- Album This interview has been made to promote the Wild Life LP.
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Wings are talking to me in Studio 2 of Abbey Road after listening to the imminent “Wings – Wild Life” aIbum. We’ve covered Paul and Linda’s fascination with reggae, the plans for a surprise live appearance of the band but the subject keeps creeping back to the Apple business.
“I’ve got to keep fighting,” says Paul. “It’s like having my shoulder against a volcano. I’ve got to keep pushing, either that or I lie back and let the lava overtake me. I phoned John the other day to ask him if I could leave the Beatles. I told him about the set-up as I see it. I tried to tell him that I thought I was right about this thing. He said: ‘You always think you’re right.’ I just want the four of us to get together, write on a piece of paper that we want to dissolve the partnership, then hand it to Klein. That’s all there is to it. They could then wind up the business and divide the money four ways. No one else need be there, not Linda, Yoko or Klein. The Apple situation is like the Common Market. The Government has decided that the people should go into the market, but they don’t give a damn what the people say. I’m being kept in Apple for my ‘own good,’ and they’re giving me lollipops. I don’t want lollipops – just my quarter of what we’ve earned over the past ten years”.
“I haven’t received any money for the ‘McCartney’ album nor ‘Ram,’ and I don’t expect any money for ‘Wings’.”
He pauses and looks a bit regretful, and you realise that it is something that has been gnawing away at him for a long time now.
“I don’t really want to go into all this,” he continues. With a little less force, “but if I don’t say anything, I get press by default. If I don t say anything they think I’m hiding something. I suppose I’m like the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. The workers realised it was them who were putting the work in, they were making the ships and so they should get some of the money.”
I ask why no McCartney at George’s benefit:
“I didn’t play on George’s Bangla Desh concert because if I’d turned up and John had turned up then the headlines around the world would have screamed ‘The Beatles Are Together Again.’ Quite frankly I didn’t fancy playing there anyway.”
The subject brings him round to Apple again and his relationship with Allen Klein:
“When I first met Klein – when we all met Klein – he said: ‘You want Northern Songs? I’ll buy it for you and give it to you.’ I must admit I thought we were on to a good thing. I thought ‘here’s a man that wants to be associated with the Beatles so much that he’s prepared to go to those lengths.”
He continues on the subject of song publishing.
“What some songwriters don’t realise is that when they go to a song publisher and say: ‘I’d like you to publish my songs,’ the guy says ‘sure, sign here’, and you could sign away your copyright. The writer might then get a mere pittance. The publisher gets the copyright royalties. A song like ‘Yesterday,’ which I wrote, arranged and played, none of the other Beatles were on it, the copyright doesn’t revert back to me.”
I ask if there’s a possibility Linda will be writing for Wings.
“Linda has written stuff of her own and if it works out and it’s good enough then we’ll record it. For my money, she’s got the training to be a rock-n-roll writer. She used to stand backstage at the New York Paramount and listen to people like Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley – that qualifies her in my book.”
Paul is fiercely nationalistic and Linda has seemingly become an honorary Briton. Although he likes to keep the Scottish farm as part of the privacy he talks with enthusiasm about it.
“I was a city boy, but lived far enough out of town to see a bit of the country. The farm is 600 acres and just right for me. I can breathe the air. It never ceased to amaze me that I put seeds in the ground: the sun shines at the right time, the rain comes on at the right time, then something grows and you can eat it.” (he looks heavenwards touches his forelock.) “That’s something to give thanks for…”
“Linda and I took a stroll in New York’s Central Park on a working day when it was fairly quiet. When we sat down on the grass it wasn’t green! It had a film of industrial waste all round it.”
I ask him the reason for the New York visit.
“We went to New York to try and find the best recording studio in the world. but I tried them all and I think No. 2 at Abbey Road is the best. Well, it’s the one that suits me best, anyway. It’s also got so many facilities here. In America, if you suddenly decide that you want a harmonium you have to ring up a firm (he pretends he’s on the phone), ‘Hello, can we have a harmonium? Yes, we’ll pay for it! Yes. we’ll pay for delivery costs!’ and all this business. Here I just say to Tony (Clark the engineer) can we have a harmonium, he phones the man downstairs who wheels one up. l also like Britain better because all the engineers are trained. They make them go through a lot of training before they let them touch the machinery.”
We talk about Scotland and the Scots for a time, then Paul says: “l think you’ve probably got enough there.” I say I hope I’ll see him again. “Of course,” he says, “so do I, we are human you know.“
As I leave I hear him suggest to Wings that they edit some tapes to try to find a single. “Then you can go home,” he says to Denny Seiwell. “Home?” says Denny. “You know, America,” says Paul. He turns and smiles as if he’s just emphasised what freedom means to Wings.