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2002-Nov-09: "The Unknown Paul McCartney"

The Unknown Paul McCartney by Ian PeelToday's Liverpool Echo contains an article about a new Paul McCartney book by author Ian Peel called The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-Garde.  While researching his book, Mr. Peel interviewed a variety of people including former Wings member, Laurence Juber, Frank Zappa's guitarist Mike Keneally and even Yoko Ono.

It is Mr. Peel's opinion that:

 "Around 10% of Paul McCartney's songs are not known to the majority of his fans and are a long, long way off The Frog Chorus. I think Paul remains one of the lustfully appreciated of modern icons.  Paul's own diverse music experiments in the field rate amongst some of the most distinctive of the past four decades.

"There's his connections with the Super Furry Animals. And one of the most unusual projects was Paul working with musician Nitin Sawney - remixing songs in a London bed-sit. Paul has also worked with artists such as Youth.

" I think the 90s have been Paul's most productive period to date including some secret jam sessions with Yoko Ono."

He also has some words to say about one Beatles' avant-garde track:
"It's called Carnival Of Light - the Beatles most legendary unreleased track which was made around the time of Penny Lane.   A lot has been written about it, but I wanted to put the record straight about its importance. It should have appeared on The Anthology 3 album - but George vetoed it.

"Many critics regarded Lennon as the last person to push his music into new sonic territories, but Paul has been productive notably over the past few decades.

"The Beatles always did studio tricks and unusual noises and Sgt Pepper was probably the most mainstream of  avant-garde albums.

"Most recently, Paul has contributed to Welsh arts pop terrorists Super Furry Animals. They recorded Paul chewing carrots as a means of percussion.

"On the 2001 Liverpool Sound Collage, the music was played as an aural soundtrack to the Peter Blake exhibition at the Tate in Liverpool last year. Liverpool Sound Collage was Paul's audio jumble of street noise and archive Beatles chat and dub beats."

Mr. Peel notes that Sir Paul employed a similar avant-garde technique in the film Feedback where background noises from his inaugural art exhibition in Siegen, Germany in 1999 can be heard in the soundtrack.

Mr. Peel continues:

 "McCartney's audience for his experimental music varies wildly - tracks for his kids, for himself, for catwalks or commissions but not necessarily for the post- Beatles-McCartney-loving public. The latter audience has been largely cordoned off from his more oddball output, for them he provides something entirely different."
Mr. Peel recalls Sir Paul talking about his avant-garde work during a Radio 1 interview:
"I remember once saying to John that I was going to do an avant-garde album called Paul McCartney Goes Too Far. He was really tickled with that idea saying that's great, man!'  But I would calculate and think, 'No - I'd better do Hey Jude."
The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-Garde is being released this month by Reynolds and Hearn (ISBN: 1-903111-36-6).

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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