Sunday 26 September 2021


Throughout his career, Ringo Starr has always advocated a message of peace and love that has become synonymous with both his solo music and persona. Thus, it's no surprise that Starr’s latest EP is titled Change the World, which is due out this Friday. And given the state of the world today, that title seems more timely now than ever for Ringo.

“I'd like them to be kind, considerate, understanding, loving, and in peace,” said Starr of what listeners should take away from his new EP during a virtual press conference held on Wednesday. “That's what I'd love. We live in America, and half of the world is starving, half of the world that doesn't have water. A couple of years from now, it will be hard to breathe because of the pollution in the air. Just be kind to your neighbor, to your friends, to the person next door. Let's try to understand what they're going through.”

Change the World is the follow-up to Starr's previous EP Zoom In, which was released earlier this year. Both EPs found the drummer working with new people, such as hit songwriter and producer Linda Perry—who wrote and performs on the track “Coming Undone” on Change the World. 
“In some conversation, Linda Perry came up mainly with her work with Pink. And we called: “Hello, Linda. Have you got a song?’ And she said ‘no.’ But as she was leaving her studio—this is her story—as she was closing the door, a song came to her. She went in the studio. She's playing bass, she's playing rhythm, and she's singing along with me. I mean, she's part of it. It's so great for me to have that support.”
The track also features the acclaimed New Orleans musician Troy Andrews, who's better known by his stage name of Trombone Shorty. “[Linda] put everything on and in the middle, she sort of did a throat trombone solo (imitates a trombone sound). I said, ‘Man, a trombone would be great on this track.’ And so we thought Trombone Shorty. We got in touch with him: ‘I’ve got this song, it would be an honor if you could play for me.’

“I just play drums and send the [music] files back,” he continues. “And then he put on this whole brass section, never mind just the trombone. Wow. It turned into that because of him. He had this idea and it worked. It works so well and it gave that track such a different feel of where we were going, because it’s a very sad song in its way. But that section just lifts it for me.”
In addition to that song and the ebullient “Let's Change the World,” co-written by Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams of Toto, the four-track EP also contains Starr version of the classic Bill Haley and the Comets song “Rock Around the Clock.” The choice of covering that early rock and roll track came about when Starr was thinking about his youth, particularly the moment when he saw the 1956 film Rock Around the Clock, featuring Haley and his Comets, at a local theater with other moviegoers.

“I'm sitting in there, I've [previously] been in hospital, don't know too much about what's going on lately—and they ripped up the cinema,” Starr recalled. “I mean, they just threw the chairs, they ripped them out and I was going, ‘Wow, this is great.’ And that moment was written in my head. I remember that moment as if it was yesterday. Anyway, I said, ‘Well, I'm gotta do “Rock Around the Clock.” I called Joe Walsh and he rocked [on the song]. It just was one of those moments that I was sitting around and I thought, ‘I'm gonna do “Rock Around the Clock” for all these good reasons.’”
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Starr also talked about his long-running All-Star Band, which had been scheduled to tour in 2020 until the pandemic altered those plans. “I'm not going out this year,” he explained, “but I've got the tour lined up for next year. They've sent me the itinerary already for next year. But it's impossible to say now if it's on. I'm saying in my heart it's on, but let's see where we are. Getting through the pandemic, it's not been easy. But what makes it easier for me is that I get a chance to make music here or send the [music] files and hang out with other musicians.”

Starr paid tribute to another fellow legendary drummer, the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts, who died last month. “Charlie was a great guy. He had a harder band than I do to keep together (laughs). We'd bump into each other on King's Road, or we find ourselves at a dinner or a gig.”

He particularly remembered a party he threw in the 1970s that was attended by both Watts and Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. “I had a drum kit up in the attic. Charlie came, and so did John Bonham. And so we've got three drummers just hanging out, and Bonham got on the kit. It's not like on stage [where you] nail [the drums] down so they're steady. As he was playing, the bass drum was hopping away from him. So you had Charlie Watts and Ringo holding the bass drum for him as he played. We will miss Charlie. He was a beautiful human being.”

Starr concluded the press conference with praise for the upcoming Beatles documentary Get Back, which was directed by Peter Jackson and will air on Disney+ in November. “[It] all came about because we found 56 hours of unused footage from the Michael Lindsay-Hogg documentary [1970's Let It Be],” he says. “And we were blessed that Peter Jackson took it on and put it together to make it different. I love it. You'll see this band work really hard and went through emotional ups and downs to get to where we got every time. But that's just how it was: you're gonna have a few ups and downs. Peter Jackson is our hero. He's done a great job.”

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