Ringo Starr kicks off his latest All-Starr Band tour tonight (June 6) in Rama, Ont., with a swing that goes through July 19 -- including a 74th birthday celebration July 19 in Los Angeles -- and picks up again on October 2 in Oklahoma.
This edition of the All-Starrs -- with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie (Journey, Santana), Richard Page (Mr. Mister) and Gregg Bissonette -- hit the road last year and, Starr tells us, has become one of his favorite bands:
"Everybody knows by now I love this band. I love the guys and we all get on well and I'm trying to keep it together. So we've done New Zealand, Australia, Japan. We've done South America. We've done America. We're doing it again. I'm keeping it together. I love this band; it's so far out that we all just get on really, really well...Everyone is cool. I mean, nobody plays better than Steve Lukather and Gregg Rolie. Everyone is a prime musician. There's not any liggers in the band, really."
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the All-Starr Band concept, which Starr says has been a satisfying way to be on the road:
"I put it together and it's gone on. I'm not really surprised because it's, I think it's a great show to come and see."
Besides the live dates, Starr is exhibiting some of his visual artwork this year at the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago, the Ocean Gallery in Stone Harbor, N.J., and, staring June 19, at the Soho Contemporary Art Gallery in New York.
Meanwhile, his Grammy Week honor, from the David Lynch Foundation on Jan. 20 at the El Rey in Los Angeles, will have its broadcast premiere as "Ringo Starr; A Lifetime of Peace and Love" on July 13 on AXS TV, featuring performances by his brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Ben Folds, Bettye LaVette, Brendan Benson, the Head & the Heart and more.