Ringo Starr was inspired to be a drummer as a teenager. Some 65 years later, the drums are still what the Beatles stickman wants to do,
“I was inspired at 13 and it never left me, the dream and the joy,” Starr said at a press conference to promote this year’s Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band tour. “Then I started playing. I never wanted to be a drummer until I was 13, then I got a drum kit. And I was in some really good bands… And it’s still there. I love acting, my mom had this lovely line ‘You know what, son? I always feel like you’re the happiest when you play. And deep down inside, I am.
This summer, as he has done every year since 1989 except for the past two years, Starr will perform with his aforementioned All Starr Band, a supergroup which, for 2022, includes Edgar Winter, Steve Lukather (of Toto), Hamish Stuart , Colin Hay, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette.
Ringo and company will perform at 7:30 p.m. on June 11 at the State Theater in Easton.
Starr did not specify his inspiration for picking up the sticks and in 1957 he broke into music when he helped form the band Eddie Clayton Skiffle, who he said wished he had been captured on a film like the Beatles’ “Let It Be” recording. sessions that became the recent documentary “Get Back”.
“The three of us worked in a factory,” Starr said. “And we played in the basements of the workers who eliminated shit all over us. That’s where we started. It would be interesting to see that.
Speaking of “Get Back,” Starr gave Peter Jackson’s six-hour documentary, now streaming on Disney+, her full endorsement.
“I remember it quite a bit,” Starr said of the “Let It Be” sessions. “We made these records and it followed the same cycle. But the difference with ‘Get Back’ was that we had no songs to start with. John and Paul would always have a few songs that would get the ball rolling.
“The only thing I was grasping at and desperately looking for was when we did ‘Get Back’, if you look at the beginning of the set-up. It’s (the drum part) like pure rock and hard. I wanted to know how I got to this, this rock shuffle thing, just playing the snare drum. Because I don’t know why I changed that. I thought, ‘I’ll see it in the cinema. But it just happened that the cameras were off when we did that.
That disappointment aside, Starr said “Get Back” is a much more representative look at The Beatles at “Let It Be” than was Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s “Let It Be,” the 1970 documentary that, during its filming, provided the footage. Jackson assembled in the new film.
“The original documentary, I never liked it,” he said. “It was so tight. It was on a point of an argument and all those parts down. We were laughing and we were having fun too and we were playing well and we did all that in a month. Michael Lindsey Hogg, I felt, was just too low. I spoke to Peter (and I said) ‘I was there. It was also very fun. He certainly talked about it. I am forever grateful to Peter for doing such a great job.
Although it was recorded before the ‘Abbey Road’ album, ‘Let It Be’ became the Beatles’ final album, released in May 1970, months before the band broke up. The Beatles, Starr said, had run their course
“We were guys when we started, and over time we had wives and kids,” he said. “And we stopped touring and made great records. But we didn’t make great records on our tours. We played well together and we got along. That was it. We arrived at one point, eight years later – it blows my mind that we’ve done all this in eight years – it was time to go.
During the 45-minute press conference, several All Starr Band members shared their excitement for the tour and their ability to perform with Ringo.
Drummer Greg Bissonette was influenced by Starr and loves being on stage with the former Beatle.
“I wouldn’t be a musician if it wasn’t for Ringo and the Beatles,” Bissonette said. “My dad was a jazz drummer in Detroit. We went to the Olympia hockey arena where the Red Wings were playing, and he said the kids were going to see the Beatles tomorrow night. My brother and I just freaked out…
“It kept me going, being in the same room and hearing this music and hearing Ringo’s groove. I would come home every day after school and put the headphones on with my record player and just wanted to play with him and try to get into that pocket Now every night from five feet away I look at his bass drum pedal and his snare drum and try to get into that Ringo pocket, that swing that he gave to the drummers, There’s nothing quite like it and what an honor, the greatest gig of my life forever and I hope it lasts a long, long, long time.
Winter, who last performed with the All Starr Band in 2011, is thrilled to be back for this year’s tour.
“To have the opportunity to play with so many great musicians. I mean, I never dreamed that I could even meet these people, let alone share the stage with so many incredibly talented musicians,” Winter said. “It means the world to me. If it’s Madison Square Garden or the club around the corner. I will play for me.
For Colin Hay, former leader of the Australian band Men At Work, going on tour with the All Starr Band is a unique musical experience.
“I don’t know what it’s like for everyone, but (for me) it’s one of those tours where, in a way, you can just forget about everything that’s going on in your life, whether it’s either your own solo material, or other things that you might have to deal with before you go on tour or after you come back from tour and you can sort of bask a little bit in the fact that you’re just on the road with a Beatle,” he said in a separate phone interview. “And all these other guys have had hits and you can be a sidekick for other people and play interesting songs that you wouldn’t usually play , and sing vocal parts that you wouldn’t normally sing if you were making your own material. There are challenges to be met, that’s for sure. It’s just remembering everyone’s songs and remembering which harmony to sing and so on. So you have to be on your toes. But it’s certainly relatively stress-free, that’s for sure.
If all goes as Starr hopes, the All Starr Band could have a gig for years to come. Starr, who has spent the pandemic hitting the gym, painting and doing spin art, has no plans to hang up her chopsticks — ever.
“People say, ‘What about retirement? ‘” Starr, 81, said. “Well, I’m a musician. I don’t have to retire. As long as I can pick up these sticks. I have a gig. You know, maybe I play the blues. That’s how it ends. I love that.
L. Kent Wolgamott is the freelancer for The Morning Call.