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Wings Over America
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2002-Apr-14: On to Philadelphia

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer published an interview Sir Paul granted to their music critic, Tom Moon, via telephone backstage last week at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Arena.  Sir Paul will be in Philadelphia on Tuesday for a sold-out performance at the First Union Center.

Sir Paul was asked if he ever considered adding some Britney Spears-type dance routines to his "Driving USA Tour".  Sir Paul replied with a laugh:

"I could do it. Don't think for a minute I couldn't. Can you imagine it? The leotards, the routines?"

He recalled watching from backstage as some boy bands performed at the MTV Video Music Awards two years ago:

"It looked funny, like it was out of some not-very-good Broadway show. . . . I thought then that someday people would get fed up with the choreographed thing. Hasn't happened yet, but you can't blame the guys. They're really just young guys earning a living. I think if I was in one of those boy bands, I wouldn't feel as cool as the Beatles or the Stones or the Yardbirds used to because this is all about playing it safe. The songs are 'I love you, girl' or 'You cheated on me, boy.' Very basic sentiments that usually go nowhere.

"When we were coming up, we were inspired by what everyone else was doing. Now it's hard to be inspired. Everything is so much the same. It's really geared for the 8-year-olds. I'm glad we're out right now, at a time when there's so much of that around. It may just lead to something. Get people thinking about music and spontaneity again.

"When you think about how the Beatles made music, it was all very quick. We'd manage 20 [tunes] in a week, top to bottom . . . and we didn't spend a week worrying about the drum sounds. But there was spirit on the tape. It was a highly productive atmosphere, and it even makes sense business wise: If you put your energy in the garage, focus on the songs, you can come out OK. You don't need equipment that costs 20 million bucks."

Sir Paul used this same technique in making his new Driving Rain album.  He was pleased that his reputation didn't intimidate the members of his new band:

"It was really refreshing for me, because sometimes musicians are a little quiet about making a contribution. These guys were doing whatever they could to enhance the songs."

Sir Paul also confessed that he wondered if the songs he wrote for Linda and the songs he wrote for Heather could coexist on the same album:

"I wondered whether they'd live together happily,  but that's the stage I'm at in my life, having lost a great woman and found a great woman. . . . [They] were all individual tracks that talked about little pieces of what I was going through. But when we put them side by side, they seemed to add up to some sort of meaning. It surprised me, to be honest.

"The new songs are going down very well on the tour, and it kind of reminds me of the very early days of the Beatles. When we first came to the States, we already had a couple of flops [From Me to You and She Loves You.] Then, after the buzz around the tour, they ended up taking off. So you never know."

Sir Paul added that during the tour he is performing Getting Better All the Time at the request of his guitarist Rusty Anderson. He added that he encouraged his new band to devise their own harmonies rather than re-create those of the Beatles. 

He also talked about the 17-minute light and performance artist opening of the show which he created in collaboration with a producer known as Youth.

"When you come into those big arenas, sometimes they can be a little bit soulless. Our idea was if you had these pools of light, and incense, and characters wandering through, you'd be drawn in. . . . It has the element of a '60s happening that culminates with us coming on stage."

He also talked about the solo acoustic segment of the show, something he has never done live onstage before:

"Oh, I'd do that at home. You know, Dad-on-guitar-having-fun stuff.  It's artistically challenging, because it almost forces you to ad lib every night. When the first date loomed I sort of went, 'Why do you do this to yourself? Why not be safe and let the band help?' But I do like the element of risk."

And he can still sing his original songs in their original keys:

"I'm very blessed. That's it, really.  I mean, I never took care of my voice, never had a lesson or did an exercise in my life. The way I remember songs is how I originally wrote them. So it's just natural for me to sing in the same keys I used to. It's probably pure foolishness on my part. I'll just start singing and expect to hit the notes. And you know what? I usually do."

 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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