Thursday 23 June 2016


Ringo and his All Starr Band is no longer the former Beatle being backed by a revolving cast of well-known musicians.Instead it’s a real band that Starr  hopes to keep together indefinitely.
“The band is good,” Starr said recently at a  news conference to mark the start of his current tour. “We’ve been together for five years. We know what to do. ... We’re getting longevity as a band now. It’s so far out.  I’ve no plans to change it. If I’m going on tour, they’re coming.”

The 12th — and longest-running — version of the All Starrs includes guitarist Todd Rundgren, guitarist Steve Lukather from Toto, Santana keyboardist Greg Rolie, Mr. Mister bassist Richard Page and drummer Gregg Bissonette.
The first edition of the All Starrs was formed in 1989, and the lineup over the years has included Joe Walsh of the Eagles, Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, John Entwistle of the Who, Peter Frampton and Jack Bruce of Cream, to name a few. For much of the group's history, assembling it  has been a hit-and-miss proposition.
“I have a list,” Starr said of how the band members are chosen. “Sometimes they’ve been nominated by their own management. Sometimes they’ve been asked by my management. Sometimes I’ve called  them myself.
“It’s people I love and think would be great to play with,” he said. “Till  we get to rehearsal, till the first day of rehearsal, I’ve no idea if it’s going to work. But this one worked so well and is so supportive. It has just been a dream for me.”

He's also delighted that he was able to get these All Starrs into the studio during the making of his 2015 album, “Postcards from Paradise.”
“For the very first time, we actually wrote and performed a song  ('Island in the Sun') on my last album,” he said. “The first time I’ve got the All-Starrs to write and record a song, after all these years, since 1989. I tried it and tried it, and it never worked. But with these guys, it did.”
Lukather and Rundgren also cowrote one song each with Starr for the 2015 album.
It’s not just Starr who believes that the current group is the best band of his All Starr lineups. Rundgren, the longest-serving member of the group, confirms the notion.
“I’ve pretty much seen the entire evolution of the band,” Rundgren said. “I was in, like, the third one, 1993 or something, the first time I was in the All Starrs. Yes, there is something substantively different about this particular lineup.
“Ringo’s criteria usually is you just have to have three hit records sometime in your career,” Rundgren said. “But nobody gets a psychological evaluation, so there’s that factor sometimes. The other factor is sometimes people have three hit singles and that’s the only thing they can play, so they turn the volume off on the guitar for the rest of the set.
“So there’s the combination of a certain kind of maturity in all of us playing with other musicians,” he said. “I think that’s part of it. But also we complement each other’s material really well in a way that a lot of the other lineups couldn’t do. Everyone can play everybody else’s material probably as well as it can be played. That’s what makes it tight. ... We all realize we’re doing our best for each other.”
It took a little time for the All Starrs to get to feeling like a band, Lukather said.
“It took me about two years. I’d turn around and see him and go, ‘Holy crap, what am I doing up here?,’ ” he recalled. “Then it all settled down. The music itself, it’s so eclectic and different, but somehow we make it sound like a band. Because this is a band.”
That said, the All Starrs can still get Starr-struck onstage.

“As a drummer, and I look five feet away and here’s my favorite drummer ever, to me the world’s the world’s greatest drummer, the greatest song drummer that ever lived, that changed the game of musical drumming, the thrill is still every single day,” Bissonette said.  “What an honor.”
For Starr, a good band is a necessity — something he has learned over nearly 60 years in the business.
“I am a drummer. I need these guys, you know,” he said. “It’s a dream I had at 13. I got the drums at 17. I was in a band three months later. I’ve been moving in bands since then. That’s a joy for me: playing."
All of the All Starrs get to perform a couple of their biggest hits during the show. The bulk of the set, of course, is made up of Starr’s songs, everything from Beatles hits on which he sang lead (“Yellow Submarine,” “With a Little Help from My Friends”) to his recent solo material.
“It’s hard,” Starr said. “I love ‘Backup Boogaloo.’ We do ‘Photograph.’ I’ve put back into the gig a couple Carl Perkins numbers, ‘Matchbox’. I recorded that a long time ago. I’ve got the new record. ... I like them all really. I love some of them. ... I’m just so grateful I’m still at it.”
He  also is clearly grateful that he’s still at it with musicians he enjoys.

“It just worked so well,” he said. “Everybody gets on most of the time. We have a lot of fun. Everybody onstage is a great musician and they have great songs. So it was, ‘Next year, do you want to go on tour?’ They were all free, and that’s how it started. Now at the end of this tour, this year is different. We’re doing the whole month of June and the start of July, and then we’re off till October and we’re all getting back together again. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.”








Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band

7:30 p.m. Thu.
Fox Theatre
2211 Woodward, Detroit

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