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2002-Apr-10: Sir Paul's Reflections from Chicago

While preparing for his Chicago appearances, Sir Paul granted an interview to the Chicago Tribune's rock critic, Gerg Kot.

Did George's death inspire him to tour?  Sir Paul replied:

"It didn't, actually. We were getting ready to tour around the time the album came out, but then 9-11 happened. So instead of going back to Europe and rehearsing for some gigs that we were going to do, that turned into the Madison Square Garden concert, which was the only appropriate thing to do. It was dipping my toe in the water, to see if after all this while, I still enjoyed it, and sure enough I did. It was a great show to do. So we decided to go out for real. Unfortunately during the buildup to that, George died. I suppose in some ways when you lose someone important who you love, it reminds you to get on with your life and enjoy it, because it doesn't last forever."
Once again, Sir Paul was asked if this will be his last tour - will he retire after this?
"I really don't think so. And maybe I should. But it's just not in my personality to think of things like that. I'm not a worrier. I just look at how I feel. And if I feel good, I think, yeah, that's what I do. You're as cool as you feel, and I feel good, surprisingly good, physically and otherwise."
Then he explained why his concert tickets are so expensive?
"I understand that's what you charge for these shows. I always say to my promoter: What does Madonna charge? Ding! What does Elton charge? Ding! What does U2 charge? Ding! And they always give me the ballpark figure. And that's what I charge. I try to get it on the cheap side. This ain't Streisand. We're not trying to take advantage. I hate to tell you, but I thought tickets were still at about $40. But I'm from the prehistoric ages. I just let the promoters do that. I say what do things cost, and they tell me, and I'm always shocked. Is the suggestion that I should do it for free?

"I suppose I do already have a lot of money. But these promoters have a living to make. And you know what, I really don't mind earning money. I never have and I never will. I'm just an ordinary guy. It's our capitalist ethic, and I really don't have a problem with it."

Mr. Kot told Sir Paul that when George Martin was in Chicago giving his presentation on the Stg Pepper album, he denied that the Beatles used drugs during the making the album.  Sir Paul responded:
"George said that? Aww, noooo. George is sweet, but . . . I love it, don't you love that generation? So sweet. I think he's being very defensive and non litigious, but it's not true. Those were the times. I don't defend or attack them, it's just how it was.  It's like saying the soldiers didn't sleep with girls before they went off to World War II. We all know they did. And so did we.  George is a hip guy, but he doesn't want to let you naughty journalists know we did naughty things. But to give him the benefit of the doubt, [the drug use] wasn't in his face. He was a grownup and you didn't do that sort of thing in front of the grownups."
Is Sir Paul disappointed that his last recording didn't get much radio play?
"It was a bit of a mystery to me. I thought it was a good record. I still think so. Programming has gotten pretty strict. Not many people are allowed to play stuff that doesn't hit an exact groove. People are making mechanical records to fit exact slots.  A lot of boy band stuff isn't made by boys, it's made by commercial men who know exactly what slot it has to fit in. Mine fell between the cracks. It was a record made because I wanted to do it. I'm not just easy listening, or country or rock. I think I have my own category, and that becomes difficult when radio is so formatted. I certainly wouldn't want to do formula records. I certainly wouldn't want to be in a boy band. Well, actually, I am in a boy band."
Except Sir Paul doesn't lip sync.
[Laughs] "Yes, you almost have to apologize these days for singing live and playing your own instruments. And they say they're dancing so they can't sing live too. But Fred Astaire danced and sang. Chorus girls did too. Were they fitter? The answer is a mystery. If I was in the audience I'd feel a bit cheated if my man wasn't singing."
Will Sir Paul invite Yoko Ono to his New York concert?
"I don't know. I have no idea. We're not massive friends. We're not friends, man. Everyone has a family, and sometimes your Uncle Eddie is not your greatest friend.  It's like that with us. Things have gone down in the past for that to happen. I don't hold a grudge. I must say, I don't intend to invite her. I don't mean it as a snub. You invite who you wanna have there. That's what you do in life, man. We've been talking about how life is short, and if I throw a party, I just invite who I wanna have there. It's as simple as that. I don't mean any harm to anyone. You invite people you're gonna have a laugh with. We're not enemies.  We're just not the greatest of buddies."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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