PARIS – Ringo Starr reminisced about his first visit to Spain in 1965 with The Beatles, which he described as the best band on the planet, just hours ahead of a new European tour that kicks off on Wednesday in Paris, France and during which he is set to return to the Iberian country after more than half a century.
In an exclusive interview with EFE, Sir Richard Starkey (Liverpool, 1940), better known by his nickname referencing his lifelong penchant for wearing several rings, said he was excited to go back to Spain, since his memories of the first time – when Spain was still under the brutal military dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco – were not the sharpest.
“I’m afraid I was a young lad in those days and we were on tour, so it was busy,” Starr said. “Didn’t we go to a bullfight?”
“I became a vegetarian that day,” he added with a chuckle.
The former Beatle presented the upcoming tour in the French capital along with his All Starr Band, which is scheduled to play in 21 locations in 12 European countries, including France, Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Monaco, Italy and – controversially – Israel.
The issue of Israel came up when asked at the presentation’s press conference about the pressure exerted by other stars, such as former Pink Floyd bassist-lyricist Roger Waters, on popular artists to avoid playing in the Middle Eastern country due to its human rights record.
“There are many people against and in favor, but I’m not a politician and what I want to do is to preach peace and love around the whole world,” he said while making the 1960s peace sign with his index and middle fingers.
As to his drumming style, the ex-member of the Fab Four told EFE the secret to his professional approach.
“I am an emotional player. I got lucky that I bought the first drum set and didn’t know any better, because I’m left-handed and it was a right-handed kit. And so, my style is a little different,” he said.
“And I’m an incredible, beautiful human being,” he added with a sly smile.
Ringo Starr and His All Star Band begin their 41-stop tour at L’olympia in Paris.
“Tonight’s the night playing the Olympia in Paris peace and love,” he said on his official Twitter account.