Re: Ringo Starr
Ringo and friends return to Niagara
Jun 24, 2010
Forty years ago, Ringo Starr walked out of Abbey Road Studios for the last time as a member of the Beatles.
It was a dark time for the band, and a dark time for music lovers, but you'd never know it the way Starr (who turns 70 next month) still rolls through the classics with a smile on his face and a peace sign held high.
"I hope it's this full on Thursday," said the legendary Liverpudlian, showing off his trademark wit and boyish smile at a media event at Fallsview Casino yesterday.
Tonight is the first of two sold-out shows in the casino's 1,500-seat Avalon Ballroom for Starr and His All-Starr Band -- comprised of Rick Derringer (of The McCoys), Edgar Winter (Free Ride, Frankenstein), Richard Page (of Mr. Mister), Wally Palmar (of The Romantics), Gary Wright (Dream Weaver) and Gregg Bissonette (of Santana).
Starr's latest solo disc, Y Not, was released in January, and has already become his highest charting album since the mid-1970s.
The band is using the Avalon Ballroom as a warmup for their upcoming North American tour, which will hit 30 cities during the next two months.
Sharply dressed in a black leather jacket, black jeans and sunglasses, Starr led the band as it ripped through a brief selection of songs from the upcoming tour, including a number of old favourites.
"To keep you all happy, I'm going to do one from behind the drums now," said Starr, climbing behind the kit for a quick snippet of Boys -- a staple from the Beatles' early days.
Other tracks included The Other Side of Liverpool, a rollicking trip down memory lane from Y Not, and Starr's most famous track, the Lennon/McCartney-penned With a Little Help From My Friends.
This is the 11th incarnation of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, which originally formed in 1989 and released its first live album a year later.
"We're like a 1-800 band in a live setting," said Starr, relaxing on stage with his bandmates. "You have to have hits to get in, and you can't go wrong with guys like Edgar and Rick."
Past members have included Joe Walsh, Levon Helm, Burton Cummings, Peter Frampton and Jack Bruce of Cream, but Starr said he never gets tired of performing with new All-Starrs.
"It's always the same; we have a lot of fun and it's a great evening out."
Winter, who joined the band in 2006, said he was thrilled when Starr first invited him on-board.
"I was like, 'Wow, Ringo, yeah!' when I got the call," Winter said. "Ringo for life!"
Bissonette linked up with the All-Starrs in 2008, and said drumming alongside one of his idols is a thrill that can't be beat.
"I don't ever want to step on Ringo; he's my favourite drummer," he said. "To me, he's the greatest drummer in the world, and the reason I play the instrument is because of him."
Throughout the tour, fans can expect a number of non-Beatles hits from the other All-Starrs -- such as Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo, What I Like About You and Hang On Sloopy -- with Starr assuming his classic position behind the drum kit, right beside Bissonette.
With his 70th birthday less than two weeks away, Starr is asking that everybody flash a peace sign at noon on July 7 to help celebrate.
That night, the All-Starrs will play to a sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, not far from the Ed Sullivan Theatre where Starr and the Beatles made their television debut in America.
It's been a long, wild ride since those heady days, but how long can Starr keep it up?
"As long as I can hold these two sticks, I'll do it."