링고스타는이제막 80대가 되었지만, 그는
쉽게 그걸 받아들이지 않는다. 비틀즈의드러머는오랫동안활동해온올스타밴드로음악을 하지못한것이 몇년째임에도불구하고올해에계속해서음악을만드느라바빴다. 그의새싱글 "Here's to the Nights"는모두가힘든한해를보냈던2020년의마지막을보낼평화와사랑에대한전형적인링고 스타일의 노래다. 그는 "Here's to the
Nights"로 친구들에게 소소한 도움을 받았다. 멀리서 온 친구인 보컬 데이브
그롤, 레니 크라비츠, 셰릴 크로, 크리스 스테이플턴, 벤 하퍼, 조
월시, 그리고 베이시스트 폴 매카트니와 같은 친구들 말이다.
링고는그의홈스튜디오에서 3월에 Zoom In이라는타이틀과함께5트랙의 EP를작업했다. 이 로큰롤계의 사랑받는 남자이자 전설적인 아티스트에게 사회적 거리두기 시대 속에서 음악작업을 하는 것은 큰 도전이었다. 하지만 그가 항상 경고했듯이, 그게 쉬운건 아니다. "Here's to the Nights"는 다이앤 워렌의 가사와 함께 쓴 노래이다. 링고가 말하듯이, "새해 전야, 우리는 모두와 함께 노래를 부르길 희망합니다."
링고는올여름 "Helter Sketer " 맥카트니를포함한전세계친구들과장거리연주로가득찬 TV 스페셜로 80번째생일을자축했다. 그는또한두권의새책을집필했다. 월시의서문으로시작하는‘Ringo Rocks: 30 Years of the All-Starrs’는지속해서변신했던그의라이브슈퍼그룹을회고한다. 그는또한 "Painting Is My Other
Madness"라는훌륭한제목의 도서컬렉션을발매중이다. 세상은언제나 링고의 정신세계를사용할수있다. 특히나요즘은그가그어느때보다도필요하다.
Ringo는 Zoom통화를통해 "Here's to the Nights,"과그의비틀즈시절, 드럼, 그림, 팬데믹격리에서정신을유지한방법, 카세트리바이벌, 새매카트니앨범, 그리고 Levon Helm과함께연주하면서배운지혜에대해말했다.
신곡축하드립니다. 어떻게 쓴 곡인가요?
다이앤워렌은이렇게썼습니다: "여기, 기억할수없는밤을잊지못할친구들과함께" 아름답잖아요. 때마침 우리가 다같이 있기도 하니 오늘을위해적당한것같군요. 모두 아시다시피우린우리모두가기억하지못할수많은밤을보냈습니다. 그리고우리모두는잊지못할친구들과함께밤을 지샜죠.
이모든사람들이동참해서저를도와주었습니다. 폴매카트니가있었고요. 조월시, 셰릴크로, 제니루이스, 크리스스타펠튼, 벤몬트텐치, 데이브그롤과벤하퍼가첫 라인업이었고요. 레니크라비츠가막판에등장했습니다. 피네이스, 욜라, 블랙푸마도있습니다. 코린베일리레는마음껏노래했고요. 모두가 각기 제 목소리를 냈어요..
음, 저는항상젊은이들에게사랑받았어요. 저는모든비틀즈의리마스터들을좋아합니다. 왜냐하면이제여러분이드럼소리를들을수있기때문입니다. 처음우리가시작했을땐베이스드럼소리가날아가버리더라구요. 소리도더낮게, 낮게말이죠. 그래서 일부 트랙에선 제가 스네어만 좀 친 줄 알거예요. 자일즈마틴의리마스터링으로, 이제사람들이드럼을들을수있었고, "그게당신이었나요?"라고묻습니다. "네, 저예요." 그래도아직 멀었죠. 자일즈가
아주 훌륭하게 잘 했어요. 그런그를사랑합니다.
그게음악가들의 일이자 곧우리가하는일입니다. 그래서라이브를좋아해요. 제게다가오는관객의사랑을느끼고싶어요. 제말무슨뜻인지아시겠죠? 사랑을느끼고돌려주죠. 영적으로 말이죠. 그게우리가계속하는 이유인것같아요. 저는우리가영국에서 Helen Shapiro를 위해오프닝했던때를기억합니다 [1963년]. 그녀의 밴드가 있었고 우리는처음에세곡을불렀습니다. 저는그녀의밴드와이야기를나누며 "몇살이죠? 40살이에요? 아직도하고계시네요"라고물었습니다. 왜냐면그나이에5년활동도길어보였기때문이었죠. 하지만이제저는벌써80살이고여전히밴드를하고싶어요.
따로 떨어져서 음악 연주하는건 어떻게 생각하나요?
우정이매우중요합니다. 지금당장우리가함께할수있는유일한방법이 Zoom에서하는것 뿐이죠. 우리가오리지널 "Come Together"를연주했을때, 우리는모두같은방에있었어요. 지금은"좋아, 여기너, 여긴나"이렇긴 하지만 이것이 유일한 방법이기 때문에 훌륭한 음악가들은 매우 많이 활용하고
있습니다. 이 방법밖에 없다면, 어쩌겠어요, 뭐 그렇게 해야죠.
밴드에는훌륭한연주자들이아주많았어요. 저는노래에따라서밴드를계속바꿨었어요. 올스타팀의요령은히트곡을만들어야한다는것이었고, 저는매일밤토드런드그렌에게 "Bang the Drum"을해달라고애원하는것이지겨웠죠. 그는 "Bang
the Drum"말곤뭐든 하고싶어했어요. "토드, 꼭해야해. 사람들이 'Bang the Drum'을알고있잖아." 그래도 모두가할수있는한최선을다합니다. 그게우리가부탁할수있는전부예요. 제말은, 때때로저는휴식을놓쳤어요.
30년중 2년 정도는괜찮은 것같아요. 하지만레본은대단했어요. 왜냐하면어떤날밤에연주하고, 모든것을바치고, 그러고도
뭔가 잘 안풀릴 때 있죠. 그는저한테뚜벅뚜벅걸어와서"괜찮아요, 보스. 내일잘 될거예요.” 저는 그 때부터 항상 그걸 신경썼었습니다.
항상밴드가되길 바랐습니다. 저혼자서는드럼으로만 "I Did It My Way"를할수없습니다. 잘안될거예요. 그래서저는항상누군가와연주할필요가있어요. 저는음악가들과어울리고밤새도록연주하는것을정말좋아하죠. 저는혼자연주하지않아요. 그렇게재미있던적이없었어요.
신곡"Here's to the Nights"엔 데이브그롤과벤하퍼를
첫번쨰로 불렀습니다. "자네 월요일에 뭐하나? 음, 사실내가노랠하나썼는데보컬이필요해." "좋아요." 그렇게 초인종이 울리고 그들이 왔죠. 저는드럼이잘들리는다른방으로가서연주를합니다. 그게제가좋아하는것이죠.
이책은‘Painting Is My Other Madness’라고
하는데 왜냐하면저는항상 "드럼 치는건나의광기"라고말했었든요. EP를만든것과그림 그리는 것, 그것이제가팬데믹을겪으면서살아있게한것이예요.
두권의책과한권의음반—당신에 비하면 다른 사람은 게으름뱅이 같군요!
열심히들 좀 살아봐요!
Ringo Starr in Los Angeles in 2019
Ringo Starr might have just turned 80, but he can’t be accused of taking it easy. The Beatle drummer kept busy making music this year, even though it was the first time in years he couldn’t hit the road with his long-running All-Starr Band. His new single, “Here’s to the Nights,” is a quintessential Ringo ode to peace and love, just in time to sing out the end of a 2020 where everybody had a hard year. He got a little help from his friends for “Here’s to the Nights.” The song has long-distance vocals from pals like Dave Grohl, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, Chris Stapleton, Ben Harper, Ringo’s brother-in-law Joe Walsh, and many more — including a promising British bass player named Paul McCartney.
Ringo worked in his home studio on a five-track EP set for March, with the timely title Zoom In. For one of rock & roll’s most beloved figures — and one of its most gregarious legends — it was a challenge to adapt to making music in the age of social distancing. But as he always warned us, it don’t come easy. “Here’s to the Nights” is a wry sing-along with lyrics from Diane Warren. As Ringo says, “New Year’s Eve, they’ll all sing along with us, we hope.”
Sir Ringo celebrated his 80th birthday this summer with a TV special full of long-distance jams with friends all aboard from around the world, including “Helter Skelter” with McCartney. He’s also got two new books in the works. Ringo Rocks: 30 Years of the All-Starrs is a retrospective of his ever-changing live supergroup, available via Julien’s Auction, with a foreword by Walsh. He’s also got a second collection of his paintings, with the superb title Painting Is My Other Madness. The world can always use some of that Ringo spirit. But these days, we need him more than ever.
Ringo spoke via Zoom about “Here’s to the Nights,” his Beatle days, drumming, painting, how he kept sane in quarantine, the cassette revival, the new McCartney album, and the wisdom learned from playing with Levon Helm.
Congratulations on the new song. How did that happen? Diane Warren wrote it: “Here’s to the nights we won’t remember, with the friends we won’t forget.” So it has a beautiful sentiment. It’s about us all coming together, so it seems appropriate for today. Everybody I know, we’ve all had quite a few nights we don’t remember. And we’ve all had them with friends we won’t forget.
All these people joined in and helped me out. We got Paul McCartney, he’s on board. Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow, Jenny Lewis, Chris Stapleton, Benmont Tench. Dave Grohl, and Ben Harper were the first ones up. Lenny Kravitz came on at the last minute. We got Finneas, Yola, Black Pumas. Corinne Bailey Rae sings her heart out. Everybody has a little shout-out.
Until the pandemic, you’d been on tour non-stop all these years. I love it, that’s why. I would still be out there, but I’m afraid nobody’s out there. Everybody’s moaning like me, “We want to go out. I want to go out on the road.” The first tour was May, but we didn’t cancel until March. Who knew what this pandemic meant? We have got it on for next year, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I was disappointed that the pandemic got in the way of my two tours this year. And it gave me a couple of miserable days, because I want to play. So what happened, I made a EP. That helped — I made a record and did some painting.
Amazing. You have more energy than any 10 people put together. Nine. [Imitates John Lennon’s voice] “Number nine, number nine… ”
The record is called Zoom In, because we’re on Zoom. Everything I do is on Zoom. I just thought it was so relevant to the days we’re living in right now. New Year’s Eve, they’ll all sing along with us, we hope. It’s a five-track EP, and I know what EPs are. I had a huge collection of EPs.
Everything comes back, I guess. I heard this incredible story that the kids are back into cassettes. I only heard it, so you must know more than me because you work for the music paper. It’s incredible. Only like 18 months ago did I finally take the cassette player out of the system! But now the cassette is back — it’s next to the vinyl player.
It all comes back — music just travels through time. It does. It’s incredible, and I’m lucky that the band I was in keep coming back on a daily basis, because the kids, every generation, still discover the Beatles. It blows me away, in all honesty. Every generation has a listen to us, you know? Now with the streaming, we’re streaming a lot. How great is that? Soon, I do believe they’ll be planting a little chip in our heads. It’d be set to music and it would just download direct.
Are you surprised by how kids keep discovering the Beatles? Well, I was always being liked by the kids. But I love all the Beatle remasters because now you can hear the drums. When we started, if anything had to get lost, at first it was the bass drum. It got lower, lower, lower, lower, lower. It was like I was just playing snare for some of the tracks. Then with Giles [Martin] and the remastering, people can hear the drums and they’re like, “Is that you?” “Yeah, that’s me.” So far out. Giles did a great job about that. I love him.
It seems like your music is always about bringing people together, isn’t it? That’s the job of musicians. That’s what we do. That’s why I love playing live. I want to feel that love coming at me. You know what I mean? Feel that love and give it back — it’s spiritual. I think that’s why we keep going. I remember when we were opening in England for Helen Shapiro [in 1963]. She had this band and we had three songs at the beginning. I was talking to her band and I’m saying, “How old are you? 40? And you’re still doing it?” Because at that age you think 5 years is a long time. But I’m 80 and I still want to do it.
What’s it like playing music long-distance? Friendship is a very important thing. Doing it on Zoom is the only way right now we can come together. When we played that original “Come Together,” we were all in the same room. Now it’s like, “Okay, here’s you, here’s me.’ ” But it’s the only way, so it’s great musicians are making so much use of it. If this is the only way, okay, we’ll go with it.
I’ve always loved hanging out with musicians. If you play anything, I’ll play with you all night. I’ve never been able to sit there by myself. I just need you to play something and I’ll play with you.
You played with so many friends this summer for your 80th birthday TV special. Yeah, we used to have a couple thousand people down in Hollywood. We’d have bands playing for my birthday and we’d have a cake. This year, we couldn’t have any of that. But what we did do, that nobody knows — Barbara and I got in the car and we drove down to Beverly Hills. There’s a “Peace and Love” hand down there. It’s seven-foot tall, a sculpture of my hand. We went there and had our picture taken by it. But don’t tell anyone.
All you’ve got is a photograph. That’s all we’ve got. Now back off, Boogaloo. But I do get a lot of help from my friends, I’ll tell you that!
Your friend Paul McCartney is in your new video. He has his own record coming out, McCartney III. He does, yeah — he’s playing everything. This is Phase Three for him, or Series Three, and it only took him 50 years. I got up with him at Dodger Stadium here. We’re good pals. If he’s in town, he comes, and if I’m making a record, I usually keep a track for him. He’s still the most brilliant bass player in my life. There’s a lot of really good players out there, but I don’t know any that are as melodic as him, and he understands it right away. When we were in the band together, we did have to have a few little talks, like the bass player and drummer, so we wouldn’t step on each other. But if we stepped on each other twice, that was a lot.
You also have a new book about the All-Starr Band. How did that happen? It’s all about the All-Starr Band’s 30 years. I put the band together in 1989 — I thought, “You don’t have a band,” so I opened my phone book and I called people and everyone was saying “yes.” The first All-Starr Band, I’m on drums, but we had Levon Helm because he plays and sings. And then I was so still insecure, I had Jim Keltner on the other side of me. We had three drummers!
We’ve had so many great players in the band. I keep changing the band, but only for the songs. The trick of the All-Starrs was you have to do the hits, and I was tired of begging Todd Rundgren every night to do “Bang the Drum.” He wanted to do anything but “Bang the Drum.” “Todd, you’ve got to do it. They know ‘Bang the Drum.’ ” But everybody does the best they can. That’s all we can ask. I mean, sometimes I’ve missed a break.
It’s hard to imagine you ever missed a break. I think two in 30 years ain’t bad. But Levon was great, because some nights you play, you’re giving your all, just something’s not working. He’d see me walk off and he’d say, “It’s all right, boss. We’ll get them tomorrow.” So I’ve kept that in mind ever since, really.
I’ve always wanted it to be a band. I can’t go out there on my own doing [sings in crooner voice] “I Did It My Way,” just with drums. It’s not going to work. So I always need to play with someone. I do love to hang out with musicians and play all night. I don’t play on my own. Never found that exciting.
With this new song, “Here’s to the Nights,” I called Dave Grohl and Ben Harper — they were the first. I said, “What are you doing Monday? Well, I’ve got this song and I want you do some vocals on it for me.” “Okay.” The doorbell rings, here they are. So I go into the other room where the drums sound great and we play. That’s what I love.
What about your other new book, of your painting? It’s called Painting Is My Other Madness because I always say, “Drumming is my madness.” Painting, that’s what’s kept me alive through the pandemic — making that EP and painting.
Two books and a record — you’re making everyone else look lazy! [Laughs heartily.] Well, get off your ass and do it!