Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band play Casino Rama on Friday, followed by U.S. summer tour
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr wraps up his song With a Little Help From My Friends during a news conference, Thursday at Casino Rama, to promote his show there Friday night, a kick-off to his Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band North American tour which will see the drummer play more than 40 gigs throughout June, July and October. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER
Fifty years on and he still seems like the same jovial Ringo: smiling, cracking wise and having a good time.
Ringo Starr was on the Casino Rama stage, Thursday, taking a break from rehearsals for his show Friday night to hold a news conference along with his Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band mates, including Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren and Gregg Bissonette.
The Casino Rama gig kicks off what would be a gruelling number of shows — more than 40 gigs throughout June, July and October across the United States, with Casino Rama being the lone Canadian date — for someone half his age.
The man who kept the beat behind The Beatles will be turning 74 on July 7, when he will celebrate in front of the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles.
He's invited everyone from everywhere around the world to join him at noon for a peace and love celebration.
When asked why he's kicking off his U.S. summer tour at Casino Rama — where he's played before — his response was typical Ringo.
"They gave us a good deal," he quipped to the 40 or 50 journalists gathered in the Casino Rama entertainment centre auditorium.
This incarnation of the All Starr band is the same lineup he has played with since 2012, with the addition of Warren Ham, who will replace longtime All Starr member Mark Rivera, who is on tour with Billy Joel.
“I love playing with this band,” Ringo said, “and I can’t wait to get back out and play with them again.”
Rounding out the All Starrs are: Steve Lukather, known for his work with Toto, who has recorded tracks on more than 1,500 albums; singer, bassist and songwriter Richard Page of Mr. Mister; Gregg Rolie, one of the founding members of Santana and original lead singer for Journey; Todd Rundgren, talented multi-instrumentalist, songwriter — 1972's Something/Anything? was a gold double album — and record producer for the likes of Badfinger, The Band's Stage Fright, American Band by Grand Funk Railroad and Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell (among many others); and session-man extraordinaire Gregg Bissonette, who's played with everyone from James Taylor to the Doobie Brothers, Bette Midler, Duran Duran, Edgar Winter and too many other heavy hitters to list here.
Starr looked fit as a fiddle and ready to rock while answering questions before returning to rehearsals.
"I'm so grateful I'm still playing in front of people," he said. "We're here to do the job, rehearsing the band up. We do that and then tomorrow night we're on tour."
He was asked about the 50th anniversary of The Beatles playing on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, the Beatlemania that went along with it and the touring that followed.
"I have memories of it then, but this is now and this is what we do," he said.
"It was incredibly exciting. It was far out. We'd conquered Denmark, Sweden and Spain and been all over Europe several times," he added of The Beatles' early days. "It's not like it happened for the very first time when we got over here. We got used to it before we came to America and Canada."
When asked why he continues to tour — in 2013 he toured the Pacific Rim and then in October played dates Latin America — his response was simple.
"It's what I do. You know, I'm not an electrician," he said with a laugh. "I play drums and I play with great people and I have a lot of fun."