by Adam Gold
Here's something mildly amusing if not totally uninteresting. ... Are you still with me? Cool. While I was mindlessly entering mind-numbing music listings this afternoon, a name of Beatles-esque stature caught my eye, inducing a "Huh?" followed by chuckle. Followed by an "Oh wait."
It was Richard Starkey. That's Ringo Starr's real name, for those of you who don't know. And for those of you who don't know that, Ringo Starr played drums for The Beatles — an English rock band that was, in their day, more popular than Jesus Christ, but not quite as popular as Oasis.
According to a routine, generic event listings email sent the Scene's way, Starkey will appear at The Hall this coming Sunday, Feb. 5, to give a guitar demonstration. In case your confused, I've commissioned an artist's rendering (above) of what this event could potentially entail.
Sure, Richard Starkey is also the name of an award-winning, local flat-picking guitarist, vocalist and revered Martin Guitar surgeon who owns and operates his own instrument repair shop in Franklin. But let's just for a moment pretend that is beside the point and ask ourselves: Could it be that, as underrated as "Ringo Starr" Richard Starkey is as a drummer, he's perhaps even MORE underrated as a guitar player? So underrated that a post-Fab public guitar demonstration could fly so low under the radar? Could the former Beatle and perennial All-Star bandleader himself be so riddled with fear that if he came to the Country Music Hall of Fame to deliver a demonstrative display of chops, but in the process briefly had a ham-fisted finger fart causing him to play out of tune, an audience of skeptic Nashville cats would walk out on him? Look at the Nashvillvian either to your left, your right or in the mirror and tell me it's not conceivable.
P.S. For those of you who find error or hyperbole in the me distinguishing Ringo Starr, a Beatle, as underrated, catch up and get with the goddamn program already. Seriously. It's a fact — Ringo is STILL underrated. If for any reason alone, that fact that he influenced more "musicians" to pick up pairs of drumsticks than any other drummer in history is enough to settle this never-ending debate that I'm not even remotely attempting to rekindle right now. Hell, even Kurt Cobain counted Ringo as an early musical inspiration. The jury is in and right now I'm the foreman. There is no debate. Ringo rules as much as Mike Portnoy rots. The difference between knowing that and not knowing that defines the difference between a musician and, ugh, a musician.
And in related, wholly not absurd news, an unrelated email The Country Music Hall of Fame sent to the Scene today proclaims that the 44-year-old institution set its all-time attendance record in 2011 — with 507,510 people passing through its doors. So hats off to The Country Music Hall of Fame!