“WHAT?????” my mom texted me when I told her I’d be interviewing Beatles drummer Ringo Starr for Eugene Weekly, “THAT’S SO COOL!!!”
I credit her and the rest of my family for introducing me to The Beatles when I was very little. I didn’t know any of the words to most of their songs at that point, let alone understand them, but man did I sing my heart out to the “na na na nas” in “Hey Jude” when I was two years old.
When I got the email from EW’s arts editor Bob Keefer asking if any intern wanted to jump on this and interview Starr, I didn’t hesitate. Even with the stipulation that our questions would be screened and asked over Zoom, I wanted to say that I interviewed a real Beatle.
I sent in a list of about 10 questions to be screened, although I had a suspicion only one, or maybe none, of what I sent in would be asked.
While taking a break from rehearsal, Ringo and his All Starr Band answered all kinds of questions about the struggles of touring, playing the music they love and living out their dreams. Personally, I got to cross something off of my bucket list and geek out for a bit, even if it was on a Zoom screen where they didn’t see me or remember my name, whatsoever.
As the questions were read out I got the sense that this is a group of oldheads who just love everything about music. “If I’m on the road I wanna play!” Starr said. “I don’t want to sit in the hotel and relax for three days.”
Starr’s All Starr Band includes talent from Kansas, Toto, Men at Work, Edgar Winter Group and Average White Band. “I consider these guys lifelong friends,” Steve Lukather, a founding member of Toto, said during the interview. “I love [Ringo] dearly.”
Each band member was thankful for all the great music, the classics, that they get to perform live on stage. “It’s what I do. I love to play,” Starr said, “I love to play great songs and I get all of that from these guys.”
After around 30 minutes, I had lost all hope that any question I had sent in would get asked. But when the very last question got read out, sure enough, it was mine.
I wanted to know what Starr thought about his legacy as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time and what he’d like to be remembered as.
He didn’t really answer my question, but he honestly gave something more genuine. “For me as a musician, I had a dream at 13 that I wanted to be a drummer,” Starr said, “and that dream is still going on.”
Even if he didn’t really answer my question, the answer was very heartfelt. I still feel like I got to interview a real Beatle.
“Peace and love,” Starr said, signing off with his signature catchphrase.
Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band play Friday, June 2, at Cuthbert Amphitheatre. Advance tickets for reserved seating are $85 to $155, and general admission lawn seating for $55, available now online at Cascade Ticketing. More information at TheCuthbert.com.