|Ringo Starr and his 13th All Starr Band, will launch their 2012 tour June 14-15, from Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls. (QMI Agency/Mike Dibattista)
NIAGARA FALLS, ONT. - Did you hear the one about the Beatle and the tightrope walker?
It just so happens Fab Four drummer Ringo Starr is launching the 13th edition of his All-Starr Band North American tour with a two-night stand at Fallsview Casino Thursday night -- his only Canadian dates -- while Nik Wallenda is attempting to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope Friday night.
Starr, 71, told QMI Agency Wednesday that after his second show on Friday night (which was moved up to a 7 p.m. start to accommodate the event) he'll be watching Wallenda from his hotel room along with hundreds of thousands of others expected on site and millions around the world (ABC is broadcasting a live prime-time special).
"We're opening for the guy so that's okay," joked Starr, who has been at Fallsview for the last 10 days rehearsing with his All-Starr bandmates including three time returnee Todd Rundgren.
"I don't mind. I'll play in four in the afternoon if you want. I'm not proud. As long as we get to play. I thought (the tightrope walk) was really exciting until he was tied on (with a safety harness). And he didn't want to be tied on. They're making him for all those good reasons. I'm not putting the guy down. That's high and dangerous, even tied on, it's got to be freaky."
Otherwise, Ringo's latest solo album, Ringo 2012, finds the drummer writing about his hometown of Liverpool for the third time on an album with the new song, In Liverpool.
"Someone asked me to do my autobiography and I thought, 'Ah, they only want those eight years (with the Beatles)," Starr said. "And I've got lots of years before and lots of years after and I just started to write songs."
Earlier in the day, Starr told reporters he wouldn't be playing with the other surviving Beatle, bassist-singer Paul McCartney, who turns 70 on June 18 after Macca came to play at Starr's 70th birthday celebrations at Radio City Music Hall.
"I do know what he's doing on his birthday and I know what I'm doing and we're not doing it together but I do send him a lot of love," said Starr.
Still, he called McCartney: "The most amazing bass player for me. He's the most melodic I've ever worked with."
Starr also said neither of his two sons, notably drummer Zak Starkey, would be part of a rumoured band to be formed by the children of the Beatles, "as far as I know."
There are a couple of major Beatles anniversaries this year: the 50th anniversary of their first single, Love Me Do, and the 45th anniversary of the release of their landmark album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Starr said Sgt. Pepper's meant as much to the Fab Four as it's gone on to mean for everyone else.
"It was going to be like a musical," Starr said. "And after two tracks we thought, 'Sod it, let's just do music.' ... It is an important album, it just like works."