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Ringo Starr talks to Yahoo Entertainment about his new EP 'Zoom In,' featuring Paul McCartney. Ringo also reveals his greatest drumming solo.
LYNDSEY PARKER: So this home studio EP, it's coming off a crazy year, and it seems like such a positive message and a time capsule. So was it important for you to kind of make a document of the times?
RINGO STARR: No, it was to keep busy in the times. Because, you know, last year I had two tours already booked, but they were all cancelled, of course. And so I sat round for a while. And then I thought, no, you gotta stand up and do something, you know. It always changes your head to just get up and do anything, even if you walk around the block. And I thought, I'm gonna make an EP. Do you remember EPs?
LYNDSEY PARKER: I do. I remember CDs--
RINGO STARR: [LAUGHS]
LYNDSEY PARKER: --cassettes, vinyl, eight-tracks.
RINGO STARR: Yeah, yeah. And so then I heard that the kids are listening to cassettes.
LYNDSEY PARKER: [LAUGHS] It's true.
RINGO STARR: And I thought, I'm going to make an EP and a cassette, and put it on cassette and vinyl and stream, and any way that can get you out these days. So that was the start of it. And then I called Diane Warren, and she wrote "here's to the nights we won't remember but the friends we won't forget." And I loved that sentiment. So that was the second track, and it went on from there.
And then when I thought I was nearly finished, Steve Lukather and Joe came over, and they had this track, "Not Enough Love in the World." I thought I would finish-- oh, I gotta do that track. Now we've got five tracks. So I'm open for change.
LYNDSEY PARKER: You are one-- obviously one of the drumming greats. What do you think is your best drumming performance ever? I saw an article just the other day with your isolated drums from "Lucy in the Sky." But what do you think is your greatest drumming moment?
RINGO STARR: There's too many, really, you know what I mean? I used to say "Rain," because I felt "Rain"-- that was another character playing drums there. It's not the way I play. I'm more of a bom-bom, dee-dum, boh-boh-boh. You know, those breaks and tom-toms. This was all "bdrrr" on the snare. So I used to say that, that drove people mad. And "Let It Be," not bad. I mean, "Paperback Writer" rocks. I mean, I could go through them, you know. It's--
LYNDSEY PARKER: Good. Go ahead.
RINGO STARR: But no, I'm not gonna do it.
LYNDSEY PARKER: Would I stop you?
RINGO STARR: You know what I mean? I mean, it sounds a bit big-headed, but there isn't one. The crazy thing is, when "Let It Be" came out, you know, the remastering and they have this new system, Atmos. And we went to England for it, and Paul and I were in this crowd of people listening. And I thought, I'm too busy on this record. [LAUGHS] I thought I was too busy.
You know, these are just thoughts that go through my head. Now I feel-- I feel I'm even holding back even more than I did in The Beatles. If you're singing, you don't need me to be doing drum solos. And that's how I've always played. And I've never done a drum solo.
I've never felt-- well, I felt Cozy Cole a hundred years ago did a drum solo that I loved, and I have the record. But that was the only drum record I ever bought. And mainly I want to be in the band, and I just want to play behind those guys and give them a lift or bring them down or just rock on straight.
LYNDSEY PARKER: I want to ask you about the All-Starr thing. You have this book, "Ringo Rocks," that's all about the history of it.
RINGO STARR: Yeah, yeah.
LYNDSEY PARKER: You kind of put that together just as you were kind of having a whole new rebirth, right? You'd recently gotten sober, and--
RINGO STARR: I was. I--
LYNDSEY PARKER: Tell me about that.
RINGO STARR: And I was getting clean, and I was clean for like, six months. And out of the blue, my lawyer called me, that a man he didn't know had been approached by Pepsi to ask Ringo, would he like to go on tour? And then I thought, well, you never put a band together. You've never done this before.
So what I did, I had a phone book, I opened the phone book, and I called a couple of friends I knew, mainly in America. You know, I called Dr. John-- (IMITATING DR. JOHN) hey, man, OK, baby, OK. (NORMAL VOICE) And he said yes. And Joe. And then I thought, I need a big guy in front. So I borrowed Bruce's guy, Clarence.
And I called Levon and then Rick. And, you know, I was a little insecure because there were three drummers in that band. I had Levon on my right, I was in the middle, and Jim Keltner, my all-time favorite drummer from LA, on my left. So very few bands go out there with three drummers. [LAUGHS]
LYNDSEY PARKER: Yeah, but there's no reason for you to feel insecure.
RINGO STARR: I did feel insecure. Yeah, I didn't know how it's gonna go. Yeah, you put it together, you know, every night. And I've done it, let's say, for 30 years. Seconds before I run on stage, there's a moment still-- how crazy is that-- that I want to go to bed. You know what I mean? But once I'd run on and grab that mic, I'm home then. I'm with you, you know?
But it's like, drives me crazy. I want to be Frank Sinatra. Like, l saw him once, and he just sort of strolled on. Hey, how you doing? It's the good life, you know. So my thoughts always said, come on, be Frank Sinatra tonight. And I was Ringo running on and grabbing the mic.
LYNDSEY PARKER: So did you have any epiphanies last year when you hit the big 8-0, which I still cannot believe? Because it was in the middle 2020. You're all about your friends.
RINGO STARR: No, no. It was the miserable year. But I was a bit upset, because, you know, I was 80 in July, and we had big plans. All the kids would come in from England and Europe, and we have to-- all our family, we'd have, you know, a celebration. Not that we need a birthday to celebrate. [LAUGHING]
But we were going to make a big celebration. And as you know and everybody else in the world knows, it didn't happen. We're sitting here to-- and Barb and I just jumped in the car and ran down to Santa Monica here, with ever "Peace and Love" hand, my hand, but it's 7 feet tall. We ran down there and we stood in front of it, and we said, peace and love, peace and love. And the cars were passing by, saying, what are they doing?
LYNDSEY PARKER: You've always been so much about peace and love, and--
RINGO STARR: No, no, I didn't start it. I mean--
LYNDSEY PARKER: I know that.
RINGO STARR: --it started in the '60s and more or less in America, you know. And the hippie movement started. And we, as The Beatles, we joined in. And we, of course, we believe in peace and love, and we loved the clothes. So it was great for us. And that's how it started.
And John was a big proponent of peace and love. And it's just something I do. And it came to everybody's notice in '89 when I put the first All-Starrs together. And so I would peace-and-love everybody as I ran on. And then it-- peace and love, peace and love.
In fact, in the '90s, some newspapers were writing about, oh, he's peace-and-loving again. You know what I mean? Like I'm saying, I'm only peace-and-loving, and you're moaning about that. Get off!
LYNDSEY PARKER: I've really enjoyed this. I've enjoyed zooming in with you. I love the "Zoom In" EP. So thank you so much for your time. And peace and love.
RINGO STARR: Yeah, thank you. Peace and love to you.