In Conversation: Ringo Starr, David Lynch, and Henry Diltz In Beverly Hills

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Story by Shawn Perry
Live Photos by Alex Kluft 

Whenever a Beatle makes a public appearance, it’s bound to draw a crowd. Such was the case when the band’s drummer, Ringo Starr, showed up at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, October 29. Joined by filmmaker David Lynch and photographer Henry Diltz, Starr sat down with journalist and author Brad Tolinski to talk about his new book, Another Day In The Life, as well as his new album for 2019, What’s My Name.

After a slight technical delay, Tolinski brought out Starr, Lynch and Diltz and proceeded to ask a series of questions. Zeroing right in on the new book, which includes more than 500 photos mostly taken by Starr (he readily admitted he “lifted” some of the shots of the Beatles from the Internet), the first query was rather straight-forward: “What makes a good photo?” Lynch offered up the best answer: “A great photo is like porn — you know it when you see it.” He added that “Ringo has a great eye” for the photos he takes. For his part, Diltz noted he styles himself as a “master of the casual,” explaining that his technique is more about capturing the “moment,” over staging shots. “I’m just an observer,” he said. “I know how to hang out with musicians.”

Another Day In The Life, Starr’s third photography book, “just happened,” according to the drummer. He remarked that it’s a “mixed bag” of photos and that all the revenue from sales of the book goes to charity. Besides the personalities and friends, the book is filled with curious, simple images of birds, flowers, food, even a wall plug (“Some of them have faces,” Starr said). Another shot is simply a boot on the shoreline that Starr said he took when he was renting a beach-front house in Malibu.

Another topic covered was meditation. Stating it was the one thing he took away from the famous interactions the Beatles had with the Maharishi in the late 60s, Starr said, “I meditate every morning.” He explained that because “our heads are busy — you get a break. If you meditate, you’ll feel better.” Of course, when it comes to meditation, the David Lynch Foundation has been very successful in bringing transcendental meditation to inner-city schools, veterans groups, even prisons as a means of “stress reduction and cognitive development through Quiet Time.” The director received a rousing applause from the packed Saban for his work in this field.

When it came to What’s My Name, Starr talked about the John Lennon song, “Grow Old With Me,” he recorded for the record. On a demo for the song, Lennon said it would be “a good song for Richard Starkey,” though one couldn’t help but tear up at the notion that the bespectacled Beatle never got the chance to grow old and see the song’s meaning come to fruition. Additional praise went to Paul McCartney (“my favorite bass player”) and George Harrison, who helped Starr finish his solo songs after the Beatles broke up. “George made me sound like a genius,” he said.

From razzing Diltz (Lynch remarked how much he liked his face, while Starr called him “the last hippy standing”), to talking about the Beatles (Lynch revealed he saw their very first U.S. concert in Washington D.C.), to Starr’s “Peace and Love” birthday celebrations — the evening, presented by BackStory Events and Genesis Publications, was a joyous, albeit short, event for a houseful of Beatle and Ringo fans. Everyone in attendance got a free copy of Another Day In The Life. A limited edition of 2,000 copies with Ringo Starr’s autograph were for sale in the lobby for $500. Chances are  those are sold out, but you can still pick up a regular copy for yourself at ringostarrbook.com.

          

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