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Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 8:39 AM
— Ringo Starr calls from his hotel room amid the neon bling and bustle of Las Vegas, a Liverpudlian accent still peppering that unmistakable voice. Fresh off of rehearsal, the spry and ageless 77-year-old rocker readies for something he doesn’t have to do: tour.
“Every time I put a band together and we talk to the press, they say, ‘You want to tour? You’re still playing?’” Starr said. “And I say, ‘Yep, because that’s what I do. I’m not an electrician.’”
He’s a drummer, arguably the most significant on the planet. Thanks to his Beatles tenure and solo career, the Rock Hall of Famer continues causing countless others to pick up sticks eons after the British Invasion.
“Ringo is the archetype of a great pop-rock drummer,” said Atlanta musician and producer Robert Schneider of psychedelic rockers the Apples in Stereo. “To me, he represents drumming perfection: heavy, groovy and solid, yet a little wild and not overly technical.”
Bill King, editor and publisher of the Atlanta-based Beatlefan magazine, calls him “one of the most influential drummers ever.”
Starr, with his All Starr Band in tow, will display that influence Nov. 11 at the Fox Theatre. Known to have an enduring affection for the city, Starr even invested in a downtown Atlanta eatery, the defunct London Brasserie, in the late 1980s.
His favorite Atlanta haunt today? “The Container Store,” he quipped. “That’s the place for me, brother. I need to contain myself, it seems.”
Yeah, the Beatle the press dubbed “the funny one” more than 50 years ago still has it. Subsequently, his evolution has led from cheeky mop topper to a contemporary poster child for peace and love.
Starr has become synonymous with the phrase, perpetually uttering it in interviews and onstage; consistently waving the two-fingered sign in public; and plastering it on his website and on the cover of his latest album, “Give More Love.” Each year on July 7 — they say it’s his birthday — Starr organizes a public peace and love salute with satellite events dropping all over the planet.
If ever the world needed Starr to raise his peaceable hands, it might be now.
Fatefully, Starr and company were booked to start their current tour in Las Vegas months in advance of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. A lone shooter took the lives of 59 people, including himself, and injured more than 500 others.
When recalling watching the event play out on television, Starr pauses with muted emotion. “Every time it comes up, I get a tear in my eye that so many went down,” Starr said. “Fifty-nine families have a lot to deal with, and all of those people who were wounded. … It’s hard to deal with it in your mind.”
The day after the tragedy, Starr was scheduled for a business meeting in Vegas ahead of an eight-night residency at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino set to begin less than two weeks later.
“It was a big decision to go or not,” he said. “I decided, ‘Let’s go. Let’s not let it stop our lives. We’ve got to carry on.’”
Then in the midst of the meeting, someone broke the news to Starr that his close friend and collaborator, musician Tom Petty, had died. Trudging forward, Starr made it through the meeting and kept the tour launch date on the books for Oct. 13 in Vegas.
On Oct. 12, Starr and wife Barbara Bach donated $100,000 through their Lotus Foundation to the Nevada Resort Association’s Vegas Strong Fund. The latter benefits those impacted by the Vegas shooting.
Peace and loving his way through adversity seems par for Starr’s course. In 1989, after years of struggling with addiction, Starr entered rehab and surrendered to sobriety. Seven months later, he put together his first All Starr Band.
“And here we are,” Starr said. “The dream is still unfolding.”
The concept of Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band finds the drummer sharing the stage with a who’s who of rotating musicians. To be an All Starr, you need a hit record or two to your credit. The production allows each All Starr to have his or her time in the spotlight, rocking their respective tunes. The rest of the set list, approximately half, goes to Starr with the band backing him on Beatles and solo tracks. This results in a show loaded with a total of about two dozen radio-friendly, classic rock anthems.
Since 1989, a laundry list of performers have held All Starr slots, from Starr’s brother-in-law Joe Walsh and the late Billy “the fifth Beatle” Preston to Shelia E. and Peter Frampton. According to Starr, he’s had 12 official incarnations.
The latest lineup proves to be the longest running with the core remaining the same since 2012. It features Todd Rundgren; Gregg Rolie (Santana); Richard Page (Mr. Mister); Steve Lukather (Toto); and veteran drummer Gregg Bissonette. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Warren Ham (Kansas) joined in 2014.
“Over the years, we’ve really gotten to know each other,” Starr explained. “We know where each other is heading. Once we get the harmonies right, we’re off (and running).”
Despite the fact he could easily dominate the stage himself for the entirety of a show, Starr opts for the communal experience of making music with others, allowing all involved a chance to shine.
“He likes getting to play to other peoples’ numbers,” said King. “As he says, all he ever wanted to be was a drummer. To him, the fact that he still gets to do that is the ultimate payoff. He’s spent his life doing what he wanted to do, which is play drums.”
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 5:06 PM
LOS ANGELES — Fergie is responding to critics of her sultry, jazzy rendition of the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game. The singer issued a statement to TMZ, saying her version at Sunday night’s game in Los Angeles “didn't strike the intended tone.”
“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the statement said. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”
Wearing an off-the-shoulder dress, Fergie sang the national anthem with a number of ad-libs and some lengthy notes. At one point, Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green could be seen stifling a laugh, and so could late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
One person who had some words of support for Fergie was Mariah Carey, who told TMZ cameras the singer needn’t listen to negativity.
“Darling, nobody needs to listen to that,” she said.
Fergie’s national anthem performance can be watched below.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 4:10 PM
LOS ANGELES — Soon-to-be mom of two Chrissy Teigen stopped by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to dish about her pregnancy Monday. The model and cookbook author revealed that she and singer John Legend’s second bundle of joy is due in June.
“I’m having a baby boy in the spring,” she told DeGeneres, before jokingly whispering, “I’ll tell you: it’s June.” Teigen and Legend announced her pregnancy in November with an Instagram video showing their daughter Luna pointing to the baby in her mother’s belly. Amid speculation of the baby’s gender, the 32-year-old “Lip Sync Battle” host confirmed she is having a boy with a photo from the Grammy Awards red carpet.
While excited for her second child, Teigen shared that one thing she hadn’t quite figured out yet was what to name him.
“It’s just, boy names are really tough,” she said. “I don’t even think he’ll have a middle name, because we can’t even think of a first name.”
When asked how she and Legend came up with Luna, Teigen revealed it was linked to a happy childhood memory.
“Well, there was a blood moon happening. It was like a very beautiful night. Really big, vivid red moon — just gorgeous. And I have this love for space, and I think about space camp all the time and my days at space camp as a youngster, so I just thought ‘Luna’ was perfect.”
Like a true comedian, DeGeneres joked that the second baby should follow the trend, saying, “What about Lunar?”
Teigen replied with a laugh, “Lunar? I like it,” while Ellen followed up, “What about Urban Legend?”
“I do like that,” Teigen said.
The “Cravings” author went on to tell Ellen that her husband’s “ego” was all that was standing in the way of them choosing a far more common name.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Why don’t you do the JJ thing — John Jr. — but John and his ego. He was like, ‘I don’t want him to feel like he has to live up to that.'”
“What a jerk!” Teigen joked. “Oh, sorry. Heaven forbid he do what you do.”
Watch a clip of Teigen’s appearance on “Ellen” below.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:15 PM
ATLANTA — Filings with the magistrate court of Fulton County from Feb. 13 show that the Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly has been evicted from two homes in Atlanta. The R&B singer was renting houses in the city’s Johns Creek neighborhood. The documents show that Kelly owes SB Property Management Global, LLC more than $31,000 in past due rent payments.
Online records for Fulton County don’t show any criminal filings against Kelly. A spokesperson for the singer, Trevian Kutti, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Kelly has “no comment at this time” on the dispossessory affidavits filed against him.
When reached by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday, Edmond Green of SB Property Management Global, LLC said he could not comment on the filings. The court documents carry Green’s signature as the affiant.
According to the court documents, the homes Kelly has been evicted from are on Old Homestead Trail and Saint Devon Crossing.
These were the same homes that were reportedly burglarized in 2017. A former associate of Kelly’s, Alfonso L. Walker, was accused of breaking into them and selling many of the items inside. Walker, 50, was arrested in December and charged with theft and burglary.
Court filings show that Kelly paid $3,000 per month in rent at Saint Devon Crossing and $11,542 per month in rent at Old Homestead Trail. The homes are 2 miles apart and have Duluth addresses. The Saint Devon Crossing home is in a cul-de-sac off Rogers Bridge Road. The Old Homestead Trail home is in a gated community off Bell Road. Google images shows a pool and a basketball court behind the home.
At one time, Kelly rented a third home in Johns Creek on Creek Wind Court. In July 2017, after BuzzFeed published an article claiming that Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” there, Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, of Atlanta, held a press conference outside the home. They said their daughter Joycelyn was “beat” by Kelly and “part of the R. Kelly cult.” Joycelyn later released a video through TMZ saying she was “in a happy place.”
On Aug. 7, 2017, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office received a file on Kelly from Johns Creek police. The DA — Paul Howard — said his office did not request the file and was not pursuing charges against Kelly, but his office would review the file.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 1:43 PM
Dion described what it felt like to lose Angélil — who died at age 73 after a cancer battle —after decades of marriage.
“For three years, my husband did not have a sip of water or food. He was eating through a tube,” Dion said. “The only thing I hoped while he was in three years of agony: I wanted him to live in peace. I wanted him to feel so light and no worries. He had a little heart attack. It’s so quick; he didn’t even feel anything. I thought that he was like liberated from his pain.”
“He’s the only man I’ve seen. The only man I’ve loved. The only man I’ve kissed,” the Canadian added.
Angélil — with whom Dion shared sons René-Charles Angélil, 17, and twins Eddy and Nelson Angélil, 7 — died two days before his 74th birthday and days before the death of Dion’s brother, Daniel Dion. As Dion’s longtime music manager, Angélil had always had a role in her life personally and professionally.
Dion has a bronze replica of Angélil’s hand that she brings along to every one of her performances. With two Las Vegas residencies that combined have spanned well over a decade and counting, she’s had many performances with his hand in hers since his passing.
Dion put her residency on hold during her husband’s bout with cancer, but it was Angélil’s constant support even through his illness that quickly led Dion back to the stage.
“I shake my husband’s hand and knock on wood with him every night before every show,” Dion, 49, told The Daily Telegraph. “Even after he’s gone, I still talk to him.”
A month before Angélil’s death, the longtime couple celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary.
“My husband wanted me to go back onstage before he passed; that’s what he wanted the most,” Dion said. “So I went back onstage while he was still alive; he wanted to make sure I could keep going. So I did prove to him (that), yes, I could keep going. I told him I’ve got the kids and that he’s got to trust me, he’s got to relax.