Allister ‘Lister’ John Bird (born 19 September) is an English singer, songwriter, and drummer. He is best known as the drummer of English pop rock band The Ark since its formation with Rowan Omondi and Jimmy Kaga-Ricci when they attended school together as young teenagers.
Allister John Bird was born Allister John Duncan on 19 September in Chatham, Kent. He has English and Scottish heritage. His parents, Louise Bird and Graham Duncan, separated when Bird was two years old. He grew up in a low-income household with his mother, living in council housing until he was fifteen. Bird’s mother legally changed his surname from Duncan to Bird when he was five, but Bird had regular contact with his father, who lived nearby. Bird has three younger half-siblings.
Bird took up drumming at the age of seven after receiving a children’s drum kit as a Christmas present from his great-aunt. He has cited YouTube videos and his mother’s CD collection as his inspiration and instruction and also practised using a full-size drum kit at his secondary school. To this day, Bird has never had a formal drumming lesson. Rolling Stone has cited him as one of the top five most talented drummers of the twenty-first century.
Aged eleven, Bird began attendance at St Thomas West Comprehensive School. Bird has shared that he was ‘a horrific student. I hated academics, I was a really angry, insecure child, and I didn’t have many friends.’ Aged thirteen, he met bandmates Omondi and Kaga-Ricci, bonding with them during a class music project. Soon after, they formed The Ark.
See The Ark
In 2015, Bird tweeted a photo of the open suitcases of his bandmates, which included bandmate Jimmy Kaga-Ricci’s puberty-inhibitor medication, which prompted various news websites to out him as transgender. Bird and Kaga-Ricci have both acknowledged that while this was an accident on Bird’s part, Bird deeply regrets his actions.
When he was seventeen, Bird was involved in a controversy in which an Australian radio DJ made inappropriate sexual comments about Bird’s physical appearance during a live interview with the Ark, sparking a worldwide media conversation about how teenage celebrities, particularly musicians and actors, are discussed and often sexualised by the media.
In August 2017, Bird was a guest at bandmate Jimmy Kaga-Ricci’s grandparents’ home when he fell down a steep riverside ledge and sustained multiple serious injuries, including a broken leg. He was transported by air ambulance to Medway Maritime Hospital, and then later transferred to a nearby private hospital. A nurse who tended to Bird at Medway Hospital shared with the press that Bird’s injuries would have been fatal if Kaga-Ricci and Omondi had not been with him at the time to call for help. Bird has scars on his abdomen and left leg from this incident.
Bird has expressed his attraction to multiple genders in several interviews. The Ark performed on the main stage for free at Pride in London 2015.
In 2017, Bird was voted number one in Glamour magazine’s ‘100 Sexiest & Hottest Men’, MTV’s ’50 Sexiest Men Alive’, and HerInterest’s ‘100 Hottest Men in the World’.
Bird enjoys dance, having participated in three ‘masterclass’ videos with Centurion Dance Complex in London.
As of 2017, Bird resides in London with bandmates and friends Rowan Omondi and Jimmy Kaga-Ricci.