Ringo Starr is once again ready to get by with a little help from his musical friends, as the rock legend kicks off a brand-new North American tour with his All Starr Band tonight in Rama, Canada. Todd Rundgren has been a member of this All Starr Band lineup since 2012, and he says playing in the group is "the best gig you could have."
He tells ABC News Radio that Ringo pretty much treats everyone in the band as equals, and that includes the Beatles drummer himself.
"There's no kind of, like, Ringo class and our class," explains Rundgren. "We stay at the same hotels that he stays in. We fly in the same plane that he flies in…You know, it's not 'I'm the star and the boss and you guys just work for me.' He's very…proud of the fact that this is a real band and he's part of it."
Todd, of course, seems grateful to be part of the All Starr Band too, explaining somewhat jokingly that he almost didn't meet Starr's conditions for being a member of the group.
"Ringo's criteria for you getting in the band is you have to have at least three hits, and I have just barely three hits," Rundgren says with a laugh. Among Todd's tunes that are featured in the usual All Starr Band sets are "I Saw the Light" and "Bang the Drum All Day."
The current incarnation of the All Starr Band also features Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, ex-Santana and Journey singer/keyboardist Gregg Rolie, Mr. Mister frontman Richard Page and renowned session drummer Greg Bissonette. The lineup had remained completely intact from 2012 until just recently, when musical director and multi-instrumentalist Mark Rivera had to bow out because of his commitments as a key member of Billy Joel's touring band.
Rundgren, who played in two previous versions of the All Starr Band, says this incarnation boasts a special chemistry.
"Everyone just kind of clicked at the first rehearsal," he points out. "We all get along really well with each other. We've all got a sort of a broad set of skills so that we all come off looking equally strong in certain ways."
As for Ringo, Rundgren says he's an absolute delight to be around, which makes for a very happy and harmonious experience on the road.
"[On] the tour now, he's clowning around with us, he's taking pictures and making jokes with our guests…and just being really friendly with them," says Todd. "So you can see that he really cares about this whole 'Peace and Love' idea…and he's trying to make himself the embodiment of it, in a sense. And it's really inspiring to see."
Ringo Starr's All Starr Band's North American summer tour is scheduled through a July 19 concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The group also has just announced a fall leg that gets under way on October 2 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and runs through an October 23 performance in Clearwater, Florida.
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