- Published by:
- Disc And Music Echo
- Interview by:
- Caroline Boucher
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One year and a bit old, and a wiser youngster, Wings are still having fun. They have a Fun fan club to prove it and a busload of happy summer memories.
Almost a year after their jiving party to launch Wild Life, they have another one this week to celebrate the new single. It’s a giggle all down the line and people are beginning to warm to it.
You can’t help but warm to this brave little band who soldier on through the knee-high debris of bad criticisms and pull themselves into shape like any other new band. So they’ve got a couple of good guitarists and a crack songwriter, but the combination is still in its infancy and everything takes time.
They are all glad that the age of the super cool has passed. Wings started off on the tail end of this wave. and were immediately branded by many as extremely uncool. For God’s sake, they smiled and Paul always looked straight at the camera instead of at his feet.
“You reckon you were scared to open your mouth in case you were uncool,” says Paul. “Well, so was I. And I was in the exalted position of not knowing whether to reply to knocks or just keep cool. l think the whole business out-cooled itself and vanished up its own trouser-leg. After a bit, you got cold from all that cool and it was such an effort. With someone like Lou Reed I want to say ‘come on old son drink this cup of tea’—l wouldn’t like to be totally into all that.“
Paul, Linda and Denny Seiwell are doing interviews in the bedroom of their PR’s office. The McCartneys look a million dollars—blossoming and well. Paul does most of the talking and Linda chips in with little bits and pieces and finishes off the odd sentence. Having got the single out, and Paul having finished the James Bond music they’re busy recording the next album which is now due out in February.
“It’ll probably have to be a double album because we’ve got so much material now – about 30 songs. Denny Laine has written one song that’s going into it and he sings one of my songs. Glyn Johns produced some of the tracks although he’s not working on it now. I’m producing it, sort of, and I occasionally get little bits of help.“
“It’s very different from Wild Life,” says Linda. “We recorded that album very quickly. It was almost like a bootleg, which may be a shame and perhaps some of the songs aren’t as good as they might be. We did Mumbo on the tour and somebody said after we’d done it for a bit that it made the album version seem obsolete. On the album it wasn’t even the first take, we were playing it through and Paul shouted to the others ‘it’s in F’ and in fact on the beginning you can hear him shout ‘take it Tony’ to the engineer.“
Paul and Linda wrote the Hi, Hi, Hi side of the new single in Spain before the mammoth tour of the summer. It was one of the numbers they played on tour, it went down well and they decided to make it the single. The other side C-Moon was inspired by a line in Sam the Sham and the Pharoes single Woolly Bully – “Let’s not be L7” – which, if you put an L and a 7 next to each other make a square. Similarly, if you put a moon and a C together they make a circle – cool.
“This is something I worked out with my mathematical brain,” says Paul “and wrote a song around it. I’in hoping to get the word started in the Oxford Dictionary of Language within two years – this is my ambition. I wrote that in London quite recently. Denny, our drummer, plays cornet on it ; Henry plays drums; Denny plays bass, I, the bass player play piano and Linda tie pianist plays tambourine.“
The band are feeling much more purposeful and clear in their aims and directions than they were a year ago.
“It was difficult when the Beatles broke up, there’s no denying that, and I do feel a lot better now than I did when Wings started, because we’re getting into our new thing. And it’s nice when something’s broken up to get your new thing, rather than just hang around worrying about the old thing. We’re just now into a new band, we can see all the new possibilities of working different ways, it’s all open, it’s like a blank canvas – there’s still plenty of things we want to get into that we haven’t yet. We were very busy, very green when we started off and when we finished the tour we were very hot—and still are!“
They have lots of ideas for making their act more of a visual entertainment – even going as far as dancing, doing sketches (“something would never have dared to do before“), even pushing out Denny Laine to do some acrobatics, at which, apparently, he’s very good.
“Get more into a show-bizzy thing without being too sickly. I mean I’m always crying out for a bit of decent entertainment on telly and films or stage shows, I think everybody is, and I think it’s beginning to be answered a bit now by people like Bowie. Although I’ve never seen him I imagine, from what I hear about him, that he’s getting a little bit into that having-a-laugh kind of entertainment. Plus Slade and that. it’s great. It’s like football matches, it’s like having fun. I couldn’t be into that Lou Reed bit the whole time as a lifestyle – I don’t mind it sometimes for a bit of fun. That’s what it’s all down to – people – and you can burst little cool balloons very easily.“
PAUL and Linda were, justifiably, pretty hurt by the harsh criticism they’ve received over the past year, especially from British journalists who went to France to review their first concert.
One National paper journalist who admitted to the group he knew nothing about music, proceeded to slam them especially Linda’s organ work (she was playing a piano) after having only heard the soundcheck. By the time the actual performance was underway, he’d written the piece.
“The critics showed such a lack of understanding. I couldn’t believe it,” says Linda. She was terrified of the whole prospect, having never been in a band before. “If I’d known what it was going to be like I’d never have done it. I was so nervous before one concert I just cried.“
“We were just as nervous,” puts in Paul “but being men we couldn’t show it“.
“But we were being filmed and recorded which made it worse for me,” says Linda. “Although I love the feeling the audience gives you, like they’re in your living room.“
Both of them take the particularly harsh criticism of Linda’s presence in the band very philosophically:
“I can understand people saying: ‘What’s he doing getting his wife in the band,’ but the point is that audiences didn’t mind. People who came to see us because of what they’d read were obviously a bit dubious but afterwards went home seeing that’s the way it had to be and they’d loved it. Lots of them came up to Linda and told her how good she was. People really weren’t hostile, nor were the European press – just the British press.”
Europe finally set Wings on their feet and pointed them in their right musical direction – fun Rock-n-Roll, with a bit of reggae thrown in.
“It’s not that I’ve ever been unsure of my abilities,” says Paul “Without being conceited I feel I can do it; I’ve always felt that. I think it’s more a question of what I was going to do that I was getting a bit unsure – for instance, I like to write melodic tunes, very old fashioned ones like When I’m Sixty-Four, I like to do that, it’s very natural to me. I was brought up on the Billy Cotton Bandshow and things like that. That’s all gone into my head. Naturally I like to write that sort of stuff, but it was getting a bit heavy, it was beginning to look daft – the humour had gone out of it. If you’re an artist you like to create for people and it’s not very nice if those people go ‘uugh’.
“I got a few knocks with people saying ‘ooh blimey, Mary Had A Little Lamb what are you doing?’ As if everything that came from my pen had to be earth-shattering. Beatle records, any records there’s always something daft there.
“The great thing about Mary Had A Little Lamb for me – I was never wild about it personally – was that when we took it on tour it was the song that got the audience singing along on the ‘Ia la’s’. That was fantastic because it saved the number for me. And kids love it. Pete Townshend’s daughter had to have a copy. I’d never realised there was a four-year-old audience. Whilst toymakers have got that wen sussed around Christmas, no one outside the business, short of the Osmonds and the Jacksons, cater for it.
“Having three kids of our own we really know what they like to get into – simple little things, like Bip Bop off the Wild Life album. That’s what they used to about She Loves You – kids loved that.
“At the time I can remember Brian Matthew saying it was a terrible record. The week it was number one he had to admit it was good. You can’t do everything in line all the time or else you vanish up a trend. You’ve got to step outside trends and be a little outrageous even if it’s in the direction of Mary Had A Little Lamb.”
PAUL thinks that politics can be put into music as long as it’s simple – like the messages they’ve put over in Wild Life and the Irish single. He says he first realised you could direct people when the Beatles sang “I’d Love To Turn You On” and the uproar that followed.
“None of the Beatles stuff was meant to be political- or change people’s mentality. I maintain that the effect Wings have with ordinary simple songs, is greater than an out-and-out political song. With Ireland, I felt it was something so closely connected to me through Liverpool and it was a bit much. I like the Irish people. I like the way they speak. And if you’re a musician, you’re an entertainer and you can’t just go and lay on an audience what you like. They’ll turn round and say ‘thank anyway, but that wasn’t what we wanted to listen to, and we’ll go to another show.’ They’ve got that right. That’s where the Stones are good because they go out on tour and play all the old numbers for people.”
They are particularly glad that their music is not easily classified. “Hi, Hi, Hi is a kind of sexy song. Mary Had A Little Lamb is far from that, there’s nothing unsexier; the song before that is political.”
REPORTS are already leaking out of the excellence of the music that Paul has written for the forthcoming James Bond film Live And Let Die.
Paul read the book in one day, started writing that evening and carried on next day and finished it by the next evening. Somebody who’s already heard it said it made the hair stand up on the back of their neck.
“I wouldn’t have liked it if my music was going to replace John Barry’s, that great James Bond theme. I know I’d miss that. I go to see him turn round and fire down the gun barrel. Our bit comes after he’s done that and after the three killings at the beginning. I’m good at writing to order with things like that. I’d like to write jingles really – I’m pretty fair at that, a craftsman. It keeps me a bit tight, like writing to a deadline, knowing I’ve got two minutes three seconds with a definite story theme.”
Paul reckons that Linda’s piano playing captures the innocence of the Fifties. They are both very into the Fifties and think it’s a great era, mainly because it’s the one they were weaned on.
“That whole trip is coming back – the Osmonds and the Jacksons – the things that hooked me on Rock-n-Roll when I was a kid are now returning, which is great. Those riffs T. Rex are playing are just slight variations on what Chuck Berry was playing.
“It’s a very small change really you know. Elvis was still on the Ed Sullivan show, albeit from the waist up because of the old pelvis. I never knew that had anything to do with sex until I was about 21. I never thought of the pelvis as being anywhere around the private parts I know the parents used to say ‘ah, hah watch out – sexy wiggling of the pelvis’. To me, the pelvis was something like his arms or something.”
They’re also great reggae fans and came back from a Jamaican holiday (where all the islanders called Linda “Suzie”) with armfuls of records. although the influence had been on them for some time before that. They both love the lifestyle there.
“But ‘now, you see, everybody’s going to Jamaica – all the bands. We’re trendsetters, though, Leon Russell and the Stones are there. Mick thinks he’s cool, but – come on get this down – we were there before him. C Moon cool and well before him.”
They hope to get on the road here in April, just like an ordinary band and play little places like Macclesfield.
“It won’t be chaotic because there’s no need for it to be. After the Beatles, people said ‘oh you must be sick of all the screaming’ but I never said I was. I mean, imagine going to a football match and everybody was silent. You wouldn’t know where to put the ball. We like rowdy audiences if it’s really what they want to do it’s their prerogative. In Rotterdam, they were dancing on stage with us. It was great because they were all loving the music rather than ripping us apart. I’ve never really seen an ugly scene – I’ve read about them but even in the Beatles days I never saw anything serious.”
They intend to work so regularly that everybody who wants a chance to see them, gets it. That will be nice to look forward to.
Last updated on April 11, 2022