Say It's Your Birthday: Zak Starkey, Peter Cetera, Bill Monroe & More

To paraphrase The Righteous Brothers, if there's a Rock & Roll birthday

heaven, today's would make, if not a helluva band, then a pretty strange

little combo. On drums, Zak Starkey (b. 1965), son of Ringo, sometimes

drummer in his dad's all star touring bands, and sit-in for Keith Moon on the

Who's upcoming tour. On bass, Peter Cetera (b. 1944) a founding member of

Chicago. (Yes, we know he subsequently became a solo star, but we've

heard his smash duets with Amy Grant and Cher. Why do you think he's

back to playing bass in this band?) Completing our instrumental power trio is

Bill Monroe (b. 1911) on mandolin. The pioneer of bluegrass music was

apprehensive about the Marshall stacks we asked him to play through until he

saw the singer fate had provided to front this band. Or singers, to be

accurate, because we have two, a veritable battle of the belters. Wearing the

trunks is Mel Torme (b. 1925). "The velvet Fog," as he's been known almost

since he started performing professionally at the age of three, is best known

to all you youngsters out there as the guest voice of the 1983 Was (Not Was)

curio "Zaz Turned Blue." And wearing the maple leaf trunks is David

Clayton-Thomas (b.1941). "The Led Smog," as he's known to some, is the vocal

over-emoter that Blood Sweat and Tears pulled in to replace departing founder

Al Kooper. For backing vocals, we can call upon Joni Sledge (b. 1956) one the

four Sisters Sledge, and Randy Jones (b. 1952) one of the 237 Village People.