How Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band Saved Him From Alcoholism
Ringo Starr recalled how the formation of his All-Starr Band in 1989 saved him from becoming lost in alcoholism, and set him on a road to a “fun” life once again.
The former Beatle said he’d reached rock bottom with his addiction issues, and needed to be persuaded to return to work after a stint in rehab.
“I was afraid at the beginning,” Starr told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “[I thought,] ‘I don’t know how you do anything if you’re not drunk.’ That’s where I ended up. I couldn’t play sober, but I also couldn’t play as a drunk. So when I did end up in this rehab, it was like a light went on and said, ‘You’re a musician, you play good.’”
The band was formed when his lawyer told him that a group of artists that originally included Joe Walsh, Levon Helm, Clarence Clemons, Billy Preston and Rick Danko “wanted to back me on a tour.” However, Starr admitted: “I didn’t think anybody would come. I only knew three drummers and I was one of them.”
He continued: “But you know, a lot of people in that band weren’t sober. They were all sort of on something. But we pulled it together. For me personally, that’s all it’s about. I got over the mad first, second year, and now, this is how I live. It’s a normal way of living now, and I have a lot of fun.”
Asked about differing attitudes to drink and drugs across generations, Starr said he believed there was “good news,” explaining: “a lot of new artists are sober people. The part of it where musician felt it was their right to get crazy has changed. … I think now in the new music age, it’s getting a bit cleaner. I think their rebellion is to stay clean. Like they’re going back to vinyl!”
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