Clash magazine: The McCartney interview

The PR blitz for Paul McCartney’s latest release, Memory Almost Full, has not stopped.  It looks like Paul may be up for another round of print interviews.  This time Paul sits down with UK music magazine, Clash.  Personally, I have never heard of Clash, but it looks like a great music rag.

I am a huge fan of Mojo myself, but I may have to dip my toes into the water and look into Clash.  It seems like a nice alternative.  There is not much hugely revealing about this snippet of a McCartney interivew, but it’s nice to see him talk so much, about his time with the Fab Four.  It’s a shame we don’t have the whole interview.

Clash Magazine Paul McCartney Issue 21 Exclusive Interview 

It’s a great cover photo too.  That alone may be worth purchasing a copy of the magazine.

Here’s what we’ve read.

In the latest issue of Clash, we have the very good fortune to meet our first musical knight: Sir Paul McCartney.

Here you can read an exclusive extract of the interview, conducted with Paul in his Soho office in London, one beautiful afternoon in May.

Throughout the course of our time with him, subjects broached included ‘Memory Almost Full’ his new and 21st album since leaving The Beatles, his controversial new record contract with Starbucks, his discoveries of new music via the internet, 40 years of ‘Sgt. Pepper’, the experimentation of The Beatles, and much, much more, in what is truly the most honest and candid interview Paul has given in years.

The interview was conducted by Clash editor Simon Harper, a lifelong Beatles fan, armed with a list of over 150 questions…

One track on your new album, ‘Vintage Clothes’, has a great beat on it, like a modern rhythm loop that’s ripe for remixing. Back in The Beatles, you were using the latest cutting-edge technology to experiment with sounds, but nowadays, when a band is regarded as the heirs to The Beatles, it’s usually a guitar band who aren’t breaking genres. Surely the modern equivalent of such boundary breaking would be found in the technology embracing dance fraternity?

You’re right, that’s where it happens. It’s like an obvious platform for it, dance music, because you’ve got a trance thing that’s gonna go on for 10 minutes, so you better experiment somewhere, or it’s gonna be awfully boring! Whereas if you’re looking at shorter songs, then it’s actually not as easy to just break the song and come in with something. So I think it’s probably true that it happens more in dance music. I’ve always been interested in that. I always loved that ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, the tape loops on the Beatles track ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. That was like, ‘Yes!’ It’s the same thing I’m trying to do now though, which is just do something to interest and excite myself. It’s very selfish really, but why not? I mean, why else do you write music and write songs? It’s not really for any other reason than to turn yourself on, you know? On this album there’s a few more bits like that, just cos I wanted to… I think the bit you’re talking about is a Mellotron thing. I’ve still got an old Mellotron; I think it’s THE original one! But it’s a great sound! It’s not actually a loop, but it sounds like a loop, so you can get that kind of experimenty sound. There’s some backwards stuff. Some of it is kind of revisiting that [Beatles] thing, just cos I haven’t done that for a little while.


Even with all your experimentation, The Beatles’ sound never lapsed into the self-indulgent, a frequent risk in experimental music. How did you achieve this?

We were just very good. We were just really good. We were just really, really cool people! (Laughs) No, we just got it right. We followed our noses and if it didn’t sound good we would blow it out and just say, “That’s rubbish”. The good thing about being in a band with four like-minded people was that there was always someone to say, “I don’t like that” if it was just slightly not making it. Whereas yourself, you might think, ‘Well it only slightly not makes it. I can still do it.’ There would always be someone with us who’d go, “Hmm, it’s crap”. So generally whatever stuff we’d do would go beyond self-indulgent and it would just have to work. And also, we had George Martin, remember, as the kind of final arbiter. We were like the boss. We were like the four –headed boss, but then George was the producer and it had to pass his test as well. So we had five pretty good heads on anything we did. It was only the good stuff that made it to the final cut.

Your headline set at Glastonbury 2004 was a huge renaissance for your career. What were your thoughts when asked to play?

I’d had my eye on playing Glastonbury forever, because it’s like an iconic festival, and if you play music that’s something you’ve got to look at. You think, ‘Oh it would be great to do Glastonbury!’ So many of my friends and so many people I know make the pilgrimage. But I’d been a little bit put off. I thought maybe it’s not my scene. What happened was somebody had been there one year, a couple of guys I knew, and I was like, “How was it?” And they were saying, “Oh great, it’s cool, a great festival”. And somebody said to me, they said, “We were coming back at midnight from watching…” whoever it was, it was a few years ago, I think it might have been Radiohead, “and all the people were sitting around their campfires singing Beatles songs.” I went – ding! A little lightbulb went off. I said, “Well, I can do that!” So I just thought, ‘It’s okay. I should do it.’ So I was up and running with my band – we were touring; we’d done Russia and a few places like that, so we were all fired up. I got the offer to do it. Michael Eavis said, “Do you want to do it this year?” I said, “Yeah, go on!” And it was great, man, really cool.

You had grown men in tears – in a good way, of course! Some people still name it as their best ever festival moment. Had you planned anything special or did you know that the songs themselves would make it?

Yeah, we were just gonna do a Glastonbury set. We chose the songs a bit, because it was slightly shorter a set than we would normally do. We just chose the songs we thought might work. And then just went and enjoyed it. That was one of the things, it was like, “Whatever we do, we’re not gonna get uptight. This is Glastonbury. We’re gonna get in with the vibe.” It was a good night for us though, it was a blast, and the audience seemed to love it. It was raining, of course, but looking out at all the flags and the banners it was like the Battle of Agincourt. It was like, ‘Yeah man! People have come together!’ That’s great; it’s very uplifting.

The full Paul McCartney interview is in the latest issue of Clash Magazine on sale now at leading WH Smiths, HMV, Virgin and independent newsagents.

Source: Clash

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2 Responses

  1. this is a great interview. it would have been great to have been at glastonbury…

  2. I can only imagine Sir Paul at Glastonbury–but a teeny bit like when we saw Bjork at Red Rocks in Denver last May. Can you buy Clash in the US anywhere??? Dying to get a copy! Paul you were greatat MGM Grand in 2006!! Didn’t think you could top Chaos & Creation, and it has an extra special meaning to me, but MAF certainly is fun, and I love Mr. Bellamy!!

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