Ringo Starr Answers Fan Questions, Performs at L.A. Grammy Museum
Warning: If you go to Ringo Starr's Los Angeles home for a cup of tea, prepare to end up on his album. As he began working on 'Y Not,' which came out Jan. 12, various guests were drafted into playing on the collection. "The great Joe Walsh was living in the guest house, so he came over to put guitars on it. Dave Stewart came over for a cup of tea and he's on it," said Starr, speaking at the Grammy Museum on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. And, of course, Starr reunited with his pal Paul McCartney, who plays on two tracks. "We had a cup of tea, he took out his bass and [played]. He understands my drumming because we used to play together," Starr added, just in case anyone hasn't been exposed to music history.
That wasn't the only Beatles reference Starr dropped. Asked about his All-Starr Band that he puts together for his tours, Starr said he knows that even though he's the leader, smart ideas can come from anyone. "I learned in the '60s, in that other band I was in, whoever has a great idea, let's use it. It's no good standing on principle if it's a s---ty chord," he said.
Starr indulged Grammy Museum executive director Robert Santelli in a brief Q&A before the small audience of 200 that included Walsh, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, George Harrison's son Dhani, Roy Orbison's widow, Barbara, and Edgar Winter, who has toured with Starr. But what he really wanted to do was play, so after about 30 minutes, he cut off Santelli, who convinced him to take a few questions from the audience before performing. Most were arcane questions from Beatles fanatics, but Starr came alive when asked about Disney's newly announced remake of the Beatles' 1968 animated classic 'Yellow Submarine.' "I had a long meeting with [director] Bob Zemeckis. It's going to be great," Starr said. "There's nothing wrong with the original, but what they can do now is fabulous." The new version will include the same music as the original.
Backing Starr was Ben Harper and his band, Relentless7. Harper met Starr a little over two years ago when Starr asked Harper to interview him as part of a MySpace series. "I'll ride Ringo's coattails into the sunset," said Harper of playing with the legend. "I'm in school [with him]. Every day I learn something."
Starr started with his 1973 hit, 'Photograph' and followed it with 'Walk With You,' a country-tinged tune from the new album. Harper then played two of his own songs, while Starr looked on from the sidelines. Then Starr returned for "The Other Side of Liverpool,' also from 'Y Not' before closing with the Beatles' 'With a Little Help From My Friends.' However, the crowd wasn't ready to let him go. He ended the evening behind the drum kit playing the Shirelles' 'Boys,' a tune he used to play in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes before he joined the Fab Four.