Oobu Joobu
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2021-10-26 20:20:26

    Happy birthday to head Bonzo Vivian Stanshall, who would've been 71 today. Here's a tribute Paul wrote after Viv's tragic 1995 death:

    "I originally met Viv in the London club days, out and about on the town. We used to have drinks and a laugh together and he was a lovely, funny man. He was in The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which I saw live on stage at the Saville Theatre a couple of times when Brian Epstein promoted shows there. They were very eccentric — sort of modern yet very old-fashioned — following on from bands like the Temperance Seven. Then I phoned Viv and asked if the Bonzos would be in Magical Mystery Tour with us. They did the scene with the stripper that we filmed in Paul Raymond's Revuebar and I think they had a pretty good time, playing while the woman took off her clothes. So Viv became a very good friend and I used to visit him at his house — I remember that he had an aquarium with turtles, at which we used to sit and wonder! Then he asked me to produce their next single 'I'm The Urban Spaceman', which I did at Chappell Studios. I went down there, met the guys, and Viv had a length of brightly-coloured plastic piping which made a noise when he swirled it around his head. That was to be his contribution. We chatted a while and then I produced the record. He suggested that I be credited as "Apollo C Vermouth", which indeed I am, still, to this day. It turned out to be the Bonzos only hit, although hit singles is not what they were about anyway. I'll always remember Viv and Keith Moon being a sort of double act, the two of them playing very, very posh English gentleman. They did have their crazy side, of course, but whenever I saw them together they were perfect gentlemen. They did a joint Radio 1 show, which I heard while driving up to Scotland and was the inspiration for Oobu Joobu. Over the following years Viv and I would see each other, on and off, at functions, but I gradually lost touch with him, so it was with particular sadness that I heard he had died. He was a wonderful man and he'll be much missed."

    Paul McCartney talks to Guitar World Acoustic, 2004

    "Yesterday," sings Paul McCartney, "all my troubles seemed so far away." It is the Ed Sullivan Show, and as his fellow Beatles wait in the wings, Paul does it on his own with nothing but an Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar and an off-screen string quartet.

    One month later, on 12 September, 1965, 73 million people watch the performance on TV – among them some of my American family: brother James, who is 12, cousin Goldie, just one year younger, and me, about to turn seven.

    "This is so old-fashioned," complains James. "Shh," interjects the awestruck Goldie, today a grandmother who staunchly denies that she ever collected Beatles cards. I say only: "It's such a pretty song."

    I know that if I were to insert my present-day self into that scene, I would say something like, He doesn't really have much of a fingerpicking technique, does he? His hands are all over the place. Or, He's playing an Epiphone acoustic. He's a Beatle – couldn't he afford a Gibson J-200, or a Martin? But I also would have admitted that McCartney's playing, for all its inelegance, was spot-perfect and beautifully conceived, with flowing chord changes effortlessly anticipated by bass runs.

    Even as he speaks in considerable detail of some of the inventive and memorable acoustic guitar parts he played as a Beatle and in his solo career, he says things like, "You know, I'm not really technical," and, "I never learned the proper way of picking." With regard to his guitars, he insists, "I was never really so concerned about the instrument as I was about the song."

    It's usually the case that brilliant guitarists who denigrate some aspect of their playing, or claim to be disinterested in their gear, are as believable as football strikers who claim to not worry whether they're scoring as long as the team wins. You can believe McCartney, however, a man who indeed does not play the "right" way, and who hasn't filled his basement with rare and delectable guitars – or basses, for that matter.

    As for his overriding concern about the quality of his songs, his records speak for themselves. Paul McCartney is a great acoustic guitarist in the same way Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty is a great electric player – while neither is a master technician, both are able to create melodic parts that take up permanent residence in the minds of their listeners.

    And like Fogerty's best solos, McCartney's accompaniments, from the harmonically sophisticated chords of Michelle to the celestial counterpoint lines of Blackbird to the wistful-sounding inversions of Junk, were clearly devised for the sake of the song, to be integral parts of the whole.

    While he has never been a 'gearhead', McCartney was intimately involved in the creation by Gibson of a new signature edition replica of his 1964 Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar, the instrument he immortalised when he used it to perform Yesterday. But even there, McCartney's interest in the project was triggered by the fact that a large percentage of the profits garnered by sales of the guitar will benefit Adopt-A-Minefield, a charity he and his [then] wife Heather have long championed. He did it for a cause. But now it is time to let Paul McCartney speak for himself…

    Gibson is issuing a replica of the Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar you used to record Yesterday. What made you decide to give them the go-ahead?

    Actually, though I'd seen others do that sort of thing – signature guitars – it was just never anything I got involved with. But I believe it was the charity component – the money that's going to Adopt-A-Minefield – that made me think it was a good thing.

    Then, after many years, I started to play the Texan again, using it on my tour, and I actually saw an old bit of footage of me playing it. I said to my guitar tech, John Hamell, Wow, you know, it really is a pretty historic instrument. I don't ordinarily think of my instruments as historic; they're just my guitars. But seeing it up on the screen like that gave me a certain perspective about it.

    From then on, it just became kind of exciting, trying to re-create it. Then, while going back and forth on the guitar's preparation with Gibson, I realised that this whole thing is a pretty cool honour.

    On the early run of the guitars Gibson are getting it right down to the very last detail, reproducing every nick and ding you ever put on it

    It's crazy, really (laughs). But the exciting thing for me is that they play well, these new guitars. In fact I did say to Pat Foley, who ran the project for Gibson, It's all very well getting the cracks and the crannies right, but I want it to be a guitar that sounds good. And it does.

    It's interesting that in 1965, despite being hugely successful by then, you chose to play a $175 Epiphone Texan for the Ed Sullivan performance of Yesterday

    The terrible thing about me is that I got locked in a mindset that I picked up from my dad. He really ground it into me to never be in debt, because while we weren't on the poverty line, there wasn't much money to go around.

    The first time I wanted a guitar, I bought an Epiphone Zenith 17 for £15 pounds on hire-purchase, so I had to pay such and such an amount every month. It sent a bit of a shudder through my dad – I could see the look of horror on his face, his sense of, Whoo, that's debt! He used to say, Never get under an obligation to anyone.

    It was great advice, but it did lead to my always tending to look for a great instrument, yes, but one that was reasonably priced, even when I could afford stuff. It was many years before I ever got a Fender bass, even though I thought they sounded terrific.

    The Hofner (violin bass) I played, it was kind of symmetrical and looked good upside down, but I liked that it was also a well-priced thing. I think I saw the Epiphone the same way: they were never really top-of-the-line, but my dad had ingrained in me a certain way of thinking, and I don't think I've ever lost that.

    Can you recall anything besides Yesterday that you wrote or recorded with the Texan?

    I'm a bit hopeless on all that – I actually can't remember what I wrote on what. I'm really the least technical guy ever, which can sometimes be a bit embarrassing. If I listened to a bunch of songs I might be able to say, Yeah, that was that guitar… but really, I'm very sort of nonchalant about what I play.

    I just pick up what feels good on a given day. If I played a Martin yesterday, I may say, Oh, I'll play the Epiphone today, or, Wait a minute, let's get the Gibson Everly Brothers guitar out.

    Let's talk about some of your greatest acoustic guitar-based Beatles songs – how they came to be written and how you play them. You have in the past asserted that the melody to Yesterday came to you in a dream. Did the fingerpicked guitar part also appear in the dream?

    No (laughs), there was no guitar in the dream. It was just a tune, and when I woke I fell out of bed and went over to a piano nearby.

    Do you usually write on piano?

    Either acoustic guitar or piano – it's kind of split between the two, I think…

    You recorded Yesterday in the key of F, but lowered your strings a whole tone so you could play it in G. Was that because it made it easier to play the bass runs?

    That's one reason. Also, I think I just wanted to play it in G but that key was just a little too high to sing in. The other possibility is that F is a better key for the string quartet we used in the arrangement.

    I recently saw footage from the Sullivan performance and it struck me how unusual your fingerpicking technique was. The way you plucked the bass strings with your thumb and then sort of strummed the treble strings with your index finger reminds me a little of the way some old-time country guitarists played

    A lot of people think I can do proper fingerstyle, but when you see me up close, you realise I can't. John and I wanted to learn the formal style of fingerpicking, but I never got around to it. He did, and he used it on Julia and some other things.

    I never really got into it, but I love the sound so much, so I just figured out my own way of doing it: that's really how I learned every instrument I play. On things like Yesterday and Blackbird I just hit the bass string and sort of flick the high strings.

    And that's how you always play acoustic guitar, is it?

    I use a flatpick on more chordal stuff, but I did a bunch of that, yeah. It's my own goofball version of fingerpicking. The main drawback to my approach is that because of the way I flick the chords and notes with my finger, it wears my nail down.

    A couple of years ago, my [then] wife Heather suggested that I put an acrylic nail on. I said, No, I can't do that! But I did do it on the last couple of tours and it works like a dream.

    And wearing an acrylic nail hasn't made you feel like less of a man?

    I still feel like a man – a full-grown man.

    You don't appear to regard your fingerpicking skills all that highly, yet you somehow came up with Blackbird, which is a fingerstyle masterpiece. How did you "dream" that one up?

    You know how when you're a kid, you learn these little show-off pieces? Well, George and I learned Bach's Bouree In E Minor. Actually, we just heard it a few times and bastardised it. I sort of borrowed its approach in Blackbird, those kinds of intervals, and just made it up as it led on. It was the only time we ever got vaguely classical.

    Perhaps you should have called the song Bachbird

    (Laughs) I like that, I will remember that.

    Michelle, another Beatles classic, features some fairly sophisticated chords. You grew up playing fifties rock 'n' roll – Elvis, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran – so when and where did you learn something like, say, the second chord in Michelle: the F7#9?

    First of all, Eddie Cochran was one of the most underrated guitarists around. But I'll tell you exactly where I learned that chord: from Jim Gretty, a salesman at Hessy's music shop in Liverpool. All the guys who worked in that store when we were kids were jazz guys – they had to play jazz well if they wanted to hold down their jobs. Gretty showed us jazz chords, which is exactly what we called 'em.

    I know some jazz players who are offended when they're called "jazz" chords...

    Well, it's too bad, I'm afraid – I'm still going to call them that. You know, that F7#9 is a beautiful chord, and it was outside our frame of reference because nothing that we listened to contained that chord.

    I remember George and I were in the guitar shop when Gretty played it, and we said, Wow, what was that, man? And he answered, It's just basically an F, but you barre the top two strings at the fourth fret with your little finger. We immediately learned that, and for a while it was the only jazz chord we knew. Later we learned other chords from him.

    How did your knowledge of those chords lead to your writing Michelle?

    I used to take a guitar along to parties and sort of sit enigmatically in a corner, hoping it would attract a girl. I remember that I actually pretended at one of these parties that I was French, you know, wore a black collar-necked shirt, and sort of enigmatically played this little fingerpicked instrumental that went like this: [sings] Ding ding ding, and then that doon din, which was Gretty's F chord with the pinky barring the two strings at the fourth fret.

    Years later John said, Remember that French thing you used to do? We should stick some words on that.

    Let's return to The White Album, which features more of your acoustic playing than any other Beatles record. Mother Nature's Son begins with a descending riff played over a partial chord on the treble strings. It's quite similar to the guitar intro to Michelle, and variations of that same pattern can also be found in Junk, from your first solo album, and other songs.

    That chord sequence was just the kind of thing I heard growing up. My dad was very musical – he was a professional musician and used to play the piano at home – so I grew up musical, and I had a naturally musical ear.

    There were things I heard that I just fell in love with, and was sufficiently interested in and musical enough to go, Wait a minute, what was that? Oh, I see what they're doing, just this one note in the chord is descending. So I'd figure it out and then it would become a favourite little thing of mine. And I inserted the kind of things I heard back then in my songs to sort of refresh things.

    Exactly what kind of music did your father play?

    Well, it wasn't skiffle, it wasn't blues, it wasn't rock 'n' roll – it was standards, music I listened to from the day I was born. Things like Stardust – I really liked Hoagy Carmichael. And I still go back to a lot of that stuff because it gives me variety in my writing, gives me places to go when I'm looking for a surprise.

    How did you apply those little, refreshing things when writing for The Beatles?

    Me and John would come in with our acoustics and start with E, A and B chords, and then we'd throw in, like, a C# minor seventh. It'd be very exciting – I still remember the palpable thrill of finding a chord that we hadn't used before. It can empower you to write five songs, or help make the one you're writing better.

    The first two albums you released as a solo artist, McCartney [1970] and Ram [1971] were jam-packed with great acoustic guitar tunes – Junk, Teddy Boy and Heart Of The Country – and you also released Another Day as a single back then. Was there any particular reason that you went in such an unplugged direction?

    When I worked with The Beatles there were at least two guitars, and when I played there were three. We would often play a song through on acoustic, and sometimes we'd develop it from there on electric – or sometimes we just kind of liked it where it was, and it stayed acoustic. On those early solo albums I didn't have the guys I developed things up with – John and George – and so things often remained acoustic. Of course, I also liked how it sounded [laughs].

    Do you ever use altered tunings?

    I play everything in standard tuning, except that sometimes I'll lower the bass E string to D when I'm playing in D. You know, we have a performing arts school up in Liverpool (LIPA), and in the prospectus of the music department I saw this item: we'll show you the special tuning for Blackbird. And I thought, You'd better show me that, guys, before we go any further!

    Do you recall taking any specific approach to recording acoustic guitar with The Beatles?

    You know, this is the truth, man, people analyse our stuff much more than we ever get around to. So you probably have a better answer to the question than I do.

    Who were some of your favourite guitarists when you were growing up?

    Well, my interest in fingerpicking came from Chet Atkins. I remember a lot of us tried to learn Trambone, an instrumental that's on an album of his called Down Home. Otherwise, I loved Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Lonnie Donegan's guitarist, Denny Wright, who was fantastic. I liked acoustic folk playing by Woody Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

    Were you ever a big country blues fan? Songs like Three Legs (from Ram) and Bip Bop (from Wings' debut Wild Life) have a rural blues flavour about them?

    I listened a lot to Leadbelly, to all of those guys. But I never got stuck in one groove. One day it would be, Oh wow, Chuck Berry! And the next, Oh wow, Scotty Moore! I was a bit of a magpie, really, picking up various styles and gradually assimilating them. It's probably a bit of the same in my vocal thing, you know?

    I loved Elvis and sang some songs trying to be like him, but then I also had my Little Richard stuff.

    In Man We Was Lonely, (McCartney), you sound like Buck Owens in the chorus and Paul McCartney in the verses – like you're doing a duet with Buck Owens?

    Actually, I thought of myself as Johnny Cash on that one. Johnny could have done that one right! I remember playing that to him and June (Carter-Cash), in fact.

    What is your main acoustic these days?

    A Martin, but don't ask me for the serial number. It's one of my old ones.

    You bought a D-28 in 1967, could that be the one?

    That's it. Actually, I have a few home bases and have an acoustic in all those places – I always have one waiting wherever I'll be.

    How do you go about getting your acoustic sound in the studio these days?

    With the help of a great engineer (laughs). And that's always been my advice to those who want to know how to get a great sound: get yourself a great engineer. Seriously, they just put a mic up and I go, That sounds nice. And if it doesn't I might fiddle with it a bit, but normally I credit the engineer.

    Here's a story that shows how low-tech I really am: I went into an instrument store in New York, and this guy recognises me and says, Oh man, I'm a bass player and I've always wanted to know what strings you use. And I swear I wasn't trying to be funny when I said, Kind of long, shiny ones. And I actually don't know – it's not really important to me. I will play on anything and everything because I'm genuinely not too fussy about gear. The playing and the song are more important than the equipment.

    Do you play much acoustic these days?

    Yep. Just last week, I finished up a few songs that are either acoustic or piano-based.

    Do you have a new album in the works?

    Next month I'm going to be in Los Angeles to do some recording. I'm doing an album that's being produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead et al). But we're not actually looking to release anything until this time next year.

    How would you characterise the level of your enthusiasm for music these days?

    You know, I'm still excited about what I do – I love it. I think the tour in America that started with the Concert For New York [a post-9/11 tribute] really sort of revitalised me. The American audience has been so cool, so warm and informed and receptive.

    That you're still enthusiastic is clearly expressed in the photos in your new book, Each One Believing: Paul McCartney On Stage, Off Stage, And Backstage (Chronicle Books), a sort of photographic travelogue of your last tour. It's very interesting, and the book's title sounds familiar

    It's taken from Here, There And Everywhere. It just seemed to sum up the tour. We went out with this inexplicable spirit that just caught everyone in the crew. We all really believed in what we were doing!


    "Phil Everly was one of my great heroes. With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.

    Years later when I finally met Phil, I was completely starstruck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul.

    I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life." - Paul McCartney, 2014

    A Letter to Vladimir Putin in Support of Greenpeace

    14th October 2013

    Dear Vladimir,

    I hope this letter finds you well. It is now more than ten years since I played in Red Square, but I still often think about Russia and the Russian people.

    I am writing to you about the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists being held in Murmansk. I hope you will not object to me bringing up their case.

    I hear from my Russian friends that the protesters are being portrayed in some quarters as being anti-Russian, that they were doing the bidding of western governments, and that they threatened the safety of the people working on that Arctic oil platform.

    I am writing to assure you that the Greenpeace I know is most certainly not an anti-Russian organisation. In my experience they tend to annoy every government! And they never take money from any government or corporation anywhere in the world.

    And above all else they are peaceful. In my experience, non-violence is an essential part of who they are.

    I see you yourself have said that they are not pirates - well, that's something everybody can agree on. Just as importantly, they don't think they are above the law. They say they are willing to answer for what they actually did, so could there be a way out of this, one that benefits everybody?

    Vladimir, millions of people in dozens of countries would be hugely grateful if you were to intervene to bring about an end to this affair. I understand of course that the Russian courts and the Russian Presidency are separate. Nevertheless I wonder if you may be able to use whatever influence you have to reunite the detainees with their families?

    Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for the White Album, back when it wasn't fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country. That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: "Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it's good to be back home."

    Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?

    I hope, when our schedules allow, we can meet up again soon in Moscow.

    Sincerely yours,

    Paul McCartney

    Paul's liner notes for "On Air: Live At The BBC Vol 2"

    I had grown up with the BBC. I remember lying on the living room carpet listening to afternoon shows that my mum would be listening to as she was doing the ironing. So you grew up with it. You knew all the little theme tunes that introduced the various programmes and some of the shows like Two-Way Family Favourites were huge. You got the feeling that the whole nation was listening to them and I’m sure they were. This is basically where we got our music from. The only other source was Radio Luxembourg, which was good, but the signal kept coming and going, so the BBC was the mainstay of our music source.

    You will find stuff in our repertoire that came off little odd-ball records. We had started off going onstage and playing songs that we liked, but then we would find that on the same bill as us in the Liverpool clubs, there might be another band that would play exactly the same songs. If they were on before us, it made us look a bit silly. We started to look further afield, study the American charts and see what was there. We’d listen to radio a lot and find out if there was anything up and coming. We would also flip records and listen to the B-sides; see if we could find anything that way. In fact that’s what started John and I writing, because this was the only foolproof way that other bands couldn’t have our songs. There was no great artistic muse that came out of the heavens and said, ‘Ye shall be a songwriting partnership!’. It was really just we had better do this or everyone else is going to have our act.

    With our manager Brian Epstein having a record shop - NEMS - we did have the opportunity to look around a bit more than the casual buyer. But we knew people who had records. You’d go to a party and someone would have something that you hadn’t heard and you’d always flip it over, listen to the B-side. Obviously, they had to be things that we thought we could play well. Something like the Arthur Alexander song ‘Anna’ - which not many people have heard of to this day - was an odd record choice somebody had. We discovered ‘Twist and Shout’ by The Isley Brothers, which was a little bit hip to know about. I remember coming down to London and somebody saying, ‘Wow, you’ve heard of the Isleys!’ It gave us this little edge over other bands, who perhaps weren’t scouring the racks quite as avidly as we were.

    Ringo would get stuff from sailors. I don’t think the rest of us knew any sailors, but he happened to have a few mates who’d been abroad to New Orleans or New York and had picked up some nice blues or country and western. Ringo was very into country and western. But it was really a question of looking harder than the next guy. We made it our full-time job to research all these things; to go for the road less travelled.

    When I listen to the BBC recordings, there’s a lot of energy. I think spirit and energy - those are the main words I’d use to describe them. We are going for it, not holding back at all, trying to put in the best performance of our lifetimes. By the way, of course, we were brilliant! Let’s not forget that. I always say to people, 'Not a bad little band’.

    Paul McCartney, 4 July 2013

    Live 365 interview, 1999

    Music365: How did you decide which songs to cover for Run Devil Run? Paul McCartney: "The track listing was my memory. Rather than think: what were the great songs from the period? I just thought: what do I remember with great affection? Maybe I don't need any more reason than that - it doesn't matter as long as I love 'em! So I just did it like that: I remember that one, that's beautiful....

    "So mentally I just amassed a list. I just went 'She Said Yeah' , great, always loved that one... There were one or two that really kicked it all off, that haven't made the final record - they'll make B-sides or bonus tracks - they'll see the light of day. One of them was called 'Fabulous' by Charlie Gracie - it's a little known thing I remember from a day at the fairground, Sefton Park Fair, when I had on a blue fleck jacket, with a flap on the top breast pocket, and my mate had a fleck jacket too - I think mine was blue and his was white - it was just great. We thought we were looking cool, and we just walked around the fair, and I remember hearing this playing off the waltzer... the great thing for me musically was the riff - dum, dum diddley, dum... That was the first one we actually did, that was the kick-off on the Monday morning." Music365: You do a version of 'Lonesome Town' - I wouldn't have had you down as a Ricky Nelson fan.... Paul McCartney: "No, I liked Ricky. 'Stood Up' - I had that record; and we were going to do 'I Believe', but never got round to it. Mick Green (The Pirates) tells me 'Lonesome Town' was an A-side, I thought it was a B-side - but I loved it. 'Lonesome Town' is like 'Heartbreak Hotel', it's a place we all know... You hit a nerve with everyone with those kind of songs. It's a nice song, sort of Elvis-y, and as I was coming to do it, I thought I'll do it like that. But as the session came nearer I thought, nah, I can't just do it like him. Some of the tracks, like 'Blue Jean Bop' and 'She Said Yeah', I don't need to go far off the original, I know it'll be different enough when I do it. But with 'Lonesome Town' I was worried it was going to be a pale imitation of Ricky - and he got there first, so fair dues. "But in actual fact, when I got to the studio, I said I know what I'll do - I'll do it high... and I was looking for the new key. But the great thing with working so fast was that I had to come up with a solution exactly like The Beatles would have done. So I got Dave [Gilmour - Pink Floyd] to sing the harmony, which we thought of in five seconds flat. Let's try it. It works. Great, OK, that's it. That was the excitement of working that way." Music365: 'Run Devil Run' is one of the three tracks you wrote yourself, but it sounds just like a Gene Vincent song from the mid-'50s. Paul McCartney: "Making the album I was mainly going to make all my memories. But then, as it happens, I had a couple of songs that were going in a rock'n'roll vein. I was in that mode and I happened to be in Atlanta and I saw this shop, a herbal cures shop, voodoo medicine. It was like 'exorcise your demons, burn this incense!'; and 'Stop Evil!' - 'get rid of irritating relatives, liars and thieves, get rid of them, put this on your floor!' It was like floor polishes, and this particular brand was called 'Run Devil Run'. I looked at it, and I thought 'that's a great rock'n'roll title'..." Music365: Which are your personal favourites on the album? Paul McCartney: " 'Coquette' is a Fats Domino B-side - I love that, it's a beautiful one. I really just do Fats on this - it's just me singing Fats. We tried fixing little bits of it because I thought God, this is too much like a pub singer, but we ended up going back to the earliest mix. I just said, 'oh sod it, we don't want to fix this, it just has a feeling'... That's the pub song - the Glasgow, Saturday night one! " 'She Said Yeah' is a Larry Williams song... Me and John particularly loved Larry Williams: 'Bony Moronie'; John did 'Slow Down'; I was always gonna do 'She Said Yeah', and never got round to it till now. I just loved it, and I remember turning Mick Jagger onto it in my house in London in the '60s. I was living on my own - all the other guys were kind of married - but I had a cool little record collection, and you know, when you're living on your own, that's very important... I used to get 45s sent from America, I'd get ten records a week sent over - soul stuff and what was charting in America. George had a good Chess collection, he had a lot of Stax and Chess and we pooled our resources, we all played it to each other... And I remember having Mick up, and saying listen to this one, man. And I think The Stones did a version of it. I remember listening to it and thinking, nah, I can still do it." Music365: Some of the choices are pretty obscure, like Little Richard's 'Shake A Hand'. And The Vipers' 'No Other Baby' isn't the most obvious song to cover...? Paul McCartney: "The Vipers were Dickie Bishop and Wally Whyton, who did Olly Beak (TV puppet) - nice guy, I got to know him later on the London scene. I never had the record of that, and I've no idea how it actually got so firmly embedded in my memory but I always used to do it at sound checks. People would say, 'I know this song, what is it?' But I never had the record, still haven't!" Music365: 'Party' is an Elvis song and the last track on Run Devil Run; why close with that? Paul McCartney: "I really just remember it from Loving You (Elvis' second movie). And whenever we used to try and get the words of that one, we used to get stuck on the verse... 'Never kissed a bear, never kissed a groom...!' We got a clue off 'room', but we were trying to work backwards, and we could never get it. We had a go at it, tried to find a way to it... and then at the end I said instead of just fading out, let's all keep going on the last chord. But come the take I think everyone thought I was joking, so I'm the only one who does it. I'm giving it 'bom bom bom bom' on the bass, and they've all stopped, and are thinking what the...? And that's me going, 'I'm not giving up, man...', so they all come back in. So it seemed like a good idea to end the album on that - I'm not giving up! " Music365: Most of the songs on 'Run Devil Run' are from the pre-Beatle era... Paul McCartney: "Yeah, it's history - you've gotta be old to have history! I told George [Martin] the songs we'd been doing. I said funnily enough we've done a song called 'No Other Baby', and he said I don't think I know that one, and I suddenly thought, 'He recorded The Vipers!'. It was one of his early efforts, along with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Bernard Cribbins - 'Right Said Fred' - George did all that, that's his history. I said, 'you probably recorded the bloody original version George'. He said, 'How'd it go? So I sang it to him, 'I don't want no other baby but you...' and he said, 'Oh yes, I remember that'!" Music365: What were your impressions of London when you first came down from Liverpool with The Beatles? Paul McCartney: "We loved it. There was a slight rivalry, Liverpool and Cockney kind of thing, but we loved it, we had a great time. We went round a lot of the offices, like NME and Melody Maker, and we had a lot of fun 'cos we were just 'wacky guys', and we'd lie a lot to the journalists, which was great fun... We hit upon this wheeze, we'd see who could plant a lie in the newspapers. There was another thing, we were fascinated by being in print at that age, we'd never seen our names in print, so much so that when Mersey Beat started, we used to place personal ads - 'Dear Percy, see you soon, Bertie'... It was just a thrill, it didn't have to be anything more than that. "Once we were with Alan Smith of the NME, and George hit upon this thing: really deadpan he said, 'Oh yeah, my cousin's Tommy Steele, you know?' Alan said, 'Really?' Head goes down, scribble, scribble, and we were all trying not to laugh. But it got in. So that was like, drinks for George! "So we were doing all that sort of stuff, just mischievous... and going round the clubs. We went to a place called the Nucleus, and that was the first time we ever saw speed and pills. Guy came round, 'Want speed, man?' What are you talking about?... He was talking 50 to the dozen... but we didn't know what he was talking about. We were black velvet men, Guinness and cider, that's us, man... golden days." Music365: Did you get to see many of your rock'n'roll heroes playing live? Paul McCartney: "People down here saw Buddy (Holly) at Finsbury Park, but I never saw him. I did see Bill Haley; and when we were working as The Beatles in Hamburg, we saw Gene (Vincent). He was the featured American act they used to have occasionally at the Star Club. They had Little Richard, Fats Domino and Gene, and we hung out with Richard and Gene. Gene was a crazy man, a Marine, and he had the injury to his leg, and he really liked his Scotch. He was sitting at the table one time when we came offstage, and he just had a bottle of Scotch and said, 'You wanna join me, guys?' 'Why sure, Gene'. So we all just sat around him, had a little drink with him." Music365: Did The Beatles ever see Elvis perform? Paul McCartney: "No, we never saw him. Didn't want to go to Vegas, could only have been a disappointment. But meeting him was nice. We had a good time. It was great. We were all very pleased to meet him, and he was a great guy, in very good shape. It was before his crazed period. He was really cool to us. We just sat in awe but we had a great evening. It was nice. I'm really glad to have met him." Music365: Have you got any other special memories of your musical heroes? Paul McCartney: "Later, seeing Hendrix at the Saville was mind-blowing. You know he opened with 'Pepper'? And it had only been released two days before - now that is a tribute! I don't care what anyone says about me, that'll do me, that's my medal. They don't have to honour me, man - he already did." Music365: Beatle myth has John as the group's rocker and you as the balladeer, does this date back to the beginning of the group? Paul McCartney: "It was never an issue. I think it just happened after 'Yesterday', I became known as... 'Oh, he's the one who sings the ballad in the group' and then I was often given a ballad on the record. But you know, when you think of it, John's done a lot of very touching stuff. And you gotta remember he wrote 'Good Night' for Ringo - now had John ever done that, that would have been really very, very beautiful. It was very heartfelt but it was just a bit too... soppy for him to get his head round, so he gave it to Ringo. But when you heard John do it, it was very beautiful." Music365: Are you surprised when people still find new things in your songs, even after nearly 40 years? Paul McCartney: "Oh yeah, but I love it, though. I love the... inexactness of all that stuff. I'm certainly not one of those people who says can you please get those bloody lyrics right. I often prefer other people's versions. The great classic was Elvis Costello's manager, Jake Riviera, and we were talking about this, how people always got the Beatles' lyrics wrong, and he says: I always thought the beginning of 'Strawberry Fields' was 'Living is easy with nice clothes'... And I kinda almost prefer it!" "It's in the spirit of it: you can get rock'n'roll words wrong, you can get Beatle lyrics wrong. I just thought, 'Great! Spot the deliberate mistake!' We should have a competition..." Music365: Recording 'Run Devil Run' at Abbey Road must have brought back a lot of memories of working there with The Beatles? Paul McCartney: "I remember John bringing in 'Girl' that we'd just written the week before. I remember coming into the studio, Abbey Road Number Two, sort of summer-ish, I seem to remember - you'll have to look up Mark Lewisohn - but my memory is quite summery. I'd just come back from a holiday in Greece, so I was all bazouki-ed out, hence that guitar sound on the record - that's my Greek holiday creeping in there! "I remember John and I arriving at the studio, starting the session, midday sometime - with George Martin and Geoff Emerick, I think - George and Ringo coming in, and all of them saying:' OK, what are we going to do?' And the great thing, I realised, shit, the producer didn't have an idea what we were throwing in; the engineer certainly didn't. The other two guys in the band didn't know what we were going to throw. It was so think on your feet, and it was actually an improvement that no-one knew. It was like you'd just written it on the spot for them, and you can't get any fresher than that. "I remember John saying it goes like this, 'Giirlll...', and I want to get that intake of breath, and I'm doing the harmony, and all me ding-ding-ding Zorba... And it hit me like a bit of a bombshell - nobody except me and John knew... That was kind of exciting!"

    McCartney on the road

    New Musical Express, 19 February 1972, page 16

    He’s back after a five year absence, with a surprise live gig in Nottingham. Exclusive report by Geoff Liptrot and friends of Gongster, the Nottingham University newspaper     In circumstances bordering on the unreal, Paul McCartney chose Nottingham University to break his five-year absence from live gigs. At less than a day’s notice he gave a spontaneous lunchtime concert with his new group Wings to about 700 dazed and disbelieving students.     It all started the day before when the McCartneys and the rest of the band left London and headed up the M1 in their hired red van.     As Paul told us: “We took off from London with the idea of going on tour, but instead of fixing up days and gigs ahead of ourselves we wanted to keep very loose. So we just took off in the van yesterday.”     They left the motorway at Hatherton, just after Leicester, for no other reason than Paul liked the name. This was the peculiar sort of logic that led him out of self-imposed exile to play at Nottingham University – a place not normally noted as venue for superstars.     Unable to find a hotel at Hatherton, they headed for Nottingham, 12 miles away. Then Henry McCullough, Wings’ lead guitarist, remembered he had played at Nottingham last year with The Grease Band and had liked the place.     So, at 5pm on Tuesday, Paul and his entourage casually walked into the Union building, grabbed the nearest executive, and suggested Wings play their debut concert there the next day.     After a few minutes with the dumbfounded Union Social Committee the performance was fixed up and the news began to filter through to a sceptical student population. It was only as the sound of Wings warming up echoed through the building that everyone realised that this was indeed for real.     For those who grew up in the shadow of The Beatles it was hard to put into words the feeling of sheer excitement generated by seeing the man who represented the very heart of what they stood for standing there onstage singing ‘Lucille’.     McCartney has not performed onstage for five years, and it was plain to see he felt good to be back. His new band seems to summarise his new attitude to music. The complexities of previous works such as ‘Sgt Pepper’ and ‘Let It Be’ are relaxed now by simple, happy music.     As the hall filled with surprised, delighted students the band moved straight into ‘Mess I’m In’ – a bitch of a number, its popularity proved by McCartney’s decision to repeat it during the second set.     This must not be made too much of, however. The entire concert was more or less a public rehearsal, albeit by some of the most respected figures on the rock scene.     As the band warmed up, gaining more confidence with every number (partly due to the rapturous applause from the bedazzled audience which greeted them), the music began to move nicely.     McCullough swapped guitar-licks gracefully and easily with Denny Laine and played a nice laid back solo on ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’.     ‘Say Darlin’’ followed. A slow ’50s number to smooch to, during which McCartney showed his command of the audience – he had only to ask and everyone was clapping along.     During the rock’n’roll encore which ended the concert (a repeat of ‘Lucille’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’) he exhorted us to dance. And we did.     The floor jam-packed with a crowd far exceeding the fire limit (ever tried keeping a believer from seeing his Messiah?).     The first set ended with ‘Wild Life’, the title track from his last album which was panned by almost every music reviewer in the country.     Lack of critical acclaim did not seem to matter to the audience however, and why should it? McCartney has severed all links with The Beatles, so why judge him by standards which he himself disowns?     Here was a damn fine little band who, even by other standards, would be very highly rated. They left the stage for a break and we settled in, still rather incredulous, for the second set.     It was, if anything, an improvement on the first – with the exception of the opener, ‘Bip Bop’. It was just a little too trite, a little too middle of the road.     ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’, Wings’ new single, also grated a little with its harsh, sing-song chorus immediately conjuring up visions of a drunk rolling along a street bellowing at the top of his voice.     But the rest of the set more than compensated. McCullough and Laine both played superb solos on a shuffle blues, and ‘Mess I’m In’ kept things moving nicely, showing that Paul is at home on hard rock as on slower things like ‘My Love’ which followed.     At once, this number aroused reminiscences of his more well known material (‘Let It Be’ spring to mind). Seated at the piano, he was back in the days of ‘Hey Jude’; a little boy lost, singing about his love simply and without thrills.     If there were any faults in the performance they were quickly forgotten when finally he put on his blue suede shoes to lead the rousing rock’n’roll closer.     One got the impression it must have brought back memories for McCartney of The Beatles’ lunchtime sessions years ago at the Cavern; every person in the place dancing, stomping and clapping. And then, with a brief “see you next time”, they were gone. We were left dazed, realising the music-history-making occasion we had just witnessed.     In places the band was, however, less than musically brilliant. Paul’s bass-playing was sometimes mundane and his good lady wife consistently hit some pretty duff notes. But who could complain about seeing one of the most important influences ever on rock music, backed – as he was for the most part – by a tremendously tight, exciting band and really enjoying every minute?     As the audience left people were already dissecting the performance, analysing it unnecessarily. But the fact is: Paul McCartney is back. Disregard the critics.     On Wednesday afternoon last he showed his paces to an audience packed like sardines for about two hours in a cramped ballroom.     It was a concert none of us here will ever forget.

    Standing Stone Interview, 1997

    Question: All right, what is "Standing Stone"? Paul McCartney: "Standing Stone" is the title of an orchestral piece that I've written to celebrate EMI record company's 100th anniversary. They asked me to do this about four years ago to help them celebrate their centenary and so I used the idea of a standing stone as kind of being symbolic of long-lastingness and standing and weathering the storms of time, because, after all, it is just the title of a new orchestral piece. Question: And where will it be performed and when? Paul McCartney: It's gonna be performed first of all at the Royal Albert Hall on October 14th and that will be with the London Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Foster conducting. That'll be its first performance. And when we're going over in November to Carnegie Hall with a different orchestra, same conductor. We're going to do it then for the New Yorkers. Question: Now, why did you write it? Paul McCartney: I wrote it because I was asked to write a piece to celebrate EMI Records' 100th anniversary and I was kind of looking around for a commission to do something orchestral. Because after the "Liverpool Oratorio," which was a piece I'd written for the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's 150th anniversary, I was kind of looking to do something similar...um...and so when I got the offer, I jumped at it. And I just thought four years would never come, so I must say it's only the last couple of years I really got down to it. But, um, I wanted to do it anyway because I love the stretch of writing pieces like this. It doesn't necessarily have to be a big orchestra but it's interesting to work in the field that you're not used to. So I'm...in the kind of rock 'n' roll world which is my normal world. I love it and I haven't forsaken it at all, but it is sometimes interesting to do something different. So when this opportunity came along, as I say, I grabbed it. Question: Is it a symphony? Paul McCartney: No, it's not really a symphony. Symphonies apparently don't really have stories. The music kind of tells the story and I think when you get a story in it, like my piece has got, then they either become called something like a tone poem. Or, in this case, we thought that probably the easiest thing to call it was like a symphonic poem. But that doesn't actually feature in any of the...on the record, it never says that, but if people want to know what it is, I think the nearest thing is a symphonic poem. Question: Are you playing at either Albert Hall or Carnegie Hall? Paul McCartney: No, I won't be playing. No, when the piece is performed at Albert Hall, one of the great things is, after I've spent four years writing a piece like this, I don't. I'm not one of the performers, so I actually just get to sit in the audience and it is one of the rewards of ... er..because I'm used to whenever the first night of the thing is, I'm used to being up there on stage. In this case, it's the conductor, it's the orchestra, it's the soloists who've got to do the business. And it's quite relaxing for me, a little nail-biting, you know, and hope they get it right, but at least it's them that have to get it right, not me. Question: You're quoted as saying, "I don't know how we're going to get 'round this, but it's a point I want to make. 'Win or lose, I'm to blame.' " Paul McCartney: Yeah. The thing about doing big pieces like this, big orchestral pieces, is that I can't notate music. In other words, I can't write it down and I can't read it if you give me a bit of sheet music. I can just about pick my way through something very, very simple, but it's not something I've ever been interested in learning how to do, actually. I got into music in much more of a kind of "hands-on" way through the rock 'n' roll world where we just talked to each other in a band and there's no need to produce written music unless you're gonna work with an orchestra. And in our case, with the Beatles, it would always be handed over to George Martin. So this kind of a piece a lot of people, I think, naturally can think that whoever actually wrote the music down, even though I may have composed it, they often will say to me, "Well, he really wrote it, didn't he?", you know, just 'cos of the physical act of writing it down. So, when you do something like this, you either, or if it goes well, people can either think, "Well, he didn't really write it, anyway. It's all this team who's helped him write it." Or, if it really badly, they can sort of say, "Well, he can't write music anyway." In actual fact, I don't think the writing down of the music is the difficult bit. It's the thinking it up. It's the making the tunes, the making of the harmonies, the making of the rhythms and the structure, that's actually hard. It's like being able to write, in your mind, a great novel, but you can only put it down on a bit of tape. It doesn't matter. They could still make a novel out of that. You don't actually have to be able to physically write the words down, particularly these days with all the recording devices. So sort of, that's why I say, 'Win or lose'...um...I have written this. If people think it's not good enough, well then that would be 'lose.' But in my case, I'm not really too worried, I think, because I enjoy it myself and I like the piece myself. And in the end, that's who I'm trying to please. Question: How did you use a computer for "Standing Stone"? Paul McCartney: About...a year or so into the project, a couple of my friends were starting to mention music programs on computers. And I would say, "Well, I'm not really into computers. I'm not very up with it...um...because I don't use them normally." And they'd say, "Yeah, but you could be really interested in this music program. It'll allow you to orchestrate and actually print out parts, you know. So I thought, "Well, maybe it is something I should look at." So I did. I looked at the idea, had a couple of demonstrations off computer salesmen and stuff, and finally bought some double-glazing. Ha ha, no I didn't. So, in the end, I got hold of one and without knowing anything about it...um...me and one of the technicians from the studio, a guy called Keith Smith, sat down and got hold of the manual and tried to figure out how to work this thing. It was quite good fun, actually, because neither of us knew much about it, even though he's more technical than I am, which is quite easy to be...um...because I'm hopeless. But, we worked it out anyway. We found our way through this and gradually, became quite competent at it. And so, I was able to play a keyboard, play the melody I wanted and then have the computer play it back to me either on strings, or if I wanted to hear it on, like, an oboe, it could try...it could play that, or if I wanted to hear trumpet playing that line, it could do that. So I could orchestrate as I went along. And it became fascinating for me, too, 'cos it was a new thing for me. Actually, it was like multi-track recording, but actually fiddling with all the members of the orchestra and trying to get the colours right and the, ah, dynamics. So I ended up enjoying those computer sessions although, you know, you had to pull me off it because I'd have to sort of ask, "What time is it?" You know, before I knew it, four hours would have gone by. Boy, you know, it's fascinating, so I lost all sense of time. And so I had to say to myself, "OK, I'm only going to do like four hours at a go," or I think I would have stayed up all night. But I enjoyed the process and started to enjoy the music that was coming out of it, and so I had to check it out with various other people to see whether it was correct, musically, or not. And so I got a team together to help me with that. But in the end, I managed to do it, put the whole thing down on to the computer. And that was what became a new ball game for me and has now allwed me to actually orchestrate myself instead of always having to get someone else to do it. Question: Does "Standing Stone"...writing "Standing Stone"...give you a different kick or a different satisfaction from rock 'n' roll? Paul McCartney: To me, writing any kind of music is the same kind of kick, even though the colour of it, in other words, the feel of it, will be different. In other words, if you come up with a great rock 'n' roll song, it's obviously a very energetic thrill and it's a kind of upbeat thing 'cause of the nature of what you're doing. Now, I wouldn't differentiate between doing that and then doing a slower song, more of a ballad, 'cause if you get that right, it's as exciting, but it's a different colour of excitement, if you see what I mean. It's like...it's a sweeter pleasure. It's a more melodic pleasure. Maybe it's not quite as rhythmic, but it's still as exciting. So I don't really have these barriers. So when I come to write orchestral music, it still is the same kind of deal for me. But again, it's not a thrilling, upbeat rock 'n' roll kind of thing. Nor is it necessarily like a very melodic...loving, ballad thing. It may be something else completely. It may be trying to portray a ship lost at sea or it may be trying to show an army having a victory or something. So, it's a different ball game. But because I don't really see the musical barriers, it's actually still as pleasurable to pull it off. It's just different. But it's equally as thrilling to pull it off if you can. Question: You may have already answered this, but why did you call it "Standing Stone," and how is it linked to your Celtic roots? Paul McCartney: I was looking for a title, because it's always good when you're writing something, to have some idea of a title....um...I've always done that. If I've been lucky, come up with a good little title. "Eight Days a Week." OK, then you've got...you're pretty much there on the idea of the song. On this one, I knew I wanted to work in a kind of Celtic, ancient thing because I wanted to go through history and come more up to modern day. So, playing around with that idea, I realised that I love these big, ah, stones that you will see in Scotland or in Wales or in France...a lot of places in Europe that were put up by Celtic people. And...um...nobody knows what they really are, so I knew there was a nice mysterious, intriguing little thing in that for me. And so I wondered whether the title, "Standing Stone," would be good. I like the sound of the words. And I mentioned it to Allan Ginsberg, who I was hanging around with about the time, and he said, "Great title." So, his word was good enough for me. So I had the title and then it meant that I could play with all the intriguing aspects of these ...er...very ancient, mysterious stones. (pause) The other aspect of that was, in looking back at Celtic stories, I realized that I was kind of researching my own roots becaue my family had been Liverpool-Irish. My Mum had come over from Ireland when she was 11, and ah, our family traced back our roots to that area. So it meant that in..ah..so it meant that in some ancient time, I suppose, our family had Celtic roots. So that was a good aspect of it for me. And it also gave me a great excuse during the middle of this writing. I suddenly thought, "Well, that's maybe...that's why I don't write things down because the Celts never did." They didn't even...let alone their music...they didn't even write their history down, but it fitted in so well that it was...ah...it was an interesting idea that maybe that's why I've never been bother to learn something deep and Celtic within me. Question: You wrote an epic poem along with this. Was that an aid or was that something that happened along with it? Paul McCartney: Yeah, when I was trying to think of a story, because I realized I wouldn't just be able to do what the old classical composers would do, which would just be develop a theme musically and not use a story, I felt like I had to have some kind of framework for what I was doing 'cause..number one, I had no idea what it was I was going to do, or even how I would go about it. So it seemed to me it would be a good idea to get an idea for a story I could hang it on if necessary. And and least I would know where I was up to in the story at any given time. So I started thinking of it as a poem and each day I would just get a couple of lines and scribble them all down until I had about 20 pages, which turned into sort of a long epic poem. But at least I had the story and I had the images in a kind of tight, economical form because of the fact that you were trying to write poetry, which the discipline is quite economic. So that was what I did and I ended up with this long poem. And then I spoke to a friend of mine who's a poet called Tom Pickard. And he's a Newcastle guy and, over the fax and over the phone and over some various chats, he helped me edit the poem down, get it even tighter and get it so that it could stand alone as a poem. So, in the end, I've published it in the CD booklet so if you want something to hold onto as you're listening to the music, you can refer to the story. But, to my mind, it's not actually necessary 'cause I've been listening to the music sometimes myself and completely forgotten where I'm up to in the story. And I think it's only right that the music should really drive itself. But the story, the poem, was as an aid. It was a framework in case I sort of lost track of where I was. It was something to help me...ah...find my direction. So it ended up as that, but it never actually got used in the piece, so it comes along with the piece, in case you're wondering. It'll be in the programme notes. In case you're wondering where we're up to in the story, you can refer to the poem. Question: In the song, you've got this blackbird that's supposed to be you gliding through space. All he does is search for love. Love is the oldest secret of the universe. Interesting use of the secret, by the way. You still saying, "All you need is love" in a different form? Paul McCartney: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I realized that. At the end of the poem, I had this little bit where the celebration's happened. There's the happy ending which is what I wanted because I was being asked to write...I was being asked to write something to celebrate 100 years, so I thought. Well, it can't have a downbeat ending. So, in my mind, when I was looking at the picture and writing the end to the story, I imagined a camera pulling back, pulling back into the summer sky. And so it was something like I had an image of blackbird which you'll see in the summer way, way up in the sky. There'll be just one little bird hovering. And I just wondered what he was looking at, you know what he was thinking about. And, at the end of the poem, he just sort of...he's wondering why so many bite-sized people spend their lives, times, running on the spot. But in actual fact...so I had him as a kind of character in the poem. But then I came to write a love song for the end of the piece which was the same point and I used the same blackbird to open the love song, which is kind of like the wedding song for the hero and heroine. And at that point, you seem him gliding overhead. And then in that song, it says that all he does is search for love. And yeah, I suppose I am going over old themes that we used in The Beatles. Certainly a blackbird was one of my themes. And all you need is love...you know, one of the things that the Beates' songs were often about was love. And some people would say it's a bit soppy, you know, talking about love and stuff. But I think, the more I go on, the more important I realize it is, you know. If you've got a family, you've got some kids, it's really important that there be love or else you've got a dysfunctional family. If you're married, it really helps if you love who you're married to, you know. So, when something like the Diana tragedy happens, it's love you're seeing pouring out. It's not hatred. It's not disregard. It's that old thing...it's that old thing called love, you know. And so I think so many know about it deep within themselves, if they're lucky, that I do think it is really an important thing, and in some ways, I think it is...the great thing that we as humans have. I'm sure animals can feel it, but we can actually talk about it and sing about it. And I think it is really an important thing in our world, so even though it may be harking back to themes that I've written about before, I still think it's as imporant as ever, perhaps even more important than ever. Question: Again, referring to the quote you've used there, you're sort of talking about bite-sized creatures running. They spend all their lifetime, not "life," but "life time," running on the spot. Are you saying in the poem, "There, don't be normal. Break the rules," and is that part of your musical attitude and that's why you've been able to write "Standing Stone"? Paul McCartney: Yeah, you know, I suppose a lot of people would look at my work and say, "Well, you know, it doesn't break a lot of rules," but there's another group of people that would say it does and has always been doing that. I think in some small way, I do enjoy doing that because we were never musically trained. When anyone would say, like George Martin might say, "Well, you're not supposed to do that officially," we'd go, "Ooh, ooh, ooh, let's do it." You know, it would excite us actually that we weren't allowed to do it, because obviously in the Beatles, we allowed ourselves to do anything. So we suddenly get this idea that there were rules. First thing we wanted to do was break 'em, you know. And often it was the exciting thing to do. Instead of just sort of saying, "Hello, I love you," you might just say, "P.S., I love you," or "All you need is love" or "She loves you." You'd find a slightly different way of doing it and that became fascinating. And so for me, I don't really break rules for the sake of it as much as the fun of it. Obviously, if you break the rule, there's more chance of your stuff being original. Because if you abide by the rule, then obviously someone has done it before you 'cause it's a rule. So there are some rules I like to stick to. But mainly, I do enjoy when I get a chance to break 'em, but not just for the sake of it. It's mainly because it often throws up something a little more interesting. Question: Is this classical orchestral your future now or are you going to continue doing rock 'n' roll as well? Paul McCartney: Well, one of the things that has worried me a little bit in getting into orchestral music is that there might be some people who think, "Ah, he's gone over to the classical world and it's because he's not interested in rock 'n' roll. That was one of the reasons I wanted to put out a new rock 'n' roll album, "Flaming Pie," in the same year as I did "Standing Stone," because I wanted to show people quite clearly that no way was I going to give up one branch of music in order to get in another. It's just that I like 'em both and I've always been a bit that way. Before rock 'n' roll started, I liked the music my dad liked and I liked some classical stuff, you know. And even with the Beatles, we would play things like Bach and stuff, you know, and it always seemed fascinating. And it wasn't a question of you just have to be one way or you just have to be the other way. I like the mixture. I like balance, you know, so to me, it's just interesting to do something different, but in no way does it mean that I'm going to throw out the old in order to get on with the new. It means that I'd like to be able to do both of them and other things besides, too, you know. I'd like to paint, for instance. I wouldn like anyone to think, "Oh, he just wants to paint. He doesn't want to do music." The truth is I love all these things and I think I love them equally. So it just means that at one time in a year, I really want to write some rock 'n' roll stuff and at another point in the year, or another day, I must just want to paint. And I thnk, you know, heck, it's a free world. I don't see why I shouldn't. So, I really like to mix all these things and hope that no one really thinks I'm going into one of them at the exclusion of others. I like 'em all. Question: At the end of "Standing Stone," there's been what has been called by you a lullaby or a love song. Can you tell us? You said something about that this song was kicking around the kitchen or the kids grew up listening to it. Paul McCartney: There are some songs that you play just for your own pleasure and some of them that I have like that take years and years and years for me to even think of recording them, because they're just songs I sing when I'm around the kitchen. Or certain little tunes are just things I noodle about with when I'm playing the piano. When I'm at somebody's house and they've got a good piano and there's nothing much happening, I'll noodle around on it. And the tune that appears in the fourth movement of this "Standing Stone" was one that I had from quite a long time. And I remember things like I'd be at Linda's Dad's house and I'd be playing this tune and he'd turn around and say, "That's a nice tune. What is it?" And I'd say, "Oh, just something I'm knocking around." So I knew I liked it. It was a candidate for various other little things that I was going to do, but never got 'round to using it. So when I was looking for a tune that I thought would be a memorable tune that had some strength in it, that could be used to close the piece and to finish "Standing Stone," this one came to mind. And I played it to one of the people working on the piece, who was Richard Rodney Bennett who was helping with the orchestrations. I played it to him and I said, "I'd like this to be in the fourth movement as a tune." He said, "Well, that's a song." I said, "Well, I haven't got any words." He said, "Well, it sounds like one of your songs." So that gave me the clue and I went away. And I went away and wrote words to it. And I thought...seeing as it is just a very, very simple straightforward love song, I don't want to get any complex words. I want to just go straight from the shoulder. And so I wrote a very simple set of words. I checked them out with a couple of people, and I thought, "Should I complicate these?" And I thought in my own mind, "Should I look for more complicated images?" But these were the ones...these were the words that just fitted. And they seemed to work, so I kept them in and eventually went to one of the rehearsals with the choir. And I heard them sing it acappella and I just thought, "It works," you know. It's very, very simple, but the rest of the piece isn't necessarily simple. Some of it's quirky, some of it's a little bit difficult to understand, so we thought it'll come out of left field. Right at the end of this piece when you've been listening to 72 minutes of instrumental music and there's hardly any words at all, suddenly the orchestra stops and you get...a straight love song. And I thought, well in that context, it's almost radical, you know. In another context, in an album of love songs, it would be straightforward, but used in this way, it's a little bit of a shock. So I thought that was quite funny that a straightforward love song could have that kind of effect. So that's the one we used. And it was one that I'd been playing for millions of years. So my kids and close family all have known it for a long time, but it finally found its place. Question: Finally, what sort of an evening do you hope people will have at "Standing Stone"? Paul McCartney: When I was asked to write "Standing Stone by the man from EMI, I thought, "Well, what kind of an evening do we want?" And one of my tricks is sort of to visualize the evening and think, "OK, here's everyone sitting around in their Sunday best." We've all got a programme, probably. They'd mentioned that they'd wanted an orchestra, so I thought, "OK, we've got the orchestra up on stage. I like choirs, so I threw in a chorus." I thought, "Right, there'd be an orchestra, a chorus," and then I started to kind of work backwards from that moment and sort of imagine, "OK, now what are they playing then? What tunes are they doing? Is it all orchestral or whatever?" So I really just thought...the main thing I thought was that I'd like it to be a very enjoyable evening. EMI, after all, has waited a long time for this celebration. So I should imagine that I'd like people to go out having enjoyed it, also having some food for thought, possibly for them to think, "Ooh, I didn't know he could do that." It's always nice if you do something new for people to think that. But most of all, really for people to have enjoyed the evening, so that I'd like them to go out thinking, "Alright, I didn't waste the money for this ticket. This was worth coming to. This was a worthwhile evening," and for EMI themselves to think, "Yeah, OK, this fulfilled the brief. This was a celebration and I'm glad we asked him to do it."

    Paul McCartney talks about the Beatle breakup and his new life

    Life Magazine, 1971

    'I FELT THE SPLIT WAS COMING'             So the separation became a divorce. On the last day of 1970, Paul McCartney filed suit in London against John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison to dissolve their partnership of the Beatles & Co. McCartney charged that their business manager, Allen Klein, was incompetent, and that the far-flung business affairs of their corporation, Apple, were a vast bookkeeping mess. Then the strained silence that had gripped the famous quartet for months became a war of words. In the course of a rambling 30,000-word interview in Rolling Stone, John accused Paul of trying to run the show. "We got fed up with being sidemen for Paul," he said. George said he had once walked out because Paul had demonstrated a "superior attitude" toward him musically. Ringo claimed that Paul - "completely out of control" - had berated him over a conflict of album publication dates and said, "I'll finish you!" Until now, Paul himself has remained silent. Recently he agreed to the following interview, in which he explains his motives and speaks in his defense.

                McCartney was interviewed in Los Angeles, during a recording session for his new album Ram. The album, which was partly recorded in New York, contains 11 new songs by Paul, including several written in collaboration with his wife Linda. It is scheduled for release May 15. An interview by RICHARD MERYMAN             The whole Beatle thing: it's like it was all years ago, like going back a distance more than anything. And that's the whole point. The Beatles are really finished, over with, and it's just each of us alone now, living our lives the way we choose. I think while the Beatles were on -- I can't really use any other word -- while they were just on, there was no question of any of these normal hangups interfering with it because we just had an understanding. It's like a married couple. When we started off we were all aiming for pretty much the same thing. I think the troubles really began when we weren't aiming anymore for the same thing, which began, I think, when we stopped touring in 1966.             During the making of the White Album, Ringo left the group saying he wasn't "getting through" to the rest of us. But he came back in two days. By the time we made Abbey Road, John and I were openly critical of each other's music and I felt John wasn't much interested in performing anything he hadn't written himself. When we made the Let It Be album, George walked out over a row about the performance of some songs - and said he was leaving the group. A few days later there was a meeting at Ringo's house, and he agreed to come back at least until the recording was finished.             So I felt the split coming. And John kept saying we were musicalIy standing still. One night - this was the autumn of '69 - Linda and I were lying there, talking about it, and I thought, "That's what I miss - and what they miss too - playing." Because we hadn't actually played for anyone for a long time. And being an actual good musician requires this contact with people all the time. The human thing.             So I came into the idea of going to village halls which hold a couple of hundred people. Have someone book the hall and put up posters saying, maybe, "Ricky and Redstreaks Saturday Night." And we'd just turn up there in a van and people would arrive and we'd be there. I thought that was great. John said, "You're daft."             At this time John's thing was playing for 200,000 people because he'd been at a big festival or something. So he wanted to do that. And I can see now what he thought. I can see which way John sees progress. I see it sometimes another way.             We were talking in the Apple offices. Ringo was there - he agreed - and maybe George wasn't there. So then John says, "Anyway, I'm leaving the group." He said, "I want a divorce." He literally said, "I want a divorce." And for the first time ever, he meant it.             So that just hit everyone. All of us realized that this great thing that we'd been part of was no longer to be. This was the chop. That hits anyone, no matter what it is. It's like leaving school, and you love it then it hits like a chop. Or whatever your thing is. Our thing was the Beatles.             The Beatle way of life was like a young kid entering the big world, entering it with friends and conquering it totally. And that was fantastic. An incredible experience. So when that idea really came that we should break up, I don't think any of us wanted to accept it. It was the end of the legend, even in our own minds. Marilyn Monroe gets to believe eventually that she's Marilyn Monroe. Now I feel that's how the Beatles got to be - I'm just speaking for me. You were very much a Beatle in your own eyes, and to an extent we all still are.             Thinking back, I think it was great what John said. And he told us, "Look everything sort of comes together right." And now I agree. We'd just made this album and it was to be called Get Back and on the cover was a photograph showing us in exactly the same position as in the first album we'd made - the whole lettering and the background was exactly reproduced. So John said, "It's a perfect circle, you know."             I think what John did was tremendous from the point of view of "Okay, so we are actually going to go our own ways." You just can't be as tied together as we were for so long a period of time, unless you all live in the same house. From then onward it was to be a question of living your own life, which was the first real turn-on for me in a long time - and this coincided with my meeting Linda. So early in 1970 I phoned John and told him I was leaving the Beatles too. He said, "Good! That makes two of us who have accepted it mentally."             I do think if it were just up to the four of us, if we were totally unencumbered, we would have had a dissolution - I hate these heavy terms - the day after John said he was leaving. We would have picked up our bags - these are my shoes, that's my ball, that's your ball - and gone. And I still maintain that's the only way, to actually go and do that, no matter what things are involved on a business level. But of course we aren't four fellows. We are part of a big business machine. Even though the Beatles have really stopped, the Beatle thing goes on - repackaging the albums, putting tracks together in different forms, and the video coming in. So that's why I've had to sue in the courts to dissolve the Beatles, to do on a business level what we should have done on a four-fellows level. I feel it just has to come.             We used to get asked at press conferences, "What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?" When I talked to John just the other day, he said something about, "Well, the bubble's going to burst." And I said, "It has burst. That's the point. That's why I've had to do this, why l had to apply to the court. You don't think I really enjoy doing that kind of stuff. I had to do it because the bubble has burst - everywhere but on paper." That's the only place we're tied now.             You see, there was a partnership contract put together years ago to hold us together as a group for 10 years. Anything anybody wanted to do - put out a record, anything - he had to get the others' permission. Because of what we were then, none of us ever looked at it when we signed it. We signed it in '67 and discovered it last year. We discovered this contract that bound us for 10 years. So it's "Oh gosh. Oh golly. Oh heck," you know. "Now, boys, can we tear it up, please?"             But the trouble is, the other three have been advised not to tear it up. They've been advised that if they tear it up, there will be serious, bad consequences for them. The point, though, to me was that it began to look like a three-to-one vote, which is what in fact happened at a couple of business meetings. It was three to one. That's how Allen Klein got to be the manager of Apple, which I didn't want. But they didn't need my approval.             Listen, it's not the boys. It's not the other three. The four of us, I think, still quite like each other. I don't think there is bad blood, not from my side anyway. I spoke to the others quite recently and there didn't sound like any from theirs. So it's a business thing. It's Allen Klein. Early in '69 John took him on as business manager and wanted the rest of us to do it too. That was just the irreconcilable difference between us. Klein is incredible. He's New York. He'll say "Waddaya want? I'll buy it for you." I guess there's a lot I really don't want to say about this, but it will come out because we had to sort of document the stuff for this case. We had to go and fight - which I didn't want, really.             All summer long in Scotland I was fighting with myself as to whether I should do anything like that. It was murderous. I had a knot in my stomach all summer. I tried to think of a way to take Allen Klein to court, or to take a businessman to court. But the action had to be brought against the other three.             I first said, no, we can't do that. We'll live with it. But all those little things kept happening, such trivia compared to what has happened, but the kind of things that . . . well, for example, my record McCartney came out. Linda and I did it totally - the record, the cover the ads - everything presented to the record company. Then there started to appear these little advertisements. On the bottom was "On Apple Records," which was okay. But somebody had also come along and slapped on "An Abkco-managed company." Now that is Klein's company and has nothing to do with my record. It's like Klein taking part of the credit for my record. Maybe that sounds petty, but I can go into other examples of this kind of thing. The buildup is the thing: all these things continuously happening making me feel like I'm a junior with the record company, like Klein is the boss and I'm nothing. Well, I'm a senior. I figure my opinion is as good as anyone's, especially when it's my thing. And it's emotional: you feel like you don't have any freedom. I figured I'd have to stand up for myself eventually or get pushed under.             The income from the McCartney album is still being held by Apple, and Linda and I are the only ones on the record. John has a new record out with a song called Power to the People. There's a line in it - sort of shouting to the government - "Give us what we own." And to me Apple's the government thing. Give me what I own.             So then we began to talk again about the suit, over and over. I just saw that I was not going to get out of it. From my last phone conversation with John, I think he sees it like that. He said, "Well, how do you get out?"             My lawyer, John Eastman, he's a nice guy and he saw the position we were in, and he sympathized. We'd have these meetings on top of hills in Scotland, we'd go for long walks. I remember when we actually decided we had to go and file suit. We were standing on this big hill which overlooked a loch - it was quite a nice day, a bit chilly - and we'd been searching our souls. Was there any other way? And we eventually said, "Oh, we've got to do it." The only alternative was seven years with the partnership - going through those same channels for seven years.             And I've changed. The funny thing about it is that I think a lot of my change has been helped by John Lennon. I sort of picked up on his lead. John had said, "Look, I don't want to be that anymore. I'm going to be this." And I thought, "That's great." I liked the fact he'd done it, and so I'll do it with my thing. He's given the okay.             In England, if a partnership isn't rolling along and working - like a marriage that isn't working - then you have reasonable grounds to break it off. It's great! Good old British justice! But before I went into this, I had to check out in my mind, is there such a thing as justice? Like I throw myself into the courts I could easily get caught - tell the story, put it all in there, and then justice turns around and . . . I mean, these days people don't believe in justice. I really think the truth does win, but it's not a popular thought. But then all my life I've been in love with goodies - as against the baddies.             You can read the other boys' side to find out I'm the stinker. I think I'm right. But don't we all! You couldn't believe it! It's a movie! Because I've had to take this action against the others, it looks like we can't stand each other. I can really only speak for myself, but I still like the other three. And maybe it's deeper than "like." But at the moment, I'm not stuck on them. I'm not pleased. We are not amused at the moment! I am not loving them. But I know when it's over I will really like them.             People said, "It's a pity that such a nice thing had to come to such a sticky end." I think that too. It is a pity. I like fairy tales. I'd love it to have had the Beatles go up in a little cloud of smoke and the four of us just find ourselves in magic robes, each holding an envelope with our stuff in it. But you realize that you're in real life, and you don't split up a beautiful thing with a beautiful thing.             I ignored John's interview in Rolling Stone. I looked at it and dug him for saying what he thought. But to me, short of getting it off his chest, I think he blows it with that kind of thing. I think it makes people wonder why John needs to do that.             I did think there were an awful lot of inconsistencies, because on one page you find John talking about how Dylan changed his name from Zimmerman and how that's hypocritical. But John changed his name to John Ono Lennon. And people looking at that just begin to think, "Come on, what is this?" But the interview didn't bug me. It was so far out that I enjoyed it, actually. I know there are elements of truth in what he said. And this open hostility, that didn't hurt me. That's cool. That's John.             I can't really describe what direction I'm going in musically, because it's ever-changing - and that's what it's all about. I have my personal influences, and they come from everywhere, from age nothing to today. Sounds I heard on the radio. Sounds I heard my father play on the piano. Sounds I found myself in rock and roll. Sounds that the group made. My music is all that - very personal - especially now that it's one person putting it down instead of four. I do what I feel. Make myself comfortable. It's a good job to have.             Linda and I have been writing songs together - and my publishers are suing because they don't believe she wrote them with me. You know, suddenly she marries him and suddenly she's writing songs. "Oh, sure (wink, wink). Oh, sure, she's writing songs."             But actually one day I just said to her, "I'm going to teach you how to write if I have to just strap you to the piano bench. I'm going to teach you the way I write music" - because I never write music anyway. I just write by ear. And I like to collaborate on songs. If I have to just go out in another room and write - it is too much like work - like doing your homework. If I can have Linda working with me, then it becomes like a game. It's fun. So we wrote about 10 songs and then we discovered that it was becoming too much like work. We were getting serious about writing. And I've never been serious.             When we decided to do the new album, we wanted to make it fun - because it isn't worth doing anything if you can't have fun doing it. The album will be out early in May, and then I'm thinking about getting a band together - another band - because I don't like to just sit around. I really like to play music.             My musical direction - I'm trying for music that isn't too romantic, yet contains a romantic thing. I personally don't like things to be too cute - except babies. My music comes off best, I think, when there's hard and soft together.             The best things are often the free bits, and that gets very tricky. I go out into the studio and I know I'm going to ad-lib. If I announce I'm going to ad-lib, I can't ad-lib because I'm no longer ad-libbing. So I've just got to go out there and improvise, and someone's got to be in there in the control room very cleverly thinking, "He's going to ad-lib now, I'd better tape it." It's very hard because good things get missed. Last night I was doing a real ad-lib and I was in a great mood and I was exploring what there was to be done - and they missed it. The next time around when they tried the tape, I wasn't exploring any longer. I was trying to repeat past glories, and that doesn't work.             But there are compensations. Sometimes you don't want to share those moments. Okay, the record-buying public didn't hear it, but you and I did. That's beautiful. That's real. The moment was temporary like everything is. Nothing in life really stays. And it's beautiful that they go. They have to go in order for the next thing to come. You can almost add beauty to a thing by accepting that it's temporary.             I suppose musically I'm competing with the other three, whether I like it or not. It's only human to compete. But I think it's good for us. I think George has shown recently that he was no dummy. I think we're really good, each one of us, individually.             You know, there's like three periods in my life. There's the time when I was at school and just after leaving it. That was when I used to read a lot - Dylan Thomas, paperbacks, a lot of plays, Tennessee Williams, things my literature master had turned me onto. I used to sit on the top level of buses, reading and smoking a pipe. Then there was the whole sort of Beatle thing. And just now again I feel I can do what I want. So it's like there was me, then the Beatles phase, and now I'm me again.             It's rather serious--life. And you can't live as if you have nine lives. I find myself doing that often. I think everybody does, saying in his mind, "I'll get it tomorrow." But I can't do that anymore. Take One with the Beatles should have been like I said, with a puff of smoke and magic robes and envelopes. But we missed Take One, so now we do Take Two. And in the disappointment of Take Two - I feel I can always find something good in the bad - the good thing is that it really has made me come to terms more with my life. As a married couple, Linda and I've really become closer because of all those problems, all the decisions. It's been very real what I've been through, a breath of air, in a way, because of having been through very inhuman things.             The Beatle thing was fantastic. I loved every minute of it. It was beautiful. But it was a very sheltered life. Why, somebody would even ring me up in the morning and say, "You've got to be at Apple in an hour." It got very nursemaidy. If you are a real human, you've got to wake yourself up. You've got to take on these tedious little things because out of the tedium comes the joy of life. I got fed up by Apple this year over Christmas trees. "Did we want one, because the office was buying Christmas trees for everyone?" I hated that. Actually we pinched one from a field in Scotland.             I love my life now because I'm doing much more ordinary things, and to me that brings great joy. We're more ordinary than ordinary people sometimes. In New York, we go to Harlem on the subway - a great evening at the Apollo. We walk through Central Park after hours. You may find us murdered one day. Last time we went it was snowy like moonlight in Vermont- just fantastic. And I figure anyone who scares me, I scare him.             We try never to organize our lives very much. We do things on the spur of the moment. We were in Scotland and we decided to take a trip to the Shetland Islands. So we piled in the Land Rover with the two kids, our English sheep dog, Martha, and a whole pile of stuff in the back with Mary's potty on the top. On the second day we get up to a little port called Scrabster at the top of Scotland. When we tried to get on the big car ferry, we got in queue but were two cars too late - missed it. So, don't despair. Okay, make the best of it. We really didn't want to go on that big liner, a mass- produced thing. So we thought, let's beat the liner. But we gave that up - it became a bit difficult with airplanes and such. Let's try to get a ride in one of the little fishing boats, and how much should we offer. So the romantic idea was that they'd rather have a salmon or a bottle of Scotch than the 30 pounds.             I went to a bunch of boats but they weren't going to the Orkney Islands. So I went on this one and I went to this trapdoor sort of thing, and they were sleeping down below - the smell of sleep is coming up through the door. At first the skipper said no, and then I said there was 30 quid in it for him, and they say they'll take us.             It was a fantastic little boat called the Enterprise and the captain named George, he's wearing a beautiful Shetland sweater. We brought all our stuff aboard and it was low tide, so we had to lower Martha in a big fishing net and a little crowd gathers and we wave our farewells. As we steam out, the skipper gives us some beer, and Linda, trying to be one of the boys takes a swig and passes it to me. Well, you shouldn't drink before a rough crossing to the Orkneys. The little one, Mary, throws up all over the wife, as usual. That was it. I was already feeling sick. I sort of gallantly walked to the front of the boat, hanging onto the mast. The skipper comes up and we're having light talk, light chit-chat. And I don't want it. So he gets the idea and points to the fishing baskets and says, "Do it in there." So we were all sick, but we ended up in the Orkney Islands, and we took a plane to Shetland. It was great.             We do things like that - do it sort of eccentricordinary because we have got the money to do it eccentric. I always wondered what happened to those maharajahs who used to do things. But there never are really any of those people. So we try and do a bit of it in our own lives.             People do recognize us sometimes, but they respect our privacy. It's a beautiful thing. If you come on as a star, you get star treatment and all the disadvantages. But often, when we dress in dungarees and sneakers -- last night we got turned out of two restaurants. The guy in an evening suit turns us out. But I quite like it when they chuck us out.             I love to find that, even in this day of concrete, there are still alive horses and places where grass grows in unlimited quantities and sky has got clear air in it. Scotland has that. It's just there without anyone touching it. It just grows. I'm relieved to find that it isn't all pollution. It isn't all the Hudson. It's not all the drug problem.             When we are in Scotland we plant stuff - vegetables - and we'll leave them there, and of their own volition they will push up. And not only will they push up and grow into something, but then they will be good to eat. To me that's an all-time thing. That's fantastic. How clever! Just that things push their own way up and they feed you.             We don't eat meat because we've got lambs on the farm, and we just ate a piece of lamb one day and suddenly realized we were eating a bit of one of those things that was playing outside the window, gamboling peacefully. But we're not strict. I don't want to put a big sign on me, "Thou Shalt Be Vegetarian." I like to allow myself; I like to give myself a lucky break. Give yourself a lucky break, son.             So I think you've got to live your own life. That sounds like one of those statements, but it is, in fact, just very necessary to realize that. And particularly necessary for me. Or else someone else is going to be living part of your life for you.             But now I would like to stop talking and get up and get to work. I haven't done any today, and it's beginning to frustrate me. I've got that album to finish. We've got to get back to plant the seeds. Nature doesn't wait.

    Guitar World Interview, 1997

    GUITAR WORLD (Vic Garbarini): Were you aware, when you were recording Flaming Pie, that it was a definite improvement on your other recent efforts? PAUL McCARTNEY: You do get a feeling that something is working, though you can always be wrong. I've thought I was working on something good, and then it turned out people thought it was average. I don't know if I was right or they were right. Time will tell. GUITAR WORLD: What did you do differently this time? PAUL McCARTNEY: I was checking the songs in my own mind against some of the early Beatles stuff, because I'd just been doing the Anthology and it surprised me how simple, and yet complete, some of the early Beatles work was. I didn't see any reason why my new stuff shouldn't be just as simple and complete. So whereas I might have been a little bit lazy in the past and just thought, "Ah, near enough!", which is very tempting to do, I made it a point to go in and sharpen the chisel and get it a bit tighter. GUITAR WORLD: Do the Beatles hang as a shadow over you, in the sense that you are always being measured against your past? PAUL McCARTNEY: That's a very difficult question. I am not four people, therefore I can never do as well as the four of us. And in that way the Beatles can be a bit of a ghost that constantly haunts you. But I was partly responsible for what I see as a great body of work, and that can't but give you a feeling of great confidence. Okay, I've gotta live up to it, but so does everyone else in the world. I figure I've probably got a better chance of coming up with a good Paul McCartney song than Oasis has -- and I mean that with no disrespect, because I like Oasis. I must say I'm not really haunted by the specter of the Beatles. We wouldn't have done the Anthology had we been paranoid about the whole thing. It's a ghost, but it's not a malevolent ghost. It's a friendly one. A bit of a Casper. GUITAR WORLD: The Beatles broke up when you were 28. Do you ever get the feeling that you peaked early and you're never going to reach those heights again? PAUL McCARTNEY: It really depends on what mood I'm in. There is a minority of occasions when I think, "Oh s***!" But in actual fact, rather than thinking I could never do it again, the feeling I get is "Why do it again?" I can't be bothered trying to do it one more time. But it comes back to the question, "Why do it at all?" We started really for fame and fortune and then it developed into actual musical inquisitiveness. And that's where I'm at now. I'm still very inquisitive to see what I can do with music. People often say, "Do you still enjoy your music?" I can't believe they think I could ever have gone off it! GUITAR WORLD: Do you think that your lyric writing is an area that you have generally let slip? When I listen to a Beatles track like "For No One," which has such a sharp and mature lyric, I find it hard to understand how the writer of that could also be the writer of some of your more whimsical material. PAUL McCARTNEY: You could be right, but you gotta realize that when I wrote "For No One" I was in a very secure position. We are not masters of the universe, and if I have things in my life that affect me badly, they do affect my writing. The breakup of the Beatles was tantamount to having a nervous breakdown. You can't just say, "Well, okay, I'm in exactly as cool a position as I was." And a bit of it was a haze too, the post-Beatle trauma, and the partying. I went through a lot -- a bit of drink and drugs and stuff. And you know it wasn't always the greatest stuff that came out. But I think it's natural. You can let things slip. GUITAR WORLD: But how do you slip from "Eleanor Rigby" to "Biker Like An Icon"? PAUL McCARTNEY: Well, you can be drunk when you're writing, for instance. And, I don't think there is an artist who can say every single line he ever wrote is as good as the best of his work. For example, I heard a recording of Chopin's "Nocturnes" the other day. There's really one cool track on it, which is the one we all know, and the rest was very good and interesting musically, but none of it is up to the same standard. There are one or two pieces I think I should've done better, but I'm not about to whip myself for it. GUITAR WORLD: There's certainly a hell of a lot of stuff. Not including greatest hits and live sets, you've released 20 albums since the Beatles broke up. PAUL McCARTNEY: Yeah, too large an output is probably a major reason for a slip in quality. I did a bloody record a bloody year for a long time. But I think there may be some revisionism to come on these sloppy lyrics. Take Back To The Egg [the final Wings album, released in 1979]. Linda and I were so disappointed, thinking, "God this is a terrible bloody record." But my son pulled it out recently and it's really not as bad as I thought it was. It's not easy to do your tightest, most succinct work all the time, and I think if my work does slip it probably is in the lyrics. And I hate to tell you, but I put a lot of it down to laziness, where I just thought "Yeah, that'll do." And in mitigation, I think that sometimes I probably was right. GUITAR WORLD: What kind of music do you tend to listen to at home? PAUL McCARTNEY: I listen to all sorts of stuff, depending on my mood. Nat King Cole the other night, Chopin the other morning. Montiverdi, choral stuff. I like reggae. I've got a lot of old 45's. Not a lot of new bands, that tends to come through my son. I like Beck, he's quite good. Some of these Seattle bands are good. I like Nirvana a lot. To see [Kurt Cobain], he was anguished, he was a traumatic character, but unfortunately that's often what makes good music. GUITAR WORLD: Do you think, as is often suggested, it is harder to produce great art when you are happy? PAUL McCARTNEY: I don't know. It's an eternal query and we're not gonna solve it here. But the thing is, all you're seeing of me is the surface. It's like when I was talking to Ringo and I was trying to help him because he was going through all sorts of problems. I was saying, "It's okay, man, you're great, you're fantastic, you're having a great life." He said, "Don't you f***ing tell me what's going on inside my head!" And he was right. I was looking at his surface. You don't know what people are going through. I'm very private. I don't let everyone know what's going on inside. But I was brought up in Liverpool and there are lots of Irish connections there; thank God there is a very happy-go-lucky side to it all, and an optimistic side -- which is the main side of my character. I'm very lucky to have had a great family that was always pretty upbeat. But that doesn't mean to say that's the whole story. And when you do write songs you draw more on the whole story rather than just the surface. I mean, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is nice, very cheery. But "Helter Skelter" isn't quite as cheery! GUITAR WORLD: Do you get bored with answering questions about the Beatles? PAUL McCARTNEY: Sometimes you don't wanna go through that f***ing stuff again. You hear yourself for the 50th time go into your routine. But it's an occupational hazard. Like being a doctor at a party -- everyone's going to ask you about their health problems. GUITAR WORLD: Do you enjoy your fame? PAUL McCARTNEY: You know what? When we were in our mid-twenties, we were trying to build the Beatles thing and we were just barely out of Liverpool and it was very exciting. But I remember going on holiday and there were one or two places where you still wouldn't be recognized. Greece was one of them, and then we went back there on one holiday and suddenly it had all broken loose. And I realized right then that I was cutting off all my exits. I was burning every single bridge of privacy that had been quite important to me. And I remember consciously facing a decision: "You're at the point of no return -- you either wind it all down or you're going to be a Beatle for the rest of your life." And I decided that would be okay. And by the way, don't tell anyone, but I really do get a lot of privacy. The other bit of my life that isn't the famous bit is more low-key than most people. You'll find me doing very, very private stuff, like writing poetry and making trails in the woods. Once, the Maharishi [the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian guru who taught the Beatles transcendental meditation] gave us a book that he'd written, and he wrote a message in it. It was one word: "Enjoy." I was totally freaked out because this guruish guy's best advice was "enjoy." But I think it is seriously great advice. If at the end of today we have enjoyed it, it's better than having a s***ty day. That sounds horrifically simplistic, but I'm a believer in that. Unfortunately, I suddenly regret having said that, because I know what it's going to look like in print. It's going down in posterity that John was the cool one, and Paul was a bit soppy. But I do try to enjoy my life. It's out of choice and it's out of my background. And I figure it's better if you're at the end of you life and you can say, "I sort of enjoyed that." I know I'm not going to be able to go much further than "sort of." I can't say "That was just a f***ing great laugh, ha ha ha," because I would be lying. There would be other elements, or else you're just not human. GUITAR WORLD: What's next for Paul McCartney? PAUL McCARTNEY: I don't know. Something will happen. I've told this story before, but once in the early days of the Beatles, we broke down on the motorway going back to Liverpool. One of us said, "what are we gonna do now?" And another said, "Well, something'll happen." Immediately a lorry came up and said, "Wanna lift, lads?" We all piled in. I'm a great believer in "Something will happen." You can look at it two ways, like the "enjoy" thing with the Maharishi. It's either true, or you're totally naive. We always used to say, "Something will happen." That's like the village idiots, but something always did happen. There's a lot of magic about, you know what I mean? You've gotta believe that s***. If you've come from where I've come, and what's happened to me has happened, then you've gotta believe that.

    Paul McCartney Interviewed by Paul Gambaccini

    1979, Rolling Stone

    Introduction by Ben Fong-Torres Between the first long Paul McCartney interview and this one, London correspondent Paul Gambaccini filed what seemed to him like hundreds random notes about McCartney and Wings.             "I began to feel embarrassed by the number of McCartney pieces I'd done," he says. "But it was -- simple. Paul doesn't like schedules. So you couldn't plan weeks ahead, from America, and nail him down on a specific date. And if he wanted to do something, he'd ring up two or three days in advance."             In spring 1979, a McCartney aide rang up Gambaccini. Paul had just finished the album Back to the Egg "and they knew Rolling Stone was interested -- the magazine had sent a writer over a couple of years before, and he could never pin McCartney down, so this was the interview that was supposed to have been done in 1977.             "Back to the Egg turned out to be McCartney's major disappointment, says Gambaccini. But, he would bounce back, in 1980, with the hit "Coming Up," reunite with Beatles producer George Martin and release Cold Cuts. [sic]             1979 Introduction: Fifteen years ago the Beatles' first film, 'A Hard Day's Night,' opened around the world. The mere fact that it was a black-and-white film tells us how much time has passed. During the intervening decade and a half, millions of lives were affected, some profoundly, by the Beatles. It sounds heretical and contradictory, but one person who seems relatively unchanged is Paul McCartney. He is definitely a richer man, but his wealth has merely brought him the freedom to do what he wants, and that is simply to make music and be with his family. He makes few concessions to his celebrity and attends few public functions, unintentionally ensuring that each appearance is an event. The Buddy Holly tribute he has been involved with have drawn the most star-studded assembly the London musical fraternity has seen during the last three years. At home on his estate south of london, Paul watches a good deal of television with Linda and the kids. He listens to BBC radio going to and from his London studio, preferring to drive himself rather than be chauffered. Anyone searching for a departure in his behavior from that of the people who buy his records would be disappointed.             Whereas 'Please Please Me,' the Beatles' first British album, was recorded in one day, McCartney, now works for weeks on a Wings LP. He records where fancy strikes: in Nigeria ['Band on the Run'], New Orleans ['Venus and Mars'], on a boat afloat in the Caribbean ['London Town'] or, in the case of the new LP, 'Back to the Egg,' in a castle overlooking the English Channel.             'Back to the Egg' does not include his recent disco-influenced hit single, "Goodnight Tonight," simply because McCartney felt it would not fit musically. While the LP makes few obvious concessions to disco or New Wave, it rocks more than 'London Town'; "Old Siam, Sir," the new single in Britain, sounds more like Tina Turner or a manic bluesman than Paul McCartney.             Paul is frightened of critical reaction, but this is nothing new: He remembers when a top BBC disc jockey predicted "She Loves You' would not be a hit. Time and public acclaim of his work have given him the confidence to plan activities that critics may not consider rock & roll. He is also relieved to have put behind him the financial mismanagement the Beatles suffered and to be in the skilled hands of his father-in-law, Lee Eastman, who with his son John has succeeded both in negotiating the most preferential recording contract in history and in investing the McCartney profits in publishing catalogs that have already earned many times their purchase prices. John also represents Paul in the seemingly neverending negotiations to allocate the funds of the Beatles' now-defunct record company, Apple.             I have Known Paul McCartney, for over five years, since just before the release of 'Band on the Run.' When I first met him, he was struggling to establish Wings. After an inauspicious start with "Wild Life, " "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Give Ireland Back to the Irish, " the group had rallied for three hits: "Hi, Hi, Hi," "My Love" and "Live and Let Die." Not surprisingly, McCartney at that time was desperate to avoid talking about the Beatles, especially about the neverending reunion rumors. He regarded me with the suspicion he had for any inquisitive young reporter and dismissed mention of the Beatles' early days as "ancient history".             In the years since "Band on the Run", Paul has let down his defenses. Anecdotes about the Beatles now flow , in addition to reminiscences of pre-Beatles days. He seems pleased with his past. This is a product of being happy with his presence.             This interview was conducted in two installments in late March 1979. We began in EMI Studios, Abbey Road, where McCartney worked with the Beatles and where he works with Wings whenever they are not flying around the world. "Silly Love Songs" and "My Love," Wings' biggest American hits, as well as "Goodnight Tonight," their latest hit single, were cut here.             The second phase of the interview, was held in a photography studio above Belsize Park subway station in north London. While the cover picture of the new alum was being set up, a long and exhausting process, we chatted in a third-story room discussing the new album, the two-song supersession that Paul calls the Rockestra and McCartney's hope that Wings can tour later this year and turn up unannounced at small clubs. We also talked about his opinion of the British New Wave; the time Paul and the original Beatles drummer, Pete Best, were deported from Germany; how McCartney considered counseling Sid Viscious the, Beatles' fear that Gerry and the Pacemakers would be more popular -- things like that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ROLLING STONE: I remember reading a quote from journalist-broadcaster Tony Palmer, I believe, who said at one point in the Sixties, "lt must be the hardest thing in The world to be Paul McCartney." Have you ever thought it was hard to be you? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, I think it would be harder to be Idi Amin and one or two others. To go from being a kid living on a street on some council estate [public-housing project] to becoming very famous is a big change. Living with all the trappings of that isn't an easy adjustment; your privacy has to go a bit. It is a bit humiliating sometimes if you have a hangover or you really just feel rough, and you've got to do an autograph or stand while someone takes a picture. But you reach a point where you realize you can't turn back. ROLLING STONE: I wonder if live television would be too nerveracking now for groups, considering that the audiences would just multiply a million-fold by international broadcast. Do you think that would be a bit nerveracking? PAUL MCCARTNEY: I don't think any group minds an audience of millions. I think they thrive on that. ROLLING STONE: That's interesting, because when those silly offers to reunite the Beatles were being made a couple of years ago, I thought the most terrifying aspect of it would have been so many people watching, but that wasn't scaring you? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, I don't think that had anything to do with it. The whole Beatles reunion thing was always a nonstarter, because we had all just broken up. It is like getting divorced: After you've made the big decision you don't want someone coming up and saying, "Hey, listen, I think it would be a great idea if you all got married again." Things like money and TV exposure are not relevant. If we'd wanted to get together, instead of the opposite, then I'm sure no one would have minded. They would have wanted all that TV exposure. In fact, I remember when the Beatles were breaking up, my thought was that what we needed to do was get back on the road and do what I want to do now, which is sort of turn up at small clubs. And I remember John saying, "No way. We want to play to 200,000, don't we!" ROLLING STONE: Well, do you think you will be turning up unadvertised with Wings? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Me! Yes, I think so. I like just turning up on a bunch of people. There is a different kind of electricity when they didn't expect you. You get something and they get something, which was my original idea for the Beatles [in the late Sixties]. As far as a Beatles reunion is concerned, I don't think that would ever happen. I don't think it would really be a good thing if it did. ROLLING STONE: By now it has taken on such a mythic quality. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah... it gets a bit that, doesn't it! A bit legendary, and the mists of time roll back to I mean, you know, there's no use. say, "Look, you know we're all humans, and we were in this fun group together and we had a great time, but it ended for various reasons." I don't need to go into them for you; it was bad enough going into them for me. So you don't really need people expecting all that sort of stuff to happen, but people still do. ROLLING STONE: There are still little legal hassles to this day, aren't there? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Not legal hassles. What happened is that when we were the Beatles, instead of setting us all up legally as individuals, everyone set us up as a partnership. So when we wanted to split up I just naively thought, "Well, I'll take my ball and go. I'll just have my bit, and we'll call it a day." But we found that you couldn't just take your little ball and go because of millions of legal reasons. So it's now ten years since we started the whole thing, and you wouldn't believe what we've been through. You just wouldn't. ROLLING STONE: How much of this is because of being young and naive when you originally signed your contracts, and how much of it is because of disagreements within the group? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Well, I think I was young and naive about all of that until the Beatles broke up. It was just, "Well, we all know nobody will screw each other. We all pretty much know each other. We'll all do it okay." It's just disagreements within the group because, as I say, all contracts that were signed could have broken up quite easily. I would be happy to do a deal that's going now. Just so that we don't have that hanging over our heads and can just say hello again without having to say, "Hello, and by the way, Apple requires you to sign this." ROLLING STONE: Have you been following the trial of Allen Klein? [The Beatles' short-term mentor after the death of Brian Epstein, Klein was convicted this year on one count of income-tax evasion for failing to declare a "substantial" amount of cash obtained in 1970 by selling promotional copies of Beatles albums, He was to be sentenced June 18th and faced up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $5000.] PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, I just started reading about it the other day. I feel sorry for him now. I was caught in his net once, and that panicked me. I really wanted to do everything to get him. I was contemplating going to where he lives and walking outside his house with placards, doing all that. I was really that crazy at the time. I would have done anything to get out of it, but it all turned out okay. ROLLING STONE: Do you now regret selling the publishing rights to the Beatles songs? PAUL MCCARTNEY: I don't now because I own some of my new stuff totally, and my company is into publishing. So I don't mind, but it's funny to think somebody owns,"Yesterday" and that it's only to do with me as far as the royalties are concerned. It's funny to think of some of the things that went down. In fact, it's more than funny, it's crazy, because companies were sold behind our backs, and we always had a tiny share of everything. And all the big businessmen always advised us to sell everything. They never said, "Hold onto your paintings because one day they might be valuable." So we were persuaded to sell all the bits and pieces of our rights, which is about the worst advice you can get. Lord Goodman, who shall not be nameless, was one of the people advising us at that time. I don't think it was good advice, and he ended up advising the Labour government. So he told us the wrong things; he probably told them the wrong things. ROLLING STONE: Were you really on one percent royalty at the beginning? PAUL MCCARTNEY: To tell you the truth, I don't remember. I don't really know what percent. Those days I just signed the contract. It was too long and boring to really read. It would have taken way too much time, plus I couldn't understand it. ROLLING STONE: You said something very revealing when I just changing the tapes, which is that you are still a bit shy to say you own "Stormy Weather." PAUL MCCARTNEY: You've got to do something with money. You've got to invest it in something. I love songs, and the opportunity came up to do all that, and so I'm now a publisher and a businessman, which to me is something I don't like to talk about too much. Maybe I'm not grown up enough. What originally happened was, Lee Eastman said to me, "if you were to invest in stuff, what kind of stuff do you like " And I said, "Music." And he said, "Well, what kind of people in music do you like!" I told him a few. I said, "Buddy Holly, but if you're talking about more up-to-date people, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman."             I love Buddy Holly, I've been crazy about him since I was a kid. And Lee rang up one day and said, "Buddy Holly's publishing is up for sale." I said, "Fantastic, I don't believe it." And he said, "We got it, for the company, we got it." So, I just thought, well, either we just get it and leave it, which would be possible, or we try and make a bit of noise about it and get some bit of activity going. So I said, "Let's have Buddy Holly Week; let's have it on his birthday instead of his death day and just try to get people to play his music, cause there are kids who've never even heard him. "It's a pretty haphazard thing, but last year we had Buddy's film [The Buddy Holly Story], which worked out great; the year before we had the Crickets [Holly's band] and the year before we had Norman Petty [Holly's producer]. It awakened a lot of interest. You suddenly started to find Teds pouring out of the cracks in the floorboards cause there was incredible interest there that I hadn't even realized, really. Finding these fourteen- and fifteen-year-old kids coming in?all the hairdos -- saying, "Yeah, man, Buddy Holly, he's my favorite, him and Eddie Cochran." And Eddie Cochran was dead before they were born. But they still got this big feeling for him. And Buddy is now like the big hero. Not that he wasn't always, but there is new interest in him, which I think is great. ROLLING STONE: It must have been a relief when you realized that all of these protracted Apple negotiations really don't matter that much anymore, because your current fiscal structure means that, while it may not be a drop in the bucket, nonetheless you don't need it. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Indeed. That was it. For a while it wasn't so much that I needed it; is was just that the whole thing was like a headache, an emotional headache. This is getting like a psychiatrist's interview, isn't it! It wasn't particularly all the money. It was just that it was a drag to be arguing with these three people whom I'd come all this way with, and it just wasn't possible to wink and say, "Come on, let's sit down at the table and just talk about it." ROLLING STONE: How much were you involved in the decision to switch labels in America from Capitol to Columbia? PAUL MCCARTNEY: I stay along with the trip on top of it all, and I'm very involved in the decisions. But I don't do the deals, and I don't go to the meetings and sit down and make demands. We're really lucky to have... some honest people whom you feel you can trust. I think most people have slight suspicions about their managements or their lawyers. ROLLING STONE: Would you feel comfortable advising some of the younger musicians, like the Sex Pistols? They obviously went wrong financially from your point of view. PAUL MCCARTNEY: It would be very easy; I'd know exactly what to tell them, having come through it, but there would be certain conditions. One is, find yourself an honest person to do that bit for you. Did you mean it on the level of, would I as an elder, feel like the kids would say, "Aw, piss off, you old fart, what do you know?" [Gambaccini nods.] Yeah, because I know that they've got to be just like what we were. So for that reason it isn't easy to approach people like that. I certainly thought of going to see Sid Vicious and trying to say something to him that would cool him out and make it all okay, 'cause i feel I can really understand people who get into things like that. ROLLING STONE: And then Sid Vicious dies, and what do you think? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Well, exactly. You don't know. You didn't know what to think before he died. I don't know [shrugs]. Lord Lucan is missing [a young British lord, who is suspected of murder and has disappeared.] ROLLING STONE: I was thinking this when you were talking about the Apple hassles. Do you have days now when you never once think of the Beatles? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Oh, yeah. Most days. When the Beatles broke up it was painful to talk about. It was just hard. So you found yourself thinking about it. Now, having come all this way, I can remember only the good stuff. I know one or two spicy stories and I have my bitch now and again, but generally I always did dig it; I always did think that what we were doing was great. Even when we broke up, I never thought like John did. Who knows why he thought that! John's pretty complex. He possibly didn't even mean it. All the stuff about how we were "bastards"... He brought out the worst side, as if to exorcise it. But I really didn't agree. It was pretty good, you know. But there are days when I don't think about it because I'm doing all sorts of other stuff. ROLLING STONE: Actually, it's fifteen years ago... PAUL MCCARTNEY: That "Can't Buy Me Love" was out! No! ROLLING STONE: Well that the Top Five in the States were all yours. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Oh, was it! Great! So what shall we do about that! ROLLING STONE: Well, I think that whenever that week comes along, you should just have a little toast. PAUL MCCARTNEY: You'll have to play them one by one [on the radio]. ROLLING STONE: You must have taken so many plane rides. Do you feel safe flying? Have you ever had any close shaves? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Oh, yes, too many, but for me, flying has been sort of like a long story. It started off when me and Pete Best, who used to be the drummer with the Beatles in bygone ages, got deported from Hamburg, and the first time I'd flown was on that plane back. ROLLING STONE: Why? PAUL MCCARTNEY: We got deported because we'd been changing clubs. We used to play this place called the Indra, and we got an offer to work another club for higher pay. So we were going to move to this other club called the Top Ten. And we'd been stuck in the back of a cinema by our employer, a really dirty old place right next to a bog [toilet]. It was all concrete walls. No sort of paper on the walls -- really damp and everything. We used to sleep there in our leather jackets -- camp beds, two in a room. ROLLING STONE: Pretty punk? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Pretty punk, man! The jeans and leather jackets, next to the bog -- pretty New Wave at the time. Anyway, we always thought our employer had never done well by us. So I seem to remember that Pete Best had a contraceptive in his luggage, so when we were moving, just as a joke, we pinned it up and set it up in smoke, black mark about two feet long on this wall.             We packed up and went to the other club. As we were walking down the street, same evening, the German police pulled up [imitates a siren and the police voices saying, "Come on, step inside please, hello!]. And they slung us in the jail, and we were in there for about three or four hours with one of those little peepholes and we couldn't see anything, and we didn't know what we were in for. Eventually it transpired that this guy had said we tried to burn down his cinema. He was kidding; he should have known better. But I think it was basically because he was sore at us for leaving him. He tried to nail us for breaking our contracts. And the fellow from the other club came down with a bottle of scotch for the police -- or whatever, I don't really know -- and he eventually got us out and we went and played at the Top Ten.             So anyway, we got woken up one morning -- me and Pete. I think it was because we'd set the little fire, that's why. And the cops just said, "You come with us." And we got in the back of the car, went down to a place called the Rathaus, which is like some government building -- it means something in German. It doesn't mean rat house, it just felt like one. And they had these lifts with no fronts on them, you know, these a things like big boxes that keep coming at you. You just gotta jump on one. It was all a bit surreal. And we had to wait outside this passport office for hours and hours before he guy eventually said to come in. We tried our best to persuade him it was nothing, and he said, "Okay, fine, well, you go with these men." And that was the last we knew of it. We just headed out to the airport with these couple of coppers. And we were getting a bit -- "Oh, dear, this could be the concentration camps -- you never know, you know; it hasn't been that long. ROLLING STONE: I read an interview with Billy Joel in 'Melody Maker,' in which he said that he wouldn't know what to do if he met you because he admired you so much. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, I saw that, too. It's weird. I'd be the same. Dave Bowie came 'round when we studio down there called Replica, which is a replica of Abbey Road Studio Number Two. He came down, and we just had a laugh. I reminded him of the day when he brought round a demo to me when he was still Davy Jones. It was all just chat. ROLLING STONE: Whom could you meet now and feel a great deal of respect for? PAUL MCCARTNEY: You mean that I'd be tongue-tied with! ROLLING STONE: Yeah. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Probably Dylan. I'm exaggerating, really, because I do like him. There's no point going round and just not being able to say anything. But, you know, I don't want them to read this. People know enough of my insecurities and my weaknesses, and they blast me left, right and center with it. I don't want to give them any more. ROLLING STONE: You mentioned to me once, jokingly, that you remembers when the Bee Gees came in and applied for work, as it were, at Brian Epstein's while Robert Stigwood was there. Can you actually recall any of their earlier days? PAUL MCCARTNEY: One night in 1967 I turned up at Robert Stigwood's place, and he said, "What do you think of this record?" And he played some young songwriters that he was thinking of signing. It was a couple of their early songs. I liked them, and he said, "Oh, great,'cause I'm thinking of signing them." And that was really the start of them for me. ROLLING STONE: Your disco single, "Goodnight Tonight", has made a tremendous entry in the American charts. It's actually something that you recorded a while ago, isn't it? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yes, about a year ago. ROLLING STONE: It seems to be out at the right moment because of the popularity of disco material, but had you foreseen this would be the right time? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, I didn't plan the timing at all. We had a meeting and decided it would be nice to have a single while the TV show [Wings Over America, which aired March 16th, 1979] was out, because it had been something like seven months since we'd put a record out. "Goodnight Tonight" was going to be the B side and "Daytime Nightime Suffering" was going to be the A side. So we sat around years -- well, it seemed like years -- discussing it; you know, the normal soul-searching you go through. And we decided, "No, it isn't all right; we won't put it out." So we scrapped the whole thing. And about a week later, I played the record again. I thought, "That's crazy, we've made it; it's stupid, why not put it out! Just because people are going to pan it." I liked it, and other people had taken it home and played it to people at parties. So we decided to do it. ROLLING STONE: It's a bit of a shame, isn't it, if as an artist you are inhibited by what you feel people's reactions might be to something that is an expression of what you want to do? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yes, but you can't help it; you've just got to put it out and hope for the best. ROLLING STONE: Obviously you've not a hungry artist in the sense that, "We've gotta maximize our profit, so lets put the hit single on the LP." PAUL MCCARTNEY: I think that's the record company's view, you know. It's understandable that kids who don't want to buy singles will be waiting for the album, and when it's not on the album, they might feel a little bit cheated. ROLLING STONE: Have you gotten some word from the company saying, "Please Paul..."? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yes, the companies here and in America, worldwide, would like a single on the album. It makes more sense merchandising wise. But sometimes, I just have to remember that this isn't a record retail store I'm running; this is supposed to be some kind of art. And if it doesn't fit in, it doesn't fit in. They're not really strict on it. We've got a lot of artistic control, thank goodness. But I can see the wisdom of what they're asking. I remember Al Coury. We weren't gonna put "Helen Wheels" on the American Band on the Run [1973], and he rang up and said, "I can give you quarter of a million more sales if you put it on." And I said, "We don't want it, we really don't want it." I was being kind of reticent, an in the end he persuaded me anyway. He said, "Just do it, just in America or something." I suppose he was right: 'Grease' and 'Saturday Night Fever' and the way they have been selling albums recently, having four hit singles and then making it all come out as an album. So you've gotta have an album with that many hits on it. ROLLING STONE: 'Wings Greatest' didn't do very well in the States, and I think I know, why, but... PAUL MCCARTNEY: Why! Tell me. ROLLING STONE: Did it have something to do with the fact that it was your last album for Capitol? You're kind of a lame-duck artist for them, so they might as well promote somebody else whom they have a long-term contract with. PAUL MCCARTNEY: I see, well, yes. I suppose that's a possibility, but I really don't know the ins and outs of stuff like that. I'd really be up to my neck in it if I got involved in all those little side issues. I don't know, to tell you the truth. Lord Lucan is missing. ROLLING STONE: Do you feel any degree of panic that it wasn't a big album? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, no. I don't really feel the need for everything to be incredible and great. I'd probably get quite annoyed if I had a big string of albums that didn't do it, but I'm more interested in the new thing. To me it was just a repackage. I'm not into Beatles repackages or anything myself because it seems like a second-class item to me. ROLLING STONE: Did you ever care when Capitol in the States would repackage the Beatles albums? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, I really didn't like it. The worst one, I think, was 'Help!'. We didn't have a very good communications system then; it was like ringing up the moon. When we brought 'Magical Mystery Tour' over, it was an EP, and they said, "We don't do EPs in America." We said, "You're gonna have to, because we made one. " He said, "No, no, you're gonna have to make it an LP because rack jobbers won't take it," and all that technical stuff. But the worst was when we did 'Help!'. We arranged for the album over in Britain not to include any film music by Ken Thorne, who did the incidental music In the score. But in America they put on bits and pieces of his music. We turned up in California one day, and we played 'Help!' and found all this funny music on it that we couldn't believe. So those things used to happen.             And we had covers and stuff that they'd veto. Like 'Yesterday and Today'. They wanted a repackage album, they wanted a cover, so we gave them a photo of butchers in white coats and babies -- not real-babies, but dolls and meat and stuff... It's a bit sick, isn't it! But yeah, it's a laugh. So we did it, and of course, Capitol said, "No way are we gonna do this." So we just sent them some more photos. ROLLING STONE: By the way, did you do 'Please Please Me' [the first British Beatles album] in one day? PAUL MCCARTNEY: I think it was probably done in a day or two. We never used to take much longer than a day. We did the first album in a day, fourteen hours, I think it was. "Please Please Me" was originally to be a slow song. It was more like Roy Orbison: "Come on . . . come on [he sings the words] please please..." Yeah, Roy Orbison stuff. And when we took it in, George Martin said, "Can we uptempo it a bit" And we said, "Are you crazy?" And we tried it through like that. ROLLING STONE: So many of the old song credits said "Lennon and McCartney" even when they were written by one of you. Did you ever wish or do you wish now that the McCartney ones had said McCartney and the Lennon ones had said Lennon? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No. Okay, rephrase that answer. Yes. Because you asked me if I ever think that. Yeah, I do, and not just out of a personal thing for me; I sometimes feel it for John, things getting called Lennon and McCartney, things like "Strawberry Fields," "Norwegian Wood," certain ones John wrote and I just helped a little bit. And there are certain ones that I wrote. There's probably only about, say, twenty that are really our own. On the rest there's quite a lot of collaboration. I suppose you do get a little bit niggled; you wish people knew that was mine. But, hell, how much credit do you want in a lifetime! ROLLING STONE: Do you ever hope that John records again? Do you think he should? PAUL MCCARTNEY: I hope that if he would like to record again, he will record again, but I hope that if he doesn't want to, he doesn't. This is something totally down to his own personal feeling. Whatever gets you through the night. ROLLING STONE: Do you happen to know what his personal feeling is? Because nobody else seems to. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Not particularly. I would imagine he's just getting on with his own life. He has a son by his previous marriage whom he didn't get to spend a lot of time with, and possibly be feels that having a new son by Yoko, with Yoko -- it sounds a bit like a racehorse, out of Yoko -- that he would want to spend time with his son and see him grow up. I suspect that's what he's doing. But I don't really want to go talking for him. I would imagine he's just getting on with his life and being cool, and I hope he's digging it. ROLLING STONE: Do you feel that you are maintaining a proper balance between your family life and your work? PAUL MCCARTNEY: What's proper? Proper would be, possibly, to be with them all the time because they are my kids and it's my family, so it would be really great just to be totally with them and give them any support they need. But I work. I come in to do music, and I'm not there all the time. But yeah, I do think I've a good balance, myself. It feels good, but if anything, I wouldn't mind being with them even more. I just like them. ROLLING STONE: It seems to me that you have an excellent working arrangement here at Abbey Road; maybe some people don't realize how close you are to home. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Well, actually, you don't, because I'm not living there now! Which is crazy: I've got a house right around the corner, but we live in the country, which is two hours away. So I drive in -- would you believe? Having a house around he corner and driving in every day, two hours. And that is mainly just because the family is Iiving there. ROLLING STONE: Do you drive yourself? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, I don't like to be driven. Except wild. ROLLING STONE: And this is down south? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah. ROLLING STONE: So if you drive home, it takes two hours. How long do you spend in the studio? PAUL MCCARTNEY: A long time. I kind of just drive in, make music all day, drive back, go to sleep, get up, drive in, make music all day. ROLLING STONE: Linda's the cook of the house? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, she's great. ROLLING STONE: I remember her telling me that you and she had agreed that if things ever went wrong, there would be no big alimony settlement and everything. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Well, you know, it depends if you think that money would be a compensation for a breakup like that. I don't think it would be. I can't imagine her ever ringing up and saying, "Oh, by the way, I'm having half of the mantelpiece, and you can have the Volkswagen." ROLLING STONE: Have you ever talked to Al Coury about the RSO 'Sgt. Pepper'? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, I haven't seen Al since he went to RSO. He used to be with Capitol, so I used to talk with him a lot then. Ah... he's very good, obviously he's gotta be good, he's sold a lot of records for people, he's what you want behind you. A sort of vital force. Yeah, yeah, sell, sell, sell... ROLLING STONE: Did you see the film? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, I haven't seen it yet, so I can't talk about it. I thought at the time of Sgt. Pepper that they couldn't make a film of it. We used to be stoned all the time and talk about things like that and say, "Hey, what a great film this would make." But we used to say that the trouble is that people are all freaking out on acid with this album. You're never gonna be able to get those big elephants that are coming through their heads. And we just thought, you just can't capture it: Once it gets to be a film, it's always going to be a bit plodding compared to the album. Those days it was a fantasy thing; it all took place in your mind, and it would really be harder than anything to capture that feeling. And I think from what I've heard of the Stigwood thing, it doesn't seem to have captured it. ROLLING STONE: Did you have any particular image in mind? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No there were too many... I couldn't tell you... they were silly things: tigers leaping and herds of horses, you know, add good morning [he sings], good morning, good morning. Well, I mean, there's a hunt that comes through there and galloping horses come through, a fox and some hounds come through. I mean, in your mind, you see the band and you can see all the horses. Your mind is a great thing -- especially when you're hallucinating [laughter]. ROLLING STONE: You mentioned the other day that Paul Simon had dropped and that he is interested in doing a lot of film work, which is one of the reasons he went to Warner Bro's. Do you have any desire to do more film work. Do you ever think, "My God, before my life is through, I want to have this done." PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah. We're doing a couple of film projects with the group. But there's one thing I haven't really got together yet. One of the big ambitions is to do a thing called Rupert. He's a white bear, a cartoon from a newspaper strip, and he's got a bunch of mates. He's very England in the Forties. We've recorded a demo album, and I've written a story. That, I suppose, is my big ambition before my life is over. I wouldn't mind making that into, like, a Disney film, only I'd even like to get it better. Yuk, yuk. ROLLING STONE: Of course, there will be somebody who says, "'Rupert the Bear' is not rock and roll. Why are you doing this?" PAUL MCCARTNEY: Oh, well. It doesn't matter, I'm not just rock and roll; I don't live my life by that kind of limitation, you know. I like stuff that isn't necessarily rock and roll. ROLLING STONE: I know you were thinking about doing a Christmas show last year and didn't. But of course in the Beatles days you did have a Christmas show. People in the States don't really know what a Christmas show is like in England and the kind of people you used to have on it. PAUL MCCARTNEY: It would be a residency thing for a couple of weeks at a big theater like Finsbury Park [now the Rainbow] or something. What Brian Epstein did was get a producer who was used to putting on shows like that. You know, it was more of a variety show in a way. But based on the groups and after Billy J. Kramer and the Fourmost, maybe Gerry [and the Pacemakers[. They didn't take too much out of you. And with the residency thing, you got this great feeling of going into the same place; it got very easy to do. We'd stand behind the big screen while they did an introduction on film. Then they'd turn it off and we'd appear, and everyone would go, "Yeahhhh!" And then we'd run off; there'd be a blackout and we'd run off. We did various things. Like old music-hall things, where we'd all dress up and John would be the wicked Sir Jasper. I'd be the hero and knock him out at the end. George would be the wanton woman who is saved from being tied on railway lines. It was all daft stuff, but it worked. It was just... the audience just wanted to see us; they didn't mind what we did. And we had a bit of a laugh with it. ROLLING STONE: Do you think rock has gotten too big to do anything like that? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, it's just that the style has changed. I still 1 feel it would go down as well. But stars have changed. For instance, everyone used to go on all the plug shows. Anything that would have a song, we went on: local shows, network things, interviews here, people and places, regional news, you'd just go on anything. And that's something people don't do half as much these days. I think it maybe didn't please everyone, but the nice thing was that you had a very varied day. ROLLING STONE: How did you assemble your "Rockestra"? PAUL MCCARTNEY: A lot of people in music have been thinking about using a rock and roll lineup instead of an orchestra. So I wrote a tune, and finally I just asked the people who would like to be in a Rockestra. Keith Moon was going to turn up, but unfortunately he died a week before. So he couldn't make it. It's a bit sick, but he would have laughed along with all that stuff.             But Jeff Beck was gonna come. And Eric Clapton. And they actually didn't turn up. Beck was worried about what would happen if he didn't like the track. He wanted to be able to say, "Well, I don't like it so it can't go out." So there were a few of those little political things. So he just didn't turn up in the end. Eric didn't feel like it. There was some kind of reason; he had the flu or something. But he didn't come. Most of the people did turn up: Pete Townshend, Dave Gilmour, Lawrence Juber of our group and Denny Lame. And Hank Marvin. That was the guitar lineup. On drums we had Kenney Jones, John Bonham and Steve Holly [also of Wings]. And then on bass we had me and Bruce Thomas of the Attractions and Ronnie Lane. And then we had John Paul Jones, who did some bass and some piano. And then we had Gary Brooker, who played piano. We had Speedy Acquaye. We had Tony Carr and Ray Cooper on percussion. We had our brass section from the American tour. Linda played keyboards, and we had Tony Ashton, also on keyboards. Oh, and we had Morris Pert on percussion, and that is the full lineup, I think. ROLLING STONE: Where you happy with the turnout? PAUL MCCARTNEY: It was great, actually, 'cause we filmed it. You saw how we actually built the whole thing. So that's being put together at the moment as a film by Barry Chattington. It shows certain people in the music scene today trying to get together. For instance, Pete, of course, got roped into ending everything with one of his big jumps. So he got that. ROLLING STONE: Do you worry about your image? PAUL MCCARTNEY: I try not to these days, 'cause it's stupid to; I mean, we're all gonna be dead soon, so there's not an awful lot of point, you know. The main thing is to be able to enjoy it in some form or another. So worrying about your image and your reviews stops you from enjoying it. Takes away what there used to be in music, which is just trying to avoid doing the job and just getting out and doing it just for a laugh. So I'm all right, actually, recently... even... I don't know, just not even bothering if we get bad reviews and stuff. Which really used to; I used to go off in the corner and I'd go, 'My God, the critic is right; I'm terrible; he's got it; we're useless.' But then you'd go out and you'd play to somebody, you'd play live. You start to see critics being wrong, so generally everyone should be able to ignore them and just get on with the work that he does. Basically, I'm not too careful about image. If I were careful, I would try to avoid that "family man" and "he lives on a farm." 'Cause you know that kids and the farm are ammo, and they say, "Here's old family man Paulie, back with the sheep, what a yawn." I give them all the ammo with that. If I were really concerned with it, I'd live in London. And always be down in the clubs and always be buying them drinks and always be popping pills just to show them how hip I am. But you reach a point where it just doesn't work; you can't live for all of that. You reach a point where it all becomes real and you become all that. And if you don't like it, then you suddenly... wait a minute. So, I'm down trying not to bother with all that stuff now. ROLLING STONE: On this new album, which I haven't heard yet, have you been able to investigate?this sounds really corny, but -- new areas? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Slightly, yeah. You start off really wanting to do something very new, but eventually you come back to what is you. So it always gets an imprint of what is you, and you always do what you do. You know what I mean. The sort of magnetic forces, or whatever it is around you, make a certain mold, I think. I think you must listen to the music because I can't really talk about it. I think so many different things about it. So if anyone asks me what it is, I can't tell you. "It now is a ballad of the Sixties" [McCartney proclaims in a strong voice]. You know, until about after ten years, then, oh, yes, it was a ballad of the Sixties. ROLLING STONE: Do you have any particular current favorites? PAUL MCCARTNEY: In records just knocking around, I like "The Logical Song" [by Supertramp]; I like a few of the young bands, a few of the British ones -- it wouldn't mean that much in America -- I like Squeeze, Jam and a few people. I'm not into it but I like some of the good stuff that's going on. I like some of Elvis Costello's stuff; I like a lot of that stuff anyway -- the newer stuff. And I still think Stevie Wonder is amazing. I like Elvis Presley a lot. I like the Gene Chandler record. I like "Lord Lucan Is Missing." Who does that one, do you know? [Peter and the Test Tube Babies.] John Peel keeps playing it, has played it a few times. ROLLING STONE: You met a couple of the Boomtown Rats, I hear. PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, They're great, because they're exactly what we were; they are doing the same thing we were doing. And it's crazy that anyone should ever forget that. They're all lads just let off the leash from school or college or home, and they are just having a ball. Some of the music is really good; I really like some of the directions because it's brought a lot of rock back into rock. A lot of what it was all about back into it. But so is the revival of the Fifties stuff. It's all brought back a kind of feel that was missing for a while there or was underplayed. ROLLING STONE: Did the Beatles ever get bad reviews? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, sure we did, sure. I remember before 'Sgt. Pepper,' we were coming in for a lot of flak. People were saying. "The Beatles are finished: they're rubbish." Because we weren't doing anything, we were just hiding away in the studios, out of our skulls making this album -- we were having a great time. And then it came out and they changed their tune and they said, "They're all right, they are okay." ROLLING STONE: Did you ever personally feel part of the "Merseybeat" movement? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, that was just something the journalists called us. We just laughed about it. God, what did they call us: the Merseybeats, the Mop Tops, the Fab Four. God. Couldn't they think of anything better? It just used to be a joke, all that stuff. We never used to take it seriously. But the Merseybeat was quite a good little paper. The most fun we used to have out of it. And then we won a poll. They had a poll for who was the best group, and that was a tense moment because we thought Gerry and the Pacemakers were definitely gonna take it off of us. So we bought a few copies and filled them in. ROLLING STONE: Did you really? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Yeah, of course, doesn't everyone? ROLLING STONE: Actually, yes. PAUL MCCARTNEY: I'm sure Gerry bought just as many copies as we did. ROLLING STONE: Have you ever wondered why someone like him hasn't really survived in terms of the charts? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Not really. I mean, Gerry's thing was great, he was very good, but he didn't have as natural of a thing going as we did. We had at least two writers, and George turned out to be a writer, and even Ringo. So we potentially had four writers, and they had just Gerry, who wasn't as prolific as John and I. He wrote a couple that were good, but he had to rely mainly on other writers for his big hits. We were very keen on getting our own stuff in. Because... we sort of arrived at the end of an era; most of the groups around about then were just doing impressions of Roy Orbison or the Shadows or Cliff Richard. And we liked Bo Diddley more and Chuck Berry and things like that. So we'd do stuff that was slightly more obscure. "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody," by James Ray. And we'd do covers of those kinds of things. And we were writing a couple of not very good tunes. We had one we used to do called "Like Dreamers Do," which was pretty bad. But it used to go down quite well, so we latched onto this idea -- it gave us a special identity. Because you wouldn't hear these songs anywhere else, just when you came to see us. So it started to work, so we went a bit more in that direction of trying to get our own thing going rather than have it laid on us by a producer. So George wasn't too happy in the beg inning, and "Love Me Do," wasn't a very big hit, but it was our first one. The second one was a Number One. So it worked out. ROLLING STONE: Gerry did have three Number Ones in a row with his first three records. Were you ever afraid that they might beat you to the brass ring? PAUL MCCARTNEY: Oh, yeah. And Dave Clark was the other big threat. There were a couple of moments when we were worried, but our philosophy then was that something would happen. ROLLING STONE: Since so few British artists had made the American charts in a big way, did you think that you might do it, or any of those groups might do it? PAUL MCCARTNEY: We thought of this; we said, 'We're only going to America." It was a bit of a big statement, but we did decide among ourselves that we'd only go to America if we had a Number One. We'd walk in a bit cocky. We were playing in Paris when the news came through -- telegram -- "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was Number One in the States. Wow! So we were able to go to the States without begging.             When we arrived, there was this big thing at the airport, all the millions of DJs; it was on all the stations, and we'd arrived. So it worked out. It was a great way to do it. And then there was a terrifying interview. I never used to think I was good at press conferences because I'm one of those people who -- I don't think I'm good at it; I'm probably all right. But John was always much better with a snappy remark. Then, Ringo was good at that, too. It turned out we all managed to get a quick remark in there, and we did well at that press conference. And because we were just so keen on America and R&B and all the great New York stations, we used to just ring them up all the time. "Hello Murray... Yeah, why don't you come around and interview us?" We were in it totally; it was magic for us; we'd just arrived in America, Land of promise. We had a great time with it all -- meeting the Ronettes and Phil Spector and people like that. What more could you ask? ROLLING STONE: Last question for today. You've had many chances to leave England, and yet you choose to remain here. Is there a reason, other than that it's your home, why you enjoy living here? PAUL MCCARTNEY: No, there isn't any other reason; I just live here. There are all sorts of reasons, really. I've been a lot of places on tours and I enjoy them all for visits, but after a while I don't feel at home. England's not the greatest of places all the time. But I don't want money to dictate where and how I live. I live here and try to pay the taxes and avoid as much as possible going to buy guns and sandbags and vaguely try and keep it all straight and be reasonable about it all.

    Onwards and upwards

    Melody Maker, 1 December 1973, page 48

    The quaint early ’60s custom of ‘going the rounds’ was revived last week – by none other than Paul McCartney. With wife Linda and baby Stella, he popped up to Melody Maker and spoke to Chris Welch about the upheavals in Wings, the band’s new album and Eric Clapton…     When the Prime Minister, royalty or a Rear Admiral makes a tour of inspection of a naval establishment, there is a flurry of activity. Flags and bunting are flown, everything is given a fresh coat of paint, and the men lineup to salute.     When Paul McCartney, Linda and their baby Stella visited the MM offices this week, half the staff had disappeared, smitten by food poisoning and a plate of assorted crisps and meat sandwiches were offered for the visitors’ delectation. “We were expecting lunch,” said Paul hopefully. But he accepted this Fleet Street-style kwik-snak in good humour.     In order to chat, of Wings and records and Africa and things, the family outing adjourned to the imperial Melody Maker boardroom, where great decisions affecting all our lives are made. Paul in his bright red drape jacket looked like a cheerful teddy boy and Linda carefully divided her time between backing up Paul and preventing their child from scribbling on the wallpaper.     “We couldn’t think of anywhere else to do the interview,” says Paul. “We thought we might as well come to you. It takes me back ten years at least, when we used to come touting ourselves round, although this time we’re not touting ourselves.”     The last time we had heard from Wings, they have been riven by splits, when drummer Denny Seiwell quit along with guitarist Henry McCullough, just prior to the group’s trip to Lagos to record. What caused all that, and how were the McCartneys received in Nigeria?     “We enjoyed it eventually. We’re all a bit British, y’know. You’ve the different food and climate and stuff, so you’ve got a lot of adjusting to do. It was at the end of the rainy season when we went. We thought it was going to be tropical, warm and fantastic. It turned out to be a torrential monsoon.     “And we got robbed while we were down there. Some guys robbed us – with a knife. We got held up walking out at night – you’re not supposed to do that. They took our tape recorder and cameras and gear. So that didn’t help.     “And then Fela Ransome Kuti accused us of trying to steal black African music. So I had to say, ‘Do us a favour, Fela. We do all right as it is, actually. We sell a couple of records here and there’. He’s welcome to their music. It’s very nice. I love it and I wish I could do it, but he’s welcome to it.     “But he does have a fantastic band out there, one of the best live bands I’ve ever heard. It’s funky and not very sophisticated. You saw it in Ginger Baker’s film, but it didn’t come off at all well in the film.     “There was one and a half weeks of pretty bad vibes. It felt a bit dangerous and raw and you’re not sure how you’re going to figure.     “The press were fine, very charming. But it’s funny what they pick up. They picked up that I was ‘the one who introduced drugs to The Beatles’.”     What lured them to Africa?     “Sunshine,” said Linda.     “We got a list off EMI of all the studios around the world. It’s a big company. We checked on the availability of Lagos and it turned out to be free for the three weeks we wanted to record. So we thought, ‘Great – lying on the beach all day, doing nothing. Breeze in the studios and record.’ It didn’t turn out quite like that. But that was why we went – it was for an adventure. We did seven tracks there and came back and did a couple of tracks and mixed here.”     How did they get on with, er, the insects?     “Oh, not too bad. It does bother some people. We’re not creepy-crawly freaks. Linda and lizards – great. She doesn’t mind. But somebody else, for instance the engineer (Geoff Emerick) we took out, who did ‘Sgt Pepper’ and ‘Abbey Road’, he couldn’t stand them. So a couple of the lads put a spider in his bed. It was all a bit like scout camp.     “The worst a lizard can do is bite you, so we’re not freaked out by that, not like Ringo’s wife who can’t stand a fly in the room. She has all their positions charted, and if one comes near her, she freaks.”     HAVING JUST HEARD a portion of the album, it didn’t sound at all African influenced. “It isn’t,” agreed Paul. “Well, it is, but you wouldn’t be able to hear it.     I know it was influenced by Africa, just because of the atmosphere rather than the music. In Africa I felt like you had to come-on.     “In England you can lay it back, and be timid and you get away with it, because nobody minds. Out there, you’ve got to be very forward. And there’s no way you can lay on the modern Western liberal crap. So in a way we were influenced by the challenge of the people and country.     “Linda thought I had died one night. I was recording and suddenly felt like a lung had collapsed. I went outside to get some air and there wasn’t any. It was a humid, hot tropical night. So I fainted.”     Said Linda: “I laid him on the ground and his eyes were closed and I thought he was dead!”     Paul went to the doctor who advised he had been smoking too much. When the McCartneys got over their initial worries, they found Nigeria was an exciting friendly country. But only three of Wings made the trip, What happened to the others?     “Only Denny (Laine) was with us. You know two of them left? Denny (Seiwell) and Henry quit – Denny rang up an hour before we left from Gatwick, to say he couldn’t make the album, so that was panic time.     “Henry left over what we call ‘musical differences’. And it was actually that. We were rehearsing and I asked him to play a certain bit, he was loath to play it and kinda made an excuse about it couldn’t be played. I, being a bit of a guitarist myself, knew it could be played and, rather than let it pass, I decided to confront him with it and we had a confrontation. He left rehearsals a bit choked, then rang up to say he was leaving.”     How did they make up the numbers?     “There was just the three of us, on the album, except for the orchestral overdubs, which we didn’t play. We got Tony Visconti to help with the arrangements.     “One guy, Remi Kebaka, who is from Lagos, ironically, turned up in London for a loon and we got him on one track playing percussion. He’s the only other person on the entire album, except for the orchestra. I played all the drums and bass. Denny sometimes doubles on bass.”     When did Paul first get into playing drums?     “For years I, like, suggested to Ringo a lot of what he might play. I first got into it listening to ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, where there was a drumbreak around the kit. I would ask Ringo to play some variation on that. And at sessions I would climb on the drumkit and start having a go.     “In Hamburg one week Tony Sheridan’s drummer got sick and I drummed for him for the extra cash for a week. So I’ve done a bit of drumming, including a couple of Beatles tracks, but nothing much that I can remember. We always used Ringo because he’s a real drummer. There’s nothing flash to the drumming on the Wings album, nothing difficult.     “But I can hold quite a good beat. Liking drums anyway, it gave me a chance to fulfil an ambition.”     MOST OF THE songs on the album, called ‘Band On The Run’, incidentally, were written in Scotland, at the McCartney retreat. “It’s a collection of songs, and I’ll leave it to you to say if they are good or not. The basic idea about the band on the run is a kind of prison escape. At the beginning of the album the guy is stuck inside four walls and eventually breaks out. There is a thread, but it’s not a concept album.”     Does it apply to Wings escaping from The Beatles?     “Sort of, yeah. I think most bands on tour are on the run.”     How much satisfaction has Wings given the couple since its inception?     “Got us on the road,” said Linda. “Which is what it’s all about.”     “I wanted some way I could feel easy about appearing live again,” explained Paul. “It was very difficult after The Beatles, because at the time, they weren’t interested in going live except on really big gigs. I was more interested in playing smallish things and getting near audiences again. Like the pub rock bit.     “It was selfish reasons really, I just wanted to play live! But we got a good British tour out of it and the second half of the European tour was good. And we loved the University tour because that was really down home.”     What kind of market is Wings aimed at?     “General market really. We’ll turn up at Butlin’s, anywhere people want to listen to some music. We’re not directed at any one audience.     “But we’re just quietly looking around for a really nice guitarist and drummer. I still don’t know in my mind yet exactly what I want.     “We just took Jimmy McCulloch from Blue, who’s rehearsing with Chris Stainton, and we did a couple of tracks with Jimmy in Paris. We’re just playing with people to get the feel of what we want, and what they like.     “We had one track of Linda’s which we tried to include in our albums but it never seemed to fit. So, what we’re going to do is a bit like Derek And The Dominos. We’re doing a thing with Linda, not like, ‘I am Linda McCartney, come and listen to me, I’m going to be a big star,’ and all this big hype. That she doesn’t want and I don’t fancy either because it’s too pompous. She’s not ready for it, she’s still an apprentice, which is cool because she doesn’t mind. So we’re doing this thing called Suzie And The Red Stripes. And she is Suzie!     “We’re not trying to hide the fact that it’s her, but it’ll be like Derek And The Dominos, a slight anonymity.”     PAUL BEGAN TO recall the great days of the discotheques, when raving was the nightly routine and stars flocked together. Did he miss those days?     “I feel a lot of the community spirit in rock has gone, but it’s changed. You meet people for dinner a bit more. We went out for dinner with Elton John the other night and I see people around studios and they ring up. You don’t seem to meet anyone down at clubs, although if you happen to be at Tramps you might see Gary Glitter, Rod Stewart, Keith Richard and myself looning around. Or Mick’n’Bianca.     “Rod Stewart asked me to do a song on what’s supposed to be his last solo album… wink. I don’t think it will be. So I did a song for him and apparently it’s really great, although I haven’t heard the track yet. It’s called ‘Mine For Me’. It’s a custom-made song for him. Those are the kind of ways you meet people now.     “He’s cheeky but a nice lad. And being a hack, I’ll write a song for anyone. I always have seen myself as a hack. That’s why I did the Bond theme, it only has to appeal for me and I’ll do it. I don’t like to be ‘a major influence on the music scene’, I don’t believe that and it would be unsafe if I ever did. But I must say, I still love the scene. We were even thinking of opening a club. We stayed up one night in Scotland, and designed it and everything.     “It would have been a fantastic place. And I must say, hearing the discussion on the Old Grey Whistle Test the other night about pub rock, I thought everyone was wet, except the one with the fly-away collar from Melody Maker. He seemed to actually know what was going on.     “Kilburn & The Highroads were on and I got the feeling the cameras were putting them off and they hadn’t been filmed a lot. The singer was trying to get it on despite the BBC film team and big lights. I imagine a lot of gutsy, raw music will come out of that scene. I’d like to have the freedom to play in a pub. I’d still like to play to, say, 56,000 people and then the next night go play a pub.     “I don’t care if it’s Jagger, Rod or Bowie. They’ve all got a pub rock band inside them. And why else would Led Zeppelin wanna go and do the Marquee that time? Or David? Gigging is the whole trip.”     But when an artist achieves fame and success, isn’t there always the danger of a reaction against the scene – of not wanting to do anything or speak to anybody? Didn’t this happen to Paul?     “Well, immediately after the break-up of The Beatles and not because of any of the other reasons, but just because a good band had broken up, I felt, ‘What am I going to do?’ I needed at least a month to think a bit. I went into a period of what everyone called being a recluse, a hermit in isolation. All sorts of little snide articles appeared saying, ‘He’s sitting up in Scotland, looking into his mirror, admiring his image.’     “It was not at all true, I was just planting trees. I was just getting normal again and giving myself time to think.”     Did you feel… abnormal?     “Yeah. I’m sure about the time Eric was being called God, I’m sure it got to him. You can’t help it, you do have a reaction, like George Best, against the pressures, y’know?     “I never used to understand when they used to say, ‘What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?’ A joke question and we always used to say, ‘Ha, ha, we’ll burst with it.’ I never once took that question in. What did they mean ‘bubble burst’? And the pressures – what about the pressures?     “While I could see there were pressures, I couldn’t feel them. I was just a rocker, doing my business. But if something dramatic like The Beatles breaking up happens, that’s when you can begin to feel pressures.     “I don’t know if that’s the problem with Eric, but he should just play and not give a damn. It doesn’t matter anyway. Then you can start to come out with music and enjoy things. That’s the way I feel now, so that’s why I’m not sweating about turning Wings into an almighty supergroup.     “One chapter is finished now, we just want to take it easy, still do music, still play live.”     Hasn’t Paul now created his own environment, which he can control more than the old Beatles-Apple set-up?     “No, that’s just journalese. We were always pretty in control as The Beatles. People used to say that we were manipulated. We were never manipulated.     “Maybe subtly and in the business sense because we didn’t know anything about business. Brian Epstein came to us once and said, ‘I’m going to sell you to Bernard Delfont,’ although he put it nicer than that.     “We said, ‘Right man, if you do that, we’ll never play another note. We’ll just play ‘God Save The Queen’ on every record and see how you like that.’ That was an instance of attempted manipulation That was a long time ago, about halfway through The Beatles. We were big and it was getting a bit too much for Brian, so he thought, ‘I’ll sell out,’ and put us with a good pro agency, which they still are. But we just didn’t like the idea of being sold.     “Eventually we got Apple and gave it all away, as Roger Daltrey says.”     Did Paul read Richard DiLello’s The Longest Cocktail Party, about Apple?     “Yeah, but he didn’t know. It’s entertaining and good and it’s about what went on in the press office. In fact the book’s almost about Derek Taylor really, because it’s Derek’s whole personality that Apple office. ‘Oh Paul can’t make it. Tell ’em we’ll give ’em Ringo.’ Actually it was only half of the truth. In the other room, there was all other stuff going on.     “It’s a long weird, and involved story, and if anyone ever gets it down, it will be very interesting.”     Is Paul completely in control of his own affairs now?     “Not completely, but beginning to be, and I advise anyone who’s going to sign up with any agency to take a look if there’s a possibility they can own it. Because there always is and no-one ever knows it. Particularly with songs. If you write a good song, I maintain, you should own it totally. But no publisher will let you own the copyright.     “I’m always harping on about ‘Yesterday’ because it is a big song of mine and probably the only big song I did on my own. Well, I don’t own the copyright of that, that’s been sold and lost in the mists of time. Lew Grade owns it. No fault of his, he’s a good businessman and heard it was up for sale. But that’s why I say to anyone new coming into the business, check it out with an accountant or lawyer.     “I’d always trust rockers with my money, rather than sharks. George, for instance, just gives a lot of it away because he actually has got morals. Whereas certain people tried to put the Bangla Desh concert money straight into their pocket.     “During two years, none of The Beatles took anything out of Apple except expenses. All the money had to go into the company. At least some of the newer ones are hip to all this. I think Paul Simon owns ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and that’s fair enough.     “The old trick is to say, ‘We’ll set up your own company,’ and they set one up that gives you small rights and, not knowing anything about companies, you think you have your own company and they let you name it after yourself and you think, ‘I’ve got my own little office, my own little secretary,’ but if you ever check into it the actual money isn’t coming your way, and you’ll be getting like five per cent.”     Meanwhile Stella was growing impatient and bored the with MM conference room. She let out a petulant yell.     “Stop that!” warned Dad. “Do you want to go to bed? That’s the ultimate deterrent y’know.”     Paul, Linda and Stella decided it was time to end what had been a fascinating and surprising interview. But not before a tea lady had burst in, ostensibly looking for cups, but actually taking the opportunity to embrace the couple.     “Thanks for all the pleasure you’ve given us,” she said.     “Well,” smiled Paul through his last egg sandwich, “we must come and do this again.”

    Paul McCartney - Flying On Clipped Wings

    Music Express, April/May 1982 The music blasting down from upstairs was doing nothing to rid the afternoon of its wintery gloom. Making my way up to McCartney's private little room, the inner sanctum of this expensively furnished, four-story Soho Square office building, the unmistakable strains of Ringo Starr's voice recall another era, other places. As Macca turns to greet me, it's obvious Stop and Smell The Roses has already brought him hours of pleasure. "Wasn't he great on the telly the other day?" Paul beams, oblivious to the slagging Ringo's most recent work he has received. The voice, that unequivocal Scouse accent, I'd recognize anywhere. But he looks different. He's greying, thinner than I can remember and his new tailored outfit can't disguise the imminence of his fortieth year. Age has no mercy. As he tends to the record player, the opulence of the room suddenly impresses me. It's all in teak, ebony and oak, with giant mirrors protruding from every wall. Embarrassed by my reaction, or modestly assessing his own extravagance, he remarks about the massive mirror topped desk at which I am staring, "It's not what you think it's for. But one of these days I'm going to put out some lines of detergent powder, invite journalists in and just watch their reaction." I suggest that might revive the memory of a certain unpleasant events that took place in Japan not too long ago. He laughs and changes the subject, steering my attention to his latest solo project, thereby delaying another inevitable and uncomfortable confrontation -- with my prepared Lennon questions. Without saying much, we agreed to leave them for last. Tug Of War, McCartney knows, bears an enormous responsibility. In fact, his credibility as the greatest of all popular music's merchants depends on this LP -- the first McCartney product we will have seen in two years. A Wings album, Cold Cuts, was shelved last year after the band fell apart in a nasty, not too private dispute that sent Macca into virtual seclusion. 1981 is the only year in which a Paul McCartney song has not been released since 1962. Anticipating the pressures this new album will place on him, McCartney has pulled out all the stops: he enlisted the services of the Beatles' original task master, George Martin, as producer, and musicians like Stevie Wonder, rockabilly auteur Carl Perkins, Ringo, drummer Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention, and Jimmy Page's latest "find"), bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Steve Gadd (Steely Dan), singers Eric Stewart and Michael Jackson, musicians McCartney says he has always admired, comprise perhaps the most eclectic aggregation rock has seen. Recorded in Martin's Caribbean studios, Tug Of War has been more than a year in the mix. Even given Paul's reputation as a perfectionist, more care has gone into this project than almost anything he's done. It's the Big One, the test of his relevance in the 1980's. Q: "You seem to be Wingless at the moment. Is this a 'back to the egg' situation for you?" PAUL: "Not really. I felt a bit limited working with the group and I just didn't fancy going in and making another group album. So I decided to approach it in another way-- to take each song and ask myself, 'Who would the best drummer be to work with for that kind of song?' I cast them all. It was something I've never done. So instead of getting the group and just working with a one bunch for a whole album, which I'd done plenty of times, I just fancied trying it this way. So I grabbed Steve Gadd for a couple of sessions and Ringo for a couple of others and just grabbed people according to their styles. The album is like a star-studded cast of thousands, which, to me is a little bit of a drawback, if anything. Normally I don't like albums with huge casts on them... like supergroups." Q: "You are known for criticizing such projects and accusing certain high profile musicians of being weird. In fact, the musicians in Wings were more or less unknown at first." PAUL: "They were never really faces. When I was getting the group together I didn't want a permanent group of superstars. I still don't think I would want that. Just for a one-off thing like this, I felt it would be good. So anyway, I tried it and I found I enjoyed it. When the session was over and when we'd done the music, there wasn't a huge on-going thing. You just say, 'Thanks,' and if you liked it you could ask them back. I ended up doing that, and met Stevie Wonder and sang with him." Q: "You must have fulfilled your ambition at last. You always admired that guy." PAUL: "I always wanted to do all that kind of stuff, but I didn't think I should do it for some particular reason, or because I didn't care to do it. So I just said, 'Oh sod it! I'll just do it.' I'll try and make a good album and concentrate on the music and not worry about styles, not worry that it's a new album, not worry about the normal things I go into an album worrying about." Q: "But does Wings still exist?" PAUL: "No, not really. We sort of disbanded for this album. If we're going to pick it up again we should just be loose enough to come together again or not. You see, I hate the pressure of a group." Q: "But you have done it. You've been in a group since the Beatles anyway." PAUL: "Yeah, I did it. That's right. I did it with the Beatles. Towards the end there was a bit of a pressure but I never really felt it. I just felt the positive side of the group. But with Wings, with so many changes in the line-up, it wasn't so easy. That often distracts you from the music and you start thinking a whole load of other things. You're thinking about the group image. Anyway, I got bored with the whole idea and I thought, 'Christ! I'm coming up to 40 now. I don't really have to stay in a group. There's no rule anywhere that says I have to it that way.' At that time Denny Laine was staying with me. We were writing together. He was going to stay on but we had a bit of a falling out. It was nothing madly serious, but he did decide to go his own way, saying that he want to go on tour. He hasn't been on tour since... (laughs) However, he wanted to get his own thing together." Q: "It seems that there was definately a hatchet floating about and that it wasn't buried as you had said. The arguments are still there." PAUL: "With Denny? There were little personal things here and there, little things that were just niggly. In the end it blew up a bit. It was a bit of a number. We didn't part shouting at each other or arguing. We both decided that it would be best... in fact, it was his own decision. I can never remember these things because once they're gone they're gone. It was his decision. He rang up saying that he was going out on his own to get his own stuff together. He thought he'd be happier that way. I just said OK and kept on with this album. Seeing I was doing it this way, working with other people, there wasn't the normal big trauma: 'What? Somebody hasn't turned up? Oh God!' Or, 'Are the lights here?' 'Yeah, but the drummer isn't!' Panicky stuff. You just spend all your time worry about that. I decided that all I really am interested in is the music anyway, and not in huge personality things." Q: "One thing Denny said was that he was doing hatchet jobs for you on other musicians." PAUL: "But Denny has got his own theory about what happened all the time. As far as I'm concerned, there were no hatchet jobs, ever, and if there were, it certainly wasn't Denny that went around doing them. Maybe there was one case where he had to do it. I don't know. These stories grow so madly, you know, from just one little line. There weren't any big hatchet jobs. Denny Seiwell left of his own accord. I'm sure I could go through the whole line-up. It's a bit boring really, and a bit of a yawn. With the last Wings line-up we parted in a friendly way. Everyone was a bit disappointed and I was a bit sad because that was it... because it was a bit of a burden. It's like a marriage you've got to keep up. It becomes a very real thing." Q: "You are the only one who went back into a group after the Beatles. John, George and Ringo did their stuff with other musicians. Now you're doing it for the first time. Do you regret not having done this earlier?" PAUL: "Yes. It would probably have been a good thing to start it then. At the time I felt that it was a bit too predictable, that everyone would leave the Beatles and go with old Phil Spector or the drummer, Jim Keltner. It was like a clique and I just didn't want to join that clique. The decision I made was mainly to get the group together to play with because, with the Beatles, we weren't really playing alot. I thought of doing that after I had seen Johnny Cash on TV and I wanted a similar group with a couple of guitars and drums just to have sung with. That's what I did." Q: "The last time we talked I brought up the subject of your producer's instinct and your dictatorial attitudes-- the dictator being the perfectionist in you-- the musical ear. Could it be that with Wings you were not personally satisfied with the music that was being produced?" PAUL: "And that's why I knocked it on the head, you mean? Yeah, probably that kind of thing." Q: "Are you dictatorial outside of music? PAUL: "I don't know. I don't examine myself that way. I just am. I just go through it. I just wake in the morning and go to bed at night and whatever happens during the day just happens. I don't really know how I am. In fact, I'm always getting rude awakenings. John's saying I hurt him and I did this to him and that to him was always a rude awakening. I'd never thought about that kind of stuff. It was just the way I was and the kind of family I was from. It was very much different scene from how John was raised. So I must have rubbed him up the wrong way many times without even knowing, and he was probably more sensitive. But listen-- he did it all to me, too. I'm not taking the blame for anything. We just busted up because it busted up. I don't think I go around trying to be a dictator. In fact, I'm just the opposite, really. If anyone said, 'Oh, you bloody dictator,' I'll say, 'OK, you do it then.' I really don't want that responsibility at all." Q: "You're not a dictator in the pubic eye, but 'Paul, the nice guy' all the time. Even John called you 'honest little Paulie' and 'the walking, glossy PR guy.' How do you feel about that?" PAUL: "I never realized I was reflecting that image. As a kid, I watched the telly to see how they did it, and watched films to see how the world went. You pick up on all these things. If they smoked in the films, then you smoked. You just see what was the cool thing to be. To me, that PR thing I just automatically thought we needed in the Beatles, to get on and to meet people and the Press. So, I would do a lot of that because no else would. It's the truth. John would never do it and George wasn't into it and Ringo would if he liked you, but I'd do it even if I didn't like you. All the Press people we'd see I would bring in and say, 'Come on!' I knew they were nervous. I don't like nervous people around. Who does? I mean, nervous people hate to be nervous but it's something they can't help. So I try and cool the situation out and say, 'Let's have a cup of tea, OK? Come on now, sit down.' Alot of Liverpool people are very good at that. Maybe it's not always genuine, but my Auntie Jenna always called me polished. She said, 'You are really polished, you are,' but in a way she kind of liked it. Over years and particularly with John coming out against me like that, it was no good for me at all. He really slagged me off, alot of which he really didn't mean. He said it in interviews, and I've talked a lot to Yoko since, and she tells me that lots of it was just John. Alot of it was his own... he just wanted to put me down. He said, 'Everyone is on the McCartney bandwagon.' You know, you get jealous." Q: "But he was laughing as well when he was doing it, even when he said, 'The only thing you done was Yesterday.' He said in interviews that he was shitting himself with laughter doing it." PAUL: "That's right. (laughs) It's all jokes, taking the piss out of me. That was John. That's his particular thing and that's what I liked him for. But I think it has probably made my image worse than it is. As I say, the truth is he didn't really think that was all my character. He knew there were all sorts of other bits. But I think it's true. I sometimes do catch myself and think, 'God do I look like that?' Or, 'Is that how I come over people.' And the funny thing is, I'm just struggling, trying to get through life okay, and trying to do well, like lots of other people I know. I just try to earn a living. Basically, I've never had a different philosophy than that. You get up in the morning and do your gig." Q: "You go out of your way to clarify things when they go wrong." PAUL: "Pure fear. Yeah." Q: "After the Beatles split, nobody said anything. Then you put up this question/answer thing in the sleeve of McCartney LP. Why?" PAUL: "Now, see, that's one thing that really got misunderstood. I had talked to Peter Brown from Apple and asked him what we were going to do about press on the album. I said, 'I really don't feel like doing it, to tell you the truth,' but he told me that we needed to have something. He said, 'I'll give you some questions and you just write out your answers. We'll put it out as a press release.' Well of course, the way it came out looked like it was specially engineered by me. I was digging at John really. There was no other way I could say it because the question was: 'What do you think of John and Yoko's music?' and I said, 'Well, it doesn't bring me alot of pleasure.' It was political, depending on how I said it. I was trying to say something without really saying, 'I hate them!' I was trying to say, 'Well, they are not too cool. As you can see I am a little cool on this.' I was just trying to hate John... a bit. All this was included in the albums we gave to the press, but the word got 'round that I put this interview in the real albums, which I didn't. But it got around that I put out this really cutting statement. Looking back on it now, and not being in the mood I was in in that period, going through all sorts of changes, I can see how it looked to ordinary people who didn't have the problems I was facing. As I say, I just feel that I have a kind of knack for doing crazy things like that. It's an unfortunate thing in my character. You know, your character kind of sharpens up when it becomes your image. Now for me, this is a very strange game really, to meet the press, deal with the media. You know, I'm not a publicist, but being in the group for all that long time, you learn a way of dealing with it. You become a media person on the other side of the media. Before I used to spend literally as much time as you do doing interviews. So you become that kind of person. The rest of the group really hated it with a passion." "It's funny what you are allowed to say in public. It's weird. If someone comes up to me and says, 'Fleet Street has got this story about you doing such and such,' I really believe it all and I think alot of other people do too. John and Yoko definitely did. They took in all the cuttings all the time and weighed up the political situation. They played it very smartly. They were very good. But see, John had a more ballsy attitude. He cared less. Actually, this is the joke, he probably cared alot more. This is what I'm finding. You'd think I was the one who maneuvered everything-- the perfectionist. I'm finding out many things these days about John. He took every cutting of every newspaper he was ever in. He looked at it and got very much into it." Q: "John had all the time to do it." PAUL: "Yeah, good on him too. That's what he wanted to do. Great. But anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I always find myself explaining bloody crap. I mean the Japanese thing: people said to me, 'But why did you take it in-- and that much of it sitting right on top of the suitcase?' Do you think I don't ask myself that? I do. But I really hate being judged by the media. So really, I'd like to be a whole lot looser, but I've learned this whole game now and my reactions are almost instinctive, like a robot. One of the things I never realized about people is that it's not very sympathetic not being too much of a loser. People like a loser, people like to feel there is something wrong with you. Now, with someone like me, I cover up what's wrong. I'm just not the kind of character who could admit everything that's wrong." Q: "Has your image affected your songwriting at all, your ego?" PAUL: "No, I don't think so. I think the songwriting is just my songwriting. It just comes out. I think everything about your life affects your songwriting. You are just a vehicle and it all comes through you. So you know, if your vehicle is in a certain state you'll write that kind of a song, some of the time. It does actually affect me, but I really don't feel it affects me mightily. But it must do. Some people still say, 'I never thought you were like that.' I tell you who suffers from this too, and that's Linda. She's totally the opposite to her image. I don't know what people think of her. You meet lots of people. Tell me." Q: "People tend to say, 'Is she really that snobbish?' That's how she's often projected." PAUL: "You know, it it's in your character to fake it, then you must fake it. There's no way you can give in. You can't change the spots-- whatever the expression is. But when you really get to meet somebody who's not reacting to a microphone or an interview, when you see them in their off-duty hours, that's when you find out what they're really about." Q: "You played with George recently, didn't you?" PAUL: "Not really, no. I just sang some stuff on 'All Those Years Ago.'" Q: "Do you regret that your life has become so public?" PAUL: "I realized that a good fifteen years ago. I remember actually thinking when I went on holiday somewhere, 'God I'd really better start thinking now about keeping a few countries aside where we don't sell records. I won't be able to go anywhere without being recognized.' But now I think, 'Really, I've reached the point of no return. There's no going back.' Even if I didn't want to sing anymore, I'd just be like Greta Garbo or Brigitte Bardot. They both retired but you'd never know it. John said this to me a year before he died. He said, 'Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.' That's the way I look at it. I wished for all this and I got it. To regret it would mean I'd have to sit here and live with negative thoughts about it. I know that would only sink me. Even if I had feelings of regret my personality would not really let them out. 'Look mate, you don't regret it. Look on the other side,' that's me. Not to sink. I always used to do that instinctively, and not allow too many negative thoughts to surface." "I think anyone who gets famous regrets it a bit because you don't realize you're really gonna get there. You always want to get there. I saw someone on telly saying, 'I didn't sell my soul to the devil,' which I thought was great. She said, 'I didn't say 'If you give me fame, Lord, I'll give away my private life.' You don't. It just goes that way, and when people see you in the street and say, 'Oooh it's him off the telly,' all you can respond with is, 'Hello,' or you can put your collar up and refuse to deal with it. So, coming back to your question, I don't regret it. No." Q: "But the fact that I can go to that coffee shop there across the road and you can't, surely that must be..." PAUL: "Yeah, I hate that. I really do. I used to be big on that. That's what I used to do all the time. I used to go on a bus. I remember when we got famous I said, 'I miss going on buses,' and George Harrison thought I was mad. George is really into cars and his dad was only a bus driver. George didn't really understand what I meant about going on buses. He just didn't like buses. He had a Ferrari, so what does he need a bus for? (laughs) Q: "Now you've got it and now you've got to live with it." PAUL: "Exactly. That's what I mean. I'm happy with it. Having asked for it and having worked for it, you can't turn round when they give you the big prize and say, 'No I won't have that, I'll just have a bun, thank you,' or, 'I'll have a cup of tea instead of the champagne.' You have to live with it, make it fun. If I snap in the next couple of years you'll know that it was really too big a pressure. Somehow I manage. I take the train in from home and I never get hassled. I get in compartments with people and they look at me and recognize me. Sometimes they don't recognize me." Q: "They don't say, 'Look, a McCartney clone!'" PAUL: "I had one fellow in New York come up to me saying: 'Hey, aren't you the guy who plays Paul in Beatlemania?' I said, 'That's right. I'm him.'" Q: "What about the book your brother wrote, 'Thank U Very Much'? He's back to calling himself McCartney. A couple of years ago you had a tiff with your step-mum because she went back into show business under the McCartney name. I understand you weren't so happy about these things." PAUL: "Yeah. It's a pity, all that stuff. The worst thing about it is that it spoils immediate personal relationships. When I meet those people, I start thinking, 'Well, I've gotta watch what I'm going to say now because it might be in the next book.' You do get a feeling that they're sort of hanging on and living off you, which is not a nice feeling. It's very hard for a brother of someone like me to cope without doing something like that, if he sort of needs some money. If someone asks him to write a book, why shouldn't he-- especially if he's a good writer? It's difficult for him to turn down a offer like that." "You know, I always say that these things are my particular occupational hazard. A doctor goes to a party and a guy ther says, 'Can you have a look at my leg? It's hurting.' That's the doctor's occupational hazard. Mine is the stuff we've been talking about. This is what comes with my kind of job." Q: "Do you think you make life hell for people who are close to you, work for you?" PAUL: "I don't know. You'd have to ask them. I hope not. If I do, I wouldn't know what to do about it. I mean I would assume that they would have to tell me that. It doesn't appear that I'm difficult. As far as I'm concerned, I can say, 'No. I'm terrific.' I'm saying that as a joke, you see. Just so everyone gets the inflection. This is how I get misquoted alot. It's like Elvis Costello's thing in America where he was shouting all that black stuff about Ray Charles. I was working on with Michael Jackson and Elvis Costello was in the same building. Michael said, 'that stuff was big trouble. They still won't forgive him for that.' They (Americans) totally misread it. From what I understand, Elvis was doing this typically British kind of humor-- if someone says, 'Do you love me?' you answer, 'You? I wouldn't love you!' which means 'Yes, of course I do!' They do this bluff-double bluff thing. When someone in a bar said, 'Do you English guys like Ray Charles,' he (Elvis) shouted, 'No, he's just some silly nigger.' But what he really meant, 'Yes, I love Ray Charles. Why even ask me?' So he got misinterpreted, and apparently, if Quincy Jones ever catches up with Elvis, he's gonna bop him. But that's what happens in the media, and I think that relates to what we were saying before. That's Elvis Costello's cross to bear. Now he's branded a racist, which isn't true. My image is like a carboard cutout, which I'm not really. I don't think I am anyway. My kids don't think I am. I don't think I am. Am I being cardboard now? I mean, I can't ever tell." Q: "Lets go back to Wings now. Are you splitting from Linda... musically?" PAUL: (Laughs) "I like that. No. In fact, she did the harmonies on this album. The thing was just getting musically limiting so I did say to Linda, 'Look, if I wanted to use some other people on harmonies, how do you feel about that?' She said okay. As it happened, we did it ourselves-- together with Eric Stewart." Q: "What's easier-- dealing with Linda the musician or Linda the housewife?" PAUL: "Linda as a musician is easy. She's easy because she'll do what you want and she's not that much of a creator. On this album George Martin and I wrote the harmony parts out for her. Linda as a housewife? Well now, that's emotional. That's real life. That's not as easy as music. I love it. I love it. I wouldn't change a thing. But it's hard work. It's hard graft." Q: "Just like other married people?" PAUL: "Yeah. And you don't even have to be married. You might be living in a house with just one other person. That's what difficult. Relating to people. I don't know how I would compare against anyone else, or how Linda would compare against anyone else. Listen, the truth is, we have our ups and downs like everyone else. Sometimes it's just so terrific you wouldn't believe it. Sometimes we're rowing. That seems to be the story with most homo sapiens." Q: "Was Linda the person who 'came in through the bathroom window?' John said she was." PAUL: "No she wasn't. Well, John-- what does he know? (laughs) This is the joke. He doesn't know any more than I do or anyone else does. He's gold, John. He was great, a fabulous guy and a beautiful person but he didn't have a monopoly on sense. He was as daft as the next man. He could make his mistakes too. I don't know. She may have been. I wrote it round about that time, but I didn't consciously think, 'She came in through the bathroom window.' Alot of the time when I do songs like that, it's just because the words sound good. You can get stuff which makes great sense but which is not good to sing. It doesn't flow well. The words aren't right." Q: "What about live shows? Are you going to perform live? You said after John was killed, 'For security reasons we reckon we shouldn't play live.'" PAUL: "Yeah. That was right after the John thing. That was my response at that time. I'm obviously thinking about all that wondering if I want to. And really, I'll be the same as I've always ever been: if the idea grabs me I'll do it until I don't want to. I'm definitely not thinking I won't ever do it again. Sometimes I really miss performing. I don't at the moment because I'm doing so much work on the album. I am performing, only in a studio." "Then after this album, I'm trying to put a film together. Isn't everyone? But mine's different. Mine is better. I'm trying to get a film based on this album, so that will take care a bit of time. I suppose after that I might perform. I'd just go and do it. You can't worry about your security all the time." Q: "You're not terrified now?" PAUL: "No. I was very terrified right after John's death because it's such a horror for such a thing to happen. I was talking to Yoko about this-- I had a few conversations with her quite recently and she told me people don't like me because of certain things I've said. For instance, when John was killed I was asked for a quote. I said, 'It's a drag.' To me, looking back on it, I was just stunned. I couldn't think of anything else to say. I could have tried for a sentence and put it all into words. I couldn't. It was just like 'blob, blob, blob.' All I said was, 'Ah! It's a drag.' (pauses) That, put in cold print, sounds terrible: 'Paul's reaction today was, It's a drag thank you very much, and then he got into his car and zoomed off.' That's the terrible thing about all that stuff. That's the PR thing again. I hate all that because I don't ever mean it like it comes out in print." Q: "Let me ask you what everybody wants to know. How did you feel when you heard the news about John's murder?" (at that precise moment my cassette auto-stopped) PAUL: "You see, your cassette didn't even like the question. (laughs) Listen, John would be the first guy to laugh about that. How did I feel? I can't remember. I can't express it. I can't believe it. It was crazy. It was anger. It was fear. It was madness. It was the world coming to an end. And it was, 'Will it happen to me next?' I just felt everything. I still can't put into words. Shocking. And I ended up saying, 'It's a drag,' and that doesn't really sum it up." Q: "Were you actually still close to him?" PAUL: "Yes, yes. I suppose the story was that we were pretty close in the beginning when we were writing stuff together. We felt alot of sympathy for each other, although on a personal level, based on a lot of stuff that went down later, I obviously wasn't that close to him. To me, he was a fella, and you don't get that close to fellas. I felt very close to him, but from alot of what he said later, obviously, I was missing in the picture. But anyway, I felt very close to him then and when the Beatles started to feel the strain towards the last couple of years, it was getting to be a bit of a strain and we were drifting more apart. I think the kind of anchor that had held us together was still there. I think that we all, in a way, started to get really angry with each other, annoyed and frustrated, but we were still very keen on each other, loved each other, I suppose, because we had been mates together for so long. Like Ringo says, 'We were as three brothers.' It's that kind of a feeling. I mean, I didn't realize that, but Ringo would tell me later, 'You are like my brothers, you lot.' We all knew that there was some kind of deep regard for each other." Q: "When the rift started, it was more like a divorce, like a love/hate relationship, coming apart. Is that true?" PAUL: "Yes. It sounds weird when you use that analogy because then it takes on another meaning. But yes, it's true. What I mean is that there was that kind of deep feeling and deep heat. (laughs) Then we started arguing about the business and we just started to drift apart, as you say, like a kind of divorce. The bitchiness set in and everyone started going, 'Oh you say that, do you? Well, I'm really gonna let you know what I've been thinking all these years.' And we tended to go over a little bit over the top, I suppose. So it started to split apart. We got very estranged because John went to live in New York with Yoko and they were very much their own couple and there weren't many people that could get into that thing. I really think that was one of the best things that ever happened to him, for his personal happiness. It wasn't too easy for all of us, because he was sort of leaving us and going off on a new life and, whether you like it or not, we felt that each one of us had been each other's crutches for a long time. Then, with John moving away, there was a lot of bitchiness carrying on." "I talked to Yoko the day after John was killed and the first thing she said was, 'John was really fond of you, you know.' It was almost as if she sensed that I was wondering whether he had... whether the relationship had snapped. I believe it was always there. I believe he really was fond of me, as she said. We were really the best of mates. It was really ace." Q: "George Martin said there was a possibility that you and John would work together again." PAUL: "Yes. I don't know what would have happened. It had loosened up a bit. It's loosened up more now and I'm talking to Yoko. And we're really talking." Q: "Which seems strange to the public, you talking to Yoko." PAUL: "Yes, but I don't know why it should seem like that. I tell you what, it seemed strange to me. She's a very tough lady and John and she made a very formidable couple and often I'd talk to them and they made me fearful. I rang her up two or three weeks ago and I said, 'Look, I'm real nervous about making this phone call.' And we immediately owned up. We really started owning up with each other and she said, 'Well, you're nervous? You're kidding! I'm more nervous than you!' That really helped. It's good to be open with each other, but I've never been the most open to people. That's what I like about New Yorkers and American people... they are very blunt. It's all 'afternoon' analysis anyway. Well, Liverpudlians are, too, but I've not been particularly blunt. It's no big hang-up for me, but nowadays I like being a bit more real -- telling people the truth behind the story. They have more sympathy with you and you find more sympathy with others." Q: "Now you joined and Yoko have joined forces in suing Sir Lew Grade over the Northern Songs catalog. I believe it was for 'alleged breach of trust.'" PAUL: "Yeah, yeah. There was some fiddling in the company. We knew it a while ago but we didn't know the extent of it, so we've been looking into it and Yoko has discovered a lot of stuff and the lawyers have discovered alot of stuff. Really, it all comes down to is that 'we was robbed, we was fiddled!' What they (Northern Songs) did, the basis of it, if you want to know-- and why shouldn't you?-- was that in our contract it said that we should have 50% of the money that came from Holland, and that they were supposed to send that right to us. Instead, they took that 50% and sent it to, like Sweden, where it was divided in half, so we ended up with a quarter. That's a pretty big fiddle. We believed they should do something about that." Q: "But you also tried to buy Northern Songs recently, I believe." PAUL: "I wouldn't mind, yeah. Yoko would like to get John's stuff. I mean, if it comes around, that's great. The joke is that the price of it (the catalog) was so huge! I just keep thinking, 'I wrote them (the songs) for nothing and I'm buying them back now for this huge amount of money.' It's a crazy scene really, but it's something I'd obviously love to get back." Q: "25 million pounds ($56 million) is what I heard you offered." PAUL: "I don't know what the price is. You'll have to ask Mr. Lew Grade. I mean Sir Lew." Q: "When people say 'McCartney is worth 200 million,' doesn't it embarrass you, especially when you hear about all the unemployment in this country?" PAUL: "Yes. Unemployment is one thing and my thing is something else. I don't really equate them. I know what I thought when I was living in Liverpool and I saw someone driving by in a Rolls-Royce. I know alot of people must still think that way about me. I don't really get guilty about it because the way I look at it is, I never ripped anyone off to get my money. The money I got, I got because people wanted to buy my records. They didn't have to buy my records, so I haven't forced anyone to do anything. I do stuff to help other people, I don't keep it all to myself. So I don't feel quilty about it. Really, what I'd like to do is get them (the unemployed) earning money rather than see me not earning money. I'd like to sort out the problem rather than say, 'Well, I won't take any money because I feel there's an imbalance.' I mean, what can you do? Give me a plan. I've got my plans but it's all too political. I even talked to Margaret Thatcher about this once." "The nearest I came ever to feeling unemployed was when the Beatles split up and it became like a deep kind of emptiness in my soul. It really made me very frightened. I thought, 'Oh God, it's gone, it's slipping from underneath me!' I felt like the bottom was falling out. And it did make me think, 'I bet this is the way it feels like to be unemployed.' and now I hear guys talking on the tele and they're very accurately describing the feeling I had. It depresses me not having anywhere to go. You sit at home, start boozing and you stop shaving and you think... I went through all of that. So I say, why not get people to do something for their dole money, get them employed in schemes where at least there is some light at the end of the tunnel, where they'd learn some kind of skill. One of my cousins went to one of the Government schemes (Youth Opportunity Programs) but apparently it was a farce." Q: "You said, in the past, that you were always a bit sensitive to criticism. How did you feel about newspaper reports after John's death that said John was the one who did everything in the Beatles?" PAUL: "I am aware of that, yes. One of the minor pities when something becomes as final as John's thing is that people sum you up. I mean, apparently my obituary has already been written. Hunter Davies has done it for The Times. They're ready should I die. They got me summed up already. That happened with John. So you see, 'John was the aggressive one. Paul was just the PR man, John was the one who really wrote all the great stuff.' John would actually agree because he had an ego like all of us. He'd like to be the one. He wants to be first rather than second but I think if you had caught up with him on an off moment, even he'd agree that there was some great stuff that I did which was good. I'd say that John and I were the main creative force. John, in a way, was very much the leader in the group. Many times he'd goof and I'd be able to straighten him out and in that instance, I'd be the one, or often we would want a certain kind of song and I'd come up with it. But generally, I think all of us in the group knew John was the most forceful personality and the wittiest. But he wasn't always that. John had massive sense of insecurity. Really, who cares? The Beatles was it. There it was. There's the music. You don't like it, you don't like it. If you like it that's all there is. The truth is in all the shades of grey." Q: "Are you happy with the way you are living... in your empire?" PAUL: "I really am. Yes. The Empire Strikes Back." (laughs)

    Hi times

    NME, 16 November 1972, page 16

    Paul McCartney talks to Alan Smith about Lennon, Linda and courting controversy In this interview, much-maligned ex-Beatle Paul McCartney opens up on the topics that have aroused intense curiosity: his relationship with Lennon, the part played by wide Linda in his career, and his earlier policy of withdrawal from the public eye. NME: Were you surprised by the BBC’s ban on ‘Hi Hi Hi’? Paul McCartney: “Not being quite that thick, we all thought, you know, it might be possible. The story is actually only about sex, not drugs. It’s something to sing. I don’t care about the lyrics. Not really.” NME: In NME recently John is talking about… Paul McCartney: “John who?” NME: John Lennon. He’s talking about quite liking the idea of playing with you these days – if you’re interested. How do you feel about it? Paul McCartney: “The story, in a nutshell, is that The Beatles broke up, but didn’t break up any contracts or anything. So all the Beatle monies still stayed where they all were. “All the Beatle rights were still controlled by (Allen) Klein. So that was the reason I had to kind of stand fast and say, ‘Well, I don’t want him.’ The only alternative for me was to have Klein, and keep on with the whole thing. “So what happened is, we fought the Klein thing, and now I think we stand a chance of him giving all of us – all of us – some kind of release. This means we will all get our own royalties coming to us separately. “That was all I wanted. And now, since that’s beginning to look a bit better, our relations between ourselves are quite cool now. They’re quite good. Once it’s sorted out, I don’t see any reason why we maybe wouldn’t want to play with each other.” NME: Maybe it’s impractical to think of The Beatles as a working unit. But could you see yourselves musically coming together once in a while? Paul McCartney: “That kind of thing might happen. But really, all it’s down to is the fact that if you are in a job, and you’re treated wrong by the management or by the government, you can either just go with it and think, ‘Well, this is life,’ or you’ve got to, like, dig your heels in and say, ‘Well, I’m not gonna go.’ This is the case with the Beatles thing. Really, that’s all it’s been down to for us. Once that’s sorted, well, then everything’s cool. There’s no telling what might happen then.” NME: On the solo albums I felt there was a kind of raggedness and that everything was being tried. You were losing good, solid melodic direction. Paul McCartney: “That’s true, yes. At the end of The Beatles everything was a bit kind of ragged for me, a bit disheartening. Since that, I think I’m getting more back to what I’m about – melodies, tunes…” NME: Some people thought you’d become ashamed of your ability to write good melodies. Paul McCartney: “No matter what you say and cover up and hide and stuff, if you’re with a band – even a remotely successful band for ten years – when you split up there was inevitably a lot of kind of, ‘He’s like bloody Engelbert Humperdinck’ from the other people in the band. I got little remarks like that. “Well, you do think, ‘I’ll bloody show you I’m not, mate – I can rock with the best of them, I’m as complex as any of them.’ And I started, for a period, going away from my normal things. Just simple things… the funny thing is, it’s all coming back to that. Right now.” NME: Would you regard yourself as an establishment-related artist – as having “sold out your generation to the straights”? Paul McCartney: “No, that’s rubbish.” NME: How do you feel about the hostility towards Linda from those who resent her presence in the band? Paul McCartney: “When The Beatles broke up I just buzzed off with Linda, and we just did what we felt like. We didn’t feel like doing any press, so we didn’t do any. Then people started coming out with all these, you know, ‘he’s a hermit’ kind of things. “Naturally, I could read the papers and I could sit there and think, ‘Well, I’m not a hermit. They’re wrong, obviously. I can tell what I am. I’m not living in London any more – but that doesn’t make me a hermit.’ So I just didn’t feel that I had to answer it. “But I’ll tell you – the people who don’t accept Linda are nearly always the people who’ve never seen the band.” NME: I once heard you described as the Nina & Frederick of rock… Paul McCartney: “It’s not that kind of thing. It’s only a small role she plays, you know. It’s not as if she’s playing, like, any huge kind of role. “I mean, the main role Linda is playing is that she happens to be ‘my wife’. I mean, that’s the main kind of role thrust on her. I look on Linda, with regard to the band, just as a piano player. She also takes little bits – a harmony singer. There’s no kind of big deal.” NME: Does it hurt, these snides against Linda – or don’t you give a damn anyway? Paul McCartney: “The answer to this question is that it has hurt her in the past – weep, weep. There are things that hurt when someone says them – for instance, when John married Yoko everybody said, ‘Bloody Jap’ and if you think that didn’t hurt them, then you’re daft. “The main thing that’s happened with Linda and me is that, since The Beatles have split, we didn’t explain an awful lot of what we were doing. If we’d been very careful, like about ‘Ram’ or something, and set up some kind of publicity machine before it all and tuned all your minds into it – maybe it would have been different. “But we just bunged it on your desk and said, ‘Look – love us or hate us’ and a lot of people said, ‘Well, we hate you then.’” NME: Do you now regard Wings as fully “run-in” – and if so, aren’t they long-overdue for British dates? Paul McCartney: “Well, there’s the British tour in April, and we had our little period of getting it together because you’ve got to have that. “You need to work yourself in. I mean The Beatles had three, four or five years before we made a record… we were together as a band.” NME: I take it that audiences don’t scream at you any more. Any feelings on this? Paul McCartney: “I like an audience that raves. We had some goods signs off that European tour. “Listening to tapes, it’s obvious we’re still pretty new as a band. I’m not going to deny that, either, because it’s stupid. There’s nothing wrong with it, nothing to be ashamed of. We are very new. “Actually, I feel that in a way that we’ve got it over people like the Stones… although I don’t think we’re quite as good as them, yet.” NME: I once read you were very much the kind of person who liked to direct operations. Paul McCartney: “With Wings I can do anything I like really. They’re good – they would just do anything I wanted. But in fact, we don’t do it like that. We turn up at a session and we all throw ideas in.” NME: Are you aware you’re the only ex-member of The Beatles still producing his own albums? Paul McCartney: “I sometimes feel the need for other producers, and sometimes I do use other producers. We used Glyn Johns on a couple of tracks. But we were a bit restricted there.” NME: Do you think the George Martin days… Paul McCartney: “We’ve just done something with George – just the other week. We recorded a track for the next James Bond film called ‘Live And Let Die’, which unfortunately will not be released for a long time. It’s a good track.” NME: What about the album situation? Paul McCartney: “This next album will be very good, I think. I hate to go talking about this, in case there’s 50 incredible ones out at the same time and ours turns out not so hot. “There’s a lot of good stuff on it, some great tunes. It’s a bit more melodic, but it bops.” NME: Have you used much added instrumentation? Paul McCartney: “We have used some added instrumentation, but the best way is obviously for you to hear it. I think it’ll be out in February and I think it’ll be a double. “The idea is just to get working, working, working. So it’s all down to a whole load of work, because I felt like that – doing TV shows, doing work. “I read people knocking Top Of The Pops but I’m telling you, I watch Top Of The Pops just because it’s pop. I’d rather watch that than the news any day.” NME: Is there a restriction on composing within the band? Paul McCartney: “Oh no – Denny’s got a great one on the next album. It’s really just that if anyone turns up with a good song, OK. If it’s a lousy song, then we wouldn’t use it. And we’ve got Denny singing one of our songs on the next album. We’re trying to put it around a bit, so it’s a nice kind of unit. “The thing about our band is, everyone likes to be in a band. There’s really not much more to it than that. We’re all from varying parts of globe, and we’re all from varying upbringings. We couldn’t be more different people unless we had a few Chinamen in there. “We’re all pretty different. But whatever we’re doing we’re doing it together now. The thing that’s eventually going to tell, obviously, is the music.” NME: Do you still travel about a great deal? Paul McCartney: “Oh yeah, not half. Wouldn’t anyone? We go to the Caribbean whenever we can, because that’s incredible. That is like, you know, paradise. Jamaica, that’s very nice. I like peasants. We’re peasants, too, from all corners of the globe, a gang of peasants who want to be in musical entertainment. “This is the whole idea. It’s like in medieval days. A few people just got together and made some music to make themselves happy, and then to make people happy off it. And that’s really all it is for me. “I occasionally want to make some little political statement, occasionally want to do a kid’s song. The main thing is the music. That comes off. If you like ‘Hi Hi Hi’, then you like Wings.”

    Paul is still with us: The case of the 'missing' Beatle

    November 7th 1969, Life Magazine Life Magazine published an article on the recent "Paul Is Dead" fiasco. The article contained the now famous clues, select album cover photos, and Paul's own brief comments on the death rumors. Life magazine's London correspondent waded through a Scotland bog to find Paul and Linda at their secluded farm, hoping to be granted a photo or a brief interview.

    By this time The Beatles had privately broken up. While the breakup was still a secret and would not be announced for months, Paul states: "The Beatle thing is over." The public and press missed the importance of this passing comment.

    Life Magazine spoke briefly with Paul about the various "death clues" including the OPD badge on his Pepper suit (which fans took to mean "Officially Pronounced Dead"), his black flower in Magical Mystery Tour, and his barefooted appearance on the Abbey Road album cover.

    "Perhaps the rumor started because I haven't been much in the press lately. I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don't have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days."

    "I would rather do what I began by doing, which is making music. We make good music and we want to go on making good music. But the Beatle thing is over. It has been exploded, partly by what we have done, and partly by other people. We are individuals-- all different. John married Yoko, I married Linda. We didn't marry the same girl."

    "The people who are making up these rumors should look to themselves a little more. There is not enough time in life. They should worry about themselves instead of worrying whether I am dead or not."

    "What I have to say is all in the music. If I want to say anything I write a song. Can you spread it around that I am just an ordinary person and want to live in peace? We have to go now. We have two children at home."


    This interview was conducted at a pre-show press conference early in McCartney's 1989/90 world tour. QUESTION: How does it feel to be singing the old Beatles songs again? PAUL: It feels great. With some of the songs, like "Sgt. Pepper" and "Hey Jude," the Beatles had given up touring before they were written so I never got to play them live before until this tour and so they feel really fresh. QUESTION: Will you be having any guest artists joining you on stage? PAUL: It's kind of difficult to work in guests because we've got the show set now. Really the only person who's guested so far was Stevie Wonder in L.A., but that was easy because we do "Ebony and Ivory" in the set. It's just not too easy to open up the set when you get to this stage with a production. QUESTION: What made you decide to tour again after thirteen years off the road? PAUL: It was the fact that I'd got a good band together. I'd been recording and doing solo stuff and little guest spots, like Live Aid. But during the recording of Flowers in the Dirt the band felt really good; we've got a sense of humor in common and they're good musicians too. So it was either a question of saying goodbye, see you next album, or shall we stay together. And if you stay together it's like, what shall we do now? So it's like, let's go on tour. So here we are. QUESTION: How did you approach this album mentally? Do you ever get to the point of saying, "Right, I'll shove it right down their throat?" PAUL: Yeah. I get to that point. I was not pleased with the album before, which was Press to Play. I just wasn't that keen on it. So I did want to make this one better and shove it down a few people's throats. I'm quite happy with the album itself. There's some nice songs on it. QUESTION: Has coming out on the road inspired you to go back into the studio a little bit faster than you would have in the past? PAUL: Not really. But it's good for you to get out on the road. It's a stimulating thing, you know, to actually see your fans instead of getting letters from them. To actually see those faces really lifts you. It gives me a great buzz. QUESTION: Many people have said that they've found your concerts to be a very moving, emotional experience — especially because you are taking so many of us back to the sixties. Why has it taken you twenty years to perform these Beatles songs again? PAUL: When the Beatles broke up, it was a little bit difficult. It was a bit like a divorce—you really didn't want to do anything associated with the ex-wife. You didn't want to do "her" material. So all of us took that view independently. John, George and Ringo and me all stopped doing Beatles stuff — because I think it was just painful for a while. It was painful memories. But enough time's gone by now to do 'em again. And because of the last tour I did with Wings in 76 —we avoided them —it feels kind of unnatural to do them again. But it's a question of either getting back to them or ignoring them for the rest of my life — which I think would be a shame. And, as I said earlier, some of them I haven't actually done before. I found myself saying, "This feels great, 'Sgt. Pepper,' this feels really good. Why does this feel so great?" And someone reminded me, "You've never done it live before." It was like a new song to me. QUESTION: Will there be a time when you'll get together with George and Ringo for a jam or whatever? PAUL: Well, I don't know. It's always on the cards. But a reunion as such is out of the question because John is not with us, and the only real reunion you could have would have been with John. We might easily get together—there's a couple of projects that are possible now — now that we've actually solved our business differences. QUESTION: Why did it take so long to resolve your business differences? PAUL: Have you ever been in a lawsuit? I was in one for the last twenty years. It just takes forever. You get your advisors and they get theirs. I think lawyers are trained to keep those things going. It must be the first rule in law school, you know, keep it going. QUESTION: Do you ever regret that the four ex-Beatles never got together again after the break-up? PAUL: Oh yeah, I regret it. But it's just life you know. It just didn't happen — for a number of reasons. It would have been great. But John not dying would have been even better. QUESTION: What do you think about what's going on in Eastern Europe? PAUL: I think it's very exciting. To me it seems like the sixties kicking in — that's my point of view. It's all the stuff that was said in the sixties —peace, love, democracy, freedom, a better world, all that stuff. The way I look at it, people like Gorbachev grew up with the sixties, like we all did, and I don't think you can be unaffected by it. And I think it's all kicking in now; you look at the people coming across that border now and they're all wearing denim, and I think China's next. QUESTION: Are you going to play any dates in Eastern Europe? PAUL: I'd like to. But we've got so many dates on this tour and they don't include Eastern Europe. We tried to go to Russia but the promoter said it was too cold, so we went to Italy instead. QUESTION: What are your plans after the tour? PAUL: I'll be writing. I've got a lot of writing I want to do. I'm doing a very interesting thing, a sort of classical work for an orchestra and stuff which is due to be performed by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Liverpool Cathedral in 1991. And that's a serious work so I've got a lot of writing to do. QUESTION: What about your memoirs — why don't you write them now? PAUL: I always thought you had to be about seventy before you do that. QUESTION: How do you feel when you look out into the crowds and you see parents holding their children up to see you? PAUL: It's really beautiful because I've got four kids, and the great thing about me and my kids is that there isn't this generation gap that I thought would be there. QUESTION: Do they listen to any music that bothers you? PAUL: No, but I know what you mean. I thought that they'd get into some odd punk music and I'd be saying, "Well, the sixties was better," but they're not. My son loves the Beach Boys. His big new turn-on album that I turned him on to is Pet Sounds. And he loves James Brown, Otis Redding, The Commodores— he's got some good taste. QUESTION: Are you surprised how many young people on this tour are responding to your music? PAUL: Well, kind of. But a couple of years ago I started to notice how kids like my nephews, who are eighteen now, but who I've known since they were two or whatever, started getting into the Grateful Dead. Now they're all Deadheads. It's incredible. I think maybe it is because modern music is a little bit synthetic and shallow that they're looking back to the sixties. And the great thing about a lot of that sixties stuff is that it does stand up still. QUESTION: Are your children musically inclined? PAUL: Yeah, they are, but Linda and I have always said that we'd never push them because it's a tough game, and unless they're really keen.. . . But they're all very good. They're all very interested in music and they can all carry a tune and stuff. QUESTION: Would you ever have your children play on stage with you? PAUL: Not really, because that's a little bit too much showbizzy for me. But if they really wanted to do it, desperately wanted to, then I'd help them. But it's got to come from them. As I said, it's a tough game. QUESTION: How do you think your performances of the sixties compare with your performances today? PAUL: They're strangely similar, you know. Some of the crowds have been strangely sixties. It's very good, but you can hear yourself now, with the new technology. Compared with what we started out with, we've got Cape Canaveral out there. When we started we had two guitars and a bass and one amp. QUESTION: When you get away from this for a while is there anything that strikes you that you would like to effect, being a father and with your stature in the world? PAUL: The thing we're doing on this tour is hooking up with the Friends of the Earth and mentioning the environmental issues a lot. I mean, I'm no expert but I've got four kids and I see this Exxon spill and how well they cleaned up. ... I don't think anyone wants that to happen. I don't think anyone wants the hole in the ozone layer to get any bigger. But I was like anyone else. I thought, well, the government will fix it for us. But last year it became apparent that no-one was going to fix it, and we've got to address the problem ourselves. So that's what I'm doing on this tour. I'm mentioning it just to give the issues publicity, because I really think we have got to get serious on all that stuff. QUESTION: What are you trying to do with Friends of the Earth? PAUL: Friends of the Earth are basically just trying to clean up the planet. Instead of putting your toxic waste in your water, instead of blowing a hole in the sky, instead of having acid rain. ... If someone had told me when I was a kid that when I grew up the land would have poisons in it, the rain would have acid in it, the sky would have a hole in it, I would not have believed them. But here we are, we're at that point now, and my hope is that going into the next century we really address that problem and get the planet straight. My point is that we are definitely the species that's won. Man has definitely beaten all other animals hands down, and what I'd like to see is us be cool dudes about that. But instead we're still blasting the hell out of everything. It's time we realized we've won an Earth that fouls its own nest. Everything else, all the birds and stuff, go over someplace else to take a dump, but we don't. We do it right here, right where we live. We put all our toxic waste in our lakes and we put all these poisons in cans and dump it under the sea, saying it'll be all right for a hundred years. But what about a hundred and one years, when it blows up?

    Fly away, Paul

    Melody Maker, 20 September 1975, page 8

    As Wings take to the road on one of the hottest tours of the year, Chris Welch – the journalist among the entourage – reports from behind the scenes of a band on the run     Manchester appeared through the coach window – bits of flyover marching through a jumble of crumbling old buildings, halfcompleted landscaping, a huge abandoned railway terminus, boarded up shops, and rain swept concrete blocks, once a 1950s dream of the future – now an aimless, broken mess. “God, the property developers have been at work,” I observed.     “And what are you going to do about it?” demanded Paul McCartney, squarely. I thought for a second. “I’ll write a few scathing attacks.”     “And I’ll write a protest song,” smiled Paul, as the coach drew up outside an elderly hotel that maintained past splendours in defiance of the surrounding shambles. The band on the run had come to rest in another town, for another concert. And the stars would be right for another night – Venus and Mars – Linda and Paul, working their way around Britain on a tour unique in recent rock history.     “Why are you doing it?” demanded a puzzled press, as Wings dropped in on town after town. The answer was plain to see, in the ecstatic reaction the band received from audiences who cared not one jot that Paul had a previous existence. Only the press seemed to have difficulty in acknowledging the fact that Wings have their fans, just as The Beatles had theirs.     At press conferences and TV recording sessions the same old questions were asked, understandably, as they are geared for mass consumption, but as Linda said after one session: “They’ll be asking if The Beatles will reform when we’re old and grey.”     Of all the aspects to emerge during a three-day stay with Wings on the road, my greatest impression was of McCartney’s sheer musicianship and instinctive professionalism. Despite his repeated protestations that both he and Linda were “very ordinary people”, McCartney’s all-round ability puts him into a special category reserved for very few.     Watching a succession of shows by one group is sometimes a chore, but in this case it’s a privilege. A Wings concert is everything that a true pop concert should be. And yet, when Paul read his daily reviews in the national press, he found himself receiving such glib dismissals as: “McCartney is a throwback” and “Paul should go solo”.     “What do they mean?” he demanded, his face contorted by a mixture of pain, bewilderment and resignation. “Don’t they think I’m the centre of the show already? But I think I can see what this guy means when he says I’m a throwback. I suppose I am from another age…” He tried to look convinced. It is not difficult to understand why, when Paul refers to the press he makes a screwing motion, as if operating some medieval instrument of torture.     By the time I caught up with the tour in Bristol on Wednesday last week, the band had already played its opening date in Southampton the previous night,and had been greatly pleased by the response. Each night saw progressive improvement, while the party surrounding Paul and Linda grew by the hour, as they commuted between hotels and concert halls.     The basic Wings line-up includes Linda on keyboards, Denny Laine on guitars and Joe English on drums. They are augmented by a four-piece brass section: Tony Dorsey on trombone, Thadeus Richard (sax/clarinet), Howie Case (sax), and Steve Howard Jr (trumpet), all from the States, with the exception of Howie, an old Liverpool friend from the Hamburg Star Club days.     Add to this entourage erratic, likeable publicist Tony Brainsby; Wings’ manager Brian Brolly, a sophisticated urbane gentleman of slow and thoughtful speech; an ever changing polyglot of EMI representatives; Rose, the McCartney children’s nanny (honoured on the ‘Red Rose Speedway’ album); the McCartney children, the band’s children, a young tutor to keep up their book learning; a gentle, immensely strong looking West Country bodyguard; chauffeurs in peaked caps charged with care of the two Rolls-Royces that accompanied the coach; representatives of tour promoter Mel Bush and of course the boys from Showco, the American rock tour experts, and you have a modern equivalent of a touring circus.     Quite a team, that spent many minutes of each day phoning each other, waiting to assemble. It was one of those ‘hurry up and wait’ situations, where “five minutes” means an hour. Added to this pool of people waiting to see who would move first and where, were the folk who drifted on and off the tour, TV crews and interviewers, more reporters and photographers, including MM’s own Bob Ellis, who is also official Wings’ photographer, and Kate Simon, a charming American who was crushed, bruised and lost her film to the fans, while attempting to take pictures at Cardiff.     The Post House Hotel, 11 miles from Bristol was made base-camp for two days and was booked to capacity. As a result I had to stay in a nearby hotel which locked me out the first night, as I stayed up to 2am watching Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam at the nightly Wings film show. BRISTOL HIPPODROME, WEDNESDAY, 8PM.     Fans are jammed in the tightly-packed seats of the grand circle and stalls as the show starts promptly. It runs for two hours, without supports or any other deviation from Wings’ appointed course.     Like the feeling generated within the band there is a strong family atmosphere, a sense of reunion, that affects the youngest Wings fans who know best the music of ‘Band On The Run’ and ‘Venus And Mars’ and can sing along softly to the words of every ballad; and the mix of young marrieds and adults come to hear their favourite songwriter of the decade.     The band lined-up with the brass section, somewhat distant at the right of the stage, raisedup but discreetly at the back, with Linda’s array of keyboards parked sideways, at the right. Jimmy and Denny spread out in front of Joe English’s diminutive drum kit, while Paul essays between the grand piano virtually hidden behind Linda, and a place at the microphone in line with the boys. A clever layout – nobody disappears to dominate anyone else.     The measured, plaintive tones of the ‘Venus And Mars’ theme introduce our hosts and then it’s into ‘Rock Show’ and ‘Jet’, stalwart rousing statements, custom-built for a touring band, which seem to epitomise the rock ethos. Like Elton John, Paul has a sense of history.     As the gig picks up momentum it becomes increasingly apparent that all past hints of amateurism and stories of incompetence have ever been expunged. A great amount of rehearsal had gone into ensuring that arrangements are delivered with accuracy, that solos slot into each appropriate moments, and above all to ensure that the confidence of each performer is unimpaired. As a result, Wings frequently sound like an orchestra.     It’s a strange band in many respects. Denny Laine, the Midlander who has experienced success and disappointment in his long career with The Moody Blues, his own String Band and later Ginger Baker’s Airforce, is flanked by the diminutive figure of Jimmy McCulloch, a chirpy, sometimes aggressive Glaswegian, who has been a respected lead player since he was a mere lad, working in such bizarre settings as Thunderclap Newman’s band, or with John Mayall and, most recently, Stone The Crows.     Both are prone to outbursts of wild behaviour offstage and display symptoms of inner frustration that can grip many a professional musician. Joe English however, has the business-like approach of the American engaged in advancing his career, his drumming funky and direct, its roots in the South. Whatever their differences in age, personality and background, somehow the group works, displaying a discipline that would be hard to find in many a band that has grown up together. “See if you remember this one,” says Paul, and ‘Lady Madonna’ has the audience clapping to the barrel-house beat. The band swap around instruments a lot. Denny plays bass, or doubleneck guitar as the occasion demands and Jimmy helps on bass too.     Meanwhile we’re into the measured grandeur of ‘The Long And Winding Road’, with its emotive brass arrangement from Tony Dorsey, emphasised by Joe’s sonorous tom-tom accents. A tremendous outburst of cheering greets his performance, but here is a pause onstage as Wings sort out who is going to announce the next tune, the only hint of disorganisation.     There is barely any stage gimmickry throughout the concert. No dry ice, laser beams or pantomime horses, just an occasional slide projection. And yet it holds the attention and provides more continuous enjoyment than any concert I can recall this year. Barely any of the songs extend beyond four minutes and there is none of the mind-wandering boredom that can be induced by bands who say virtually nothing in 30 whole minutes of blathering.     “All right – a bit of rock’n’roll!” yells Denny as at length the band return and launch into ‘Hi Hi Hi’ and eventually double the tempo to a shattering finale. The group return after more thunder to take a bow, but there are no more encores. Wings have literally exhausted themselves and have no arrangements left to play.     A babble of voices beak out as the crowds struggle to quit the building. You can judge a show’s appeal by the terse comments passed in the gents’ loo. “Didjer enjoy it?” “Yeah – really good.” Oddly enough, no one suggested “the throwback” should “go solo”. THURSDAY: POST HOUSE HOTEL, OUTSIDE BRISTOL.     Despite claims by some of the band to be hardcore ravers, there were no overnight excesses, such as might be endured on a tour with Zeppelin or The Who. Thus, Wings nose relatively early the morning after the Bristol triumph. The film shows seemed to provide a good substitute for aimless boozing and the talk was of treats to come, like Blazing Saddles, and French Connection II. Rumours of Deep Throat proved unfounded.     Even so, Wings were somewhat bleary-eyed when it was time to face the cameras for two lunchtime interviews set up in the hotel for BBC TV and Harlech TV. There was some delay while the band were being aroused and assembled and the crews jested, somewhat nervously, that it was: “Like waiting for an audience with the Pope – or General Amin.”     Eventually PR Tony Brainsby arrived, beaming through his glasses and singing: “We won’t be long!” to an old Beatles tune. “Right – yer on,” he added. “No screaming.” Paul and Linda led the way, Linda muttering an aside to the MM: “Am I ready for this?” The rest of the band followed, including Denny Laine’s baby, known to all as “Lainey”, who seems to have struck up an interesting line in dialogue with Paul, consisting entirely of them blowing raspberries at each other.     “OK, quiet please,” said the master TV technician above a burst of raspberries. The interviewers have assured they will discuss Wings and incorporate all of the Wings personnel. In the event the camera stays mainly on Paul who is asked why, as one of the most famous men in the world, and a rich ex-Beatle he carries on touring. Just what kept him going? “Drugs,” replied Paul earnestly.     “I must have them. No… I just like music.” Had he seen The Beatles lately? “We run into each other and stuff – we’re just good friends.” Was Wings really a logical development from the Beatles? “Well, I’ve always written songs, but with The Beatles we only ever rehearsed for three days – at the most. With this band we rehearse a lot.”     Was he looking forward to playing in Cardiff? “Of course,” begins Paul, but there is a rumble from Denny Laine, who says to nobody in particular: “When are they going to start speaking English there?” End of first interview.     Second interview. Why did Paul decide to go back on the road? “Well, either we sit at home and do it, or we play in front of people. Now it’s a pleasure to do it and we want to keep on working.” Would Wings ever become as big as The Beatles? “I think it could be, funnily enough. The whole thing is bigger now. We’re having a great time – we like to play music and people like to come and hear it.”     How different was Wings from The Beatles? “They scream at our concerts, but they don’t scream as much. People used to come and scream and didn’t hear any of the music. Now they can.” Did Paul want to bring back The Beatles?     “It wasn’t within my power to bring back The Beatles. It was a four-way split and we all wanted to do different things. We’re all very good friends. John is keeping very quiet at the moment while, fortunately, I’m out working… I like it.”     Paul tries to find new words to fit an old theme. What can you achieve now? “I don’t know – that’s a bit heavy that question. What do you want to do? I want to make really great records. Maybe your ambition is to do a really great interview and, when you do, well, you won’t want to give up, will you? You don’t ever give up. Everyone goes on.”     It was time to make a move and as the TV men packed up, Paul and Linda dived into a black Rolls-Royce, heading for Cardiff and the afternoon soundcheck. As we drove along the motorway, the TV crew zoomed alongside, filming through the window.     They weren’t angry, but the McCartneys seemed genuinely perplexed at the interest in things past when they had Wings fresh and new, waiting to be discussed. “I think they’ll go on asking those questions for ever,” sighed Linda. “The guy asked me what was there left to achieve, as if I’d done it all,” said Paul. He kept repeating to himself, “What is there left to achieve?”     It seemed to me that Wings had achieved a lot as a band that made its first tentative appearance on a secret tour of colleges a few years back. They seemed remarkably rehearsed and professional. “That’s the difference,” said Paul. “As I said, in the old days we might rehearse for three days. But we’ve spent months rehearsing with Wings.”     Said Linda: “If you’re going out into the world, it’s got to be good.”     “It’s better than I thought it would be,” said Paul: “We had worried that it’ll be over-rehearsed. We haven’t played to anybody for years and we were a bit nervous. I didn’t mind the silences during the songs at all and nobody seemed to mind the tuning-up when Jimmy broke a string last night. We saw Dave Mason’s concert in London, and he tuned up between every number and I used to think that was death.     “We rehearsed the band down in Rye in Sussex in an old cinema last summer, learning all the numbers. We could have rehearsed the chat between numbers too, but we thought that might make it seem to formal. Originally we weren’t going to allow that – chatting ad-lib. But audiences don’t seem to mind and, in any case, they seem to be Wings fans, calling out requests for old Wings B-sides.     “After The Beatles – well, I didn’t think anyone could be a Wings fan. The TV man kept asking me why I kept going and I wish I’d told him about Wings fans. That’s what’s left for me to do! I can see their point when they say, ‘You’re a family man now,’ but Charlie Chaplin didn’t stop after making one film.     “They say ‘Sgt Pepper’ was the best period for me and it was the best music at the time, but some of the stuff that happens now is better than The Beatles.”     Said Linda: “You could go on talking about The Beatles forever and all of them get so bored with it.”     “Why can’t they let us get on with something new?” demanded Paul.     “They’re still talking about… ‘George is the religious one,’ and ‘John is the nasty one,’ and ‘Ringo is making movies,’” Linda laughed. “They don’t seem interested in the fact that this is a working band. The people are up-to-date. It’s the press who don’t know what’s going on.”     “Do you still see John?” said Paul rhetorically peering out of the window at the TV crew still coasting alongside at 50mph. “I always feel a bit weedy when I answer those kind of questions, as I should have done more. Maybe I should have gone to see John more often. Maybe I should send him a telegram.”     “Maybe, if we do so many interviews, the press will get bored with us,” suggested Linda brightly. “I can’t think of anything that the word ‘press’ means that is nice,” said Paul with unexpected bitterness. But he cheered somewhat as the conversation turned to the choice of music for Wings concerts.     “Well, we wanted to choose stuff from ‘Band On The Run’ and ‘Venus And Mars,’ and we thought people would like to hear ‘The Long And Winding Road.’ The records are the arrangements. We could either play the songs like the records or stretch them out. We thought people would like to hear them just like the records. Tony Dorsey has done the brass arrangements and he used to work with Joe Tex.     “We’ve worked with the brass players individually before and Howie Casey is an old mate from Liverpool. The only problems we have had have been in rehearsals, where they were ironed out. Denny Laine turned up one day with a cut finger and couldn’t play for a couple of weeks. At last night’s show, I thought ‘Junior’s Farm’ was jinxed and Jimmy was breaking strings, so there was lots of bass and drums cover up. Before this tour started, I thought we should learn all the songs, and get them right.     “But we all have different musical tastes, and there is a lot of room for development. For instance, Joe doesn’t do a drum solo and we could bring that in later on.”     Did Paul enjoy the acoustic guitar section?     “I’d never been onstage on my own before and I was a little bit nervous. Then I remembered I’d sung ‘Yesterday’ on The Ed Sullivan Show in front of 40 million people. I love doing it.”     I expressed surprise at Paul’s skill as a pianist and guitarist.     “I started out as a guitarist. My first guitar was a Rosetti Lucky 7 – which was a plank of wood with strings. Then one night in Hamburg at the Star Club, I went on piano while Stu Sutcliffe was on bass. I used to play piano on a lot of Ray Charles numbers like ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’. So really I’ve been playing the piano long enough, so I should be able to play it!”     Paul hinted that he actually played a lot of lead guitar solos on old Beatles records, but said he didn’t like to put about his various skills as an instrumentalist. “I like to surprise people,” he said gently. Did Paul feel the Wings tour was a drain on his and Linda’s energy?     “Thirteen dates is not a heavy tour. And we’ve got two weeks complete holiday before we do a bit of recording. In November we go to Australia and all this is practice for that.” As the Rolls drew up behind the stage door, Paul remarked: “What makes me want to go out on tour again – is a decent audience.”     He disappeared into the thick of a crowd of fans, who magically materialised seeking autographs, while all around the office windows were filled with faces gazing down on the star in their midst.

    Interview in The Bass Book, 1994

    Tony Bacon: I'd like to talk about you as a bass player, really, and go back as far as we can. I apologise in advance for going back... Paul McCartney: No, I'm happy to go back. People think oh, you've had so many questions about The Beatles you must be fed up. I love it. It was a great period of my life. I don't mind, I'm proud of it. I think what it was, near the break-up of the Beatles we didn't want to hear about Beatles because it was painful. Now there's enough time gone. But my bass playing days go back to when Stuart was the bass player with his big Hofner. Tony Bacon: Because you started out as a guitar player. Paul McCartney: Yeah, I did. We all started together when we were kind of kids, early teens, I would have been about 15 or something. Me Dad bought me a trumpet for one my birthdays, because a trumpet was kind of a heroic instrument at that time, 'The Man With The Golden Arm' and all that. And I liked it, and he'd been a trumpet player so he showed me a bit of trumpet. But I realised I couldn't sing with the trumpet, and I wanted to sing as well, so I asked him if he wouldn't mind if I traded it in for a guitar. He said fine, he was very understanding, an amateur musician himself, he had a little band called Jim Mac's Band in the 1920s. So I went down and got a Zenith guitar which I've still got around somewhere, quite nice, and I learned on that. Tony Bacon: Was being left-handed a problem straight away? Paul McCartney: I realised when I got it home that it was right-handed and I was left-handed, and I didn't know what you did about that, there were no rule books. Nobody talked about being left-handed. So I tried it this way, and I couldn't get any rhythm because it was all the wrong hand doing it. And then I saw a picture of Slim Whitman in NME or Melody Maker, one of the early musical papers, it was a little ad for Slim Whitman, and I just noticed... hang on, he's got the guitar on the wrong way round, oh this is OK. I found out he was left-handed, so I thought that's good, you can have it the other way round then. Then I changed the strings round. I never could change the nut, I was not a tech, so I would just change the strings round. The sixth string always had a fat hole, so the first string would have to go into it, and we'd chop a little bit of a match off, stick that in there, and that would kind of lift the nut enough, and then you had to hollow out a bit of the nut to get the bass string in because that kept slipping out. So you did your own technical work, ha ha. High precision... a very do-it-yourself affair. But it eventually worked, and it would hold all the strings, that was the main thing, because if you clouted it it would just come off. Tony Bacon: You met John and George around this time, didn't you? Paul McCartney: George used to get on the bus. I was and still am one and a half years older than George, I've managed to keep ahead of him. So he was the younger guy getting on the bus one stop after my stop. Cos we were round about the same age... it was probably like his haircut or something that made me think well, he's a bit groovy, he had what we used to call a bit of a Tony Curtis, greased back, you know? So I'd think well he's probably all right to talk to. We got chatting on the bus and he had an interest in guitars like I did, and music. Turned out he was going to try to make one, going to make a little solidbody Hawaiian, which was like a good place to start. You didn't have to get into the hollow body or anything, which was very difficult. And he did that, and we kind of hung out and became good friends. He did that Hawaiian thing and it wasn't bad, real high action of course. Tony Bacon: And John? Paul McCartney: Meanwhile I'd met John through another friend of mine, and he'd asked me to join The Quarrymen, which was the very first group. So I did that, and I kind of went in first of all as lead guitarist really, because I wasn't bad on guitar. And when I wasn't on stage I was even better. But when I got up on stage at the very first gig I totally blew it, I had never experienced these things called nerves before. Tony Bacon: Was this still with the Zenith? Paul McCartney: This was still with the Zenith, yeah, might have got a pickup on it by then. I did, I got a little pickup and a little wire, bought the pickup separately, tried to gash it on there. But I was playing 'Guitar Boogie' (sings riff) and I knew it fine off-stage, like I say, but on-stage my fingers all went very stiff and then found themselves underneath the strings instead of on top of them. So I vowed that night that that was the end of my career as the lead guitar player, I just thought I'll lean back. So me and John kind of both did that around that same time, both became rhythm guitarists. And I knew George, as I said, and we were kind of looking for a lead guitarist, so I got George in. So that meant there were three of us on guitar at that time, on and off, the nucleus of us was just three acoustic guitars. So we did a few auditions like that, sometimes John wouldn't even have his guitar. Because he had one of those Guaranteed Not To Split guitars that were advertised in the back of the Daily Mirror. That was his main claim to fame. So maybe it had split. But we did a few auditions where just me and George played guitars and John just stood in the middle. And then he nicked a guitar at that audition so he had a guitar again. But it was mainly three guitars. Tony Bacon: What about your first electric guitar? Paul McCartney: Then we got to Hamburg and I bought a Rosetti [Solid Seven model]. It was a terrible guitar. It was really just a good looking piece of wood, it had a nice colour or something, some paint job, but it was a disastrous guitar, cheap. I bought that in Liverpool and took it out to Hamburg. My dad had a big thing against hire purchase, on the never-never, he'd lost money that way, and so he was very keen that you shouldn't do that, so I had to buy something really cheap to persuade him that I could do it. That fell apart when I got to Hamburg, the Rosetti, the sweat and the damp and the getting knocked around, falling over and stuff. Tony Bacon: Can you remember buying it? Paul McCartney: Yes, in Hessy's [music store in Liverpool]. It seemed nice at the time, but obviously as I say it didn't perform very well, and eventually half the gigs... because you couldn't always get things, we were playing in a little club and there wasn't immediately a music shop, you had to go into town of Hamburg to get strings, new equipment. We'd always go into Steinways, which is where John found first of all a Club 40, him and George got Club 40s, which was one step up from where we'd been, and then John found a Rickenbacker, which was like boom! We're there. Because you couldn't really get Rickenbackers in England. It was like the clothes thing in Hamburg, there were different clothes, so you'd buy up a few little outfits, come back to England and it'd be like, bloody hell where d'you get that? Oh, I've been abroad. We had some natty jackets with suede collars, and we came back with some bits of equipment. I didn't really, until my guitar bust. I then turned to the piano.

    Goodbye to Yesterday

    Melody Maker, 19 November 1977, page 8 From the Virgin Islands to ‘Mull Of Kintyre’, Paul McCartney talks to Chris Welch about pipe bands and punk rock and explains why he will never play his most famous song ever again     Paul McCartney swears he will never play ‘Yesterday’ again. Not since a review in which, he claims, I said that I thought he would play it forever.     “Surely not,” quoth I. “Oh yes, you did. Prat,” says Paul. “Pranny.” And a lot worse besides. But I didn’t remember saying anything worse than the last Wings concert in London had lacked the spontaneity of their earlier round-Britain concerts.     Surely I didn’t slag off ‘Yesterday’, one of the great popular songs of our time? Why, it always brings a lump to my throat or a tear to the eye. “Oh yes you did,” insisted Paul. “I remember everything. All that stuff about ‘Yesterday’ – it’s engraved on me forehead. I’ll never play it again.”     But somehow I don’t think Paul would take such advice or a less than enthusiastic review too seriously. For someone who has been at the centre of the rock whirlpool for 15 years (count ’em) he is a bit too long in the tooth and experience to start getting belligerent or suicidal.     He reserved himself a go back, which was delivered in forthright, but unmalicious tones.     “I thought your review was shit,” he greeted me pleasantly, in the bowels of number two studio at Abbey Road last week. It was here that Paul and the rest of The Beatles recorded so many classics – ‘Yesterday’ included.     Now it was decorated like a Parisian pavement café with tables and umbrellas and plants.     “Just to give it a little atmosphere,” he explained. While Wings seem to have been quiet since those last concerts (still referred to by radio DJs as among the greatest they have ever seen), in fact, they have been busier than ever. Paul and Linda have added another child, baby James, to the family, but Paul kept on recording, first on a floating studio near the Virgin Islands, then up in Scotland. The results are a new album due out in February, and a new single, ‘Mull Of Kintyre’, out now.     Wings have also suffered the loss of two of their number in recent months. But as Paul explained, he wasn’t too worried. He would be quite happy to play at Joe’s Caff with Denny Laine, his old mate, on guitar. And they may even do that next year.     But first Paul gave me an ear-bashing for smiting his work. What could I say? If more artists spoke up for themselves instead of brooding or plotting violence, a good deal of the unpleasant tension that afflicts rock today would be dissipated. Paul explained how even his daughter, as a member of the public, had fallen foul of duff reviews.     “My daughter went to see The Stranglers. She’s into punk… well, she’s the right age. She came back a changed person, over the moon, just loved it.     “And the next week, a review appeared in one of the papers… and it was a terrible review. ‘The bass player was inefficient’, same old technical crap, y’know. Reviews are always wrong. But come on, let’s get off critics.”     Paul had been strangely inactive for a year.     “No,” he said firmly. “Not inactive. Very active. But in the studio and on boats. We went to the Virgin Islands.     “We hired a charter boat that people use for holidays. The captain went spare when he saw all the instruments. We remodelled his boat for him, which he wasn’t too keen on.     “We converted his lounge into a studio and we turned another deck into a sound control room, and it was fantastic.     “We had a recording boat and two others we stayed on. We didn’t have any problems with salt water in the machines or sharks attacking us. At night there was much merriment, leaping from top decks into uncharted waters and stuff. I had a couple too many one night and nearly broke something jumping from one boat to another. But then you always break yourself up on holiday.     “The studio worked out incredibly well and the very first day we got a track down. There was a nice free feeling. We’d swim in the day and record at night.     “We had written most of the songs beforehand. Denny and I wrote a lot of stuff last summer. We stayed a month on the boat and by the time we recorded it the songs just seemed to work.     “You’ll have to tell me when you’ve heard the record if there is any boat feeling in the music. I think there is.     “We’ve come back to Abbey Road here to finish it all off. We’re overdubbing and putting main vocals on. We did nine tracks on the boat.     “I’d like to play you some of the stuff but I can’t really, because it’s gonna be so far in advance of release it would be silly to play you anything now.     “You’ll hear a track and say it’s very nice and then we’ll change it all around. But there is an up feel to the music from being on a boat. We got moved on a lot for being naughty rock’n’roll people infesting the waters.     “We moored at the island called St Johns and it’s a national park. You must not play amplified music. I think they mean trannies.     “But we had a whole thing going. You could hear it for miles. We got fined $15.     “I’ve been working out of London for a long time and when it’s raining and it’s boring and there are power strikes, you do start to think, ‘It would be great to get away.’”     Did many great new songs come out of this aquatic experience?     “Well, I never really like talking about it. I like it. People who’ve heard it like it. It’s nothing like the live album of course. It’s just a new studio album with a lot of songs on it and no big concept idea.     “But you can never tell, you know. ‘Sgt Pepper’ wasn’t supposed to be a concept. That was just a collection of songs.”     But not a bad collection.     “You can’t tell, they may all suddenly run together and mean something. It won’t be out ’til February, so I don’t want to start dropping titles yet. It’s cooler to wait until the time comes.     “There’s no title for the album. I didn’t get where I am today by giving titles ahead of time.     “Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English (guitar and drums), who are not longer with us, did all their stuff before they split.         “They were on the boat, and now Denny and I are just finishing it off. Wings is a trio at the moment.     “A couple of years ago I used to worry if anyone left; ‘Oh God, I can’t keep a group together.’     “But I don’t worry now – there’s no need to keep it altogether all the time. I’m more interested in the music and, if we can do that, I don’t mind how it has to be done.     “Next year we won’t do anything live until the album is out, because we wanna go out with some new stuff.     “I mean, you didn’t like us playing all the old stuff. Yes, I could quote your bloody reviews to you, Welch. We’ll get some new stuff together and think about going out again.     “We’re not worried at the moment. Joe needed to go back to America because he is extremely American and isn’t struck on Britain.     “It’s not everyone you can persuade Britain is an OK place to live, you know. He’s used to things like late-night telly and hamburgers. Linda is not really American, in inverted commas. She doesn’t miss any of that at all, so she tells me anyway.     “Jimmy’s thing was… another type of thing. He wanted to make a move. I don’t know how long he was with us. I don’t keep track of time. Since before ‘Venus And Mars’, whenever that was.”     Jimmy was quite an extrovert I believe?     “Well, yeah. He’s a good lad, Jimmy, a good guitar player, but sometimes he’s a bit hard to live with. It’s pretty well known in the biz and we just decided it would be better if we didn’t bother any more.     “It got a bit fraught up in Scotland. He’s with the Small Faces now, but he’s done a lot of nice guitar on the new album and on the boat he was incredibly together. He’s really into playing heavy rock.”     Was Paul looking for a replacement guitarist?     “No, not really. I’m getting letters from guitar players. But me and Denny both play guitar, and if it’s not live we can work out the guitar things. And if we need to overdub, I can play drums too.     “I did the drumming on ‘Band On The Run’ and, er, that did all right. I can’t drum technically very well but I can hold the beat and to me that’s what you should be able to do if you’re a drummer.     “It’s nice to be a bit fresh but I like a drummer who just holds the beat. So here we are – back to being a trio! No sweat. We’ll just continue like this.     “It’s easier now there are less people to deal with. We can make decisions quicker among ourselves.”     But what will Paul do if concerts are planned? They can’t play live as three-piece surely?     “Well, gigs have started to come up. But with having the baby this year… that sounds a bit un-rock’n’roll, doesn’t it? But these are the realities you’ve got to face, and I just didn’t fancy Linda being onstage at the Peterborough Empire and having to rush off to hospital. It’s a big number, having a baby.     “So, we decided to get ourselves a drummer or guitarist. Or we may have another think. We might change the whole line-up and go out with something different.     “But seeing as we’re not accepting any dates at the moment, we’re not bothering. It’s no big sweat. We could always go on as me and Denny with a couple of acoustics. We’d have a laff anyway!     “Denny and I have written together on previous albums but never more than one tune. Then, in summer ’76, we sat down and wrote a bunch together. It’s good to have someone to bounce off.     “To tell you the truth, we haven’t got really into songwriting together yet, but we did write a few where we’d patch each other’s songs up.     “The next stuff we write will be more half and half. We haven’t actually tried sitting down and writing from square one. We’ve been helping arrange each others’ songs.”     At this point we are joined by Denny Laine and Paul introduced us thus: “This is that cunt who gave us that bad review. Fuckin’ ’it ’im.”     “No hard feelings,” said Denny with surprising warmth. I began to feel like a traitor to the cause. All we needed now was Miles Davis and Ian Anderson to walk in, waving back issues of the MM.     Denny joined us at the table and began strumming his guitar. Paul pointed out the various features in the famed studio. “‘Love Me Do’ was done about where Denny is playing right now.     “The studio hasn’t changed since then because they don’t want to change the sound.”     Meanwhile, here was Paul, 15 years later, talking about yet another single, in the room where so much history was launched. This time it’s ‘Mull Of Kintyre’ and, says Paul, “It’s Scottish. It’s different from the songs we did on the boat, we thought it should be a single, and it sounds very Christmassy and New Yeary.     “It’s kind of a glass of ale in your hand leaning up against the bar tune. We had the local pipe band join in and we took a mobile studio up to Scotland and put the equipment in an old barn.     “We had the Campbeltown Pipe Band and they were just great – just pipes and drums. It was interesting writing for them. You can’t just write any old tune because they can’t play every note in a normal scale.     “They’ve got the drone going all the time so you have to be careful what chord you change over the drone, so it’s a very simple song.     “I had to conduct them very heavily. It’s a waltz and an attempt at writing a new Scottish tune because all the other Scottish tunes are old, traditional stuff. And I like bagpipes anyway.     “But it’s a double A-side. The other one, ‘Girls’ School’, I wrote after reading the back pages of those American entertainment guides. These days there are whole pages of ‘X’-rated films, you know the porn page?     “It’s all titles like School Mistress and The Woman Trainer. I just put them all together in the lyrics and called it ‘Girls’ School’. It’s about a pornographic St Trinians.     “We made it a double because the B-sides always get swallowed. You never hear them. At least ‘Girls’ School’ will get played a bit.     “‘Mull Of Kintyre’ is different from anything we’ve done before… but sure, it’s Wings. It’s definitely not punk. No, I’ve not seen any punk bands. Yeah, it’s a good thing innit? Like everyone says?     “In interviews, everyone says, ‘It’s very good for der business… it’s for young people… it’s good to see it.’ Waaal, you’ve gotta have something of your own, haven’t you?”     Had Paul lost his audience in the meantime?     “What, to punk? Nah, it’s a different audience altogether. To me, punk is more important than glitter, and a lot of the stuff that’s been going down in the past few years, just because it’s got a bit more balls to it.     “It’s a fashion, so it would be silly for us to attempt to go along with it. It’s not what we’re about.     “We never even used to do that when The Who was doing it. Know what I mean? I can hear a lot of Who in it, Bryan Ferry and Dylan too, and Lou Reed.     “It’s Velvet Underground, New York stuff type stuff, but the British kids do it best at the moment. But I’m not into it, I wouldn’t pretend to be. It’s just a different kind of music.     “Instead of sitting down, they’re jumping up and down. Great, nice one.”     I thought I detected just the faintest hint of sarcasm in Paul’s otherwise encouraging noises.     A film is being prepared of Wings on the road in America. How was that progressing?     “It’s being mixed and the sound is being put on by Chris Thomas out at Wembley and they’re thinking of putting the concert stuff together with some documentary stuff and making a TV show.     “It’s working out great, but I don’t know when it will be released. You can’t worry, because other people have tried the same thing and it hasn’t worked.     “If you’ve got a film, you’ve just got to finish it and see if it works. That’s the stage we’re at.     “We’ve got all the stuff shot. It was going to be a concert movie but we decided, as we don’t go to concert movies ourselves, and we’d rather see One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, we’d make it a TV special, so at least you don’t have to go out of your nice warm house to see it.     “It sounds a bit boring, but it’s better than it sounds! I didn’t even see Gimme Shelter. I just don’t think they work somehow. I’ve seen so many psychedelic rock dreams – climbing mountains and stuff.”     In the New Year, would Linda want to go on the road again?     “Yeah, I think so. It’s just different for us. A couple of years ago, I used to read the papers and think, ‘You’ve got to be like everyone else. If everyone else is putting make-up on, well you’ve gotta do it.’     “But now I’ve grown out of that, realised whatever I do is my thing.     “There was one point where we felt we had to be onstage every night if we were going to be any good.     “But when it comes around to the right time, we’ll do it – go out and play.     “We actually fancy playing in some small, steamy clubs and get back to the people right there and playing to them for a laugh.     “So we’ll probably do that next year. We keep wanting to do a residency. We’d like to get a little club somewhere and build an audience. We’d like to get a great little scene going for a couple of weeks.     “We did it on our old university tour, which was the first thing we did. And cheap tickets. I love all that – if we could charge 50 pence or something. People expect bootleg prices all the time.     “There’s a scene in the film we’re doing where a fellow is offering a girl £3 tickets for £20. We’d like to get away from that situation of ‘You are now coming to see this extremely expensive group!’     “I’d much rather have people come in at lunchtime, or after work, have a little dance and a cheese roll. We might have a couple of lunchtime sessions next year.     “I fancy getting into all that, where it’s not as precious. That’s what ’appens when you get… big. I suppose that’s what the punks are up against.     “You can get trapped in all that tinsel and glitter, like Rod Stewart. I’m sure he doesn’t really want to be like that. The first thing you want to do when you see someone on a pedestal is knock ’em down isn’t it?     “But what we want to do is find a gig in the centre of London, so all the kids who are working in the offices can come and hear us.     “It’s based on the old Cavern idea. You tumble out of bed, play a couple of sets, have a couple of pints, and tumble back to bed. No, not at the posey places, somewhere like Joe’s Caff, in the basement.     “We’ll see. We’ll probably end up doing 50,000 dates in America! The real truth is, we’ll do what we fancy at the time.”     Was Paul happy to be in Wings as a working environment.     “Oh sure. We’ve actually done quite well, despite all the slagging off and the bad reviews. The main thing is the music, it’s not the bread, it’s not the fame, it’s not the acclaim, it’s not even the reviews, it’s down to whether you like the music or not. And this stuff we’re doing now… we like,” said Paul emphatically.

    Dinner Tickets

    My mother always looked For dinner tickets In the breast pocket Of my grey school shirt. Dried mud Falls from my work boots. Zigzag sculptures Leave a trail as I head For the woods. She found a folded drawing Of a naked woman. My father asked me about it. Chainsaw makes easy work Of young birch blocking my path. For days I denied all knowledge Of the shocking work of art. Resting on a fallen log, I wipe the sweat from my brow. Admitting I had made the drawing, I wept.