“I love to play.” Performing next Tuesday at Grand Rapids’ DeVos Performance Hall, the one-time Beatle and his fellow rock icons reveal the secrets to their zeal in continuing to pump out classic hits.
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Even at 83, Ringo Starr exudes the same infectious enthusiasm, boundless energy and wry sense of humor that propelled him as the drummer for The Beatles lo those many years ago.
Make that 60 years ago.
Indeed, he’s been assembling his “All Starr Band” of touring greats for many decades longer than his stint with the greatest rock band of all time, and he’s just as happy about hitting stages across the country with his pals as he ever was.
“Playing has never been grueling. I love to play. I love to play with these guys. I love it; it’s not tiring,” Starr said during a pre-tour, conference-call interview with Local Spins and several reporters from across the globe.
“If I’m on the road, I wanna play. I don’t wanna sit in a hotel and relax for three days. I want to get out there and play. It’s just how I am. With this band, it’s great because everybody takes the weight. … Because we are this crowd, you know, we could play every night.”
Those “guys” in Ringo’s current band, of course, truly shine as stars in their own right: Keyboardist Edgar Winter, singer-songwriter Colin Hay, singer and guitarist Steve Lukather of Toto, drummer (and Detroit native) Gregg Bissonette, multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham and bassist-guitarist Hamish Stuart.
“This band is good for me,” Starr said of the lineup that’s been in place the past two years. “I love to play and I love to play with great musicians, and I love to play great songs and I get all of that from these guys.”
Ringo bring his All Starr Band to Grand Rapids on Tuesday (Oct. 3), playing DeVos Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $135-$310.50, available online here.
As usual, fans can expect a greatest-hits smorgasbord, from Ringo and Beatles hits such as “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Photograph” and “With a Little Help from My Friends” to classics from Toto (“Africa”), Men at Work (“Who Can It Be Now?”), Edgar Winter Group (“Free Ride” and “Frankenstein”) and Average White Band (“Cut the Cake”).
“I have more fun playing their stuff than mine. I can tell you that for sure,” Lukather said.
“Plus, playing all the great Ringo hits and Beatles stuff … never gets old and I love it. Such great musicians, such great friends. It’s just a joy. This is not work, this is a vacation as far as I’m concerned. I consider these guys lifelong friends.”
Added Bissonette: “There’s no touring like touring with Ringo.”
The Grand Rapids tour stop comes just five weeks after Ringo released a single, “Rewind Forward,” the title track from an upcoming new EP, and nine days after he was honored in Nashville with induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame. He also received the Joe Chambers Musicians Legacy Award at the event.
LYRIC VIDEO: Ringo Starr, “Rewind Forward”
A NEW EP WITH A MCCARTNEY SONG AND YOUTHFUL ENERGY ON STAGE
Described as a comeback of sorts for the singer and drummer, the four-song “Rewind Forward” set for release on Oct. 13 also features the song, “Feeling the Sunlight,” written by Paul McCartney, as well as a track co-written by Lukather.
It’s an impressive, late-career flurry for a drummer who readily acknowledges that he “played in the greatest band in the world” with his “three brothers” – even though he actually always “wanted to be like a ballroom singer and a piano player.”
His current bandmates, of course, are just tickled to be on board with the affable one-time Beatle.
“We’re having the greatest time playing the greatest songs and with the greatest, my drum hero, my dear pal,” Bissonette said. “What a ball. What an honor.”
Ham noted that band members put their “own imprint” on the classic songs that fans will hear. “We do a lot of these songs in a very unique way,” said Winter.
Added Hay: “This band doesn’t sound like any other band. The more we play the songs, the more fun it is. … When you play a show and you have this energy and this energy comes back, it’s like an electrical current. There’s no better feeling than that.”
Indeed, fan appreciation of the All Starr Band has injected a youthful zeal into their performances.
“Music is timeless. … Every time I go on stage, I feel like a kid,” said the 76-year-old Winter. “It never gets old.”
Of course, that means Ringo – who joined The Beatles in 1962 – doesn’t really ever want to consider retirement.
“The audience is part of the reason I go out because they give so much back,” he said. “I never think of the last show.”
VIDEO: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. “Frankenstein”
VIDEO: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, “Africa”
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