Interview for Disc And Music Echo • Saturday, June 11, 1966

PAUL in his own write — exclusive interview

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
Disc And Music Echo
Interview by:
Ray Coleman
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Album This interview has been made to promote the Revolver (UK Mono) LP.

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This interview of Paul by Ray Coleman was published in two parts. The second part was published on June 18, 1966.

BEATLES WEEK! They’re back with a single, “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” — out tomorrow (Friday).

BUT WHAT’S THIS? The Beatles as butchers, draped with raw meat! Disc and Music Echo’s world exclusive colour picture by Bob Whitaker is the most controversial shot ever of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

THE PLACE: A private studio in Chelsea, London. Whitaker is taking some new pictures of the Beatles, and decides that a new approach is needed.

I wanted to do a real experiment — people will jump to wrong conclusions about it being sick,” says Whitaker. “But the whole thing is based on simplicity — linking four very real people with something real. I got George to knock some nails into John’s head, and took some sausages along to get some other pictures. Dressed them up in white smocks as butchers, and this is the result — the use of the camera as a means of creating situations.

PAUL’S comment after the session: “Very tasty meat.

GEORGE: “We won’t come to any more of your sick picture sessions.

JOHN: “Oh. we don’t mind doing anything.” RINGO: “We haven’t done pictures like THIS before…

Well, what’s YOUR verdict? Sick — or super? Six LPs for the best six captions — of no more than 12 words — to the picture above. Send your entry to “Beatles Picture” Disc and Music Echo, 161 Fleet Street, London. E.C.4, before next Friday, June 17.

PAUL in his own write — exclusive interview: Page 9.

And then came the Beatles. Everything changed. Pop stars jostled with prime ministers and royalty for newspaper headlines. To the now old-fashioned chant of “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” four supremely talented young musicians were elevated to the Establishment and eventually gained the Royal Assent.

Nineteen hundred and sixty-two was an history year in pop history. The Beatles, fighting hard for recognition, did not think that four years later they would be rich MBEs whose name echoed round the world as giants. A lot has happened since it all started. A gold disc here, a Rolls Royce there… and a couple of weddings.

John wrote two extraordinary books, got a reputation for rapier wit, and became the only author never to make his own speech at a literacy luncheon. Ringo, like Chad, finally emerge from behind his nose and was generally acclaimed the star of both Beatles films. George went Oriental, drinking Indian tea, burning joss sticks and playing the sitar. And he married Pattie Boyd. But Paul, to the fans, appears to stay the same. The lone bachelor. The quiet charmer. Polite. Articulate. Well-groomed. “Good old Paul…”

McCartney has changed enormously, however. Like John, George and Ringo, he is more mature than ever, and at 23 cuts an impressive figure full of worldly confidence. The boyish charm and exuberance are still there. But he thinks even more deeply, and weighs his words even more carefully.

He arrived for lunch in a navy blazer and sports slacks, a cuff-frayed blue-and-white-striped shirt, and a ghastly Op Art tie. Its dark background had been splattered with white. Beatle blood was pouring from his thumb.

“I gashed it when I was shaving. Drag.”

This weekend, thousands will be playing the new Beatles single, “Paperback Writer” and “Rain.” It will definitely be a chart-topper, but already it has been criticised by fans as being “a bit ordinary.

The Beatles care a lot about criticism. Were they worried that the early battle and gate-crashing fire might have left them? Paul tackled an avocado pear following by veal and French beans as he answered questions.

“Has the battle left the Beatles, folks? No, not in that sense. I suppose when we started we had this rebel image and long hair and people thought that was part of our battle for getting on. But the Stones, and us, and a lot of others – we get bored by all this ‘rebel’ business.

“It was all right when were trying to make it, but those rebel days have gone. There’s so much more to do now than sit and think about battles and rebel images – we just want to make good records and do good shows. We’ve grown out of all that image thing now.

“The scene’s changed so much, and it’s changed for the better. Long hair and gimmicks don’t always make it — there’s a very good chart all the time these days, and images don’t come into it so much.

“You don’t get that business of ‘Look at us—we’ve got long hair’ any more. Both the Stones and us had got fed up with it. Rather than try to be versial and look kinky and use all these fab gear words and act like kinky people, we’d rather concentrate on being musicians. I don’t want to sound big-headed, but we’ve all gone through that phase.

“I’ll say this much at the risk of sounding big-headed: however much we might have been presented in the Press and elsewhere as gimmicks, we al- ways knew in our own minds where it was all leading. I’m not really sure that’s the case with some of the people who’ve come up…

“Generally, it’s the people who have nothing else to offer who lean on gimmicks and things. Masters of the bloody trivial. That sort of person makes me sick.

“I mean, some of them actually get good ideas, but if an idea’s good, you don’t have to gimmick it up. Just present it as a good idea. If it’s worthwhile, it’ll stand up on its own — there’s no need to try to sell it ridiculously as ‘gear fab mod with – it sounds with built-in polka-dot rhythms’ and all that crap.

“You can’t talk down to people. It shows.”

Paul loathes the “in crowd” phrase and all that goes with it. When the Beatles’ brilliance lit up a gloomy pop world four years ago, there was no such term. Some people think the “in crowd” has brought a despicable “cleverness” to pop circles; that the gossips and self-appointed leaders of the “in crowd clan” have brought a nasty atmosphere of self-importance to what was originally a wide-open, refreshing pop scene. Paul partly agrees.

“Yes, I think what we started in 1962, and that attitude to the whole scene, has got into the wrong hands,” he declared. “For me, as soon as a thing is IN, it’s OUT. In-crowds — big drag. I’ve always felt terribly embarrassed by in-things. Protest songs, Madison, calypso. There’s always something that’s ‘in,’ and it’s nearly always the product of some genius of a recording manager.

“That was never what we wanted — especially when we got stuck with this ‘Mersey beat’ thing. We might have believed in our publicity for a few weeks after the first couple of records made number one, but we soon realised what was going on. We soon hated being called pioneers of Mersey beat.”

Thankfully, said Paul, there was nothing particularly in at the moment.

“I hope the whole pop thing stays wide open and nothing ever comes to be ‘in,’” he said. “What these trendy £sd types don’t realise is that by going along with trends, all they’re doing is behaving like parasites and bastards — there’s so much copying, and so much lack of originality going on — it’s fantastic.

“A lot of people have got ideas, but for every person who’s got an original musical thought in his head, there is another who’s wanting to ride to the top on his back. They look so lame, and they stand out a mile – ‘My bell bottoms are bigger than yours’.”

Paul has little time for people he calls “non-thinkers”.

“I suppose people like the Stones and us are lucky now, because we don’t have to do a thing if it is bad, just because it sounds commercial and because it might help get us away. But some terrible things happen and I can’t understand them. How did Nancy Sinatra have the nerve to follow-up that one hit with a song that sounded exactly the same?

“Fantastic. And now we’ve had time to sit and think. I’ve realised that it’s the people who act intelligently and think about where they’re going — these are the people who get on.

“Barbra Streisand. I personally don’t like her singing, but she obviously made it because she tackled what she wanted to do properly and intelligently. Frank Sinatra, the same, and Brook Benton, people like that.

“So many people think ‘Pop music? Huh — easy.’ It’s not that easy to do it well and do it successfully.”

The Beatles’ success was finally capped when they gained the MBE. Now the controversy about these awards has subsided, do they FEEL like MBEs? Do they think about it?

“I’ve forgotten about the MBE,” Paul answered. “It doesn’t mean anything to me now. It’s nice, but just something that’s happened on the way. I’ve probably lost my insignia, maybe it’s in a cupboard somewhere. The only time that I’d think about wearing it is when I go to the pictures. Do you think they’d let me in for 9d?

The Beatles are very critical of their own work. Right now, they are excited about the new album, nearly completed.

“It will be the best we’ve done,’’ said Paul. “We’ll lose some fans with it, but we’ll also gain some. The fans we’ll probably lose will be the ones who don’t like the things about us that we never liked anyway, and those we II gain are the ones who want to hear us breaking into new things.

“Every track on the LP has something special. I’m not saying they’re all good. But this rest period of the last few months gave us all a chance to think.

“George wanted to get his Indian stuff on the record. I wanted to do some new electronic things, and John even had a song in which his inspiration was the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.

“The people I talked about earlier — the people whose only idea is to copy — always remind me of a long queue, with the people with original thoughts at the top and the rest of the queue all in line, following the people at the top. I once wrote an essay on this at school.

“Well, for this new album, we got off the queue for a bit…

“Already we think there are better things on the album than the new single. But they’re LP songs.”

How would Paul like the Beatles to be remembered?

“I’d hate us to be remembered for one or two things we seem to be getting remembered for now — I don’t like our American image, for instance. I’d hate the Beatles to be remembered as four jovial mop tops — four silly little puppets, which is what Americans tend to think of us sometimes.

“If it’s possible, I’d like us to be remembered, when we’re dead, as four people who made music that stands up to being remembered.

“I don’t want us to be thought of as four-men-who-made-a-few-hits-and-now-I’m-buying-a -house-for-me-dear-old-Mum-in-Stepney.”

Paul spoke positively about the future:

“I can’t imagine the Beatles as we are, when we’re all 30. People say: ‘Don’t worry, Jock — there’s always songwriting to fall back on.’ But that’s not the answer, and I think we’re all — well, not worried exactly, but thinking and wondering which way everything’s going for us.

“The future could be very interesting — there’s so many things to try We’ve been lucky, so lucky. We’ve had some great experiences, and now it’s something like a school-leaver wondering what career to choose. We can always write music, and still choose something new to break into.”

How has money affected their mental attitude?

“It’s like winning the pools – except that we’ve been able to do everything on a much more sensible level than pools winners, who often just go mad and spend, spend, spend.

“I’ve not gone mad with money — in fact I felt bloody poor last night. I was driving off to meet somebody for dinner, and on the way I ran out of petrol. I felt a real idiot. I hadn’t got a penny on me!

“Well, one of the advantages in being who we are is that people will always help us. I got out of the car and conned a bloke into lending me five bob for a gallon, and I wrote down his name and address. I’ll send him the money back.”

BUT THERE IS ONE PARTICULAR PENALTY OF FAME THAT INFURIATES PAUL. It concerns all pop fans and all pop stars. The Beatle will talk about his biggest regret at being famous in DISC and MUSIC ECHO — NEXT WEEK.

From Disc And Music Echo – June 11, 1966

Last updated on November 4, 2023


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