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My interview with Ringo’s drummer: Gregg Bissonette

In today’s issue of D2 you can read our eight page story about the career and legacy of The Beatles’ Ringo Starr, who are playing Norwegian Wood tomorrow. As a little taster, here’s my interview with Ringo’s drummer Gregg Bissonette, who is the one the world’s most famous drummers call when they need a drummer. Bissonnette has also played drums for The Eagles’ Don Henley and The Police’s Stewart Copeland.


Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. Greg Bissonette is standing on Ringo’s left side. Photo: Rob Shanahan/Republic Media

ØH: How would you describe Ringo Starr’s strengths and influences as a drummer?

GB: Ringo Starr changed the way drummers play the drums. Ringo’s feel has an incredible swing to it. He never gets in the way of the vocals. His drumming is extremely song oriented. He always seems to come up with the perfect part for the song to make it feel just right. The songs he has played on would not be anywhere near as cool if it were not for his amazing groove and style.

ØH: Do you think he’s been underestimated?

GB: I sure do not underestimate him, and neither do any of my drumming friends and associates. I would not be a drummer if it were not for Ringo. His parts and feel are on hundreds of my all-time favorite songs.

If any people do underestimate his impact on the world of drumming, they are either not well informed, have not really listened carefully to how important and great Ringo’s style is, or they are just plain jealous that he is the most famous and one of the greatest drummers in history.

ØH: How is it to be the drummer for a drummer?

GB: Being Ringo’s drummer, and playing double drums with him for a good part of the concert each night, is one of the greatest thrills and honors of my life. I truly feel that this gig is a great gift from God. I never take for granted what an incredible honor this is. I have such a blast everytime the two of us sit down and play drums together!

It is also a huge thrill to be playing drums for Ringo when he is fronting the band and singing one of his hit songs!

ØH: How is he as a band leader?

GB: Ringo is an amazing band leader. I cannot think of another bandleader that could command such respect and admiration from all of the other All Starrs. When Ringo steps onto the stage, I don’t care who is up there in the band… everything just fits together perfectly in the groove and vibe of the song, his tempo and feel are really amazing to make music with.

Ringo gives every All Starr Band member their own freedom to do their songs the way they feel they should be played.

Ringo is a very caring and joyous friend, that is filled with Peace and Love. He brings Peace,  Love and Joy with him wherever he goes.  It is very heart warming when I think of all the great musicians and fans whose lives have been brightened, enriched, and inspired by Ringo and his drumming.

To read the whole story you have to purchase today’s issue of D2. In fact, why don’t you take up a subscription?

Av oyvindholen

Father, journalist, author, and journalist in D2/Dagens Næringsliv (www.dn.no).

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