Ringo Starr says that “a lot of luck went into” his new album, “Y Not,” particularly in assembling the all-star cast that co-wrote songs with him and play on the album.
“People just came out and supported me ’cause I was doing it,” Starr tells Billboard.com about a guest list that includes Beatles mate Paul McCartney, brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Joss Stone, Ben Harper, Van Dyke Parks, Don Was and All Starr Band alumni Edgar Winter, Billy Squier, Gary Wright and Richard Marx. “A lot of it was just people hanging out and thinking, ‘Let’s try this.’ ”
“Y Not,” which comes out Tuesday, is the first of Starr’s solo albums on which he served as primary producer. He began the album shortly after releasing 2008’s “Liverpool 8,” “sitting at home with nothing better to do in L.A.” and laying down ideas with ProTools and synthesizers he keeps there. “I was just sort of building up these tracks…just having fun and seeing what happened,” he recalls. “When I finally got it where I felt, ‘There’s enough music now’…I started calling people in and played ’em two tracks and said, ‘I’d like to write a song with you on one of these. You can pick whichever track.’ That’s how we started writing.”
McCartney, according to Starr, was originally slated for just one song, “Peace Dream,” but after laying down a bass part for that he listened to some of the other songs he also contributed a vocal to “Walk With You.” “He heard that one and said, ‘Gimme a pair of (headphones) and give me a track. I want to do something on that,’ ” Starr says. “And then he just did that follow (vocal). He comes in a beat after me…so that’s how that ended up.”
Another of the album’s interesting songs is “The Other Side of Liverpool,” which Starr says follows “Liverpool 8’s” title track as part of a plan “to do a…mini-biography on every CD from now on…It’s not like a book where you can writer forever; you sort of encapsulate certain moments of your life.”
Starr plans to promote “Y Not” with an All Starr Band tour this year. Though he hasn’t formally revealed the full band lineup yet, Starr did confirm that the Romantics’ Wally Palmar will be part of the troupe, while reports indicate that returnees Winter, Wright and musical director Mark Rivera will also be joined by Rick Derringer and Mr. Mister’s Richard Page. An official announcement is expected soon.