Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Ringo in Mexico
I recently spent a large sum of money (for me anyhow) on a dozen or so issues of the totally fab Beatles fanzine, "the Write Thing." Being home sick today, I spent a large amount of time reading these fanzines. How I enjoyed this opportunity to "time-travel' back to the mid-late 1970's in a time where people complained that Linda was surgically attached to Paul's arm and that John was being too much of a recluse. I wish we could have these complaints about them in 2011. For some reason, as I read the articles in these magazines (which I hope will be okay to share with you all in the near future), I couldn't help but think of what a much more simpler time it was to be a Beatles fan. The stories made it sound like getting tickets to a Paul concert wasn't too difficult or expensive. That Beatles conventions were popping up all over the place with awesome collectibles for sale at a decent price. And they sold fan photos for under a $1 each! The same fan photos that are being sold just this past August at Beatlefest Chicago for $20 a pop! (overpriced for mass-produced fan photos if you ask me...)
Anyhow the first of the stories I would like to share is from the Write Thing Issue # 31 which is the Nov/Dec 1980 issue (okay so that face alone makes me really sad....the last issue of innocence I guess). The thing that strikes me about the article is the photograph. We have seen this type of fan photo before. The fans do not want to bother the Beatle for a posed photo, so they look like they are snapping a photo of their friends, but make sure that the photographer has the Beatle in question nicely framed up in the background. I love it! Brilliant! This was written by Mexican Beatles fan, Manuel Magana. Ringo was in Mexico filming the movie, Caveman, at the time.
March 1, 1980: I flew to Durango especially to see Ringo. It was the first time I ever could see a Beatle in person. Ringo was having dinner in the restaurant at his hotel, EL Presidente. He was sittingn with a group of actors from the film. All the people that have been as lucky as me, will agree -- actually seeing one of the Beatles is great!
The next day, Sunday, Ricardo Rodriguez, Enrique Bojas and me waited for Ringo to appear by the swimming pool of the hotel. He finally came out and stayed near the pool, but never went in. He wore a red t-shirt with the words, "Durango" on it, blue pants and Huraches
(Mexican leather sandals).
We stayed very near him, waiting for the right moment. Four reporters wanted to talk to him but he said, 'No thank you, it's my one day off." He was playing dice with his friends and taking in the sun.
We decided finally, this was our moment and started to edge closer. We greeted him, and he jokingly greeted u with just a forefinger to shake instead of his whole hand. We showed him photos of various Beatles' record sleeves and one of George Martin and me, and photos of the Capitol Records tower in LA. He said, "I've seen all of this!" And I said, "No, you're kidding!"
We showed him Beatles Monthly #45, with him on the cover. He tried to imitate the same toothy smile of 13 years ago. He was making comments at all the old pictures. On page 18, he began to read one of the letters from a fan"Dear Beatles, what can we say? Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields is simply fantastic!" He shouted the word, "FANTASTIC!" !! About a picture of Paul playing the drums he said, "I never played." Then a picture of David Crosby form the Byrds surprised him, 'David Crosby!! Did he come to that session?" When he saw the serious looking picture of George on the back cover he said, "Look out, I'm a mystic!"
He seemed to study the list of top 200 rare records (pg. 28 Record Collector part) very intently and made the other actors guess which records were on it. He was almost ready to go when I asked him for an autograph. I opened the Beatles Monthly to the original cover and asked him to sign.
I asked him, "do you know my name? (silly question) and of course he said, "No!" "It's the same as your name in 'Candy'" He said, " Can you spell it?" When I said yes, he said, "then you put it on here." I said please and he told me he didn't sign names, but at least he autographed it 'Best Wishes, Ringo Starr".
After that he began to dance with another actor and sang a slow version of the song "Reach Out, I'll be there." And then said, "He left the stage."
After he left one of the other actors told us that Ringo had said it was no use him ever starting another band because he had already been "part of the best group ever!" It was well worth the trip all the way to Durango to see him. I did get a chance to see him two more times when he came to Mexico City in April. He was with Barbara Bach then and they were on their way to a party. We waited by his hotel and he wave and said hello.