Besides his namesake rings, Ringo Starr has never been flashy. He never did a drum solo suspended from the ceiling, or using congas. I’m pretty sure he never toured with a gong. He definitely didn’t need a kit like this.
Despite Starr’s relentless adherence to the needs of the song — and not his own ego — his contributions to the Beatles’ legacy typically get less mention than those of the band’s primary songwriters.
Greg Kot of the BBC wrote in 2014 that Starr is “popularly perceived as one of the luckiest, his contributions to a legendary legacy dwarfed by those of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.”
It feels like that misconception is changing — and rightly so.
In honor of Starr’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, some of music’s greatest drummers assembled to pay homage to him.
The video includes Abe Laboriel Jr., who plays with McCartney; Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters and Nirvana; Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Questlove, among others. They explain in detail just what it was about Starr that made him a great drummer.
It’s about feel, timing and creativity. It’s about playing songs, not fills. Those are the reasons that Starr was — and is — amazing. (The video has some salty language.)
He has more of a frontman role in his most recent project, the All-Starr Band. So he probably will spend less time behind the kit when he comes to Bangor in June.
But a few years back, my brother and I saw him play at Mohegan Sun with his band. He played drums on a few tunes, and killed. His feel was perfect. He sounded like, well, Ringo.
And that’s about as high a compliment as any drummer can get.