In 1989, nearly 20 years after the breakup of the Beatles, then-49-year-old Ringo Starr was asked to put together a band and go out on tour.
“I thought, ‘OK,’” Starr told Mike Haile during an interview on WHMS 97.5-FM. “And then I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t have a band.’ I just started calling people and said, ‘I have this offer, and they want me to put a band together; do you want to be in a band? And everybody on that stage said yes. ... I only wanted to play drums and I only wanted to play with good people. And as we all know, that happened.”
Thirty years after that initial request, the 79-year-old Starr is still touring with “Ringo and his All-Starr Band,” which will head to State Farm Center tonight.
The version of the band that will play tonight includes Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Gregg Rolie, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette and Hamish Stuart.
And Starr doesn’t stick to the drums.
“It’s roughly a 50-50 deal,” he said. “I’m out at the front like 50 percent, and the other 50 I’m sitting at the kit doing a few songs of mine from the kit, but mainly playing on everybody else’s songs. We all kick in together and support each other. That’s what I love about it.”
Half a century after the Beatles breakup, Starr is still performing. And that would’ve surprised his younger self.
“Some nights, it’s like a spiritual experience,” he said. “It’s so great. Everybody is just together, you know? So anyway, we’re still doing it. I remember being 20 and talking to this girl at a band in Liverpool, and the guys in this band were like 40, and I’m like, ‘What? You’re still playing at 40?’”
And he shows no sign of stopping. Starr told News-Gazette Media that the band is already booking for next year, when he’ll turn 80.
“I don’t put a time on it,” he said. “I think it works really well that we can go on with this idea of all of these songs, you know, everybody in the band has dropped hits, and I’ve got a few hits, and that’s how it works. And we support each other.”