At the age of 83 and with enviable vitality, Ringo Starr not only presents a new EP, but also prepares the release of a new full-length album – his last album was What’s my name, from 2019 – and is about to kick off a spring tour with his All Starr Band, starting next week in Las Vegas, and plans to return to the road next fall. The musician spoke this Wednesday from Los Angeles, where he lives, by video conference.

The new EP, Crooked boy, was released in limited release for Record Store Day last month, and goes on general sale on May 31. The four songs on the EP were composed and produced by Linda Perry: “She would send me the files or come to the studio and I would first play the drums and then sing and send her to do whatever she wanted” . For the musician, this short format, which he has worked on in recent years, comes from the pandemic: “I have a small studio at home, in addition to a gym and an art room, things to be busy with, and I go to make an EP because in 2020, while we were wearing masks and showing that we had been vaccinated, I asked some people if they had any songs to play with this or that, and when they came to me I would play them, in addition to drums and voice, percussion like tambourines, scallos, maracas… I even put bongos in a country song, and I thought it was fun, I couldn’t wait to hear it in Nashville!”. It was in that context that someone mentioned Perry, Ringo commissioned a couple of songs from her that he released on two previous EPs, until two years later she asked him to produce an entire EP for her. “It can be a bit idiosyncratic, but it works very well.”

During this time, Ringo met T Bone Burnett at a poetry reading by Olivia Harrison – widow of Beatle George Harrison – and asked him if he had any songs for him, and suggested a few: “ He sent me some incredibly wonderful country songs, and since I have the freedom to do whatever I want, I thought about recording a country EP,” but in the end it will become a ten-song album. “It’s a style of music that I’ve loved since I was a child, because in Liverpool many sailors brought records from the United States, and many were country music, which was not heard on the radio at the time”. He even recorded an album of this style in Nashville with guitarist and producer Pete Drake in 1970.

The drummer, about to embark on a new tour, assured that he had no secret to maintain his vital enthusiasm, simply “I have a passion for playing, but because I am a drummer I need a band”, and so he set up the 1989 the first All-Starr Band, with recognized musicians who at the beginning kept changing, with the idea of ​​playing songs from one and another: “At first I called a lot of people, Joe Walsh, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Rick Danko, Nils Logfren… and everyone said yes, but I had to stop because it looked like an orchestra, it would have been the biggest rock band on the planet.” A few years ago the group has stabilized with musicians that he likes “the way they play, but also their personality, it’s like having a little help from my friends [alluding to The Beatles song With a little help from my friends, which Ringo sang]”. “Why do I keep playing? Because I love it, and because I can – he assured affably and without boasting in a good way. Simply, I love playing music, so I play with good musicians, and we support each other”.

After the spring tour, they will rest in the summer to resume the road in the fall, focusing on the North American East Coast, and for now they have no plans to play in Europe. In any case, the musician also explained that for now they do not include the new material in the concerts, “maybe later, but we love to play the hits of our groups, that’s what it’s all about, and in the end for the public it’s a great day, because he’s heard a lot of songs that he loves”, because, along with songs by Ringo or the Beatles, they play songs by his colleagues, who have been in bands like Toto or Men at Work.

Ringo Starr’s life today is an attempt to bring his motto, peace and love, peace and love, to everyday life: “It is part of me, it came from the hippies in the sixties, the great moment of a great change in the world and in the youth then, it changed the clothes and the attitude of the people, and it was wonderful, and I keep trying to do my part, but I can’t force the rest”.