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Ringo talks about fellow drummers Moon and Helm

- June 13th, 2012

Ringo Starr shared his Keith Moon life-size fake Rhino story at a press conference at Fallsview Casino where the Beatles drummer will launch the North American tour of his latest All-Starr Band on June 14-15 in Niagara Falls, Ont.
But it’s not as crazy as you might think.
Strangely enough, Starr and Moon, the late drummer of The Who, shared a mutual love of rhinoceros.
“Keith and realized we both loved rhinos,” said Starr. “We don’t know why. We were hanging out at night. There’s the first clue.”
So Starr had an artist who made lifesize animals make two rhinos – one for him and one for Moon.
“I gave one to Keith and he had this house and it had a wall and then there was like an archway and then there was the pool. And he placed (the fake Rhino) like you were walking to the pool. And the milkmen in England, they deliver the milk at five or six in the morning coming down in this little truck. (This one) turned around and didn’t come back for a day ‘cause (he thought), ‘Keith has a real one in the garden.’”
More seriously, Starr said Moon was his mentor.
“Everyone has this picture of Keith being this wild man but he was an uncle to my children and he had a very big heart. Underneath all the madness he liked to create, he was a very gentle soul.””
Starr was also asked at the press conference about about the recent passings of both E-Street saxophonist Clarence Clemmons and The Band’s drumer Levon Helm, who both were in his first All-Starr Band in 1989.
“Clarence was great ‘cause I was so nervous on the first All-Starrs and I wanted a big guy I could lean on and no one was bigger than him,” said Starr. “Levon, of course, I loved his playing. I loved him as a man. We’re close over the years. He also was on my (1973) Ringo album. The wheel keeps turning and God bless them both.”
As for Helm’s drumming style, Starr said: “It was incredible and it really belonged to him. The drums don’t have all those chords the guitarists have. (Drummers) have where they either can put something in, or leave something out. And that’s our art really. AND he was a great singer.”

Ringo: “Without George and I (the Beatles) would have been a folk group.”

- June 13th, 2012

So people always ask: What’s Ringo REALLY like?
First and foremost, the 71 year old Beatles drummer is funny.
He had me cracking up during a one-on-one chat on Wednesday afternoon at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont., where he’ll launch the latest version of his All-Starr Band tour on Thursday and Friday nights.
“You’ve got a list,” he said eyeing my notepad of scribbled questions.
“It’ll go fast – I’ve only got 5 minutes,” I responded.
“You’ve got three!” he retorted.
In the end, I got about seven.
Otherwise, he ended by shaking my hand and saying: “See you in 2 years,” referring to our chats every other year – God willing! – as he launches a tour in Canada.
Meanwhile, at an 11 a.m. press conference earlier attended by myself and about 50 other reporters/photographers and 200 members of the public, he also got off some hysterical one-liners.
He began by saying, “I became a musician not to perform at this hour in the morning!” before launching into Boys with his All-Starr Band mates, including Todd Rundgren.
As for whether the Beatles would have made it without himself and lead guitarist George Harrison, he joked: “Without George and I it would have been a folk group.”
And when one reporter suggested that he and the other surviving Beatle Paul McCartney get back together for the 50th anniversary of the first Fab Four single, Love Me Do, in support of Starr’s charity, The Lotus Foundation, making it (Peace and) Love Me Do instead, Starr responded: “I think that’s great. Give me your number, I’ll have someone call you.”
Starr also joked that choosing his his All-Star Bandmates was simple: “The criteria is you had a hit sometime this or the last century… We are the best 1-800 band in the land.”