EXCLUSIVE: Ringo Starr zooms in to talk about new music, book, TO, Fab Four

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Around the same time last year, Ringo Starr was only months away from rehearsing and launching his latest All Starr Band trek at Casino Rama, about two hours north of Toronto, in late May.

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But then the pandemic happened and Starr had to cancel his tour several times, which doesn’t mean the former Beatles drummer won’t try to start his next All Starr Trek in Ontario every time he does. will be reprogrammed.

“Oh, yeah, there’s a big chance,” said Starr, 80, in an exclusive conversation in a Canadian newspaper with the Toronto sun down the line from her Beverly Hills home.

“I’m up all night making reservations,” he joked.

“Look, Toronto has always been good to me,” he continues. “We rehearsed outside of Toronto for years, then Casino Rama was a tent when I first played there.

Here’s the rest of what Starr, who has a new five-song EP, Zoom In (released March 19) featuring a vocal appearance by fellow Beatles companion Paul McCartney, and a new book, Ringo Rocks: 30 Years of The All. Starrs (1989 -2019), must have told me during our zoom call.

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A good memory of TO?

Whenever I think of Toronto, Harry Nilsson and I long ago ended up in Toronto in the dead of winter and I can honestly say I have never been colder. We went to a studio to sing along and we had never seen it before. It was a three-track studio. Three tracks! And big knobs! It was like in 1815 (he laughs). But anyway, I just remember it. And all the stores were all in the basement, were all inside, because of the snow.

You turned 80 last year during the pandemic, so what did you do?

It was a little depressing because all my kids were going to come in, we were going to have a big party. But actually (my wife) Barbara (Bach) and I got off quietly in the car, jumped in, and I have a Peace and Love Hand (seven feet tall) on Santa Monica (Blvd) so we held each other the.

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Has the pandemic been tough on you?

I think I have left our house about eight times this year over the past year. All the people who come to us, I know them of course. It’s our children here. Our brother-in-law (Joe Walsh) and Barbara’s sister (Marjorie). But that’s about all. And we’ve been to them three or four times. And we went to my stepson’s once. So we’re not going anywhere. I have to watch myself. No matter how groovy I sound. It’s open (season) on me. I’m going up there. And I had tuberculosis when I was a child.

So, have you received the COVID-19 vaccine?

I have! And you know what? The weight has been lifted. I’m so glad I got both hits and so my morale is a bit higher because of it.

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It reminded me of John Lennon and George Harrison as you and Paul sang on Here’s To The Nights, Zoom In’s debut single: “These are the nights we won’t remember, With the friends we won’t forget not.”

It meant the same to me. This year it was George, 20 (since his death). And last year it was John, 40 (since he was shot). So that brings him back again. You don’t sit there all day with that in mind. But when a birthday is that important, it just makes me think. And I miss them both and I love them both and I know they love me.

And was Paul singing from a distance?

He was in England. This is what is great. I am in my studio here. It was the guest house and I have just taken it over. I just sent him the files. It was (songwriter) Diane (Warren) and I had a contest to find out who had whom. I started with Dave Grohl and Ben Harper and Paul so I was in the lead for a minute.

Did you know that 10-year-old British drummer phenomenon Nandi Bushell, who got into a drumming fight with Grohl last year, was first inspired by your smile behind the kit in the Beatles video for Hey Jude that his dad was playing for. she on weekends?

I did not know. So why is she talking to Dave? (Laughs) I have a winning smile.

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