
Zak starkey 2004 sep rhythm(inset factoids)
Heroes: Zak Starkey - The Who / Oasis

You know him best by his: reputation as one of the UK's most highly-regarded straight-ahead rock groovers.
Greatest Moment: Getting The Who gig? Or his first gig with Oasis in front of 100,000 at Glasto? Hmm...

starkey , zak 2004 sep rhythm(the write up) "Let's get the obvious bit out of the way now. Zak Starkey's dad used to be a Beatle. The drumming Beatle as it goes. So it's no surprise that young Zak picked up sticks at a young age. But no-one can dispute that he's gone on to carve a career for himself, completely independent of dad Ringo's influence.
   Through work with the Lightening Seeds and The who, Zak has earned himself enormous respect from his peers and he's rightly regarded as one of the finest two+four-ers in the country. That's not to do him down - a backbeat is nothing withur feel to die for and Zak delivers just that... in spades.
   Wonderfully un-frilly in terms of his approach to his playing, Zak's one of those guys who's characterised both by the power of his strokes and the typically massive size of his drums. In short, he makes a fabulous sound, which is the reason why the Brothers Gallagher trusted him to fill the Oasis drum throne at Glastonbury this year. Despite the fact that he'd only played live with the band once before at a small warm-up gig in Poole..."

2005 Zildjian Online

Finally - some "official" info online from Zildjian about Zak's set-up!
View his brief artist overview there (which chooses to use a few quotes you are already familiar with from's BIO page) - view his cymbal setup and a few pics .
(clockwise from hi-hat: 14" Mastersound HiHats; 20" K Crash Ride, 22" K Ride and 20" K Crash Ride -- he had one more in 2000 -kvt )

In the Studio with Oasis in LA (oct/nov 2004)

These stills were taken from the Oasis EPK2, found on Note the addition to the snare - a box of Wheaties™ !!
The band was apparently trying for a 'D.J.Fontana - old Elvis record' sound on the tune The Meaning of Soul on the album Don't Believe The Truth.

Zak is not only playing with the cereal box on top of the snare, he is also using wooden spoons!

2005 Oasis

Drumhead from lyla videoAlthough it's tough to tell from a newpaper clipping, it appears that Zak is using the metallic kit with a 'Rock n Roll Circus' type Oasis logo drumhead - at least for the Lyla video!

Zildjian Artist Series Sticks - 2007

 Announce on Zildjian's website on Jan 18th 2007 - the Zak Starkey Artist Series Sticks.
Artist Series , 16", 0.555 diameter, Natural Hickory, Wood Tip with "pop art" signature logo.

The photos appear to be the same design as the sticks that were available on an extremely limited basis during the 96/97 Quad tours. Check you local Zildjian retailer.

The Who 2007 Kit

 Zak's Kit for the 2007 who shows sported the DW "Broken Glass" finish.
Zak Starkey at Royal Albert Hall

Zildjian K Crash Ride 21" and 22" Cymbals - 2008

 Zak has been using custom made 22" Crash Rides since at least 1996, and many a player has emailed looking to find where they can get some! Well, finally, Zildjian has added 21" and 22" versions to their retail line. Announced on Zildjian's website on Jan 18th 2008 - the Zak Starkey inspired 21" & 22" K Crash Rides feature a Brilliant Finish and a medium-thin weight. They are now the largest Zildjian Crash cymbals available. The Zildjian press release says that they were designed with Zak, and that he's been using them in his set up since 2000. (Though they are listed in his gear in 1996 during the Who Quad tour as well). These latest offerings are the only Brilliant Finish K models.

21" - SKU# K20385
22" - SKU# K20386

The Who Kits- 2008-2009

For many the handfull of US, UK, Japan and Australia, Zak was back to the full metallic kit, while the VH! Honors and a few others saw the broken glass 07 kit.

This Kit to the Highest Bidder looks familiar ... 2009

kit for saleFor Sale: Drum Workshop Cherry Red Gloss Lacquer 22 22 12 13 14 16 18 14
2x22 Bass Drums
12x9 Tom
13x10 Tom
14x10 Tom
16x16 Tom w/legs
18x18 Tom w/legs
14x5.5 Collectors Series Snare Drum
Details and many pics here:

The Super Bowl Kit - 2010

For the Super Bowl Half-Time show, Zak had a clear acrylic DW badged kit (that is said to have been built for DW/Zakl by RCI of CT), with fully decked out Ziljians in full roundel colors top and bottom - all cymbals including hi-hats! Now if someone can tell me "whose shirts he wears" ... I have about 1000 emails to answer ...

Super Bowl Zak Starkey KitZak Starkey kitZak's RAF target cymbals


Practice, practice, practice ...

Keith Moon - Aug 1978 (Circus Magazine, Oct 3,1978)
"I went to Ringo Starrís recently. I wanted to bring his teenage son Zak a new drum set for his birthday. When I got there, Zak was playing with the headphones on and I could hear ĎMy Generationí"

From Rhythm Magazine, DEC 1989 -

[Ringo has just stated that he doesn't practice and why]
Jim Keltner: "He's not advocating not practicing, by the way"
Ringo: "No, Iím not advocating it, itís just that I donít do it. But my son practices at least three hours every day"
Jim: "And it shows. Heís a great drummer"
Ringo: Yeah , real strong..."

From Modern Drummer, July 1997 -

MD: "...Practicing is a very solitary thing."
Zak: "I don't practice as such - I don't sit down and practice rudiments or anything, but if a gig comes up and somebody sends me a tape, I'll sit there and learn the stuff. I don't work on my whatever they're called - rudiments - because I don't know them."
MD: "He [dad, Ringo] said you've always been consumed with it."
Zak: "In my teens, when I was playing in those bands, we'd rehearse three times a week and we'd do gigs on the weekends. As far as playing on my own, though, I didn't do it that much."

Other Company's or Manufacturers that list Zak as a past client

Zak's Drum Tech - Yard Gavrilovic

You can read an interview with Yard on Mike!
And check out Yard's Vintage Drum biz:
Yard's Drum Yard

rhythm Aug 2002With this issue, (Aug 2002), Rhythm starts a series on drum techs, and Yard has a brief write-up
Says Yard (who also techs for drummer Steve Gadd (Eric Clapton band) -- "You don't think for yourself - you listen to what they [ drummers ] tell you and do that. That way you'll stay in work. You know when people come in and say, 'I thought I'd change the snare for you...'? Aaarrgghh! Do what you're asked to do - Zak taught me that. When sound engineers say, 'Can you tweak those toms a bit?', I just remember what Zak said, which was, putting it politely, 'Don't worry about them'."

Sept 2002Sept 2002 continues the Rhythm series on drum techs, which includes Yard's remarks about marking carpets: "Zak has carpets made and when he gets a new kit he has it at home and moves the kit around until it feels really comfortable. Then I go down to the carpet and mark it out with sharpie, so that with overhead shots for video or whatever you don't have tape all over the carpet."
And a few other tidbits ...

Oct  2002yard_rhythmoct2002Oct 2002 concludes the Rhythm series on drum techs. Though this issue doesn't include any quotes from Yard, it did include his picture!

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Last Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Created: Dec 1996 
Copyright © 1996 - Kathy VanTassell

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