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Old Jun 01, 2003, 08:05 PM   #1
beatlz
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Default macca interview from SUNDAY SCOTLAND HERALD

The Paul McCartney Interview

http://www.sundayherald.com/34211

He's sorry for missing his Scotland gig, he knows nothing about
Stella's wedding, and Lennon and McCartney -- in that order -- is
still the rock'n'roll trademark he's proud to be a part of. But don't
mention the wife ...
By Mike Merritt

THE Gardai motorcyclists at the head of the streaking black arrow of
limousines announce his arrival in Dublin with a fanfare of sirens.
From mop top to undisputed head of rock's royalty, Sir Paul McCartney
is treated more like a visiting monarch than a travelling troubador
about to perform the 90th gig of a record-breaking world tour.

But such is the status of the legend -- heightened with the passing
of John Lennon and George Harrison -- that these motorcycle outriders
are deemed necessary to help whisk his entourage across the city. A
legend that had been even more starkly portrayed only three days
earlier when McCartney was shown around the Kremlin by a clearly awe-
struck President Vladimir Putin.

Finally the motorcade swings into the Royal Dublin Showground. The
car doors open and men in black suits and sunglasses emerge. This is
where rock'n'roll meets The X-Files. McCartney, also wearing a black
suit, hops out of one of the limos. By his side is his wife, Heather
Mills, and McCartney punches the air as the couple walk towards the
dressing room, arms around each other's waist. They openly embrace
with a passionate kiss. It will be announced the following day that
Mills, who has had two ectopic pregnancies as well as cancer of the
uterus, is expecting the couple's first child, but right now that
remains a closely guarded secret.

On this, their first trip to Ireland since they were married here
almost exactly a year ago, they look like people with something to
celebrate. Later, during the in the show, McCartney will dedicate the
song Your Loving Flame to his wife, to loud applause.

Now, though, it's time for the soundcheck. McCartney decides he's
enjoying himself so much that he plays for nearly 90 minutes -- only
an hour before the two-hour show is due to start. Barely 300 people
are treated to a private concert inside the huge auditorium. 'You're
only clapping out of sympathy,' he yells from the stage at one point.
Then, spotting two staff in yellow T-shirts, he says: 'Yellow
submarine T-shirts. I know a song about that ...'

Paul McCartney will be going through all this again tonight, this
time in his home town of Liverpool which, fittingly, is the last date
on the Back In The World tour. But it's because of the cancellation
of the penultimate date -- in Glasgow -- that I am here watching the
preparations.

The planned gig at Celtic's Parkhead stadium was scrapped after he
lost his voice and had to reschedule a concert in Sheffield for the
day before the proposed Glasgow show. It meant Glasgow lost out and
McCartney feels he has let down his Scottish fans. He wants to
apologise personally. He wants to talk.

I am led to a room with purple backcloths to which are pinned
modernist paintings. Ironically, McCartney's own art work is
reproduced on the plastic tablecloths in the canteen where only
vegetarian food is on the evening menu. In the dimly lit room,
McCartney, with a distinctive red tint to his hair and deeply sun
tanned, is in reflective, almost meditative mood.

'It was very sad about Glasgow,' he says, shaking his head. 'We had
it booked in and that, but what with one thing and another it
suddenly wasn't in when I next looked. And I am asking them and they
said, 'We couldn't get the right hall.' And then there was the
Sheffield thing -- that's what finally did it, going and losing my
voice. Anyway it was a combination of a few things but it was
unfortunate because I really love to play Glasgow in particular, so
it was a big disappointment.'

McCartney knows that cancelling the Glasgow gig left thousands of
Scottish fans in limbo and ticketless, having held off booking for
his other UK shows. 'That's why we have encouraged everyone to come
to Liverpool. I've put special allocations for Scottish fans aside
for the Liverpool gig. So I think the real hardcore fans will come,'
he says. 'Glasgow was one I was really looking forward to. I always
look forward to it. We can get the pipe band and we can do Mull Of
Kintyre -- all those special things. We have not done that elsewhere.
I was looking forward to that.

'But this is touring. You cannot forsee these things. I could not
foresee losing my voice. It is the first time ever I have had to
cancel a show.'

But will there be another chance to see him perform live? Will this
be his last tour? 'I don't know about next year, but I'll tour again,
yeah. I certainly am intending to tour again. People say, 'Is this
your last tour?' But it has never entered my head that it might be
the last.

'I am enjoying it and that's the truth. It's like footballers -- as
long as you can score goals you keep playing, and for me that's what
it is, you know. I really enjoy it. We just had the tour of the year
in America, we have just played to half a million people in Rome,
just played Red Square in Moscow. We have enjoyed the whole tour. It
would be mad to stop.'

It's certainly been his most successful tour for years. McCartney was
the biggest grossing act of 2002 in America, attracting audiences
with the prospect of hearing Beatles classics which the band had
never performed on stage, as well as the bigger hits from McCartney's
solo work and Wings albums.

Of course McCartney isn't getting any younger. He is, let's not
forget, just a few years away from his bus pass. So where does he get
the energy?

'I don't know,' he replies. 'It's funny, I'm not a great analyser of
what goes on. I just feel very lucky. I am just enjoying myself,
enjoying my life. I think it is because I am not an analyser. I am
not a great worrier and I just get on and do it and I sort of think
the voice will be there -- and touch wood it is -- and I think that's
why I am enjoying it so much.'

But there is one thing that does worry him, I think. I believe that
the deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison have caused McCartney
to reassess many things; that, despite what he says, he is unsure
about his place in history and insecure about the

THE Gardai motorcyclists at the head of the streaking black arrow of
limousines announce his arrival in Dublin with a fanfare of sirens.
From mop top to undisputed head of rock's royalty, Sir Paul McCartney
is treated more like a visiting monarch than a travelling troubador
about to perform the 90th gig of a record-breaking world tour.

But such is the status of the legend -- heightened with the passing
of John Lennon and George Harrison -- that these motorcycle outriders
are deemed necessary to help whisk his entourage across the city. A
legend that had been even more starkly portrayed only three days
earlier when McCartney was shown around the Kremlin by a clearly awe-
struck President Vladimir Putin.

Finally the motorcade swings into the Royal Dublin Showground. The
car doors open and men in black suits and sunglasses emerge. This is
where rock'n'roll meets The X-Files. McCartney, also wearing a black
suit, hops out of one of the limos. By his side is his wife, Heather
Mills, and McCartney punches the air as the couple walk towards the
dressing room, arms around each other's waist. They openly embrace
with a passionate kiss. It will be announced the following day that
Mills, who has had two ectopic pregnancies as well as cancer of the
uterus, is expecting the couple's first child, but right now that
remains a closely guarded secret.

On this, their first trip to Ireland since they were married here
almost exactly a year ago, they look like people with something to
celebrate. Later, during the in the show, McCartney will dedicate the
song Your Loving Flame to his wife, to loud applause.

Now, though, it's time for the soundcheck. McCartney decides he's
enjoying himself so much that he plays for nearly 90 minutes -- only
an hour before the two-hour show is due to start. Barely 300 people
are treated to a private concert inside the huge auditorium. 'You're
only clapping out of sympathy,' he yells from the stage at one point.
Then, spotting two staff in yellow T-shirts, he says: 'Yellow
submarine T-shirts. I know a song about that ...'

Paul McCartney will be going through all this again tonight, this
time in his home town of Liverpool which, fittingly, is the last date
on the Back In The World tour. But it's because of the cancellation
of the penultimate date -- in Glasgow -- that I am here watching the
preparations.

The planned gig at Celtic's Parkhead stadium was scrapped after he
lost his voice and had to reschedule a concert in Sheffield for the
day before the proposed Glasgow show. It meant Glasgow lost out and
McCartney feels he has let down his Scottish fans. He wants to
apologise personally. He wants to talk.

I am led to a room with purple backcloths to which are pinned
modernist paintings. Ironically, McCartney's own art work is
reproduced on the plastic tablecloths in the canteen where only
vegetarian food is on the evening menu. In the dimly lit room,
McCartney, with a distinctive red tint to his hair and deeply sun
tanned, is in reflective, almost meditative mood.

'It was very sad about Glasgow,' he says, shaking his head. 'We had
it booked in and that, but what with one thing and another it
suddenly wasn't in when I next looked. And I am asking them and they
said, 'We couldn't get the right hall.' And then there was the
Sheffield thing -- that's what finally did it, going and losing my
voice. Anyway it was a combination of a few things but it was
unfortunate because I really love to play Glasgow in particular, so
it was a big disappointment.'

McCartney knows that cancelling the Glasgow gig left thousands of
Scottish fans in limbo and ticketless, having held off booking for
his other UK shows. 'That's why we have encouraged everyone to come
to Liverpool. I've put special allocations for Scottish fans aside
for the Liverpool gig. So I think the real hardcore fans will come,'
he says. 'Glasgow was one I was really looking forward to. I always
look forward to it. We can get the pipe band and we can do Mull Of
Kintyre -- all those special things. We have not done that elsewhere.
I was looking forward to that.

'But this is touring. You cannot forsee these things. I could not
foresee losing my voice. It is the first time ever I have had to
cancel a show.'

But will there be another chance to see him perform live? Will this
be his last tour? 'I don't know about next year, but I'll tour again,
yeah. I certainly am intending to tour again. People say, 'Is this
your last tour?' But it has never entered my head that it might be
the last.

'I am enjoying it and that's the truth. It's like footballers -- as
long as you can score goals you keep playing, and for me that's what
it is, you know. I really enjoy it. We just had the tour of the year
in America, we have just played to half a million people in Rome,
just played Red Square in Moscow. We have enjoyed the whole tour. It
would be mad to stop.'

It's certainly been his most successful tour for years. McCartney was
the biggest grossing act of 2002 in America, attracting audiences
with the prospect of hearing Beatles classics which the band had
never performed on stage, as well as the bigger hits from McCartney's
solo work and Wings albums.

Of course McCartney isn't getting any younger. He is, let's not
forget, just a few years away from his bus pass. So where does he get
the energy?

'I don't know,' he replies. 'It's funny, I'm not a great analyser of
what goes on. I just feel very lucky. I am just enjoying myself,
enjoying my life. I think it is because I am not an analyser. I am
not a great worrier and I just get on and do it and I sort of think
the voice will be there -- and touch wood it is -- and I think that's
why I am enjoying it so much.'

But there is one thing that does worry him, I think. I believe that
the deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison have caused McCartney
to reassess many things; that, despite what he says, he is unsure
about his place in history and insecure about the credit due to him.
Later, during the show, he'll play Harrison's love song Something on
a ukulele given to him by the youngest Beatle. He'll also perform a
tribute to John Lennon, Here Today. 'Let's hear it for John,' he'll
shout. The audience applauds spontaneously for several minutes. This
is spiritual healing.

But McCartney does reveal that he is no longer seeking to reverse the
famous Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit, thus ending a long-
running and bitter row in which he accused Yoko Ono of getting
her 'knickers in a twist'.

McCartney had reversed the credit on 20 of the 36 songs on last
year's Back In The US live album, changing it from Lennon-McCartney
to Paul McCartney and John Lennon, causing reports that Yoko Ono was
seeking legal advice. It was round two of a row which had first
erupted when the Beatles Anthology was being assembled in the mid
1990s. Then, McCartney asked Ono if she objected to him putting his
name first on Yesterday, a song he largely wrote. She did.

'At one point, Yoko earned more from Yesterday than I did,' McCartney
said later. 'It doesn't compute, especially when it's the only song
that none of The Beatles had anything to do with.' His hurt was
compounded when he found a reference in a book to Hey Jude being
written by John Lennon; yet, he points out, Lennon openly
acknowledged in interviews that both Hey Jude and Yesterday were both
written by McCartney.

But McCartney still quibbles with the public perception of him and
Ono as being at loggerheads. They still send each other Christmas
cards and he says he thinks of her more as a distant relative than an
enemy.

The DVD of McCartney's current tour does not reverse the credits and
the singer says he's content now to let the matter rest. 'I am happy
with the way it is and always has been. Lennon and McCartney is still
the rock'n'roll trademark I'm proud to be a part of -- in the order
it has always been.'

He expanded on those comments in an interview with the music magazine
Mojo, saying: 'There is an unfairness there, I think. But it's an
unfairness I'm willing to live with. I don't mind and I do think it
has rebounded on me a little bit because people want to know, 'What
the f*** does he think he's doing?' I've had letters from people
saying, 'Paul, you're not doing yourself any favours. I was a big fan
of yours but this terrible thing of trying to ruin John's
reputation ...' I'm not trying to ruin John's reputation.'

Talking of ruining reputations, one thing which does worry him is the
treatment of his wife by the British press. This culminated last
month in a serious assault on her character by a Channel 4
documentary which raked over her past and seemed to come to some
damning conclusions.

Accordingly, questions about Mills have been ruled out before our
interview by McCartney's publicist, Geoff Baker -- the couple have
evidently tired of having to continually explain their relationship.
A few days earlier, however, Mills did answer suggestions that she
was a 'gold digger'.

'You can sit and say, 'She's after his money,'' she told a BBC
interviewer. 'You know, you can sit and say, 'She doesn't get on with
the kids.' I don't worry about that.'

So how does she get on with McCartney's children? Suggestions of a
rift with Mary, Stella, James and step-daughter Heather are not eased
when I ask if Stella is, as rumoured, planning to marry at the
family's Kintyre retreat this summer. 'I don't know. I have no idea.
It's private to Stella,' McCartney snaps. How could he not know about
his daughter's wedding plans, especially if he is to give her away?

His mood eases when I ask if he's proud of her. 'Absolutely,' he
says. 'Stella's great. She's a lovely girl.' It's the cue to talk
about Scotland again.

There are few more special places for the former Beatle than High
Park Farm near Campbeltown. It was where he discovered vegetarianism,
where he fled with former wife Linda to rebuild his shattered
confidence following the break-up of The Beatles, where he was busted
for growing cannabis. He has expanded his holding over the years by
buying two neighbouring farms.

Great songs have flowed out of Kintyre, songs such as Maybe I'm
Amazed, The Long And Winding Road and, of course, Mull Of Kintyre,
one of the biggest selling singles of all time (even if Scottish
critical opinion is divided over its merits).

'It has been like a little hideaway. It is a lovely place. I love it.
I love the people up there,' says McCartney. 'When The Beatles broke
up it was a nice retreat. I can sort of breathe when I get up there,
pure air. Everything's great except the midges.' Do they put him
off? 'Naw. You just go indoors around five o'clock or they bite you
to death.'

Dismissing rumours that he hasn't been near the place in ages,
McCartney reveals that he was there last year and has no intention of
parting with it -- though neither is he going to buy more land to add
to his holding.

'The nice thing for me about it is that it's a conservation thing
really -- I look after the land. It is all sort of organic and most
of it is as it was. There are big hills with heather on them and
stuff and you try and look after it and try and keep it very sort of
Scottish for future generations. I don't intend to part with it, oh
no. The whole family loves it.'

But the rumblings continue. Last year McCartney was also accused of
snubbing the memory of his late wife after commissioning a 20,000
statue of Linda from the sculptor Jane Robbins -- his cousin -- and
then missing the unveiling. Stella made a private visit a few days
later, but her father was still on tour at the time.

'The people of Campbeltown wanted to do a memorial to Linda. There
was going to be a little garden, which is lovely, but that changed
into something more in the town and I got Jane to do that statue of
Linda,' he says. 'I haven't seen it in situ, but I am looking forward
to doing that.'

So will he visit this year? 'I am not sure, really. I'll just have to
see what happens. One thing for sure is I don't publish my plans. But
I always pop in there if I can. It's a very private place.'

McCartney also wrote part of his last album, Driving Rain, at Kintyre
and reveals he is going back into the studio before the end of the
year to record a new album. Will he be writing it in Kintyre? 'I
never know when I am going to write. I don't plan to do that, that's
the truth. I would like just to say yeah, but I'd be lying. I never
know where I'll write. I can never tell when I'm in the mood. So I
write most places where I am.' But, he adds, Scotland is a good place
to write. 'It's so quiet and I am so relaxed when I get up there.'

Now it is time to wind up -- there's only 30 minutes to go until the
show and McCartney's aides are clearly worried that he'll talk for
another hour. 'You take it easy and give my love to the folks in
Scotland and tell them that was my parting remark,' he says as he
leaves.

Outside the stadium there is the most extraordinary scene -- hundreds
of people standing and just listening. Taxi drivers forget their work
and pull in, opening their doors, reliving the Beatlemania of their
youth.

'Will he play Mull Of Kintyre?' one asks.

'Only in Glasgow,' I say.

01 June 2003
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