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Ringo Starr: “We’re On The Road Again”

“We’re on the Road Again” is the first track on Ringo Starr’s album Give More Love, out September 15, and it’s the perfect All-Starr concert opener. Co-written by Starr and Steve Lukather—and produced by Starr and Bruce Sugar—the song was built around an Indian- tinged guitar lick that Lukather brought into Roccabella West Studio, in the guest house behind Starr’s Beverly Hills home.

Sugar says that their workspace is equipped with the latest version of Pro Tools, “a bunch of outboard gear, preamps and a little 12-channel Trident board to run the monitors through.” On “Road,” Ringo’s drums and some basic guitar were tracked first. The kit was set up in a bedroom with two Coles 4038 overheads, two Neumann 87 room mics, an AKG D112 on kick, Beta 57 on snare and Sennheiser 421s on toms.

Then Lukather added a synth part and layered guitars. Sugar records most guitars through a Retro Powerstrip. They also tracked a Lukather bass part, but then Paul McCartney came to town and offered to record. “Luke was over the moon,” Sugar says.

For vocals, Sugar put up a vintage M49 that he’d found a couple of years ago in a box, in a storage space above the studio in Tittenhurst, the home John Lennon once owned and then sold to Starr. “It has an English power supply and I didn’t convert it; I bought an English step-up transformer so I could record at 220 volts. I use no EQ and a little bit of compression,” Sugar says.

He kept the vocal mic up so anybody who came by could add a background vocal to Starr’s, Lukather’s and McCartney’s. Others on the track include Joe Walsh, Gary Burr, Edgar Winter and Richard Marx.