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Author Topic: Richard Page talks Ringo  (Read 1477 times)

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Richard Page talks Ringo
« on: June 26, 2010, 02:11:41 AM »

Starr Power
Mr. Mister singer talks about touring with a legend. 'Well, how can you turn a Beatle down?'

7:02 p.m. EDT, June 25, 2010

Richard Page, bassist and singer for the 1980s band Mr. Mister, had not played that group's hits — "Kyrie" and "Broken Wings" — on a tour for 25 years.

After the band dissolved in 1989, Page put out a solo disc and settled into a career of producing and writing, creating such hits as Madonna's Grammy-nominated "I'll Remember" and working with artists from Tupac to Toto.

But these days, Page, 57, finds himself singing those old hits as part of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, the 11th incarnation of the troupe of rotating rock elite that the former drummer for The Beatles has taken out on the road over the past 21 years.

"When Ringo called, it was like, 'Well, how can you turn a Beatle down?' " Page says, laughing. He spoke by phone from Niagara Falls, Ontario, where the band was rehearsing for a tour that includes a sold-out show Friday at Easton's State Theatre.

"I was a huge fan, as we all were, and they helped shape my musical tastes and my ambitions. And so I just thought, 'I can't not do this. I have to do this.' "

Page also realized the tour, in addition to Starr power, also offered star power — the kind that could help elevate a project on which he'd been working: his first solo disc in nearly 15 years. So Page is using the tour to release "Peculiar Life," a collection of songs he kept for himself over the years because he judged them too personal for other artists.

Page isn't the only one who finds a higher profile in the proximity of a Beatle. Singer Gary Wright, who had the hits "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive" in the 1970s and plays keyboards in the All-Starr Band, also is releasing a new album, "Connected," for the tour.

Even Starr is using the tour to promote his new album, "Y Not," as he did his last disc, 2008's "Liverpool 8."

This All-Starr tour has the added attraction of marking Starr's 70th birthday — which the All-Starr Band will celebrate with a show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on July 7, five days after the Easton show. Before the show, Starr will lead a "Peace & Love" celebration in the New York Hard Rock Cafe.

"It is amazing," Page says. "It gives us all a remembrance of where we're at, 'cause people who grew up with the Beatles [use them to] measure your own life."

It continues yet another surge in popularity for the former Beatle. "Y Not" was Starr's highest-charting disc in 25 years — having gotten attention for his duet with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney on the song "Walk With You."

In February, he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during the celebration of the landmark's 50th anniversary. And on July 15, Hard Rock Cafe Hotel in Hollywood, Fla., will honor him for raising $10,000 for Haitian earthquake relief simply by donating a drum head he played.

But Page says Starr is "the most unassuming icon you'll ever meet."

"Ringo is the greatest, and I'm not BS-ing you," Page says. "He understands that there's a persona about him being a Beatle, and he manages to maintain his personality, his true persona, without being so affected by the iconic nature of his life. So he's one of those rare guys that is totally unassuming. He's funny, he's still hilarious."

And, Page says, "he still plays his ass off — plays amazingly great."

This All-Starr Band also features Edgar Winter, who had the hits "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride"; Wally

Palmar of the 1980s group The Romantics, who had the hits "What I Like About You" and "Talking in Your Sleep"; and drummer Gregg Bissonette, who played on Santana's "Supernatural" album and toured with James Taylor and others.

The show features Starr singing Beatles and solo hits, and then turns by the other members singing their songs, while everyone plays with them.

Page was recommended to Starr by friend Richard Marx, the 1980s and '90s singer who played in the 2006 All-Starr Band. The two co-wrote a song, "No Tomorrow," on Page's new disc.

"The qualifications you have to have is that you've had a couple of big hits on your own, and you can perform them live," Page says. "And he's got to really like your music, obviously."

There was a lot to like about Mr. Mister's songs. The group's 1985 album, "Welcome to the Real World," hit No. 1, as did both "Kyrie" and "Broken Wings." A third song from the disc, "Is It Love," also went Top 10.

So enduring are the songs that the band Train, on its recent hit "Hey Soul Sister," asks "ain't that Mr. Mister on the radio?"

"A nice little tip of the hat," Page says.

But Mr. Mister's follow-up album, 1987's "Go On," despite going gold, produced no hits. And management changes at RCA Records left the band "ignored" to the point that its third disc, "Pull," wasn't even released, Page says.

"Which is really strange. [But] when you don't have record company support, even though you've made them millions of dollars … Do I sound bitter? I'm not actually," he says, laughing.

The acrimony apparently was such that, when RCA released a 25th anniversary remastered "Welcome to the Real World" in April, it didn't even tell him, Page says.

After a similar management shake-up sabotaged his first solo record, 1996's "Shelter Me," Page settled into a life of writing and producing that let him be a father of four children in relative normalcy while working with other artists.

"I loved the creative process and nobody really bugging me and telling me: You have to go do this and do that," he says. "But the Ringo thing happened, and I thought, 'Wow, what am I, crazy? I can't turn this down.' "

Not only did the tour spur the new solo disc, but plans are under way to finally release the "Pull" album, Page says.

Touring again has come at a cost, he says. His youngest son graduated from high school while he was away.

"But he's forgiven me," Page says. "Just to be playing 'Kyrie' and turn around and look and there's a Beatle on drums, it's like 'Wow!' "

Source: http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/mc-ringo-band-20100625,0,5033611.story

"John was the best. I loved John. He was fine singer, a fine musician and he was a fine friend." -Ringo
“He's (Ringo) every bloody bit as warm, unassuming, funny, and kind as he seems. He was quite simply the heart of the Beatles.” – John


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