Interview for The Rocking Vicar • Circa 2001

Interview of Paul McCartney
Interview by:
Mark Ellen
Timeline More from year 2001

Songs mentioned in this interview

Carnival of Light

Unreleased song

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“I was at that point of the encounter where you’re almost being physically dragged out of the door as there’s another interviewer waiting in the wings, and I decided to pop the all-important question and managed to solicit the following for Rocking Vicar…”

Mark Ellen – From “The Unknown Paul McCartney” by Ian Peel

Rocking Vicar: Just one last question – ‘Carnival of Light’, does it actually exist?

Paul McCartney: It does exist, yeah. We recorded it in about 15 minutes. It’s very avant-garde – as George would say, ‘avant-garde a clue’ – and George did not like it ‘cos he doesn’t like avant-garde music.

Rocking Vicar: Who wrote it?

McCartney: It’s officially me. I instigated it. No, there’s no lyrics, it’s avant-garde music. You would class it as… well, you wouldn’t class it actually, but it would come in the Stockhausen/John Cage bracket… John Cage would be the nearest. It’s very free-form. Yeah, man, it’s the coolest piece of music since sliced bread!

Rocking Vicar: This is early ‘67?

McCartney: I was asked about ‘67 to do it by Barry Miles – you know, who did my book Many Years From Now – and he asked me to do it for this event at the Roundhouse called Carnival of Light, so that’s how it got its title. I went into the studio and said to the guys, look, we’ve got half an hour before the session officially starts, would you mind terribly if I did this thing?

Rocking Vicar: So this is with the other Beatles?

McCartney: With the other Beatles. This is a Beatle record. And they all just fell in with the spirit of it and I just said, “Would you go on that?” and “Would you stay on that?” and “Would you be on that?” and “We’ll just take 20 minutes to do it in real-time.” And they all just got into it.

Rocking Vicar: Why don’t you release it?

McCartney: I actually have a project I would like… I’m involved… One of the many things I did, I did a thing called The Grateful Dead Photo Film, using Linda’s snapshots and making them move, dissolving between them and making them into a film, a short art film, which I showed at festivals and things. And I’m actually in the process – although everything else and its uncle is holding it up – but I’ve got a Beatles photo film on the go and I would love to use it as part of the soundtrack of that.

Rocking Vicar: There was a rumour it was going to come out on Anthology. What happened with that?

McCartney: It was up for consideration on The Anthology and George vetoed it. He didn’t like it. Maybe its time hadn’t come…


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