Paul McCartney admits feelings of artistic insecurity

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Inside: Why Beatles stopped touring 53 years ago- Ex Beatle Paul talks on  interview- Singer has revealed that, like his partner, the late John Lennon, he too has felt artistic insecurity.

He has been discussing his musical and creative life on The Penguin Podcast, as he promotes his latest book for children, Hey Grandude! according to RTE.IE

He recalls meeting Bob Dylan, whom he found to be ‘very nice’ when they met at Coachella but imagines that if he were to have to interview Dylan he would certainly be nervous. He reflected on the artist’s elusive sense of security which he totally ‘gets.’

“John Lennon was not that secure, ” he remarks. “I remember John saying to me once – ‘what are people going to think of me when I’m dead? I wonder of they’ll like me.’ ”

And I said, now, just you stop, listen to me- people love you and they are going to love you more and obviously that’s turned out to be the case. I had to reassure him and say `you’re great.’

McCartney himself has been famous for almost 60 years now, the podcast presenter Nihal Arthanayake points out but the ex-Beatle sets fame to rights. Referring to feelings of artistic insecurity which he has felt himself, McCartney declares that “it can happen to anyone. ”

“You’d think I’d know that I’d done okay, ” he wryly remarks. “It’s not that easy, life’s not that easy, ” he says, despite having ‘amassed a little pile over here of successes.’

The Beatles co-writer and singer has revealed that he doesn’t really listen to The Beatles songs any more.

“You’re often onto the next thing and I’m always there doing something because I enjoy working, ” declares the Liverpudlian legend.

“But what is nice is when we remaster or when there’s a project, particularly The Beatles from sixty years ago, or it’s an anniversary – it’s fifty years, it’s sixty years.

“I have to listen to it to approve it and to say the remaster is a great job.

“So we play the remastered sound alongside the old sound and you know, sometimes the old sounds better.”

Paul McCartney plays two gigs at every stop on his current arena and stadium tours: the evening concert, a magical history tour of nearly 40 songs from every era of his musical life before, in and after the Beatles; and an hour-long soundcheck that doubles as a technical rehearsal for McCartney’s crew and band and exclusive entertainment for a small group of fans, granted access as part of a VIP-ticket package.

On July 12th, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, McCartney and his 21st Century combo – guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Day, keyboard player Paul “Wix” Wickens and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. – performed a 12-song set under the late afternoon sun, opening with a blues jam featuring the leader on electric guitar and briskly covering the same historic span as the main event: the Beatles’ jangling arrangement of “Honey Don’t” by their Sun Records idol Carl Perkins; “Midnight Special,” reaching back to McCartney’s Liverpool boyhood in skiffle; the 1972 Wings flipside “C Moon”; the Ram ballad “Ram On,” with McCartney on ukulele; the mid-Sixties Beatles artifacts “I’ll Follow the Sun” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face”; and “Everybody out There” from McCartney’s 2013 solo album, New.

As this is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles quitting the road, whatever happened to the tape that [the Beatles’ press officer]Tony Barrow recorded from the field at the final concert, on August 29th, 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco? He made one copy of the tape for himself, then gave you the original.
No idea. Whatever happened to a lot of stuff? I’m amazed that we’ve got what we’ve got. I actually go to our archive [downstairs at MPL]and they say, “Look at this.” I go, “Oh, my God, where’d you get that?” It just turned out somebody saved it. But [that tape]– I have no idea.

Did you ever listen to it after Barrow gave it to you?
I don’t remember listening to it. So that probably means I didn’t.

The reason I asked is that you are now playing in the same venues – stadiums – that drove the Beatles to distraction and ultimately off the road.
At the point of Candlestick Park, we had all had enough. We’d had enough of playing rain-soaked stages with lousy PAs, the audience being louder than we were. That was the decision, and I think it was a good decision. It didn’t really come up: “We should have stayed a band, we should have kept touring.” The only time it came up for me was when the Beatles were splitting up, and we had this famous little meeting where John arrived and said, “I’m leaving the band.”

My solution to that, which I put forward, was we should go and be a little band again – just get right back, play little stages. Because that was the secret of the Beatles. We were a damn good little band. When somebody struck up “Long Tall Sally,” “Rock and Roll Music” or “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby,” we all fell in. We just became that band. I thought it might heal us. It wasn’t to be. [McCartney’s idea, originally titled Get Back, became the film and record Let It Be.] But that was the nearest we came.

 

What was the last one that ended up in the show?
I think it was “Love Me Do.” People have asked me through the years – David Bowie said, “Why don’t you do ‘Love Me Do’?” I thought, “Well, because it’s a little song.” But enough people said they liked it for me to go, “We’ll rehearse it. And if in rehearsal it sucks, then no.” In actual fact, it was great. Now it’s a big favorite.

 

There are a couple of songs – it’s not that I don’t want to do them. We’ve rehearsed them. But I just couldn’t make ’em work. Or they sounded more like records than live songs. “The Back Seat of My Car” [on 1971’s Ram]– I always thought that would be good. “Uncle Albert” [“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” also on Ram] – I thought that might be nice. We tried “Back Seat of My Car,” and it just seemed a bit complicated.

In the old days, you’d just go jing, jing on that guitar. OK, next guitar: jing, jing. You’d just run through things. I found that boring. So I always start off on electric guitar. It’s still as big a thrill as when I was a kid. And when we jam, in fact, I’m collecting some of these jams because one or two of them are really good.

The soundcheck is actually structured like a gig. You move to piano for some songs; there is an acoustic set; and you paid homage to your roots in “Midnight Special” and the Carl Perkins cover.
We also do [Jesse Fuller’s] “San Francisco Bay Blues.” Some of these things remind you of other songs in our repertoire, like “Mrs. Vandebilt” [on Wings’ 1973 album, Band on the Run]or “Every Night” [on 1970’s McCartney]. We don’t do them in the show anymore, but [the soundcheck]keeps the songs in there. Depending on the mood, we’ll see how experimental we want to get.

There’s an old thing, “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'” – not the Gerry and the Pacemakers one, the Ray Charles one [on the 1959 album The Genius of Ray Charles]. I used to do that with the Beatles in Hamburg. That’s a nice thing to pull back. It’s an echo of the show. The roadies know, “OK, he’s testing that. He’s gonna do his pedal there.” We run through everything that happens in the show.

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