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Wings Over America
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2001-Nov-25: Born Again

On the eve of his Concert for New York City, Sir Paul was asked by San Diego Union-Tribune pop music critic, George Varga, if the phrase "born again" could describe his journey from despair following Linda's death?
 "Yeah, I think so.  I feel like I've come through a difficult period, so I'm very pleased to find that (the rebound) has happened.   Because there was a point where I wasn't sure how it would go, whether I'd go down (permanently). I had a very difficult period, but I'm very lucky to have -- praise the Lord -- come out of it. And, yes, I guess you could say I was reborn. Although if you write that down," he added with a mischievous chuckle, "they're all going to be writing to me: 'Paul! Have you read this? Have you read The Watchtower?' "
How does Sir Paul feel about continuing to record and perform?
 "As long as I fancy it, as long as people enjoy it, I'll carry on.  I certainly enjoyed making this album, and all those (retirement) kind of issues just didn't enter into it, even once, for me. It's just something I really love to do; I'm surprised to find myself still enjoying it as much as when I started. I mean, that really is saying something, you know? But I love surprises, and I hope to continue being surprised -- in this way.

"Inasmuch as they are all original songs and I wanted to stretch it a little bit, keeping the same recording style, the same spontaneity, and not thinking about things endlessly, but just trying some other stuff.  So we ended up putting a couple of things on the album that were definitely 'deep-end.' But it was a great album to make, and I really had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the swim."

Doe the new album not only announce that he is back, but that he is back with a vengeance?
 "That's kind of how it's worked out. The thing I like about it, is that you can interpret it as saying not only 'I'm back, check it out,' but also: 'I'm a bass player.'  It opens with solo bass -- doon doo doo doon do . . . I thought: 'That's kind of interesting; it's signaling that this is a bass player's album.' "
The recording sessions began in February in Los Angeles, where 18 songs were cut in just two weeks with new three-man band: guitarist Rusty Anderson (formerly of Ednaswap and Animal Logic), drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. (who's played with Chocolate Genius and k.d. lang) and erstwhile Six Shooter keyboardist Gabe Dixon, the group's youngest member at 23.   Sir Paul was was prepared to play all the instruments on the album himself if he didn't feel a good rapport with these musicians, but it proved not to be necessary:
 "We soon -- immediately, really -- found a very good, easy working relationship.  So it was great to work with the  three young American guys, really cool. And, you know, I've got a lot of American relatives, so it's not unusual for me. My family is half-American, through Linda. My kids are half-American, and I'm here quite a lot. . . .

"Really, the bottom line is: 'Do the people enjoy making music? And are they good at it?' It doesn't matter whether they're famous or not famous. So the process of making albums, I'm still actually very excited by it. And I surprise myself. Because some people say: 'Don't you get fed up? Haven't you made enough albums?' And it's like, 'I don't think so.'

"Actually, the same thing used to happen with the Beatles.  Every time we came to make a new album, you'd think: 'I know how to do this.' And then you'd realize, you don't, because it's a new album. You knew how to make the last album, when you finished it. But you don't know how to make the next album.  And that to me is very exciting. It means it's an open book. And it's exciting when those things happen, in life anyway. And when it's on an album you're making, you stand back at the end, and say: 'You know what? I just made an album.' And for me, that's cool."


At the beginning, Sir Paul's new bandmates claimed to be in awe of him, so he had to work hard to put them at ease:

 "With fame, your reputation obviously walks ahead of you.  That's why, if I book reservations at a restaurant, often don't use my name. Because then everyone is standing around shaking, all the waiters are dropping dishes, you know. So what I do is, I just say: 'Oh, it's for so-and-so' (and give another name), and come in, and then they start dropping dishes. But they haven't got time to build it all up.

"So with musicians I'm a little bit aware of that. But these guys were pretty cool, actually. We'd sit around, have a cup of tea, have a little chat, and I'd just try and show them that I'm really, you know, one of them.

"And it is true, as well, that I don't come in with a gold cape and a retinue. It's just, like, me and my girlfriend will just show up. . . . It's good for us all. We all then know: 'Hey, you're not going to pull the big star bit.' And it puts it all on an equal footing, so I get more from them, and they have a better time with me."


Not content to rest on his laurels, Sir Paul is eager to keep exploring:

 "I try to teach myself to find out the bits I don't know about what I know.  I think that's a good statement, yeah. I tell you, I call it 'a sense of wonder,' that I will just go in the studio in the morning with one idea in mind, and it can suddenly just change gears.

"But I've always done that. You know, we did that with the Beatles. Suddenly, there's a better idea than mine on the table. And so instead of stamping my foot and going, 'No! We must have my idea,' I'd tend to swing and just go: 'Whoa, that's a good idea.' So, yeah, I like to do that."

Will there be a tour?
 "I don't know yet. There may well be a tour. I do things in sequence -- you make an album, then you do something like this (benefit) gig (in New York). And then I'll see if that says to me: 'Go on tour, young man.'  "And if it does, I will say: 'Verily, I shall respond in like manner.' "

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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