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Ringo Starr Talks All-Starr Band: “Two Hours Of Joy”

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ringo Starr and his 13th All-Starr Band are touring the U.S. this summer for his new album, Ringo 2012, and Mara Davis of dave FM in Atlanta caught up with the Beatle and Twitter newbie. The current line-up of All-Starrs this time around includes Steve Lukather from Toto, former Santana and Journey member Gregg Rolie, Richard Page of Mr. Mister, Todd Rundgren, sax-man Mark Rivera, and drummer Gregg Bissonette. Ringo says that working out  songs with new musicians is the toughest part of staging All-Starr Band tours. “I have people I’ve never met, never mind played with… but I always say, it’s eight hours of torture and then we have two hours of joy.”

Joe Walsh of the Eagles was in the first version of the All-Starr Band when Ringo came up with the idea in 1989. These days, Walsh is actually Ringo’s brother-in-law, having married his wife’s sister, Marjorie, in 2008. When asked if he had anything to do with the match-up, Ringo says he had nothing to do with “playing cupid.” “They met, the magic happened and now they’re married.”  Ringo and his wife Barbara Bach have been together for 32 years. When asked how they’ve managed to stay together all these years, Ringo’s answer was simple. “I think if there’s a lot of love involved, it helps you stay together. Not that we don’t have a bad day but we do get over it.”

Ringo fondly remembered another great musician who was in the first All-Starr Band, the late Clarence Clemons. “He was a great guy,” Ringo said. “He was big, I could lean on him, and besides that, he played great sax.” Other than scheduling conflicts or commitments to another band, no musician has ever refused to be a part of the All-Starr Band. “We are the band,” he said. “It’s not my band doing my numbers, and Toto doing Steve’s numbers, we are all the band. And that’s how it works.” Speaking of Toto, Ringo says, “I love ‘Africa,'” referring to one of that group’s biggest songs. “I love playing ‘Africa’ every night. It just has a lot of emotion.”

A Twitter novice, Ringo explained that he’s only been tweeting (or “twittering,” as he puts it) for a little more than a week. He picked it up as a way to combat boredom while on tour. “I’m on tour, looking for things to do, I’m hanging out in the room or whatever, and I thought, well, I’m going to start ‘twittering,’ let them know my every move.” Well, not every move. “They’re following every move I let them know about. When it [first] came out, I thought it was a bit silly, people would tell you ‘I’m picking my nose, see ya later,’ but i think it’s straightening out now. People can actually put real stuff as well as fun stuff.” Does he think the Beatles would have benefited from social networking, had it been around back in the day? “I do,” he replied, but added with a laugh, “We’d probably just be twittering each other.”

Mara Davis, dave fm

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