Ringo Starr, Russell Brand - Troubadour - 1/30/12
It's always surreal entering a dark rock club in the middle of the day, but it's even more bizarre when you find yourself standing next to a Beatle and Katy Perry's ex while most people are sitting at their desks fighting off the Monday blues. This was the happy fate of a few lucky Sirius XM competition winners (and a wayward journalist) who saw Ringo Starr perform, get heckled by comedian Russell Brand and answer questions about his fabled career while most of L.A. toiled away.
Before Starr took the stage at the intimate Troubadour, Brand told the crowd in true Brand fashion, "This whole day was designed to elicit non-stop ejaculations." The English comedian also quipped, "I represent L.A. because as you all know, I grew up in South Central." When the man of the hour entered to rapturous applause, he flashed peace signs at the audience.
Although he was supposed to be promoting his new (and might we add 17th) solo album, Ringo 2012, Starr avoided the hard sell and only mentioned the new record in passing. Instead he fielded numerous questions from the audience for a full hour, during which time he revealed that Billy Preston was his favorite Beatles collaborator ("he never put his hands in the wrong place"), discussed his "matched grip" drumming technique ("I didn't really know how to play") and his initial impressions of the United States ("Before I came to America I thought everyone here was a cowboy. When I got to L.A. I was wearing a poncho and toy guns.")
Starr also gave a shout-out to the Troubadour, recalling how he saw Elton John and Peter Frampton perform on that very stage. "I saw Peter go from opening here to playing the Forum in one year," he said. "It can happen ... just keep playing. You never know."
Laura Ferreiro Russell Brand interviews Ringo Starr at the Troubadour