Interview for New Musical Express • Saturday, January 29, 1972

McCartney's New Man

Press interview • Interview of Henry McCullough
Published by:
New Musical Express
Interview by:
James Johnson
Timeline More from year 1972

Songs mentioned in this interview

Other interviews of Henry McCullough

Interview with Henry McCullough

August 2011 • From SongFacts

Hello Goodbye - Henry McCullough & Wings

September 1997 • From MOJO

H. McCullough meets the Wings Fan Club

Jul 28, 1973 • From New Musical Express

Henry McCullough In The Talk-In

Apr 14, 1973 • From Sounds

Henry Gets His Wings

Jan 29, 1972 • From Disc And Music Echo

Paul Adds a Wing

Jan 29, 1972 • From Melody Maker

Interviews from the same media

Paul McCartney: My New LP Is Sweaty Rock!

May 08, 1971 • From New Musical Express

Paul McCartney is like a man who has dodged the death sentence

Nov 20, 1971 • From New Musical Express

The McCartney Interview

Apr 08, 1972 • From New Musical Express

Wings On Wheels

Jul 15, 1972 • From New Musical Express

Wings Gain Strength

Aug 26, 1972 • From New Musical Express

Hi times

Dec 16, 1972 • From New Musical Express

Linda The Unloved?

May 19, 1973 • From New Musical Express

Laine: Wings is nothing special

Jun 09, 1973 • From New Musical Express

H. McCullough meets the Wings Fan Club

Jul 28, 1973 • From New Musical Express

Wings in the Air

Oct 27, 1973 • From New Musical Express

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From January 17 to 28, 1972, Wings – composed of Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell – rehearsed in anticipation of future live performances and to start working on their second album.

On January 18, guitarist Henry McCullough was invited to the rehearsals.

On January 20, he joined the rehearsals again and Paul asked him to join the band. UK music magazines dated January 29 (Disc And Music Echo, New Musical Express, Melody Maker) covered the news.

ONLY two days after the sad break-up of the Grease Band, guitarist Henry McCullough had a call from the McCartney camp asking him to join Wings for a rehearsal. Two rehearsals later, McCullough was asked to join the band and is now a fully-fledged member.

McCullough, a gruff Irishman, is too experienced a musician to get over-excited about joining a new band, even if that band happens to include Paul McCartney. But obviously last week he was pleased by the recent turn of events. He told the story like this.

“In fact it was Paul’s roadie who rang, saying do you fancy sitting in? After the Grease Band, I didn’t know what the hell was going on so I went down and had a play. That was Tuesday and afterwards, things were left at that – nothing was said. Then I had another call on Thursday to go down again and afterwards, Paul said, ‘Do you want to join our group?'”

“Although I knew Denny Laine I’d never met McCartney before. Once I got used to seeing him there in person, he turned out to be a great bloke. I guess I was a bit nervous but I had a couple of pints of Guinness before I went along the first time. That helped.”

What kind of material were they playing at the rehearsals?

“There was a lot of rock things like “Lucille” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, plus some things off the ‘Wild Life’ album. Also there were a couple of new ones he’d written. On one song, he was kinda playing away on a tune I hadn’t heard before so I asked him what to do. He said, ‘We’re all just trying it out,’ and just continued playing. We all joined in, it went on a bit further and in no time at all a song was written. It was written on the spot and we all contributed.”

On some subjects, McCullough was understandably reluctant to talk. As yet he feels it’s not his place to comment on McCartney’s future plans and when asked about McCartney’s talent and the much-criticised “Wild Life” album he spoke nothing but praise. Really, you could hardly expect otherwise.

“l thought the Wild Life album was great,” he said. “I played it a lot before I got the offer. I know McCartney’s often been criticised but he’s a great musician. He’s full of ideas. At the rehearsals, he showed tremendous drive. The energy he’s got is incredible.”

Why did he think McCartney wanted another guitarist in the band?

“Originally Denny Laine was going to be lead guitarist, and vocalist as well. Then there was Linda on keyboards. Denny Seiwell on drums and Paul was on bass and vocals. They’d been rehearsing with this line-up to do some live appearances but I think Denny Laine felt a bit restricted playing guitar and singing at the same time. He probably felt he couldn’t do both well. I mean, I used to feel the same in the Grease Band. Now with Wings, I’ll be playing lead guitar leaving Denny to concentrate on second guitar and vocals.”

The addition of McCullough to the line-up might suggest a heavier emphasis on rock in the future. But McCartney’s roadie who was sitting in on the interview didn’t really agree. Although he was in no way speaking for McCartney, as one of the closest observers of the band his opinions are of interest.

According to him, “McCartney wants to play everything. Surely that’s the point of music – to have enough different material to play to audiences of twelve-year-olds or old-age pensioners. Paul just wants to play the whole lot – heavy numbers, rock numbers, ballads – everything.”

Will he be writing any material for Wings?

“It’s a bit early to say yet. Certainly, I’ll continue writing on my own anyway. But I do want to take part in the band as fully possible. That’s the way Paul wants it. He’s leaving things pretty free.

“I’m sure he wants people to contradict him sometimes just as you would in any group. He doesn’t want it to be just Paul McCartney’s band. He wants everybody to contribute as much as himself. I’m going into it with that thought in mind.”

Last updated on August 2, 2023


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