He may be "71 and a half" years old, but that won't keep Ringo Starr from hitting both drums and the road this summer as he heads out on his 13th All Starr tour. The former Beatle gave TODAY's Matt Lauer a drum lesson Friday, and talked with him about how while he still feels the love onstage, he's nervous before every show.
Ringo Starr teaches Matt to play the drumsJune 22, 201205:40
"I wanna go home," Starr told Lauer about his trepidation before taking the stage. "'Can I do it? Will it -- will it be okay?' Blah, blah, blah. 'Will they love me?' I mean, a thousand things go through your head."
Starr also addressed his actual ability to play drums -- while many consider him an underrated drummer, he's suffered slings and arrows from bandmates and others undercutting his talent -- by saying such comments never bothered him. "It never got in my way because I knew I could play.... And now I'm the fifth-best drummer in America. I'm working my way up."
allDAY: Ringo Starr gives Matt Lauer a drum lesson
Whatever talent he had he tried to pass on to his children, and he had some real success -- son Zak plays live with The Who.
"I gave (my kids) a lesson.... I gave lots of kids lessons. And some will never get it, just cannot get it," Starr explained. "So I'd say, 'Well, maybe you should play piano or guitar or whatever.'"
But perhaps most surprising is that after a lifetime of playing second fiddle to the late John Lennon and George Harrison and the just-turned-70 Paul McCartney ("Every time I do a promotion for a record or whatever they say 'Oh, Ringo, you got a new record. How's Paul?'" he laughed), Ringo Starr is pretty down to earth and, as Lauer suggested, "normal."
"I do get along with people," he said. "I love people. You know, that's how it is." And that translates live, he acknowledged: "I think everybody knows, who comes to the show, it's a love fest. They know I love them, and I know they love me."