Following a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band are touring North America for the first time since 2019.
The tour begins with two shows at Casino Rama on Friday and Saturday. This weekend’s performances mark the fifth time the former Beatles drummer has kicked off a tour at Casino Rama.
Starr and his bandmates held a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss their return to live performances, as well as their recent projects.
“In 2019, we played a tour, and in February of 2020 I was getting ready for the tour in May, and then by early March, it’s all gone,” Starr said. “That’s what it’s all about, is playing and having an audience. … A long time ago, we’d play anywhere just so we could play.”
Starr released his most recent album, What’s My Name, in October 2019 and his most recent EP, Change the World, was released in September 2021.
Aside from his own work, Starr continues to collaborate on other musicians’ projects. He also spent considerable time painting during the pandemic. He released a book on his artwork, Painting Is My Madness Too, in 2020, as a follow-up on a 2008 book about his art.
“In the pandemic, I had to do something, and one of them was going to the gym nearly every day, and then I started painting,” Starr said. “It just unfolded that some people said, ‘You can have your own art gallery on its own. How crazy is that?’”
In 2021, a Peter Jackson-directed documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, was released, featuring unseen material on the making of the 1970 album Let It Be.
“Jackson did a great job,” Starr said. “I mean, I was stunned at first because we thought it’d be a two-hour show. It’s six hours, but easy to watch, you know, even if you weren’t in the band.”
Starr said he has noticed new waves of fans being drawn to his work through his music and projects such as Jackson’s documentary.
“When I first started, a lot of the audience was sort of my age. Over the years, it’s got younger,” he said. “The kids are coming in, and the documentary, I thought, was so great.”
When asked what keeps him going forward after such an illustrious career, Starr, 81, simply cited an undying love for music and performing.
“People are saying, ‘Well, you know, what about retirement?’ I’m a musician. I don’t have to retire. As long as I can pick up those sticks, I’ve got a gig,” he said.
“I was inspired at 13, and that has never left me — the dream and the joy,” Starr added. “It’s still there; I love to play. My mother had this great line… she said, ‘You know what, son? I always feel like you’re happiest when you’re playing.’ And deep inside I am.”
The current members of Starr’s All-Starr Band include Steve Lukather, Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, Hamish Stuart, Warren Ham, and Gregg Bissonette.