NEW YORK (AP) — Ringo Starr, who spreads a message of peace and love every year on his birthday in July, said he wants that message to hit home even harder this year in the wake of Sunday's Orlando shooting.
Starr said in an interview Monday that he doesn't understand the attack that left 49 victims dead and more than 50 hurt.
"I don't understand that mindset that you could decide to injure and kill a lot of innocent people. I'm really not a supporter of wars either, but you can understand there's two sides having a go at each other. But this is so random," Starr told The Associated Press.
"It's a difficult situation because it just happens," he continued. "Some guy — so far it's always some guy isn't it, not some girl — gets up in the morning and maybe is mad, maybe is angry — we don't know, I don't know — and decides to cause a lot of hurt, you know. It's sad."
Starr says that's why his message of peace and love is so important. At noon on July 7 — his 76th birthday — the former Beatle is asking everyone to take a moment to ask for peace and love.
He's been holding the event since 2008 and has celebrated in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tennessee, Hamburg, Germany and other places. The idea started when someone asked Starr what he wanted for his birthday.
"And out of the blue I thought, 'You know what would be great if everybody at noon on the 7th of July went 'peace and love,'" he recalled. "Wherever you are — on the bus, down the mine, wherever — you could just go 'peace and love.' That would be ... a great gift to me."
Starr is currently on a U.S. tour with his All-Starr band, which wraps on July 2 in Los Angeles. He said performing hasn't changed much since his days with Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison.
"If you're thinking of the Beatles, the audiences were a lot bigger. But it's still the same. I started in clubs and I love to play — that's why I'm here because I love to play. I've gotten into several good bands and of course ended up in the best band in the world," he said. "Paul's still out there, it's where we come from, we're not there to be famous, we're there to play."
He added that he enjoys seeing older footage of him and the other Beatles when he comes across it.
"It's good. I love them boys — they were my brothers. I'm an only child (and) suddenly I got three brothers and we went through that brotherly thing, I thought. There were some downs, but there was so much up. But overall, the music is what was important and it didn't matter how we were fighting among ourselves. After the count in — two, three, four — everybody gave their best," he said.
"I do think about it, and I do miss John and George as my brothers. They went — one in a really bad way and one with an illness, which is a still a bad way but not as violent I don't think as the guy standing outside John's apartment block."