‘It was very organic and natural': Ringo Starr’s current All-Starr Band can’t stop having fun

At one point, tonight was supposed to be the last 2014 show for the current edition of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. But, as has happened so many times since this simpatico edition of pop legends was first assembled in 2012, they just keep going.

Even as the summer tour ended, more fall dates were added. How far Starr and his merry band of musical friends — headlined by Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren, Richard Page and Steve Lukather — will take this, nobody knows. They’re simply having too much fun.

“In the past, I’ve heard not everybody got along, or whatever,” Lukather tells us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “You always run the risk of going: ‘Well, this looks good on paper. Let’s throw these guys in a room, and see what happens.’ You hope for the best, and musically, you go: ‘OK, sure.’ But do the personalities click? And we really did. It was very organic and natural.”

As with those other lineups, choices were initially made based on availability — and skill at a particular instrument. Starr needs a keyboardist, a bass player, a guitarist, etc., to round out a touring unit. There may have been bigger names in the past, perhaps even guys with more hits. But there has never been a group hang together this long — not even the fourth edition (featuring Peter Frampton, Gary Brooker, Jack Bruce and Simon Kirke), which lasted from 1997-98.

For Lukather, the ride has been as enjoyable as it was unexpected. “Some of the guys I knew,” the Toto stalwart adds. Second drummer “Gregg Bissonette is the guy that got me in the band. Then I knew Richard Page from the Pages record [Future Street] back in the 1970s that I played on. We’ve been friends forever. So, those guys really put in a good word for me. But I didn’t know the rest of the guys. But we got in the room, and it just clicked.”

The All-Starrs play the Greek in LA tonight. Another 16 shows have been announced, beginning in October. Though that arrives as Lukather switches focus to Toto — they’ll be touring this fall, as well, in front of a long-awaited new studio effort — this confirmed Beatlemaniac will be right back on stage with Starr.

“We’ve been having so much fun that Ringo’s having a good time, because he can be relaxed,” Lukather. “It’s a fun group of guys who really get along. It’s fun to be around, and I think that’s why he’s kept it together. When Ringo calls, I’m there. It’s a great honor to be asked to be part of incredible roster of people that have been part of that band, legendary folks.”

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.