Paul McCartney Presses On With A Harder Edge
NEW YORK More than two decades after the Beatles emerged on the scene, Paul McCartney refuses to call it a day.
Back in the public’s eye with his new Capitol album, "Press To Play," he says he is still hooked on making music, but recognizes that his work will always be judged on past achievements.
“The way I feel nowadays is. you do a bunch of work.”'McCartney says. “Some of it’s good, and some of it appeals to some people but not to others.
“But you can’t go around winning them ail; otherwise you’d be a maniac. Look how much I've won I’ve won a lot of them, so I can’t complain about the ones I didn’t.”
“Press To Play" has actually met with positive critical response. “It could be the kiss of death,” says McCartney. Many of his previous releases have not been favorably received, but, he says. “You don't necessarily know- which ones are good and which ones are bad. So you put them all out.
“People have said, ‘Why don’t you hold some back? Surely you don’t need the money?* But you just do your work and put it out."
The new album suggests a harder edge than on past releases. Was this because McCartney had tired of “silly love songs?”
"I kind of swing like a pendu lum,” he says. “I do the hive songs, and then l think it’s now time for that harder edge, which is what happened this time.
"My last record was ‘[Give My Regards To] Broad Street,’ which had a lot of the old Beatles stuff I wanted to move away from that, but I wasn’t particularly aware of being a wimp—although I am.”
“Press To Play” was co-produced by McCartney and Hugh Padgham “I liked Hugh's work with the Police on things like ‘Synchronicity,’ and also the drum sound he got w’ith Phil Collins,” says McCartney.
"He’s a good sound man, and I figured we'd have the basis for a good album. He wras a pretty good influence on hardening things up a bit.
"Mind you. even though I knew he'd co-produced with Phil Collins. I didn’t know' who’d done what It could have been Phil shouting at him all the time and him just saying, ‘Yes, sir!’ ”
McCartney says Padgham did not turn out to be a “yes man," but he adds that he has often encountered people afraid to question his work.
"I never expect anyone to be in awe of me, because I’m not,” he says. “I kind of think, ‘Well, what’s the big deal?’ But, of course, I’ve done a bit, I’ve been successful, and I’ve got this reputation, so that’s what they’re frightened of.” Though fiercely proud of his association with the Beatles, McCartney says, "When the band split, the challenge was, ‘Follow that!,* which was virtually impossible to do The alternative was to say, I've retired, thank you very much; I’m going to become a painter now; and goodbye cruel world.'
"But I like singing, so I had to cope with the other option of following it. In the beginning, it was very sticky. No way could I find three guys as good as these on the door-step, and no way could I substitute for all that experience—we had 10 years of knowing each other inside out. It was difficult, hut I didn't want to get rusty on singing, forget how to do it, or become frightened by audiences."
McCartney has appeared at several charity concerts, including Live Aid But it has been a number of years since he toured.
"I'm starting to think about it now,” he says. 'Tve no definite plans, but I'd he quite happy to tour."
McCartney says the threat of world terrorism doesn't worry him, nor does the painful memory of John Lennon's assassination. "Obvi ously, for a while, you can't help thinking about things like that.” he says. “But I reckon it's the same for everyone. It’s not just me."
Despite the commercial disappointment of his “Give My Regards To Broad Street" movie, McCartney says he has not given up on the idea of making films. There have been rumors that a possible project might be a Beatles feature, using old clips.
"The Beatles thing is always in a kind of state of flux, really," he says. "It’s down to whether we're getting on well or not, and since the breakup there’s been a lot of friction with the business.
"But now, George, Ringo, and I are getting on very well. We’re kind of friends again, which is nice and very encouraging If we can main tain that and then get productive, we can get on with things.
"We’ve had an idea to do [a film]. The provisional title is ’The Long And Winding Road.’"
Communicating with his former bandmates has been particularly difficult, says McCartney. "The minute anybody mentions Apple, someone hits the ceiling. What we’ve done is to forbid that subject We find we get friendlier that way. So now I guess anything could happen, really."
McCartney says he still regards Lennon is the best person with whom he ever worked "Well, he was good. He was something else."
But since Lennon's death m December 1980, the media has thrived on muckraking store - about the relationship between the legendary songwriting partners. McCartney readily admits that they had their ups and downs, adding that Lennon was “not the sort you wanted to have a stand-up argument with—I knew he'd beat me.”
McCartney also says, however, that a well-publicized quote, in which he referred to Lennon as a "maneuvering swine." was taken out of context.
"To put the record straight: I loved him dearly, he was a great man, hut he was no angel. That’s the whole point, and, having loved him dearly and as a brother, there’s no point in kind of making a saint out of him.
“I don’t think he'd want that—he was too realistic. That was the whole gig about John Mr Honest. On the day he died. I heard an interview in which he said, 'I don't want to make a martyr, I don't want to be a bloody saint. A bit of peace here and there, but then leave me alone.’
"That seemed to sum it up. really. So there you go. "
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