Paul McCartney Interview
by Joe Johnson of "Beatle Brunch"
Joe Johnson, host of Beatle Brunch, spoke to Sir Paul McCartney just hours before he hit the stage for his final concert of his first U.S. tour in nearly 10 years, Saturday night ,May 18th at the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Hereís part 1. Part 2 follows.
PAUL: Hi is that Joe?
JOE: Is this Sir Paul?
PAUL: Hey Joe, whatta ya know?
JOE: Welcome to Beatle Brunch Paul. Itís nice to finally have you on the show in person
PAUL: Thank you.
JOE: Ah, great show last night. We were sitting right down front and it blew us away, I canít stop thinking about it.
PAUL: Ah great man, thank you. We come to have a good time and itís always great if the audience comes along with us
JOE: Three hours of non stop playing, I mean, there was no break. How do you feel today?
PAUL: I feel great..ready to do it again. Yeah ya know, we pace the thing, itís not like the longest tour in the world, its been about 27 dates and tonightís our last one. So we normally do two in a row and then take a day off or something. You know, you donít ruin your voice and stuff. We kinda know the pacing, roughly now, so I feel great. I love doing the show. Thereís a lot of nice numbers in it, and itís a joy playing with the band, such a cool band.
JOE: This little tiny band from Culver City. Where did you pick these guys up?
PAUL: (laughs) Yeah! In L.A. I originally met two of the guys when we were recording the new album, "Driving Rain", and the drummer and Rusty the guitar player, Abe and Rusty, played with me on the "Driving Rain" album, and we enjoyed working together so much that I always thought, well you know if I go out live, Iíve got to take those guys, Ďcause weíve just fitted in so easily and theyíre great attitudes and great players. And then the keyboard player I worked with on "Driving Rain" couldnít make it, he had some other work, so I then got our old keyboard player from our last band, whoís Wix, which is a really nice inclusion because he knew a lot of the stuff and he had all his keyboards all set up ready to go, so that was great. And then we got a new guy, Brian.
JOE: It was really amazing. How did it feel to bring out "Getting Better" after all these years?
PAUL: Ya know, it really is great fun actually, because you know what happened was, I had a set list that I was, we were going to Culver City in L.A. to rehearse, and I had a certain bunch of numbers, and actually, Rusty, the guitar player, said, "Hey, have you thought about ĎGetting Betterí? And I said, "No, not really". And he said, "I think that would be a great one to do". So that was almost a request from him.
PAUL: So we put that in. And the great thing about it is, as you say, itís something I had never done since I actually made the record in 67, ya know.? So it was like, wow! It really felt fresh, it really feels very fresh b cause itís like Iím re-discovering the song, and it doesnít feel like Iím just sort of playing an old song, even though it is an old song, it feels like a new song.
JOE: Yeah, it really does. It really sounds great on stage. I mean theyíre all great for us, which one of the songs gives you the biggest thrill when youíre up there?
PAUL: Well ya know it varies from night to night. Sometimes it can be "Driving Rain" or "Loving Flame" off the new album, because theyíre so fresh. Theyíre still exciting to play. Another night it can be "Back in the USSR", because the audienceís reaction to that is fantastic! Ya know I think itís just in the right place in the set, after "Band on the Run". And the audience gets really wild round about that time, which is great. And then other times, if youíre in a sort of quieter mood, like "Here Today", which is a song I wrote for John after he passed away. And thatís a very sort of sad, very emotional moment, but that sometimes is great to do. But in truth, ya know the whole set is nice to do.
JOE: Now, the tribute to John, thatís a song you havenít brought out in 20 years, so you really havenít sung it since "Tug of War", right?
PAUL: "Here Today?", No thatís right.. That was a kind of lesser-known album track and I had actually been doing it as a reading when I was doing some poetry readings. So I was just doing the words of it. And I kinda liked that. So that reminded me of the song, so I thought, well Iíll put the music back and do it as a tribute to John. And itís very nice because I think for most of the audience, they think itís a new song, ya know?
JOE: Itís really gorgeous. And the tribute to George was fun and funny. I think that was in keeping with Georgeís spirit. You know how funny he was.
PAUL: Well ya know, thatís who you try to do. Itís like the Irish, when someone passes away they kind of celebrate the personís life, They have a wake. They do it how the person would have lived it, and you know and I that was sort of the feeling I got with George was that he was such a sort of cool guy, and nice guy and his love for ukulele was sort of really quite a big passion, ya know. And it reminded me that when Iíd been around to see him, the second to last time Iíd seen him, that actually happened. I played a bit of that to him and we had a laugh and it seemed like a sort of real moment to share with the audience, so thatís how that all arose.
JOE: We love it. I remember interviews where you said turning 30 was old. Now pretty soon thereís another big one coming up . How do you feel about this?
PAUL: Yeah (laughs). Well itís not 30, letís put it that way! You know what? Itís really cool. I donít mind at all. Itís a funny thing. As you do those sort of decade birthdays, 30, 40, 50 and in my next case, 60, you get a sort of feeling of not being able to believe it. You say to yourself, "Wait a minute! Am I 60? I donít get it, ya know. And I am now claiming that someone falsified my birth certificate.
PAUL: Yeah, I think there was some mistake back in Liverpool.
JOE: I think we should look into it.
PAUL: I think we should look into it! I think it must have been very dark or something on that day and somebody just made a mistake. But seriously, itís great. I donít mind. Iím not (gonna) ages. I feel great and Iím having such a good time on the tour, that age doesnít really come into it, ya know. All the guys in the band are all varying ages, and we all feel the same as each other, weíre just musicians kicking it out.
JOE: Yeah, you guys were great.
Paul McCartney interview, part 2
In part 2, Joe and Paul talk about the upcoming release of "Let it Be".
JOE: You teased us a little bit in an interview about "Let it Be". Can you give us more information about what itís gonna be when it comes out. Is it gonna be a dvd or a cd, do you have any idea?
PAUL: Well, all I know is thereís always some kinda plan, something in the pipeline at Apple as to what the next Beatles project might be. And the last one being "1", was so successful, that the idea at the moment thatís being floated, is for "Let it Be" to be a dvd and what I like about the idea, is that it means the soundtrack and the accompanying album is the stripped-down one, itís the one without the orchestra and without all the overdubs. And that was always my favorite version of "Let it Be", I think it exists as a bootleg? But that would be the fun actually, reclaiming our bootlegs, because the great thing is the bootleggers canít sue you.
JOE: Thatís right!
PAUL: "Hey thatís my record!" You say, "No it isnít!" So thatís the idea is to re-release "Let it Be" as a dvd, but also to have the soundtrack, which is just the stripped-down version, which is basically us guys playing unadorned, but I think itís a strong record that way.
JOE: Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. Heather is so strong. She represents such a great cause and I saw you guys on Leno. Is there anything anybody can do to help? I mean we watch you guys talk about land mines, but what can we do personally?
PAUL: Yeah, well thereís an organization weíre involved with called "Adopt a Minefield", and you can get in touch with them and there is a website, I think itís "landmines.org" and you can look all that up. And the thing is thereís lots of ways people can do things. People can organize fund raising things at their schools, in their neighborhoods, and for something like 20-dollars, you can fit up kid whoís lost their leg with a new limb and it gives that kid a life. They can go to school, they can play with their friends, they can play soccer. Youíd be amazed at what something like 20-dollars can do. So thatís what we spend a lot of time doing now. So "Adopt a Minefield" is a really good organization, so anyone who really wanted to help, can do that. And also can speak out against land mines because I think it would be great to see the American Government take a lead. I know the administration is a bit nervous of signing treaties at the moment after 9-11 and I think thatís kind of understandable, but there are a lot of things you can without signing a treaty. So I think if the American people urge the administration to get rid of land mines, that it not only helps all the civilians in all these war zones, it actually helps your own soldiers, because the soldiers donít like those things.
They step on them, and suddenly what was a perfectly healthy young man, is an invalid, ya know? So the guys donít like them. So thereís a lot people can do. They can speak out against it and look at the work of "Adopt a Minefield", thatís what I suggest, that for a start.
JOE: Speaking of all that, thanks so much for stepping up to the plate after 9-11. It was so amazing to see you come do that. Not that we didnít expect you to rise to the occasion, but it was so moving and so beautiful. On behalf of everybody in America, we really thank you.
PAUL: Ah, thanks a lot Joe, but it was my pleasure. I must say Iíve got a lot of New York relatives. My nephew, heís actually in the car with me now. Heís coming to see the last show and heís a New Yorker. And a lot of my relatives are New Yorkers, so we felt very deeply, and we were there when it happened, so we didnít want to sit around and do nothing so we organized the concert. And we were very proud to do it. You know Iím very proud to have been there. It was something where you wanted to stand up and be counted and you wanted to help the whole mood of New York, because everyone was in shock as was the rest of the world, but particularly in New York. So it was really great to be and to be able to do something special and I say to people, "It was my pleasure".
JOE: Great. Are you guys gonna plan to have any children? Is that something thatís in the future for you and Heather?
PAUL: Oh, you never know, man. You never know. I mean, thatís the thing that people ask, but you know, anyoneís whoís getting married, you just, you never know, thatís like in the hands of fate.
JOE: I just wanted to wrap it up by asking you to set your "Your Loving Flame". I want to play it for everybody.
PAUL: Iíll tell you all about it Joe, and then Iíll sign off. What happened was, I was in the Carlisle Hotel in New York and it was over a year ago. And I was up on the I think the 36th floor . It was a beautiful suite, and a plate glass window looking out over Central Park. And for someone like me, thatís like walking in to "The Cole Porter Story", so I just thought, "wow, Iíve got to write something". And I sat down and I wrote "Loving Flame" and it came quite easily.
And after I finished it, I rang Heather up, she was in England. And I said, "Do you wanna hear something?", and she said "Yeah, what is it?". So I pulled the telephone halfway across the room and I pulled the piano the other half way across the room and played it to her and she loved it. She was kind of emotional. And I said, "I wrote it for you". So thatís what it is, itís "Your Loving Flame", the first song I ever wrote for Heather. Letís play it.
JOE: Listen, have a terrific show. We love you very much, Paul. Thanks so much for calling in.
PAUL: Thanks a lot for the compliments, and Iím glad you enjoyed the show. Bye.
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