- Published by:
- New Musical Express
- Interview by:
- Allan McDougall
- Timeline More from year 1971
- Album This interview has been made to promote the Ram LP.
More from year 1971
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REAL SWEATY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. This is Paul McCartney’s own description in an exclusive NME interview with Allan McDougall in a Hollywood recording studio — of the music on his soon-to-be-released second album.
McCartney described his controversial “soft-sell” first solo LP as “a whole different trip I had to go through.” And although he wasn’t happy about the publication of actual song titles, he asked McDougall to listen in to some of the tracks and to give his verdict.
Writes McDougall: “The numbers struck me as a hundred times better than the McCartney LP, and I told him so. He looked serious for a minute and then he told me: ‘This new one is really my music. This is where I really am’.“
McDougall records how he met the future ex-Beatle in Hollywood and how they talked of old friends and familiar places. This is what happened, recorded exclusively for NME…
To say I ran into Paul would not only be a most blatant piece of name-dropping. It would also be a lie.
Actually, Paul McCartney almost ran into me. With his big green Cadillac… as he nosed it into the parking space next to mine. With his arm around Linda.
All of which was really a flash, because the last time I’d seen Paul was just before “Sgt. Pepper” came out, and blew every mind blowable, and he’d invited Gary Leeds and me round to his house for a listen.
So I’m standing there wondering if he’d even recognise me after all this time.
Then he got out of the car and said in one breath:
“It’s Wee Allan McDougall and his beard. I saw the photo of you and your missus and Graham Nash and his beard in the NME – and hey, have you got a minute to come and hear some of me new album eh, Allan, eh, eh?”
I said I had to go and pick up my wife from her office, but maybe, and he said: “Just five minutes won’t make that much difference, and you can call her from the studio.” And I thought, sure — she’s bound to believe me too, when I say I’m with Paul and Linda McCartney!
So I went with them to the studio, and Paul asks how’s Graham and his solo album, and Linda — with her long memory — asks how’s Gary Leeds.
(Paul got to find out first-hand about Nash’s album a few days later, when Graham went over to McCartney’s house on the California beach for dinner. And their mutual admiration society gained strength when Paul played him his next solo album.)
Anyway, we get to the studio, where a guy who produces Neil Diamond is waiting (looking like he’s been there for ages on the off-chance of meeting P. M. Paul, who will forever be the Beatle). Paul sweeps through into his studio with a quick “How d’you do, pleased to meet you, bye now,” and closes the door firmly behind him.
He introduces me to the engineer as “a friend of ours from back home, who I got terribly drunk with the night his first kid was born, but that was years ago,” and then he asks the engineer to play me some tracks.
I tell Paul that I do a bit of writing for the British papers, you know, so is this all for publication, or for my ears only?
Linda says: “Yes, I’ve seen your stuff in NME” and McCartney says, “So long as you don’t mention song titles, it’s cool. Copyrights. you know.“
The first song, “xxxxxxx”, rolls and my eyes pop and my feet itch to do something, but is it cool (cool?) to dance? So I look up and Paul is dancing all over the place, while conducting the track and singing along with it. Well, sort of screaming, really. It’s that kind of song, more like “Oh Woman Oh Why?” than anything. Only louder, faster, heavier.
It finishes and I’m going “Whew!” and he asks if I have time for a couple more.
The next one “xxxxxx xxxxx” I think it was called, has a lot of weird effects going on in the sound. Not like anything we’ve heard from him, or them, before.
“Ridiculous, isn’t it?” Paul grins as he takes one of my cigarettes and shares it with the bare-footed Linda.
And the third song just drained me dry. Back to the roots. Back to the beginning of rock and then brought up-to-date, is the only way to describe “xxx xxxx xxxxx.”
“Real, sweaty rock and roll eh?” says Paul as I catch my breath. “What do you think — do you like the music?“
It strikes me as being a hundred times better than the “McCartney” album, I tell Paul (not too sure if this is the nicest thing to say) but it’s what I feel.
“Yeah,” he says, face turning serious for a minute, “Well, the ‘McCartney’ thing was a whole different trip that I had to go through. This one, though, this is really my music, this is really where I am. You know?”
Sartorially, I note that Paul is wearing approximately the same outfit he’d worn to the Grammy Awards, when he made his surprise appearance wearing an old, battered blue/grey suit, tennis shoes and a yellow jumper.
“Oh, did you watch the Grammies on television?” he asked. “What did you think of us coming on, then?” Really exciting, says I like a fan — but who isn’t?
“Exciting? We were really leaping with nerves.
“You know, me and Linda do everything ourselves – no chauffeurs or anything – and we must have driven round the place where the awards were taking place four times. Saying all the time: ‘Let’s go in — no we can’t — yes we must – but I don’t want to — but it’ll be okay’ and that, and finally we went in. And got a little table at the back, with a checkered tablecloth and a bottle of Scotch and some cokes.”
At which point, I make my excuse and leave Paul and Linda bopping and cuddling and kissing in the studio.
Obviously – Very Happy Together!
Last updated on August 23, 2022