Ringo Starr is once again getting by with a little help from his friends. But it took a lot of help from some surgeons to get him back on the road for his latest All-Starr [cq] band tour.
After the 2003 All-Starr tour, the Beatles drummer was diagnosed with bone spurs in both shoulders, which he had taken care of in two separate operations the following year -- though it meant his longest break ever away from the All-Starrs.
"I don't think the medical term is Drummer's Shoulders," cracks Starr, 65, who was born Richard Starkey in Liverpool, England. "We can only say I'm a drummer and I had 'em."
The latest All-Starr Band is laden, as usual, with hitmmakers, including Richard Marx, Billy Squier. Edgar Winter, Rod Argent (the Zombies, Argent) and Sheila E. Bassist Hamish Stuart, who fronted the Average White Band and also toured with another Beatle, Paul McCartney, is also on board but won't be performing any of his own songs.
"The criteria is the same as always -- you have to have hits," says Starr, who's added "What Goes On" -- the only Beatles song he co-wrote with McCartney and John Lennon -- to a repertoire that will included standards such as "Yellow Submarine," "With a Little Help From My Friends," "Photograph" and others. "We like to put a new one in when we can, but as I keep saying, we are the 1-800 (Dial-a-Hit) live show."
But while the latest All-Starrs hit the road, Starr's thoughts are also on a previous All-Star Band member and Beatles collaborator -- keyboardist Billy Preston, who died last week after a long battle with malignant hypertension that had left him in a coma for nearly eight months.
"It's a shame," Starr says. "He was in a coma for a long time, so it's a release, really. Billy was the finest musician, and over all these years, Billy, I felt, was my friend."
Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band perform at 7:30 tonight at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $48 pavilion, $26 lawn; children under 12 are admitted free to the lawn with any adult holding a full-p
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