Ringo, Rodrick and Rolling Stone
If you’re a writer, and Rolling Stone Magazine gives you the nod, and arranges for you to interview and write a piece about a music icon or legend, then the piece on Ringo Starr authored by Stephen Rodrick in the April 9, 2015 issue of Rolling Stone should be required reading. Bravo Mr. Rodrick, you are an excellent writer. Not only did you pen an article that was entertaining to read, but you craftily avoided the swamp of monotonousness that so many Rolling Stone writers seem to get bogged down with when presented a similar opportunity. I wasn’t familiar with Rodrick’s work prior to this article, but since reading it and in an effort to enlighten myself I’ve given him a follow on twitter to keep an eye out for his future work.
As for the article and Ringo Starr, well Rodrick describes him as Rock’s unofficial mascot, and I couldn’t agree more. He is the least written about of his former Beatle bandmates, and therefore everything written about him becomes that much more important. What I know about Ringo – or at least the stuff I think holds water – is the stuff written by first-hand witnesses like Larry Kane, Geoff Emerick, Tony Bramwell, George Martin as well as others in the “inner circle”. Ringo himself has no plans of writing his own memoir.
So yeah, in my humble opinion Stephen Rodrick did a phenomenal job, and being Ringo is the least documented it makes this article not simply good, but important.
In so far as The Beatles are concerned, Ringo Starr is the every man’s voice, but he is not the every man’s drummer. Some may consider Ringo lucky if they knew the circumstances of his joining the band involved a last minute lineup change while the ink on The Beatles new recording contract was figuratively still wet, but this is only half the story. Ringo was chosen. Chosen because of his skills, his affability, and his compatibility to play with cats like Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison… the ones who did the choosing. Simon Cowell only wishes his stamp of approval was worth that much.
Rodrick dextrously dance around Beatles questions, getting Starr to open up on the subject on his own terms, and still managing to cover the post and pre-Beatles Starr in an interesting and unique light, making for a well rounded bio on the guy who happens to be the richest drummer in the world. He’s having fun and banging the drum, albeit probably not all day as the Todd Rundgren hit implies. Certainly a worthwhile read for both the die-hard Ringo fans, and those who may not be as familiar with the man.
And as a final note to Stephen Rodrick; A worthwhile Ringo Starr biography has yet to be written, and is unquestionably overdue. I hope you at least give it some thought, because if this Rolling Stone piece is any indication, you’d be the right man for the job.
P.S. To the folks at Rolling Stone: You ought to have this guy write more often. It’s a nice change from your usual one-dimensional fluff pieces.
Follow Stephen Rodrick on twitter @stevenrodrick