- Mar 27, 1956
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When Paul was recording Flowers In The Dirt, my name came up from two friends who were working with him… Robbie McIntosh and Chris Whitten and I was asked down for an informal jam to “see how things go”. That was in February 1989, so I guess things went ok.Paul Wickens, from Freshen Uptour book, 2018
Paul “Wix” Wickens (born 27 March 1956) is a British musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer from Essex, United Kingdom. Wickens has worked with musicians such as Paul McCartney, Nik Kershaw, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Bon Jovi and many other artists. Wickens has been a member of McCartney’s touring band since 1989.
In the early 1980s Wickens was a member of Palmer Industries, a group that issued two singles distributed by Stiff Records, “Mumbo Jumbo” and “Identify.”
Wickens began touring with Paul McCartney in 1989. As of then, he has appeared on many of McCartney’s albums and DVDs, and has become the musical director for many of McCartney’s tours. He continues to tour with McCartney (as his keyboardist, occasional guitarist and backing vocalist), and of the four musicians in McCartney’s touring band, he has worked with McCartney the longest by a considerable margin.
Wickens recorded on albums by Tommy Shaw of the American rock group Styx, The Damned, Tim Finn, Paul Carrack, Nik Kershaw, Jim Diamond, Boy George, and David Gilmour, and was the co-producer of the first Savage Progress album. He also was the keyboardist and programmer for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars – which was where he first met Chris Whitten. Paul was also instrumental in making the BANDAGED album the success it was, in aid of BBC Children in Need.
He attended Brentwood School, Essex where he became a friend of fellow student, the writer Douglas Adams, and performed at his memorial service in 2001. Wickens composed the music for the sequel radio productions of Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, originally broadcast in 2003–2004.
Wickens recorded a version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit“, and has also been known for The The’s minor UK hit, “This is the day“, from their album Soul Mining.
Wix is technically very good and also a really nice bloke. All of the people in the band are really nice, actually, which is something I tend not to mention but is certainly a key factor. We all get on very well. Wix is like our MD [musical director], so if we have to rehearse he’ll take us through it. He’s like the boss “when it comes to rehearsals because I’m a bit lax – any excuse to have a cup of tea, I will, so he’s our slavedriver. He’s also a great pianist and comes up with some very original ideas. On ‘Hope Of Deliverance’ he’s playing guitar too.Paul McCartney, Club Sandwich, 1993
About joining Paul and the band for the ’89-’90 world tour:
Too many things pointed in the right direction. It was going to be Paul’s first world tour for 13 years, so it was obviously going to be an event, I had two good friends already in the band [Robbie and original drummer Chris Whitten], we were going to play great songs and, also, it was quite a challenge, musically. I had a lot of different kind of work to do, from playing straight rock and roll piano to being half an orchestra on ‘Live And Let Die’ and imitating a string quartet on ‘Eleanor Rigby’, which was good fun to get together.Paul Wickens – Club Sandwich 59, Autumn 1991
Last updated on June 19, 2019