Ringo Starr: “If I keep playing it's because I can”

At 83 years old and with enviable vitality, Ringo Starr not only presents a new EP, but is also preparing the launch of a new full-length album – his last album was What's my name, from 2019 – and is about to begin a spring tour with his All Starr Band, which begins next week in Las Vegas and plans to return to the road next fall.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 10:22
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Ringo Starr: “If I keep playing it's because I can”

At 83 years old and with enviable vitality, Ringo Starr not only presents a new EP, but is also preparing the launch of a new full-length album – his last album was What's my name, from 2019 – and is about to begin a spring tour with his All Starr Band, which begins next week in Las Vegas and plans to return to the road next fall. The musician spoke yesterday from Los Angeles, where he lives, by videoconference.

The new EP, Crooked boy, was released in limited release for Record Store Day last month, and goes on general sale on May 31. The four songs on the EP have been composed and produced by Linda Perry: “She would send me the files or come to my studio, and first I would play the drums and then I would sing and I would send it to her so she could do whatever she wanted.” For the musician, the reason for working in this format in recent years is this: “I have a small studio at home, as well as a gym and an art room, things to be busy with, and I started making an EP because In 2020, while we were wearing masks and showing that we had been vaccinated, I asked some people if they had any songs to play with this one or that one, and when they arrived I would play them, in addition to drums and vocals, percussions such as tambourines, cowbells, maracas.... I even put bongos in a country song, and I thought it was fun, I couldn't wait for it to be heard in Nashville!” It was in that context that someone mentioned Perry, Ringo commissioned her a couple of songs that she published on two previous EPs, until after two years she asked him to produce an entire EP for her. “She can be a little bossy, but she works very well.”

During this time, Ringo met T Bone Burnett at a poetry reading by Olivia Harrison – widow of the Beatle George Harrison –, asked her if she had any songs for him, and sent him several: “He sent me some incredibly wonderful country songs, and since I have the freedom to do what I want, I thought about recording a country EP,” but in the end it will become an album with ten songs. “It is a style of music that I have loved since I was little, because in Liverpool many sailors brought records from the United States, and many were country, which was not heard on the radio then,” and he even recorded an album of this style in Nashville with guitarist and producer Pete Drake in 1970.

The drummer, about to embark on his new tour, said he had no secret to maintain his enthusiasm for life, simply “I have a passion for playing, but since I am a drummer I need a band,” and so he formed his first All-Starr Band in 1989. , with renowned musicians who at first changed, with the idea of ​​playing songs from each other: “At first I called a lot of people, Joe Walsh, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Rick Danko, Nils Logfren... and everything "The world said yes, but I had to stop because it seemed like an orchestra, it would have been the largest rock band on the planet." A few years ago the group has stabilized with musicians with whom he likes “the way they play, but also their personality, it's like having a little help from my friends [in reference to the Beatles song With a little help from my friends, that Ringo sang].” “Why do I keep playing? Because I love it, and because I can – he said affably and without showing off in a good way -. “I just love playing music, so I play with good musicians, and we support each other.”

After the spring tour they will rest in the summer to return to the road in the fall, focused on the North American East Coast, and for now they have no plans to play in Europe. In any case, the musician also said that for now they do not incorporate the new material into their concerts, "maybe later, but we love playing the hits of our groups, it's about that, and in the end for the public it is a great day because he has heard many songs that he loves", because along with songs by Ringo or the Beatles they play songs by their colleagues, who have been in bands like Toto or Men at Work.

Ringo Starr's life today is an attempt to bring his motto, “peace and love,” to everyday life: “It's part of me, it came from the hippies in the sixties, the great moment of a great change.” in the world and in the youth of that time, it changed people's clothes and attitudes, and it was wonderful, and I continue trying to do my part, but I can't force the rest."