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Interview:
Ringo Starr at Caesars Windsor, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

» See more SOUND CHECK

Ringo Starr returned to the stage 30 years ago. And he's barely left since.



In July of 1989 the Beatles drummer launched his first All-Starr Band tour, bringing in a crew of fellow rock icons to play their hits as well as his. The rosters over the years have included a proverbial who's who ranging from Ringo contemporaries -- including his brother-in-law Joe Walsh -- to occasionally more contemporary artists such as Sheila E. and Howard Jones. The All-Starr shows have been traveling jukeboxes, with Starr always leaving a message of "peace and love" -- and, of course, getting by with a little help from his friends.



This year's edition of the All-Starrs, his 14th, features long-timers Steve Lukather of Toto and Gregg Rolie of Santana and Journey Fame, with Men At Work's Colin Hay and utility player Warren Ham and the return of Average White Band co-founder Hamish Stuart. Detroit native Gregg Bissonette, meanwhile, has been the second All-Starr drummer since 2008...



• Starr, 79, had not toured extensively since 1966 when he received the All-Starr Band proposal during the late 80s. "It's like one of those things I didn't plan," he recalls by phone. "Somebody went to my lawyer in L.A...and asked if I'd like to put a band together and go on tour. I don't know what happened -- I said yes! And then I realized I didn't have a band so I thought, 'Well, I'm just gonna call up old friends and they can sing and I'll sing and we'll all play together. That's how the first one got started."



• Starr, who was knighted in Great Britain last year, adds that the first All-Starr troupe -- which included Walsh, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Rick Danko and Levon Helm of The Band, and Clarence Clemons and Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band -- remains his favorite "only because it WAS the first one. It's like your first child -- you treat it like it's glass, and then by the third it's like, 'Oh, there's another..." (laughs). But it was like, 'Wow, here we go...,' and after that you get into the routine and mood of it. But most of the bands I've put together, everyone gets on well and we support each other. I give that speech every time -- 'We're not here to torture ourselves. Let's have fun and let’s support each other to the best of our ability,' and that's what we do."



• Starr credits the hit-filled concept with keeping the All-Starrs viable for three decades. "You can't doubt those songs. That's what was planted in me when I put the All-Starrs together -- you have to have hits. It's like the 'hit band,' you know? Everybody in the band has had hits and it's a great thing for me because I get a chance to play with everybody on drums and then I get to go down and perform and have fun with the audience. It worked 30 years ago, and it's still working today."



• Starr is currently finishing his next solo album, his 20th and the follow-up to 2017's "Give Me More Love." "I'm actually pretty far along; We're at the last stages of fine-tuning -- 'OK, let's up that just a dB higher,' that sort of thing. I have two tracks left to finalize and then I'm on the road." No title or release date have been announced for the album, which features guest appearances by Walsh and Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney, who Starr joined on stage earlier this month at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.



• The Beatles' next archival project, meanwhile, is an expanded boxed set edition of 1969's "Abbey Road" album. "I love it," Starr says. "I've loved all the re-releases because of the remastering, and you can hear the drums, which got dialed down in the old days. I get a bit fed up, personally, with all those, like, Take 9 or Take 3, the odd takes that we didn't put out, but that's part of the box set and you have to do stuff like that. But I've always just listened to the record itself, what we put out in the 60s or 1970, and it's brighter. It's amazing with Beatles music; We have a billion streams a year now, and every generation still has a listen to us. Far out."



Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Colosseum in Caesars Windsor, 377 Riverside Drive East. $43 and up. 800-991-7777 or caesars.com/caesars-windsor.

Web Site: www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor

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