He first toured New Zealand a young drummer in an up-and-coming beat combo back in 1964. Quite an impression they left, too.

And even though he wasn't the best voice in the quartet - actually he was the fourth - they still let him sing on the occasional track, live and on record.

Good songs they were, tunes like Little Help from My Friends, Yellow Submarine, Octopus' Garden, and Act Naturally.

He's Ringo Starr, who at 72 remains possibly the best-known drummer in the world and one of only two surviving Beatles. And he's coming back, almost 50 years since Beatlemania gripped the country.


Starr and his All-Starr Band - a rotating line-up supergroup he first convened in 1989 - are playing two New Zealand dates - on Thursday, February 7 at Christchurch's CBS Arena and two nights later at Auckland's Vector Arena.

His show promises "a jukebox-worth of hits" care of Starr, his Beatles songs, his 17 solo albums along with songs from his band members.

The line-up he will be bringing with him includes cult rocker Todd Rundgren, who played in Auckland in 2010, guitar star Steve Lukather (Toto), keyboardist Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), bassist Richard Page (Mr. Mister) and drummer Gregg Bissonette.

The All-Starrs have been out on the road in the United States during the northern summer and Starr - who was once the narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine - is apparently well chuffed to be headed this way.

"The tour this summer was just great - I love playing with this band and I can't wait to get back out and play with them again. I am looking forward to revisiting New Zealand with the All Starrs. Peace and love!"

It wouldn't be summer without Shihad

Jon Toogood may be putting down his guitar to sing cabaret but he'll be back with Shihad for a summer tour.

Toogood's mob will be joined by I Am Giant and King Cannons on the Heavyweight Kings of Rock tour which starts at Lower Hutt's Station Village on Boxing Day, before heading to Brewers in the Park at Mt Maunganui on Saturday, December 29, the Riwaka Hotel, Motueka, on New Year's Eve, Butlers Reef in Oakura on Wednesday, January 2, and winding up at Mangawhai Tavern on Thursday, January 3.


Meanwhile, hip-hopper Action Bronson, who's gone from obscurity to cult favourite in the past year, will perform one show in January in Auckland.

Hailing from Queens, the ex-chef of Albanian descent, has earned a following based on his considerable physical presence and often bizarre lyrics. He's also collaborated with Ghostface Killah, Odd Future, and Riff Raff, and will be playing at Galatos on Thursday January 10, with tickets available now.

Also announced this week, is a one-off gig from old school American jazz and funk trombonist Fred Wesley, who played with greats like James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, Count Basie Orchestra, and Maceo Parker. He'll be at the Powerstation on Thursday March 21, with tickets on presale Tuesday October 23.

Plus, rising Texan bluesman Gary Clark jnr, whose debut album, Blak and Blu is out tomorrow, will be the support act for the Red Hot Chili Peppers shows in January. See interview page 5.

And finally, perennial favourites Wilco will be returning to New Zealand for shows next April, playing the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday April 6 and the Wellington Town Hall the night before. Tickets are on presale from Tuesday, October 30.