August, 1980: In an interview with Playboy writer David Sheff, John doesn’t take kindly to having his former bandmates’ talents underestimated.
SHEFF: Critics would criticize Ringo’s drumming by saying, you know, “If he wasn’t a Beatle—”
JOHN: Ringo’s a damn good drummer. He was–he was always a good drummer. He’s not technically good—
SHEFF: But critics used to criticize him all the time.
JOHN: Well–yeah. I think Ringo’s drumming is underrating– underrated, the same way as Paul’s bass-playing is underrated. Paul was one of the most innovative bass players that ever played bass. And half the stuff that’s going on now is directly ripped off from his Beatle period. He was always… uh, coy about his bass-playing. He’s an egomaniac about everything else about him, but his bass-playing he was always a bit coy about. He is a great musician who played the bass like few other people could play it.
Now if you compare Paul’s bass-playing with The Rolling Stones’ bass player’s bass-playing, and you compare Ringo’s drumming with Charlie Watts’, they’re equal to, if not better. But the credit has always gone to, uh, Bill and Charlie, and Paul and Ringo didn’t get it. But we got other credits that must have made them feel bad, too, so it all equals out in the end. But I always objected to the fact that because Charlie came on a little more arty than Ringo, and knew jazz, and did cartoons, that he got credit. And I think that Charlie’s a damn good drummer and the other guy’s a good bass player, but I think Paul and Ringo stand up anywhere, any– with any of the rock drummers. Not technically great, and none of us were technical musicians, none of us could read music, none of us can write it, but–but as pure musicians, as–as inspired humans to make the noise, they’re as good as anybody.