Interview for New Musical Express • Saturday, April 8, 1972

The McCartney Interview

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
New Musical Express
Interview by:
Kid Jensen
Timeline More from year 1972
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK

Album This interview has been made to promote the Wild Life LP.

Master release

Songs mentioned in this interview

Dear Friend

Officially appears on Wild Life

Love Is Strange

Officially appears on Wild Life

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THIS INTERVIEW conducted by Kid Jensen with Paul McCartney and Wings was recorded at the Institute on Contemporary Arts in London’s Mall during a break in rehearsals and before the controversy over “Give Ireland Back To The Irish.”



Paul, how much time was spent in getting the Wild Life album together.

Two weeks altogether. 

Only two weeks? You must have spent some time rehearsing the band?

Well, yes, a little more. I rang Denny Laine asking him to join us and we rehearsed for one or two days I think,  I showed him the chords and we went straight into the studios for the next three days doing all the backing tracks and within two weeks it was all finished.

It was done very quickly, were the numbers written especially for the album, or were there any left over from Beatle  days?

 No, I think it was all new stuff.

Are you writing more today than you did before?

Yes, I write to my dad quite often telling him what is happening in big London! Seriously, I am writing a lot these days with Linda.

Do you write together, or is one responsible for the lyrics and one for the music?

No, not really, we just help each other, we’ll sit down and do a song, and it’s what everybody contributes.

Do you wake in the morning and decide you want to write a song, go to the piano and work it out or do you wake up in the middle of the night and think of an idea?

Every time is different, you can wake up with a tune going in your head and put chords to it and it just comes easy like that, or you can sit down and sweat for a day, it just depends. It’s like any job, sometimes it comes easy. sometimes it doesn’t.

Lyrically is there any particular theme you are writing about today?

Yes, I seem to be writing about love more these days, you know just love songs.

George and John have criticised your albums a lot. Does this get you down?

Yes sure, but you plug on you know. I listen to their comments anyway and see if I agree and sometimes I do agree a bit, so it’s a help. I think it’s all the fault of the situation and the business problems.

It started off with me not being able to get out of the Beatles contractually, that’s the only problem between us at the moment, but I think it’s moving towards a settlement, it’s just how long it’s going to take.

We haven’t been playing for two years and I’m still under contract. It seems to me just silly.

What about Reggae influences? I heard you had been to Jamaica listening to things. The track “Love Is Strange” from the album is very reggae influenced. How did you get into that?

Well first of all we were in Scotland one summer, I was painting the roof and Linda got this reggae record, one of the “Tighten up” records.

We were just playing it and it was great music. We just loved it so we started with a backing track – we got the band together and just started to play the reggae thing.

It’s not as easy as you think you know, it’s not easy at all. I suppose it is for the Jamaicans but it’s a whole other thing. Anyway, we did this backing track, and decided that “Love Is Strange” would fit over it, so we started singing over it and that’s how it ended up. 

We did eventually go to Jamaica and had a fabulous time there, you know ‘Tony’s Record Centre’ in Montego Bay – just fantastic – the kids are so loose there, you see them all hanging out on the street corners just bopping.

Is that the music we hear about? Is that the prime music they listen to?

Oh yes, I mean you go there as a tourist and all the older people will say ‘Hey Mister, want to buy calypso?’ because they think that’s what all the Westerners want. When we asked for reggae they were surprised because that’s their music.

They don’t bother with calypso much, they’re right there with the reggae. I was saying to them that it’s fantastic, it’s about the best thing in the world today, it’s the newest kind of music, and they were all knocked out. They just see it as their island music.

Were they familiar with your “Love Is Strange”? 

No, that was released after we went.

I thought you’d been there just recently. 

Yes, we were, but just before the release of the record.

Do you have any favourite songs yourself on the album? 

Yes, it varies from time to time. I like “I’m Your Singer” and “Wild Life.”

I thought “Dear Friend” could be another classic in the tradition of “Yesterday” or “Hey Jude”.

It’s a nice tune. 

Lyrically I was wondering what it was about. 

Lyrically – I don’t know really. It’s just about Dear Friend, whatever it means to you. It’s really Dear friend quit messing about, let’s just throw the wine, have a good time and stop messing. Like George says “Isn’t It A Pity That We Break Each Others Hearts”, well that’s me saying “Let’s not.”

Where did the name of the band come from?

We were thinking of all sorts of names, we had a new group and we had to think of a new name. We had a letter from an old gentleman in Scotland which said “Dear Paul, I see you are looking for a name for your group. I’d like to suggest “The Dazzlers”! So we were nearly The Dazzlers you know, with the big sequined jackets still might be!

But we thought no, something a little more earthy, so we thought of Turpentine but I wrote to the guy in Scotland and told him that and he wrote back and said, “I don’t think you’ll be calling yourselves ‘Turpentine’ because that’s something used to clean paint off,” and so we thought of Wings.

I think it’s a nice name, it just sort of fits.

We can do a band breakdown. What made you choose the various people involved, the latest member being Henry McCullough of the Grease Band?

I just like Denny’s drumming. I like Denny Laine’s guitar playing and singing, and I like Henry McCullough’s guitar playing.

Denny Seiwell you found in New York I believe?

Yes, we found him lying on a mattress one day in the Bronx, you know how all those people pass them by in ‘Midnight Cowboy’, well we thought we’d better not, so we picked him up, put him on a drum kit and he was all right.

Denny Laine, ex -Moody Blues and Balls, then comes into the picture.

Yes, I remembered Denny. I’d known him in the past and I just rang him up and asked him what he was doing. He said, “Nothing,” so I said, “Right, come on then.”

How long has Henry been with the band now? 

Just a couple of days.

Linda: Four days and three nights.

Is Henry another old pal of yours? 

No, I’d never met Henry until the other day. we were just talking and thinking about getting another guitarist into the group just to thicken it out a little bit and Denny knew Henry so he said “there’s this fellow…” 

We said get him to come along to see how good he is.

So he came along and he was good, very good.

Linda’s contribution is on electric piano, isn’t it? 

Yes. She plays keyboard as it’s called in the trade – as opposed to sideboards which I play! She plays keyboards and sings.

Is everything coming together now?

Well you’ve heard us. I think so, it sounds great. Yesterday afternoon we got into a great groove, it was fabulous, I love it.

I love the music because it’s like “fun” music, rock ‘n’ roll, happy music.

We were saying the other day, the way things are these days, it’s almost necessary to be heavy and cool all the time. I like it that way but not all the time.

I like heavy music where you have to frown on stage, so we do a bit of that, but generally we like to have more fun music.

I heard you play Lucille. Is this something you plan on doing in the future on stage?

Probably, yes, it’s a good stage number.

I was reading recently that you were listening to a lot of Buddy Holly records. Are you going to be doing a lot of that sort of music?

No, we won’t do much of that. Like I said, we’d like to be able to do any kind of music even requests, so we’re liable to get into anything. 

Any comments on the state of rock today?

It’s all right, it’s great, I think it’s coming back stronger.

Is there anybody in particular that you like to listen to?

Paul: Yes, we like Reggae artists most of all. T. Rex we like, yes, he’s good, and a lot of others, but I can’t think who they are at the moment. Bobby Blackburn, now he’s tremendous – the whistling spoon singer from Georgia, he’s tremendous, he roller skates around the stage whistling and playing the spoons.

Linda: Wings great, have you listened to them? They’ve got a great new album out called “Wild Life” – it’s fantastic.

What about other Beatle activities? Are you aware of what George, Ringo and John are doing?

Of course I’m aware, who isn’t? But I’m not involved in it anymore. As far as I’m concerned the Beatles were a great band – the last band that was in, fabulous, but I’m in a new band now.

You’re not planning to come together to do some studio work, maybe with George or John?

No. The man from EMI asked us if we’d do a memorial album once a year, but that was a bit sick.

Linda: But this is the question that has been asked for three years and has got the same answers, and probably will be asked until death do us part. 

Paul: As I say, it was a great group, the Beatles, but there’s no need for us to get together again, in fact I don’t think it would be as good if we did. We did a fabulous thing with the Beatles – leave it at that. Now I want to do something new, and although that branch of my career is finished, I’m not. 

Linda: You know they’re doing all these Beatle death programmes now on the BBC.

Paul: I understand it for the people who want to hear the Beatles music and the Beatles story, but for me it sounds a bit like an obituary when I keep hearing them say, “There they were, they were good lads, weren’t they.”

It makes good memories for people though. 

Yes, for me too, but it’s like I say, as far as we are concerned personally, it’s just the new band that we are interested in. A lot of people have made offers for us, but at the moment we’re a new band and for me the fun is starting all over again, rehearsals, getting easy with each other, and all that stuff, so I don’t wish to go and start off, you know, in the Madison Square Gardens, although we could. But I don’t think there’s any sense in that, I want to go out playing in ballrooms, that kind of thing

You mentioned doing requests, and obviously you are going to get requests to play some of the old numbers from the group you were associated with before. 

You mean Dave Clark?


I don’t know yet. We haven’t rehearsed any, but like I’ve said, I don’t mind playing any songs just as long as we feel like playing them.

The idea is to play the kind of music we enjoy ourselves because I believe that if we enjoy ourselves then the people will as well and that’s the main thing. So we’ll forget any rules, we’ll play Beatles tunes, we’ll play anything. The main thing is that we have a good time. 

So you’re not right now searching for a musical identity for the group

Not really, I remember that in the Beatle days we searched for a musical identity and it came without us ever thinking we had it.

Wings interrupted during their rehearsals for exclusive pics and interview by Jensen. (L to R) Denny Laine, Paul, Henry McCullough, Denny Siewell, Kid Jensen (front) and Linda.

Last updated on August 14, 2023


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