Last week, Sir Paul was interviewed by the Boston Herald's Larry Katz backstage the the United Center in Chicago. Although he was due to be onstage in less than an hour, Sir Paul was completely relaxed and unhurried as he talked about this happy time in his life:"I came out of a tunnel of sadness and realized that life goes on. I wouldn't use the word rebirth, but I do feel like I'm in a new phase in my life. I've been able to get over the sadness - or some of the sadness - of losing Linda. I'm entering into a new, much happier period of my life. (Linda's death) just changed everything. We had been married 30 years and just expected to carry on and grow old together. But that wasn't to be. And so a new phase in my life has happened.Sir Paul spoke of how the events of September 11 changed his touring plans:
"I feel very lucky and very blessed to have found a very beautiful, impressive, kind, strong woman (Heather). It feels very good. It is an exciting new time for me in many ways.""There we were on the runway at a quarter to 9 on Sept. 11. We were going back to England to start rehearsals for this big crazy gig planned in Russia. That was going to be the foot in the water to see how I felt about touring. I'd never been to Russia, so I wanted to go there and do Back in the U.S.S.R. Suddenly that plan didn't seem appropriate. We stayed in New York and said, 'Let's do the benefit.' After that, I decided I wanted to tour America."About half the songs Sir Paul performs in this tour are Beatles songs performed in Beatles style:"I'm a believer that audiences like to hear things as they know them. I recently saw Sting and he'd rearranged some of his hits. Nothing against him. I'm sure its kinda cool to do that and interesting for him. But I'm not a great believer in that. When I hear 'Mr. Tambourine Man, I want the verses all in the same order, I want Bob on acoustic with a bit of harmonica, and I want to hear him singing the tune I recognize. Audiences like familiar arrangements. I do. I tend to like it pretty straight. I stick to the script, man."There are a few changes, however. For the first time in his career, Sir Paul plays a solo acoustic segment:"Because it's just me and guitar, that rearranges those songs automatically. Also, I've got to relearn them. People assume I know all my songs, but I've written so many that I do have to go learn them. I tend to just get the record and listen to it and think, 'Oh yeah, that's good.' I'm so amazed that I've relearned it, I don't think, 'Now, let's change it!' It's just, 'Thank God, I was able to learn it again.' "During the concert, he pays tribute to George in a ukulele version of Something. Sir Paul remembers George as ..." ...a very cool, very introspective guy who didn't suffer fools gladly. And, of course, from the '60s onward he was always very interested in Indian culture and religion. I remember being on this goofy TV show once. They were trying to make fun of George and saying, 'Oh, he's really weird, isn't he, man?' And I said, 'No, you're the weird one. George isn't weird at all. He just happens to have his beliefs.' George was a great man. A lovely man. I miss him a lot. I think the only regret in life is that you don't get to know people as much as you want to. That shows up when you lose them."Does this mean he is closer to Ringo now?"We've always been very close. We're like brothers, y'know. But when we ring each other now we spend a little longer, make sure we have a good bit of quality time. We certainly don't bother arguing anymore. But there's no cause to anyway. It was only during that sticky time when the Beatles were breaking up that we sort of lost it."Sir Paul had this to say about the re-release of Let It Be:"I loved the stripped version of it without the overdubs that Phil put on it. Now don't blame Phil. The guy who came in who I didn't like was Allen Klein. He persuaded everyone that it needed tarting up. I didn't have a say in it. I was disappointed when the fancy version came out. I preferred the stark, stripped-back version and that's what's being worked on at the moment."He also talked about the Beatles "1" album:"I don't normally listen to these compilations, but it came out around Christmas and I was with Heather, and she put it on. I wasn't that interested, but it surprised me. I thought, 'Wow, I know why it's good. Those songs are very well-structured.' That's what hit me after all these years. I was a sort of craftsman looking at a set of chairs. There's not an inch of fat on those songs. It was very gratifying."And did Sir Paul ever imagine people would still be listening to Beatles songs in the year 2002?"I'd have dreamed it, but I wouldn't have believed it."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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