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'You know, life goes on'

Ex-Beatle Sir Ringo Starr on love, a new book and living in lockdown

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Still rocking: Ringo Starr has a new EP ready for release in March

Still rocking: Ringo Starr has a new EP ready for release in March

Press Association Images

Ringo Rocks: 30 Years Of The All Starrs is available from www.juliensauctions.com

Ringo Rocks: 30 Years Of The All Starrs is available from www.juliensauctions.com

Press Association Images

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Still rocking: Ringo Starr has a new EP ready for release in March

Sir Ringo Starr had no plans to slow down before the coronavirus pandemic intervened.

His youthful appearance and fizzing energy bely his 80 years - and had it not been for Covid-19, the man born Richard Starkey in a working-class area of Liverpool would have been on the road in 2020.

But it turns out even a former Beatle cannot escape the consequences of a global health crisis.

As it stands, Sir Ringo's All Starr Band is set to return to the stage in June, though he admits the plans are far from set in stone.

The pause in performing gave him a chance to look back on three decades with the group, putting together the book Ringo Rocks: 30 Years Of The All Starrs.

Reflecting proved to be an emotional experience, Sir Ringo explains from his home in Los Angeles.

"The first band was like everything else - it's brand new. And, 'Oh, wow, it's working'. And actually, people are coming to see it. That's the good news. And I had a lot of great players."

Musicians who have been part of the ever-evolving line-up include Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, rocker Peter Frampton, New Orleans musician Dr John and R&B star Billy Preston.

Drummer Sir Ringo, who spent 10 years in the Beatles with supernova talents Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison, admits that being the frontman was a nice change.

"The only master plan is that you have to have number one singles," he says.

"You have to have top five records. And we're like the 1-800 band - it's all hit records.

"And it gave me a chance to be down the front, Mr Personality, while playing the drums for all these other tracks. So, I won both ways."

In lieu of touring, Sir Ringo has been keeping himself busy by making new music - the single Here's To The Nights, an uplifting track perfect for the pandemic, features a star-studded guestlist including Sir Paul.

It will appear on the appropriately named EP Zoom In, due for release in March.

"I like to do stuff, so I'm just doing stuff," Sir Ringo, who was knighted in 2018, says while discussing the difficulties of recording amid the pandemic.

"I have a little guest house here and it's now my studio, it's been my studio for the last 10 years actually.

"This time it was a little awkward because people were getting tested to come and play. Or, if they had a studio, they could play in their own place. So that took the pressure off the lockdown a little because I was drumming and singing and hanging out with musicians.

"I do go to the gym quite a lot. And I also I took half of the gym, now that's where my paint studio is. So I can make a mess without Barbara getting crazy."

Barbara is of course Barbara Bach, Sir Ringo's wife of 39 years. The actress is best known for playing Bond Girl Anya Amasova opposite the late Sir Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me.

While lockdown proved to be the undoing for many a relationship, the Starrs are as strong as ever and Sir Ringo describes being with Bach as a "pleasure", while reminiscing about their first meeting.

"I love the woman," he says. "I loved her from when I first saw her in 1980. She was at the airport with a boyfriend and I was at the airport checking in, and we happened to be going to Mexico to do the same movie.

"And that's how it happened. Not like it was a big plan. It was just 'Okay, here we go'. And we get on real well together, relax together. I'm blessed she's in my life, that's all I can ever say."

Our call comes to an end, but not before some wise words from Sir Ringo.

While the pandemic offered the chance to look back, the world's favourite drummer prefers to look forward.

He says: "You know, life goes on."

Belfast Telegraph


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