Supergroup: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band
Unless you’ve spent the past 57 years in a cryogenic freezer or chilling out undersea in a yellow submarine, you have a pretty good idea who Ringo Starr is.
You also probably know that the legendary Beatles drummer has remained active in the music scene since the Fab Four went their separate ways in 1970. That includes creating and fronting Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, a supergroup that has periodically toured with a rotating cast of musicians for nearly three decades.
What you likely don’t know, however, is much about the seven artists who have comprised this version of the All Starr Band since 2012. So as Ringo and his pals prepare to launch their latest tour with an eight-night engagement in Las Vegas, let’s reveal some fun facts about the supporting cast:
A 50-year veteran of the recording industry, Todd Rundgren has worked extensively as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He’s also engineered and/or produced albums for everyone from the New York Dolls and Meat Loaf to Hall & Oates. If you’ve ever flipped on a classic-rock radio station late on a Friday afternoon, you know at least one of Rundgren’s songs: the anti-work anthem “Bang the Drum All Day.”
Like Rundgren, guitarist Steve Lukather is a singer/songwriter with experience on the other side of the studio glass as an arranger and producer. Speaking of the studio, it’s essentially where Lukather lived throughout the 1970s and ’80s: In addition to being the original guitarist for Toto, the California native was an in-demand session guitarist for dozens of artists in Los Angeles, including Olivia Newton-John, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin. What other guitarist can say his fingerprints are on more than 1,500 albums?
For that matter, what artist can say he’s twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Answer: Gregg Rolie. The All-Starr Band singer and keyboardist was enshrined with Santana and Journey, two bands he co-founded and worked with on a combined 15 studio albums. Then there’s Richard Page, who is best known as the lead singer and bassist for the ’80s band Mister Mister … and less known for his backing vocals work with everyone from Mötley Crüe, Sammy Hagar and Twisted Sister to Al Jarreau, Barbra Streisand and Cher.
Page actually has a quasi, six-degrees-of-separation link to fellow All-Starr and veteran session drummer Gregg Bissonette: While Page worked with Hagar in the latter’s pre-Van Halen solo days, Bissonette was David Lee Roth’s drummer following the flamboyant frontman’s departure from Van Halen.
Last but not least, there’s Warren Ham, another multifaceted musician who handles saxophone, flute and vocal duties for the All Starrs. While Page and Bissonette have a loose connection, Ham and Lukather have a direct one: They toured together with Toto in the mid-’80s. Then in 2006, Ham hit the road with Newton-John, not only playing in her band, but singing opposite her on “You’re the One That I Want,” handling John Travolta’s unforgettable part.
Might Ham play the role of McCartney or Lennon on a Beatles tune or two? With the eclectic All Starr Band, pretty much anything is possible.
Planet Hollywood Resort, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13-14, 17, 20-21, 24 & 27-28, starting at $63 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster