Paul McCartney & Joe Walsh Contribute To Home Studio-Recored Songs
It is the latest in a series of records that Starr has produced in his home studio with many of his musician friends, including Paul McCartney and Joe Walsh, along with Edgar Winter, Dave Stewart, Benmont Tench, Steve Lukather, Nathan East, Colin Hay, Richard Page, Warren Ham, Windy Wagner and Kari Kimmel.
McCartney contributed on “Grow Old With Me,” which was written by John Lennon.
Walsh plays guitar on that song and also co-wrote “Gotta Get Up To Get Down,” a song he also sings on and plays guitar. It also features Winter.
What’s My Name reflects Starr’s desire to sing, play and record music with his friends without going into a studio. He calls his home studio Roccabella West.
“I don’t want to be in an old-fashioned recording studio anymore, really,” Starr said. “I’ve had enough of the big glass wall and the separation. We are all together in here, whoever I invite over. This is the smallest club in town. And I love it, being at home, being able to say hi to Barb, it’s just been good for me and the music.”
The new album’s title track and first single – “What’s My Name”– is a rousing anthem written by a returning All-Starr Band member from this past summer, Colin Hay, that turns a familiar chant from Ringo’s live shows into a lively song.
“This was Colin Hay’s fourth time in the All-Starr Band, and a friend told me that, unbeknownst to me, Colin wrote a song years ago called, ‘What’s My Name.’ I said, “bring it up to the house and let’s hear it.” Later I heard, Colin couldn’t find it! He’d written the song down six years ago and put it in this pile or that pile. But it ended up at the bottom of the drawer. So, Colin came over and played it for me, and I LOVED it.
“I loved the verses. I loved the sentiment. In all honesty, there’s not a lot of people who could get away with asking ‘what’s my name’ in a song. If you’ve been to the show, you already know the title. I’m blessed that most things coming my way are peace and love. There are still always trials and tribulations. But I just feel in life, the sun shines this way.
“I’m blessed. I always have the same talk – an audience can be tortured. We give them everything we’ve got. We give each other everything we’ve got. And sometimes it’s not enough. But most nights it’s everything. I’ll play the best I can for you. And you play the best you can for me. That’s all I can ask.”
Yet the emotional centerpiece What’s My Name is Starr’s version of “Grow Old With Me” by Lennon. This is a performance for the ages, one made all the more powerful and moving when we realize that Ringo is blessed to be still living the dream of growing older with the one he loves in a way that his beloved friend John was imagining with Yoko when he wrote this song in the years before his tragic death. As Starr rightly notes with a warm smile, “I’m still living that dream.”
For Ringo, the inspiration to record “Grow Old With Me” now came when he ran into noted record producer Jack Douglas who had produced John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy album, among other classic recordings.
“Jack asked if I ever heard The Bermuda Tapes, John’s demos from that time,” Ringo recalls. “And I had never heard all this. The idea that John was talking about me in that time before he died, well, I’m an emotional person. And I just loved this song. I sang it the best that I could. I do well up when I think of John this deeply. And I’ve done my best. We’ve done our best. The other good thing is that I really wanted Paul to play on it, and he said yes.
“Paul came over and he played bass and sings a little bit on this with me. So John’s on it in a way. I’m on it and Paul’s on it. It’s not a publicity stunt. This is just what I wanted. And the strings that Jack arranged for this track, if you really listen, they do one line from “Here Comes The Sun.” So in a way, it’s the four of us.”
Starr co-wrote the rocking “Gotta Get Up To Get Down” with his brother-in-law and long-time musical partner Walsh. “I’ve been making music with Joe long before we became brothers,“ Starr said. “And we were having dinner with Klaus Voorman months ago, and for whatever, I said, ‘well, you’ve got to get up to get down.’
“Joe and looked at each other and said, ‘we know that’s the title, so let’s write a song about it.’ That’s how it is. Edgar Winter’s part on this track is just incredible.
“Edgar’s always incredible, but he out does himself in my book.”
Additional tracks include: “It’s Not Love That You Want;” “Magic” co- written with his long time All-Starr Steve Lukather “I wrote that with Steve Lukather, who is magic,” Starr said. “I made a mistake of telling Steve, ‘you’re my last best friend,’ and so that how we’re live now.
“And he’s a beautiful guy. He sometimes puts out a hard shell, but he is so soulful. We work well together. And he’s even better when he’s not playing a thousand notes a minute – which he can. He’s the man. I love the man. Don’t tell him. Sometimes Steve’s so happy playing with me, I say, you’re having too much fun.’ ”
A cover of the classic “Money (That’s What I Want);” “Send Love, Spread Peace” and “Life Is Good,” which was inspired by the book written by the optimistic apparel company of the same name founded by Bert & John Jacobs. “I went to receive my honor at the Paley Center last year and I was wearing a hat that said, “Life is Good.” I liked the sentiment. And the guys from the Life is Good organization sent me t-shirts and a book, and Gary and I noticed that. And that’s how we wrote it. If we have a title, we just go.”
Starr also has a new book coming out October 15, Another Day In the Life (Genesis Publications) reflects his love of music, travel and nature and shows us the world as seen through Ringo’s eyes. Originally published as a limited edition, this hardback version will be widely available and can be pre-ordered here.