Two drummers turned frontmen go deep on their craft, losing John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, and finding life after their legendary bands

Ringo Starr is about to get into a bathtub with Dave Grohl, and he seems a little skeptical. “Is this some sort of bullshit?” the former Beatle says. But he steps in anyway. Soon the pair are chatting comfortably; as Grohl discusses the Foo Fighters’ recent tour, Starr hands him a rubber ducky, and instructs him to make a heart symbol with his hands to complement his own omnipresent peace sign.

Grohl and Starr have known each other since 2013, when Grohl spoke at a release party for Starr’s first photography book. Grohl later enlisted Starr to shoot band photos of the Foo Fighters for their 2014 album, Sonic Highways. Today, they’re close enough that Starr gives Grohl shit about his time moonlighting as the Foos’ photographer. “I didn’t feel you ever liked ’em,” Starr teases Grohl of the pictures he took. “What are you talking about?” Grohl replies. “We used ’em on the record!” “I wanted more praise and love,” Starr says.

Grohl learned to play guitar, his first instrument, by working through a Beatles chord book. Since then, his career arc has mirrored Starr’s in many ways. Both artists rose to fame as drummers in generation-defining bands, and went on to reinvent themselves as songwriter-bandleaders — Starr just released his 20th solo album, What’s My Name, and wrapped a tour with his All Starr Band, now in its 30th year. They’ve both stepped into other artistic areas outside music — Grohl as a director, Starr as an actor and photographer (his latest book, Another Day in the Life, just came out). Along the way, both artists weathered the loss of a friend and bandmate to tragedy.

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