CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s Starr’s time again.
Ringo Starr, whose 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction at the Public Hall, is back with a new EP, “Change the World”, released on Friday, September 24th. Recorded virtually and in his home studio in Los Angeles, this is the Beatles drummer’s second release of the year, after “Zoom In” in March. And like his predecessor Starr, 81, gets by with a little help from his friends on all four tracks – Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams of Toto, who co-wrote the opening “Change the World”, the handsome. -Brother Joe Walsh on a cover of “Rock Around the Clock” and collaborations for the first time with Linda Perry and Trombone Shorty for “Come Undone”.
“Change the World” comes out just as the Beatlesverse is racing over several projects related to “Let It Be”. Reissues of the Beatles’ last 1970 studio set, featuring previously unreleased footage and studio discussions, arrive on October 15, three days after a richly illustrated book “The Beatles: Get Back”. The latter presents a preview of the documentary of the same name by Peter Jackson, which will take place over three days (November 25-27) on Disney + and, in the opinion of all, will offer a more balanced look (that is to say – say happy) on sessions than its predecessor, “Let it be.”
So, peace, love, and music reign in Starr’s world these days, and as he zooms in from the studio, he says he wouldn’t have done it any other way …
You seem to have stayed busy during the pandemic – recording, virtual events, moments of peace and love …
Starr: I hang out, I do stuff, I have fun. I have my drum room, with two kits, a regular kit and an electronic kit. Then, right next door, there is a gym that I train in almost every other day, and a room next door where I do a lot of painting. It saves my life. Doing the EP saves my life. Going to the gym saves my life. Painting saves my life. I am blessed; I can do all of this and I can do it at home and have a cup of tea with (wife) Barbara and pet the dog. It’s like … life, you know? But getting through the pandemic has not been easy.
These are two EPs in a row for you. What do you like about working in this format?
Starr: It’s a really nice way to work, and it’s not, like, 10 songs. You have four tracks and you’re still excited at the end and then you move on to doing other stuff. (“Zoom in”) was to keep me busy, but this one was again sitting down wondering what to do and “Well, let’s go in and see what happens.” I don’t know if this is how it’s going to be in the future, but I’m already like, “I think I’m going to do another one.”
How was the registration process during this difficult time to bring people together?
Starr: Well, because of the pandemic and the danger of the last year, I thought, “I’m just going to do four tracks. At least I can “hang out” with people. Then like, Benmont Tench would be checked out, so it was OK to come. It was much more serious then. But we’ve all been vaccinated now and we can hang around a bit longer. And it’s a good way for other people to do stuff at home because they have all these little studios, it seems. You send the files. I’m on, like, 10 more records. They send me the files; I play the drums and send the file back. For “Come Undone” Linda (Perry) sort of throat sang this solo that sounded like a trombone, so we called Trombone Shorty in New Orleans and asked him if he would play the trombone on the track for. we. We sent him the files, he put a whole brass section on it! I love to see it unfold like this. It’s exciting.
“Let’s Change the World” is a real Ringo message. What do you hope people take away from this song?
Starr: The joy and the phrase “changing the world”. I would like to change the world for children. All these people meeting (at the United Nations) in New York right now, half the world is on fire, half is underwater and they’re always like, “Oh, we can’t do that. . ”I wonder, do politicians have children? Do their children have children? Isn’t that reason enough to let ourselves breathe and find water? When I started Peace and Love Moment for my Birthday in 2008 on the streets of Chicago, we had about 100 people, and now we actually have Peace and Love Moments in 28 countries around the world. So slowly and surely … We are like the pebble in the ocean, it ripples. You can only do what you do, and that’s what I do, peace and love.
Putting “Rock Around the Clock” on the EP is for you a step back in time.
Starr: Oh yeah. You know, I was in the hospital for (tuberculosis) when I was a kid. I had my seventh day in the hospital on my 14th birthday and didn’t want to spend my 15th there. I had been there for about a year and was doing pretty well. My mother spoke to the doctors and they decided to let me out. I went to see the movie “Rock Around the Clock” (Blackboard Jungle from 1955) and I am sitting there. I had been in the hospital, I don’t know much about what’s going on lately – and they tore up the cinema! They just threw the chairs away, went crazy. I said, “Wow, this is awesome!” I remember that moment like it was yesterday. So I said, “Well, I’m gonna do ‘Rock Around the Clock’, because it’s my EP and I can do whatever I want. It was just one of those times where I was sitting there, and I was like, “Hey, I’m gonna do ‘Rock Around the Clock'” for all of these good reasons.
It’s still two months, but tell us what we can expect from the documentary “The Beatles: Get Back”?
Starr: That’s great. You know, I was always complaining about (“Let It Be”). There is no real joy in this. I think everyone will enjoy (“The Beatles: Get Back”) because you will see this band working really hard. We’ve been through emotional ups and downs and got to where we got to every time, but that’s how it was. Four guys in a room, you’re going to have your ups and downs. But even with all of that – which you’ll see with the Peter Jackson cut – we were having fun, which (“Let It Be” never manifested), joy, having fun and yelling at each other. That’s what four guys do. I keep saying this – four guys in a room, there is a lot of joy.
Have you ever seen the finished cut?
Starr: Peter always does. He’s our hero. Peter took control of it and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts. It’s a little longer now … It’s now a six hour masterpiece. There are so many moments in the whole documentary, in the whole making. He did a great job. I love it, but I’m there, of course, so six hours is never enough. (Laughs)
Everyone has their long term take on The Beatles and what they have meant in rock and roll history. What is your?
Starr: I wouldn’t tell rock history. I think they changed the history of music. One of the most important things the Beatles did was write (the songs) and we record them. At that time, the writer was in a separate concert, and then the group recorded it. We had a moment with (producer) George Martin where he would bring some great songs (from other writers) and we all said, “No, no … we want to make our own.” This is how it happened. To this day, the Beatles are still around and the music still holds up. We worked really hard and of course we had some great songs.
How do you feel about hitting the road with the All-Starr Band?
Starr: I’m not going out this year, but I have planned the tour for next year. They have already sent me the itinerary for next year, but it is impossible to say now if it is in progress. It’s still fishy. I say in my heart it’s on, but let’s see where we’re at. It’s been a very strange year, but when the tour dates roll in I feel like, ‘Oh my God, I want to be on tour.’ “
You have paid eloquent tribute to Charlie Watts upon his death in August. This one seemed to hurt everyone a lot.
Starr: Yeah, Charlie was a great guy, a lot of fun – and he had a harder band to keep together. (laughs) I would meet Charlie, we would hang out … we would pass each other on King’s Road or whatever, or we would meet at a dinner party or a concert. I had a party in the 70s and I had a drums in the attic … and Charlie came and John Bonham did too. So we have three drummers lying around and Bonham got into the kit. It wasn’t like on stage where you nail them down, so as (Bonham) played the bass drum moved away from him. You had Charlie Watts and Ringo holding the bass drum for him while he played – man, that would’ve been a great video or Tik-Tok. A photo would have gone around the world. So, yes, Charlie will be missed. He was a beautiful human being. He was like the quiet man.