4 December 2006
Zak and the Revision of History
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Zak came to see me in Boston to say that he felt Who fans might be angry with him after my description of events in an article published in a Boston newspaper. I had said that Zak's work with Oasis in 2005 had meant Roger and I had to wait until the spring of 2006 to move ahead with recording plans. I think I must have made it clear in other interviews that what also contributed to the delay - after an announcement in late 2004 that we planned an album and a tour for 2005 - was the fact that the songs were slow in coming to me.
Zak had asked to hear some songs in early 2005, and I was uneasy about letting him hear stuff I was unsure about. When he took on the work with Oasis it was not exactly good news for Roger and me, but we could offer Zak no certain future until we had songs. At the time we wished him well, and thought we might have to replace him if we needed to start touring before he was finished with Oasis.
In the long run everything worked out well. Oasis got a good lung run with Zak in the drummer's chair, and I had time to develop material for the new Who album ready by the summer of this year. It would have been great if Zak and I had had more time to work in the studio, but we are all together on the road and that's really where Zak shines like the beacon for the Who he really is.
There is no one who can fill the drummer's chair in the Who quite like Zak. His long history with the band (he was a constant presence when he was young and a fan of Keith Moon's) and his experience as the son of one of the Beatles gives him the credentials, and the serenity and authority he needs to do his job with the Who with panache.
Who fans should not look for anyone to blame for delays - especially not Zak. Zak would work for the Who all the hours he had if only the Who worked all the hours he had. We have never been a band that toured constantly, something that particulalry frustrated John Entwistle who ended up going out on his own quite a bit.
It now looks likely that this tour will end in July 2007 rather than continue until the autumn. That means our proposed return trip to Japan and Australia may be postponed for a while. I suppose one result of that is that Zak may pick up his sticks for Oasis again later next year - and as Noel and Liam wished him good luck when he came to play this tour with us, Roger and I will wish him luck if he goes to play with them. We are all friends. Life is too short for petty recriminations and in this matter Zak has nothing to apologise for. He was available to work in early 2005, but I wasn't ready for him.
I look forward to the next seven months of shows with Zak - he's been playing really well, and the whole band is in great shape.
One small thing - some of you may have noticed in one of my recent diary postings that I welcomed Zak into the Who as a permanent member. This is something he doesn't feel he needs or wants. Let's just say that the door is always open to this amazing musician, and - whenever we can - we will always try to make it possible for Zak to work with the Who in the future.