Paul McCartney Transcript - ITV "Parkinson Show"
December 20, 2005
See a short clip of Paul from the "Parkinson Show" (UK) CLICK HERE
Paul McCartney Transcript - ITV "Parkinson Show" December 17, 2005
Michael: My final guest tonight is a towering figure or twentieth century popular music. His contribution is a permanent one, in a hundred years time and more people will still be singing his songs. He's played everything from The Cavern to huge stadia and most recently The International Space Station.Clip of Paul McCartney playing Good Day Sunshine to The International Space Station.
Michael: Ladies and gentlemen, Paul McCartney. (Applause) That was a gig wasn't it? Playing to the astronauts up there.
Paul: Yes that was something, in front of seventeen thousand people in the audience, yeah.
Michael: I suppose the next thing to do would be the first concert from the moon, would you like to do that?
Paul: Wouldn't get me up there!
Michael: Not very adventurous?
Paul: No, not very good at that. One of the guys told us about take-off, he said, 'You know, you're lying flat back in your chair and on the film it looks like it's sort of slow.' And he said, 'No, it's like a truck hitting you in the back. Within seconds you're moving faster than a bullet.' I thought, 'No, that's not me!' (Laughter)
Michael: We'll talk about your new album in a moment but just to say you got what three Grammy nominations and your producer got the fourth, and it's what your thirty-oddth solo album.
Paul: I think it's my twenty-oddth.
Michael: Twenty-oddth is it, I think it's marvellous, it's very good. I think what's nice about it, it's a very mature album and there's some wistful stuff in it too, but what you've never done in all the years you've been around, all the years I've known you, you've never become cynical have you?
Paul: I like it too much. People keep saying, 'Why do you keep doing it?' I say, 'Why shouldn't I? I love it.' I'm not really that cynical type of person, I like what I do you know and as long as the audiences like it, this American tour has been fantastic, selling out and so you now why should I stop.
Michael: And also when do you find time to write books, you've written your first book. High In The Clouds, which you didn't exactly write, you orchestrated, would that be right?
Paul: Yeah I told the story and then got millions of people in to help me. (Laughter)
Michael: Sounds like a good idea.
Paul: Yeah, no it originally started, we made an animated short, me and Jeff Dunbar. And we wanted to see if we could make it into a feature length animation film. So the idea was to make just one mock up book. But in the process of doing that the lady publisher said, 'No this should be a real book.' So suddenly it was a book.
Michael: But why a kids book?
Paul: The film was a kids film and the characters were Wirrel the Squirrel. It's kind of kiddish! (Laughter) (Puts on American film trail voice) Wirrel the Squirrel, a deep philosophical tail!
Michael: Well you say that but reading the tale you make some very serious points. I mean, it's about the environment and it's about sweatshops and all those things.
Paul: Yeah, well for me, the original idea was to do a full length animated feature. And so to me, if you're going to spend all that time, it's got to be about something I care about. So those themes are in there. Starts off with the forest getting bulldozed. And I think you know, if you can mention those things to kids as they are growing up, without preaching.
Michael: That's the trick isn't it. Now, given your interest in all things like that, we mentioned the environment there, is there where you would not play because of their one policy or another? Where you wouldn't actually go and do a gig.
Paul: Well yeah, it used to be South Africa because of apartheid and we were invited there with the Beatles. Now it's China, really only because of one thing that Heather, my wife and myself have been campaigning against the dog and cat skins that have been arriving from China and have infiltrated the fur trade. And we've seen a lot of film of these dogs being skinned alive and cats. And so yeah, I was recently asked on the BBC news if I would go there and I said no I wouldn't until they legislate against stuff like that. Because it's medieval, it's too barbaric that.
Michael: They would say of course that they eat those creatures so it's their food.
Paul: I know yeah, but I don't think that's what it's about. I mean it's happening in the Czech Republic and they don't eat those creatures. You know it's happening all over. If you ever get round to seeing the film what anyone who is interested should do is check out Heather's website which is heathermillsmccartney.com and there you can see the gruesome details and it's not just to eat them. It's actually a very cruel practise and to me I think it's just medieval, it's barbaric and I think a nation like ours that has Crufts doesn't actually want to the next day see these creatures as hand bags and fur coats.
Michael: I think a lot of people would be unaware that this is going on. This is the point.
Paul: Well exactly and that's why I've had to say that I wouldn't go there. Until they stop it.
Michael: OK and going back to the music or rather the writing. When you were a kid what did you read? What inspired you?
Paul: Treasure Island, Black Beauty a lot of comics.
Michael: Was there any time at that period in your life when you thought you might be a writer rather than a composer and musician?
Paul: Not really no. I think you know, I always had ambition to be something good, I didn't know what it would be, you know, I was always quite ambitious. But I wouldn't buckle down at school, like a lot of people. The teachers didn't help. We had some right perverts as teachers, they used to beat the living 'sh' out of you. There was one guy used a plimsoll, you know, bend over. Wallop. I had a lot of that because I was a bit too cheeky but as for ambition I always wanted to be a writer a songwriter.
Michael: But you were a bit different weren't you? What you're expressing there is the kid who is different. You can't have the gifts that you've got and be normal.
Paul: Yeah. Well I think it's true. They used to accuse you of daydreaming. At the time sounded like a terrible thing to do but you actually think about it now you were actually thinking beyond the classroom. Now I don't want to advise any kids to do this, buckle down, get your exams kids!
Michael: But it's something you're unaware of at the time but when you look back on it, it is the beginning of a creative process. In this album which you've done you play all the instruments.
Paul: I play a lot of them yeah, that was the producer, Nigel's idea. I was actually geared up to play with my band, you saw on tour there but he said, the second week, I want to try something a bit different. So he got me drumming a bit, which I love to do and I think the trick for me, thinking about if afterwards, I think what happened was that I write the songs, I bring them to the studio and then the drummer kind of takes over and he writes the drum part where as if I play it I'm still kind of composing. I'm still writing the guitar, the bass, the drums so I'm composing a little longer into the album.M: But you play flugle horn or something!
Paul: I play flugle horn but it was good to do. I wouldn't play it live, I'd fluff every note but we were recording so I would wangle it in.
Michael: But talking about the album, let's have an indication of a song, a lovely song called Jenny Wren. This is recorded while you're on tour in America.Jenny Wren (Applause)
Michael: What was the, there's a lovely line in one of the songs, it's kind of sums up the album, you say, 'Looking through the back yard of my life, time to sweep the fallen leaves away.' It's a nice image.
Paul: Thank you yeah, that's a sentiment that now applies.
Michael: As you get older and more mellow.
Paul: More mature yeah! Yeah it's a good thing yeah. When you're eighteen you know, you don't wanna cry in case one of your mates catches you. I mean my life was, I'd lost my mum a few years before that. John had lost his but you wouldn't cry because you were eighteen-year-old Liverpool lads and you didn't do that kind of thing. I think now you know it's a good thing to do that and to open up to those emotions. That's the way I feel anyway.
Michael: When you're reminded and revisited by the memory of John, like we are now with the twenty-fifth anniversary of him being murdered. That would, I imagine, have a profound effect upon you.
Paul: Yeah, of course. I mean, it's so tragic the circumstances in which he died, number one. You wouldn't even have to know him for it to have a profound effect on you. But if he's one of your best mates that's very shocking. But you know what I find myself doing is remembering the great stuff. Remembering the laughs and the hysterics. I get an image of the two of us walking around where we used to live with our guitars slung on our backs, before The Beatles, before anything had broken. With our drainpipe trousers, you know, well 'ard. You know we didn't know anything was going to happen but we just felt great and you know my mind goes back to all of that. Rather than the sad stuff.
Michael: You can't have imagined what was going to happen could you? Even on drugs you couldn't have imagined it.
Paul: Well we never had any of them! (Laughter)
Michael: That wasn't even my next question!
Michael: Do you ever get fed up with the back reference to The Beatles all the time? I mean inevitably people do, it was such an important time.
Paul: No, I used to when I started with Wings because that was right after The Beatles and we were trying to forge a new identity so the idea of always being asked about The Beatles meant it was something that you could never top, which was a bit depressing. You were trying to do something, that not necessarily would top it but would be something new. But now all of that feeling has gone, I'm able to look at the whole career, Beatles, Wings now and it doesn't bother me at all now. In fact I really like talking about The Beatles, I can be quite boring about it!
Michael: And what about the business of writing, I mean you've written hundreds and hundreds of songs.
Paul: Mmm, too many!
Michael: I don't know about that, you can never write too many. I mean you can write too few. And that's my question really, have you ever had the musician's equivalent of writer's block?
Paul: Do you know, I've been so lucky with that. And you talk about me and John. We'd to to each other's house and normally in the afternoon from about one till four we'd meet up. Three hours was about the attention span period. And every time we did it we came away with a song. And it's a bit amazing. I think it's nearly three hundred songs we wrote together and the nearest to a flop or to a dry session was I brought in this song that was, 'I could by you golden rings' and we couldn't get past these bloody golden rings. And it was like 'ring, thing'. And it was like, let's have a cup of tea and you know, we got off it and that became Baby You Can Drive My Car. We just switched off these rings, go into a car and got a bit of satire going. And so that one even worked.
Michael: Would you like a guitar by the way?
Paul: I'd love one.
Michael: Well you keep playing air guitar so there's a real one. (Passes Paul his guitar) (Applause)
Paul: Well you see what Michael does, he invites you on the show and you sort of say 'great' and you think well we've got film so you won't have to do anything and then he says, 'Could you bring a guitar?' (Laughter) And you go, 'Yeah but I'm not really prepared.' And so he goes, 'Don't worry I'll hand you it.' Which he's just done. OK I'll tell you what, the only thing that I was thinking of doing, this isn't really performing, just explaining a little thing. Before I did that Jenny Wren piece and it's kind of a finger picking style that I'm not very good at, it's got a melody and a bass line going at the same time. And I was explaining to the American audiences how that sort of started. It was because me and George used to sit around learning all the basic rock and roll chords (strums guitar). But there was one little thing we used to do which was a semi classical sort of thing that was a little show off piece. It was actually classical but we made it 'semi'. It was a thing by Bach and it went like this. (Plays piece by Bach) (Applause) We didn't know the second half so we played it wrong but I liked that way we did and years later I adapted it into the song Blackbird. (Plays Blackbird) Taking that sort of thing you know. (Applause) And I said I'm not prepared and that's all I'm going to do Michael. Naughty boy! I'm afraid that's all we've got time for! (Hands guitar back to Michael)
Michael: How can you have Paul McCartney on the show and not ask him to play, come on!
Paul: Easily Mike.
Michael: Alright, well then that's it then!
Paul: I knew this guy, I'm turning the tables now. We used to play in Manchester on Granada. And we were like little young hopefuls, The Beatles, you know. This guy was a producer at Granada.
Michael: It was a very exciting time and it was great.
Paul: It really was and looking back on it now, a lot of kids say to me that I had the best of it and I say no, get with now. But I do think there's some truth in it. It was a very rich period and we were all in the middle of it.
Michael: And the music that's come out of it and particularly yours, has lasted, and that's the trick. To last, time goes beyond and that's what you've done. Forever and ever. People will be whistling your songs in a thousand years time, Sir Paul McCartney. (Applause) My thanks to all my guests. From all of us here a very good night, good night. (Applause)
:balloon: thanks Cecilia!
Wow, that was great, thank you!
That was really nice, thanks Cecilia.
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