When the Beatles broke up the villain of the
piece was one Paul McCartney - the music press was full of articles
as the man responsible for breaking up the "greatest band
in the world" and a flood of letters from Lennon were printed
in which he denounced McCartney, plus of course the references
in 'How do you sleep' from the LP 'Imagine'.
Since that time the four Beatles have moved on to produce their
various solo albums with varying success - Harrison's initial
album 'All Things Must Pass' was a very fine set, but since then
he has done little to substantiate this success, his new album
is a little more than a carbon copy of 'All Things'. Ringo has
gone his happy way in films plus a few self-indulgent but not
very successful albums and Lennon, apart from 'Imagine', has
done little of any great value and would appear to be suspended
in limbo in the States surrounded by the 'in-crowd' who produce
microphones whenever their guru so much as grunts.
I am not forgetting the concerts that the above have been involved
in (Bangladesh, Toronto etc) but to an extent were just the charismatic
influences exerted by the former Beatles which drew people to
them - the best of 'Bangladesh' for example was Dylan and the
group that was formed for the occasion (Clapton et al).
I met the evil McCartney in Newcastle recently when he was playing
the gig that had to be postponed during the recent tour. He was
tanned, relaxed and obviously very much at ease with himself
and the world in general. (Compare that to Lennon!)
There was little of the tension that surrounded Beatle gigs,
apart from the fans leaning through the dressing room window,
dropping in cameras, autograph books and flowers, and Paul and
Linda answered questions in an easy style.
I first asked Paul about the TV film shown
recently which was almost universally slated by the critics
and he said it was a
start but it was only a beginning and they wanted to do more
filming and improve on this rather shaky start. "I'd like
to make a western with a few friends, like Dustin Hoffman, set
it in Montana, 'cos it's a great place to film and we (the band)
would be sitting in the square under sombreros playing and then
ride out of town? - that's all really - I don't want to do much
acting - just riding in and out of town!
I enjoyed making 'Hard Day's Night' because
it was a very free film but I didn't enjoy 'Help' so much 'cos
we were more confined
to the script but I want to make more TV films 'cos it's the
media of the people and we can get to the maximum number of people."
MG: "Do you enjoy playing in public?"
Paul: "Yeah - it's great. I get real
fits of nerves in the dressing room before we go on stage,
and think 'What the
hell am I doing here' but the moment I see the audience I feel
OK - I enjoyed playing in public with the Beatles and now I'm
doing it again I'm really happy - it's almost like being famous
again playing in these big halls, Odeons and things."
MG: "What sort of halls are you going
to play in, in the future?"
Paul: "I like playing where we can be
near the audience - tonight is a good size but we'll play anywhere
if we feel that it's right. All we need is 4 hours' notice and
we'd play a benefit or a church hall - anything! But we'd have
to feel right about doing it - we don't want to be part of the
machine - I've been through all that before."
MG: "It was reported that you wanted
to do that with the Beatles - turn up unannounced at a hall
and play - like you did
on your first university tour with 'Wings'.
Paul: "Yeah, but it never got off the
ground 'cos Lennon wanted to play the big halls - could this
be the reason the Beatles
broke up folks?!!!"
MG: "Linda, you've come in for some
bad press, haven't you?"
Linda: "Yes, but it doesn't worry me
- one reporter said I could only play the organ with one hand
but as I was playing
a Moog at the time it didn't upset me too much - that sort of
uninformed comment is just too silly."
MG: "How do you feel the band is going?"
Paul: "Well it took a bit of playing
together but the time we played at the Hard Rock in London
was the time when it really
clicked and we haven't looked back."
MG: "What's your policy on members of
the band doing solo albums?"
Paul: "It's alright by me - if they
want to play with the band that's all I care about - it's got
to be a voluntary thing."
MG: "What of the future?"
Paul: "We're just going to keep on what
we're doing - another album - some more filming - but all the
time it's got to be what
we want to do."
MG: "If John wanted to make an album
with the three other Beatles would you play?"
Paul: "Sure, if I turned up! But not
as the Beatles - that's finished - but if I felt it was right
- yeah, I'd play."
Paul McCartney is obviously very happy with things - he has
learnt from the Beatles the dangerous aspects of the music industry
and is cautiously progressing along his own chosen route. One
could accuse him of a negative attitude to a lot of things -
no 'Attica State' for him but who knows what next year will bring?
INTERVIEW AND ALL PHOTOS: RIK WALTON