RAMA, Ont. - Ringo Starr may be turning 74 – as opposed to 64 as the famous Beatles song goes – on July 7, but he’s not ready to hang up his drum sticks just yet.
“It’s what I do,” said the Fab Four drummer in his famous Liverpudlian accent at a Thursday press conference before launching his latest All-Starr Band North American tour on Friday night at Casino Rama with a sold out show (The only other Canadian date is Vancouver’s Hard Rock Casino on July 15).
“You know I’m not an electrician, I play drums... I have a lot of fun and as long as people are coming in to watch us, I’ll be going out and doing it.”
Starr has been coming to Canada to launch his All-Starr treks for over a decade now – both at Rama and Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont., and joked of starting this time at Rama: “We got a deal.”
The 2014 lineup is the same as the 2012 All-Starr Band with singer-guitarist Steve Lukather (Toto), singer-bassist Richard Page (Mr. Mister), drummer Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), singer-guitarist Todd Rundgren (Utopia, The New Cars) & percussionist Gregg Bissonette along with newest member and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham.
“I’m doing anything to keep this band together – we’ll end up playing clubs,” joked Starr. “I just love this band... And we get on really well. And everyone, of course, they have songs, that’s the criteria. But I feel we get on like a family, we’re peaceful and loving or we’re angry.”
And no, despite the fact that Starr has arrived in Canada during the Stanley Cup Final he’s not watching the L.A.-New York hockey series but will be turning into World Cup soccer (or football as it’s known in England) action.
“It’s driving me mad,” he joked of hockey fever in Canada. “I’ll be checking in on the soccer. I’m afraid hockey (to me) is like cricket to you.”
The group ran through snippets of their collective hits – I Wanna Be Your Man, Evil Ways, Hold The Line, I Saw the Light, Broken Wings and With A Little Help From My Friends – before taking questions.
Starr said he remembered coming to North America for the first time 50 years ago which was celebrated so memorably at this past year’s Grammys that saw him and Beatles singer-bassist Paul McCartney play together on the show followed by a TV special featuring other musicians doing Beatles songs.
“I was doing the (drum) fills,” joked Starr of sitting in the audience for the latter.
“It was incredibly exciting - it was far out,” said Starr of crossing the pond 50 years ago.
Starr did say if The Beatles were a new band in 2014 they’d still have made the same tremendous impact as they did a half-century ago.
“You arrive with what is on at the time,” he said. “So the new bands are coming up with streaming, downloads, and the good news about all that is there’s more chance of playing live now. That’s more important. We used to play live to support the records. The kids are just making EPs, or just one track. I like to download. I get to listen to what’s happening now.”