- Published by:
- Record Mirror
- Timeline More from year 1978
- Album This interview has been made to promote the London Town Official album.
More from year 1978
Songs mentioned in this interview
Officially appears on London Town
Officially appears on Venus and Mars
Other interviews of Linda McCartney
October 1992 • From Vanity Fair
Nov 29, 1989 • From San Diego Union
Interview with Linda McCartney
1989 • From Diamond Hard Music Entertainment
Feb 22, 1987 • From The Telegraph
'I'd like to know my photography could pay the rent'
Sep 21, 1982 • From The Guardian
My evil husband forced me to sing backing vocals on Mull of Kintyre!
Jan 12, 1980 • From New Musical Express
Linda McCartney: Silly Love Songs
Apr 03, 1976 • From Sounds
And in the evening she's the singer in the band...
Sep 27, 1975 • From Melody Maker
Interviews from the same media
Nov 26, 1977 • From Record Mirror
Denny Laine - The confident front-man
Oct 11, 1975 • From Record Mirror
Joe English - The unknown quantity
Oct 04, 1975 • From Record Mirror
Sep 13, 1975 • From Record Mirror
Wings about to take flight again
Nov 02, 1974 • From Record Mirror
McGear - Climbing the charts without Scaffold
Oct 12, 1974 • From Record Mirror
Dec 01, 1973 • From Record Mirror
Denny Laine - a special musical gift
Aug 11, 1973 • From Record Mirror
Paul's Wings find their identity on stage
Jul 21, 1973 • From Record Mirror
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I MEAN. I’ve admired Paul McCartney since he stood awkwardly on a round pedestal during a ‘Please Please Me’ session in Brian Matthews’ ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’. He had charisma. He had a flimsy leg style. He had a cosy puddin’ face more appropriate in an Ovaltine ad than a pop show. He had me.
But when I met him for the first time this week I would very dearly have loved to shove that cherubic smile right down his throat and maybe follow that up with a swift right to his rubicund cheek. There’s a very good reason for this sudden urge to indulge in unmitigated violence as I will now endeavour to explain.
Last week (it seems so much longer) I was working in my usual intense way when asked if I fancied doing a McCartney interview. Great, I thought. Now I realise one of my two journalistic ambitions (the other being a Lennon interview).
But wait. The chat was to be with Mrs. McCartney simply because Paul “has already said all he wanted to say. ” Fair enough. Maybe she could unwittingly give me some insight into the man while revealing more about her outwardly mediocre but obviously introspective persona at the same time.
A unique opportunity ‘cos McCartney interviews are about as rare as an Irish physicist.
One pm Thursday was the time arranged.
11 am Thursday — phone rings “Paul has the flu”. But I’m interviewing Linda. “Yes, but she can’t do it because Paul has the flu. He should be okay tomorrow. So, shall we say same time Friday?” Sounds all right.
10.30 am Friday — phone rings. “Paul’s running a temperature now so the interview’s been cancelled again. Sorry. But… Don’t worry, they’re filming this Sunday, there’s no way he won’t be fit by then.”
11.30 pm Saturday — phone rings. “Linda’s got the flu. The film has had to be called off. I don’t know when you can do the interview.” But she’s on our cover this week and it’s far too late to change that now. What can we do? “I suggest you keep your fingers crossed.”
11 am Monday (first day of my holiday sob sob) — phone rings. “It’s on for 1 pm at Twickenham recording studios. “
Now, with each phone call my preparatory notes expanded. More time, more questions. Some were mellifluous — “What comes first in your life? Do you take pride in your appearance? Behind every successful man…?”
Some were arrogant — “Do Wings play cute toons with no guts? Do you consider yourself a professional musician? Would you have been content if Paul had not included you in Wings? Have you ever been a burden to him?”
Some were downright rude “Were you ever a groupie? Did past members of the band leave because of you? etc. “
Armed with such an immaculate question dossier ventured south to tweety pie Twickenham. Are you still with me? Driving down I just didn’t know what to expect. Would she be loquacious / eloquent? Would she be full of vintage animosity after all the critical bombardment of the last five years? Would she vilify me if I stumbled? Would she be
tolerant? Helpful? Post-natal lugubrious? Distant? Anxious? Impatient? Confusing? Or just plain dumb? Would she be a spouting soda hop Yank inducing soporific states in anyone within a mile radius when stripped of her stage show soliloquy?
And what would he be like? But let’s not go into that. Instead, let’s just wander on up the stone stairs leading to the studio canteen. McCartney of the P kind sits at a table over an empty plate and a cup of tea. On his left, a reporter of the NME kind interviews, aided by a superfluously big cassette recorder and a photographer.
To his right sits McCartney of the L kind in — rainbow colour socks, denim culotts and waistcoat and tee hee shirt. All topped with a dollop of hair like it was squeezed out of a Mr. Softee machine. I guess you couldn’t really call her stunning. But she’s well… nice. A nice person. A person you feel at home with, like a newcaster. Nice Linda.
There’s a couple of loose term business typos, oh and Denny Laine is in my ears and in my eyes. He ain’t taking an active role in the interview — more a he’s – so – silent – you – can – hear – a – pun – drop contribution.
I never realised before just how boring listening to interviews can be when you are not directly involved. Linda looks bored, Denny looks bored, I am bored. There’s Paul going on about his attitudes, his market, his ‘Boil Crisis’ (a punk song he has penned, in his own words), his frailties, his relationships, and it’s all so BORING.
He seems, in his grey check jacket with the fat lady badge on his lapel, to be simply going through the paces. His demeanour is immaculate, his complexion ridiculously healthy, but there’s no hint of enthusiasm for the moment. His is the sort of face you can easily imagine frozen under lace in a coffin.
I knock over a glass of Coke. “Hullo, and who’s this?” says Paul. I’m introduced. We shake hands. I give him a cigarette. He continues the interview. Meanwhile, Linda makes periodic remarks of encouragement. ‘”Just hang on in there Berry. We’ll do the interview after this. Won’t be long now.”
Publicist Tony Brainsby keeps punishing my listeners with “Now, you won’t take any of this NME interview down will you? Good things come to those who wait, y’know. “
And wait. “Let’s go down and look at some films,” says someone, it doesn ‘t really matter who ‘cos it bears a distinct resemblance to one of those voices you hear upon awakening from a dream. Lot of reverb.
And nobody noticed Denny leave.
Next thing, I’m lost. See, I only popped out to go the toilet. When I get back everybody’s gone to see this mysterious film. After frantic searching in which I begin to feel a little like John Wayne (‘The Searchers’. Geddit? Huh?) I find them all in front of a large screen watching clips from a documentary film about Wings’ last US tour.
That goes on for about 40 minutes. It’s now 3.40. I’ve seen them play ‘Magneto And Titanium Man’ twice already.
Back out in reception the three pose for photos. Then just Paul and Linda. Then just Paul. Mr. Brainsby tells me to be patient. Dammit, I AM being patient. I’m enjoying myself in a strange, masochistic way. Like when you hang around for…
‘Hey , Berry, let’s go do the interview.”
RRRight! Lead the way Linda honey. Paul makes some facetious remark like “And don’t get up to anything.” I feel good, in a special way even though it is pissing down. The prospect of a real – give – you – the – key • to – my – soul – if – you – let – me • lock – up – afterwards interview looming. Go wash the dishes Melvyn Bragg — me and Linda, we got something going here.
Just me and her and sweet Baby James in a dressing room with the name Sacha Distel smacked, French kiss style, on ze door. It’s The Good Life. Linda takes six month-old James from the baby sitter who leaves us completely alone. Now I get the chance to expound on my Wings theories and her position in relation to the band. Now I get the chance to say Wings seem to specialise in the opiate opus, the cloak song which neatly covers the whimsy, the delectable if diaphonous nice things in our hearts.
McCartney (that’s with the P) has cornered the market in conventional prettiness — totally unintentionally. He did not set out to be Mr. Nice Guy in his music. It just came naturally. And it has come naturally out of those whopping drooping jowls since he first played with Lennon at 14.
You can’t knock a guy for having a copyright on melancholia and magic in songs. He moved into the Wonderful World of Entertainment league a long time ago and he’s probably a lot happier now than he ever was.
Yeah, now I can ask Linda all about this and whether she agrees or vehemently disagrees. But first things first. Do you like interviews Linda? She moves baby James around on her lap like he was a bunch of roses.
“I guess I’m not a great person to interview. I’m really ordinary, y’know. Ordinary and relaxed. I didn’t do very well at school…”
“I’m not a showbiz person at all. I find it difficult to write about myself so it must be nearly impossible for anyone else to do.”
Hey, wait a minute. This girl is shy. I mean, really shy. It’s a shimmering shyness, the kind you only get in little boys, bridegrooms at wedding breakfasts and people being interviewed in the street. It makes her cute as well as nice and that’s a pretty lethal combination. So, if you were writing about yourself What would you say?
“‘Oh, that I’m very easy going, nice…” See told ya “and like life. I really got excited over that film just now. It brought back the feeling of actually being on stage and performing.”
See what I mean. A 22 carat pussycat. Let’s allow her to continue in her own sweet way.
“I would never have been on stage if I hadn’t met Paul or maybe I would, if I’d met a similar person. See, I don’t take myself that seriously as a musician. I guess I’d do well in a punk band. I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. It’s just that they have such a great time singing crazy songs. Sometimes I drop into the Music Machine and I get that Crazy feeling. A bit like it used to be in New York, y ‘know, the people who like bands just hanging out.
“How can I be a musician in truth when Paul and so many other people I’ve met obviously are? I’m a bit more experimental. I do things that real musicians would not do. It’s my asset to Wings. Like on the new album ‘London Town’ we do this song called ,’Famous Groupies’ with all these funny noises in the back. That’s me. On mellotron.
“Now, Fats Domino could really play piano — and I ain ‘t in his league.
“You get some painters who can recreate beautifully like photographs. Others are abstract. I fall into the second category when it comes to music.”
Did Paul groom you into…
“Oh no. More than anything he wanted a friend near him. It wasn’t a case of ‘Now here’s middle C — learn it’. We just had a lot of fun on the way.”
Now, to me anyway, this interview is really warming up. Give it a little while and things will be cooking. And I get even more confident when she says — “Y’know, Berry , I sense that you like me, and that makes me feel more relaxed.”
If that ain’t a cue to bring in the heavy artillery I don’t know what is. But, as Mr. Brinsby would say, Patience. Continue with the old Lego build-up.
“But I do have an instinctive feel for music. I’ve always been a fan. I was a real New York fifties gal. I’d go and see Alan Freid’s rock ‘n’ roll shows and listen to Buddy Holly et al. That’s where I got my musical training. To me the fifties were the best period ever for music.”
I argue she feels that way simply because she was young in the fifties. She takes the point politely.
“But I never read a review of Holly or anything like that. I wasn’t into reading music press. And I still feel like that. I don ‘t like reading articles because, in most cases, they just aren’t true. I like David Bowie and yet they seem to slag him off” (I don’t know where) “and I think that’s terrible. If I wasn’t in the music business I wouldn’t take half the interest I do now.”
What about her own press.
“I’ve only read one fairly good and accurate article on me. The rest dabble in half quotes. People in this business are in a funny position. Like, when you’re at school you keep thinking when you leave nobody but nobody is going to tell you what to do. When you get an artist like Paul who is continually slagged off it just makes me sick.”
Aren’t you maybe just a little biased ?
“Sure. But I’m biased for anyone I love. Paul is an artist. You know how you get some teachers in school who don’t like you? Well, one girl who interviewed me obviously hated my guts. So she went back after the interview to be a teacher and proceeded to criticise everything but everything about me. “
I throw a quote at her — “John was my Beatle hero. But when I met him the fascination faded fast and I found it was Paul I liked.“
“Well, John comes over on stage or record much heavier than he really is. He just isn’t like what you think. In truth he’s just a nice guy not Mr. Cool.”
Right, let’s dispense with the chit chat and move up a frame. You’ve been married nine years. Describe.
“l feel newly married because it’s all gone so quickly. There are some things I would have liked to change, like getting rid of all the pressures which drastically affect your home life. When you’re famous people need things from you. It’s always funny to hear about yourself. But it was real bad at the time of the Beatle split. Everyone wanted their way. But I’ve no regrets about the marriage. I just take things less seriously now, that’s all. Except, that is, for what’s happening in the world. Like, the people running this country aren’t running it right, the way the people want it run. And there’s a lot of killing of wildlife which is just unnecessary. People think they are superior to animals. Everything that lives has feelings. If we don’t kill each other we shouldn’t kill animals.”
But we do kill each other.
“Yes, that’s true. Animals only kill to survive, but they aren’t pigs. Hey, that’s unfair. Pigs are really nice.”
The wildlife interlude is brief. We return to the subject of Paul.
“He’s a very complex person. A very sensitive person and much more imaginative than people take him for. It’s very hard to say what you think about someone. I like Denny. His heart is in the right place. People, I guess, are either negative or positive.
“I think in a marriage the essential thing is to be good friends. Then you can have a life. You’ve got to help each other through (jest pronounciation) thick and thin. Before that your whole life revolves around yourself. When you’re married you have to give yourself for yourself. You…”
There’s a knock. Paul wanders in. “Five minutes to curtain call. Have you finished your interview?”
“Well, not really,” I say.
“We’ve only just started to get going,” says Linda.
“Oh,” says Paul. “Well, it’s time to go, so if you could ask your more poignant questions now“. I think he meant pertinent.
Right, er, if you weren’t married now what would you…
“I’d be living out in Arizona just taking pictures.”
“Anyway,” says Paul, “we are married and that’s the way we intend to stay.” He paces the floor. I wish to God he’d leave. He doesn’t. I don’t want to ask any more questions in that case, though I’m extremely polite. “l know you’re in a hurry so I’ll have to close it there,” which, roughly translated means “Please piss off cos this is getting really good.“
“Maybe we could continue it in the car,” says Linda.
“Can we take you back to town?”
“You’ve got enough, haven’t you?” says Paul, obviously anxious to be rid of me once and for all.
“Yes“, I reply, meekly I’m ashamed to say. And they left. The interview lasted 20 minutes. I always liked John Lennon better anyway. I wonder if Yoko would fancy a chat?
Last updated on April 14, 2022
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