Interview for Disc and Music Echo • Saturday, December 8, 1973

Paul's fun on the run

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney

Album This interview has been made to promote the Band On The Run (UK version) Official album.

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PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS-“Band On The Run” (Pas 10007, £2.38). (When Paul was in the Disc office the other day he gave us the background to some of the tracks on his new album. We thought you’d like to hear them – along with our comments on the finished album.)

Band On The Run. “This is the title track – it goes with that picture of all the stars ‘on the run’ on the cover. But apart from that there was nothing special about it.

This number demonstrates the changes of tempo that have almost become a McCartney trademark these days. A slow melodic beginning moves abruptly to a much faster central refrain. A good taster track for the rest of the album.

Jet. “I originally got the idea for the title from a puppy… a small black Labrador puppy from a litter one of our dogs had. I’d gone off on my own to get away from everything and there I was sitting in the middle of a field when it came bounding up. The pup’s name gave me a spark of an idea – and out came this song about a girl called Jet.

Out of that also came a strong belting refrain and Paul’s voice, as distinctive as ever, singing some of his own fine lyrics. The use of echo helps the whole feeling.

Bluebird. “We wrote it in Jamaica when we were on holiday. In the recording, we used a bloke called Harry Casey who we’ve never used before. I know him from way back, when we were in Hamburg. Then he used to be in a group called Derry and the Seniors – at that time he looked about 40, with his pork-pie hat and long drape jacket. Now he looks about 25 and is your groovy session player! He played a blinder of a sax solo.

Helping us on percussion is a guy called Lenny Kabaka – the only African we used. When we were back in London he just turned up at the studio, and we found out he was from Lagos!”

One of my favourite songs on the album – with the repetitive refrain again – an art all the Beatles mastered so well,
and one of the reasons their songs stuck in one’s memory.

Mrs. Vandebilt. “This was recorded during a power cut in Lagos. Suddenly everything went black, and eventually, we found ourselves doing it on EMI generator power, and just hoping the hum wouldn’t come over on the record. There’s a phrase on this track that is also on a song I wrote for Rod Stewart, one he’s just recorded. It fitted so well into this one, too, that I pinched it! So the phrase is in both songs.”

The hum didn’t come over, and they put down successfully one of the fastest tracks on the album. It has an unusual
rhythm, and having heard it a few times you find yourself singing “Ho, hey ho” rather like one of the Seven Dwarfs.

Let Me Roll It. “We put the guitars through a vocal PA system to get the unusual guitar sound on this one.

By far my favourite, and I believe the best track. That could be because of the remarkable Beatles’ sound he achieves. One of those slow melodic numbers for which he’s so well known.

SIDE TWO: Mamunia. “The first one we did in Lagos – recorded in the middle of a tropical rainstorm. I don’t know if that had any effect on the final result.

The persistent rhythm of this track may echo the rain, but apart from that, it’s easy going and fairly forgettable.

No Words. “That’s one I did with Denny – he had half and I kind of finished it. A McCartney/Laine composition – sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s a favourite of mine, I think it grows on you. And it really works as a record.

In fact, it would even make a single. There’s some fine guitar work and some lovely melodies. Paul and Denny should
get together more often to write songs.

Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me). “We met Dustin Hoffman when we were in Jamaica – and went to have dinner with him one night. We were talking about songwriting… and he pulled out a copy of Time magazine. He said ‘Here’s a piece that I thought was really lyrical’. It was the story of how Picasso had toasted his friends one night saying how he couldn’t drink any more – and the next morning he was dead.

So I plonked a few chords and out came the song – Dustin was very excited about it. When we came to record it at Ginger Baker’s studio the idea was to fragment it, make it sort of cubist. It’s very disjointed, but that’s the way it’s meant to be, folks!”

Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five. “This was originally a little thing I couldn’t get words to, except for the first phrase. But the words just came to me the day we were due to record, and I think it’s turned out quite well.

These last two tracks almost run into one another. They are novelty tracks, which contain interesting ideas. I won’t
say they always come off, but at least they are unusual.

On the whole, this is a superb album. There are flashes of that McCartney magic, and I prefer this even to “Red Rose Speedway.” Paul says it was fun to make – and it’s fun to listen to. An outstanding album, with a lot more of Paul’s individual sound than his previous albums have had – and for my money there can’t be enough.


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