Then, Backstage prior to the Monday 9th July concert at Leicester’s Odeon Theatre, Paul was interviewed by John Mitchell. The result was used in an updated version of BBC Radio’s documentary series The Beatles Story (first aired in 1972, and overhauled a second time in 1974), and Paul was asked his opinion of the original broadcast. On the same evening Fred Robbins conducted an interview which was later (much later) used for a 12″ interview disc to promote the album Band On The Run and distributed to radio stations in America. It was an open-end interview, in which local disc jockeys could ask the questions themselves and play Paul’s answers from the disc. The record was sent with a script enclosed.
What follows is a transcript of part of the interview disc, indicating the scripted questions with Paul and Linda’s replies:
Question: Hi! This is (disc jockey’s name) and guess who’s our special guest? Paul McCartney and his wife Linda! That’s right, and they’ve got a great new album with their band Wings called Band On The Run on Capitol Records. We’ll be playing some of the tracks and rapping with Paul and Linda by way of a pre-taped interview recorded while they were on tour in Leicester, England.
I understand when you started Wings you went around like wandering minstrels and played wherever you could, in various towns and colleges. What was behind that strategy?
Paul: Just that I like being in a band, you know? I don’t like being out of work, and, in a way, when you’re just recording, you can get to feel a bit out of work. You like to have a strum and sing. So that’s the main reason behind it.
We had to do it that way because we’re a totally new band. We’ve never played anywhere before, so we couldn’t just do big dates and say, ‘Hello folks! Here we are, without ever having played together before!’ so we chose a few dates that were a surprise to get us worked in.
Question: How did you arrange to play in each place?
Paul: We did a little tour. The first little thing we did, we were in Britain and we went up the motorway. We headed for the nearest nice-sounding town, we didn’t book any hotels or any halls or anything. We ended up in Nottingham University and we just said to them, ‘OK if we play here tomorrow?’ And they kind of put the word round and said, ‘Yeah, OK.’ So we turned up and played. It was like a kind of little college dance.
Question: No admission charge?
Paul: Oh yeah, 50p. Very reasonable. We actually handled the whole thing ourselves from a mini-van. We just turned up and said ‘OK, we’re here, we’d like to play, we wanna play our band in, would you like to listen to us while we do it? We don’t wanna make too big a deal of this, but, you know, it’s only 50p.’
Question: Did you enjoy ad-libbing your way around like that, Linda?
Linda: Oh yeah, very much. It’s great. It’s good to do that. But I like the other ones, well, where the audience is expecting you.
Question: What a contrast to the frenzied arrivals in town by the Beatles! It’s like starting all over again!
Paul: It really is starting all over again. We just all enjoy the idea of being in a band. So here we go lads, one, two, three, off we go!
Question: What had to happen in your own life before you were ready to organise a new band?
Paul: I don’t know, really. We had some business problems, you know, and I was getting sick of those. I thought, ‘Well, it’s not really my gig to go worrying about all the business, I’d rather just play and sing.’ So that was it. I thought, Tm gonna get back to that, then. Let the business things sort themselves out.’ Which they look like they might be going to do.
Question: Did you have any preconceived ideas of what you wanted Wings to sound like, or was it an experimental affair?
Paul: Sort of experimental, yeah. I knew that the people I was getting together had a lot of potential, and we needed to work together and see if we liked each other, and see if we could get on. It’s coming together very well, considering. I mean, with the Beatles you couldn’t say what the sound was. The press said it was Mersey Beat or whatever, you know. I knew roughly what I wanted – just a rock ‘n’ roll band, that’ll do me.
Question: Did you want to approximate the Beatle sound, or get as far away from that as possible?
Paul: Neither … I don’t mind if it gets near it. They were a pretty good band. But if it gets miles away from it, there are a lot of other good bands that don’t sound like the Beatles. We’re just aiming to be what we are, which is what any band anywhere wants to be. It’s what the Beatles wanted to be.
Question: Linda, isn’t it rough for a girl to go on the road, even though she’s with her husband?
Linda: So far, no. I like being in a band. I like it all, really. I like playing the best, being on stage, and being with an audience who enjoy it.
Paul: We were up in Scotland and I was saying to Linda, ‘Look, we were thinking of going back on the road. Do you think you could kind of enjoy it? There’s that feeling when you’re behind a curtain waiting to go on, you get that kind of terrible nerves. Once you get on you get the feel of an audience behind you. Do you think you can enjoy all of that?’ She’s like, ‘Sure, show me the curtain!’
Question: It seems that a musical career has been thrust upon you, Linda!
Linda: It has, yeah. I’m just one of the members, though -” there’s not too much pressure on me. I don’t get out and sing main vocal, or anything.
Paul: She’s my wife, as you might know, but the thing is that we don’t try and play her up as a big member of the band. As you say, she’s kind of had it thrust upon her, but the stuff she does is great. It’s a bit like Johnny Cash working with June Carter, and June kind of walks over and sings back-up with the Carter Family. She does her own little bit and stuff, but it isn’t a big heavy Johnny and June Carter show, it’s mainly ‘Johnny Cash, ladies and gentlemen’.
Question: Was it always intended, Linda, that you’d be part of any new group Paul would organise?
Linda: Yeah, I’d say so. Just sing harmonies and play a bit of keyboard.
Paul: That’s how it started, you know. It started off just as a kind of loon. We were just thinking, ‘OK, let’s go and make a record. Would you like to sing some harmonies, Linda?’ That’s how it started off, but it worked itself into a band. So we’re just taking it from there and seeing how it goes.
Question: You reached such heights with the Beatles, so is it part of your plan to shoot for the same level of success with Wings?
Paul: No, not really. That’s the obvious thing that people will think. But as I say, the main reason everyone’s in the band is just to be in a band. All the other things are incidental.
We played Glasgow and got a ridiculous welcome there, and it was really a bit like the Beatles, you know? It was ridiculous, there were police outside and crowds and stuff, the whole bit – in some places you go, it really is like that. But we’re just as pleased if the audience in the hall that night just enjoyed it. If they don’t enjoy it then we’ll be disappointed. But if they like it, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a pub in the King’s Road or Madison Square Gardens to us, you know.
Question: Paul, I suppose you realise that your fans expect you to be as good as you were before …
Paul: People do come along kind of thinking that, but that’s one of those things, you know. Let them think it. We won’t bother about it, we’ll just get on playing. And if we start to come together well, and do some great tracks, then we’ll just kinda see how we go. Our records sell very well worldwide, so it’s not even a kind of comeback. For me, it’s like a continuation. If it’s as good as the Beatles, then great, obviously. If it isn’t, well, hopefully it’s as good in another field.
Question: Isn’t it amazing, Paul, how well each of you has done on his own since the break-up – when everyone was wondering whether you would be able to get along without each other?
Paul: That’s it, you know. A thing can’t go on in one form forever. Things are always changing. With the Beatles, it was one of those things, it had to finish, almost. That was then. As you say, everyone’s got on with a new type of thing. It’s interesting, to say the least.
Question: Do you find more freedom in being able to write on your own now, without needing to collaborate?
Paul: No, I don’t think there’s any more freedom. It’s different, there’s no getting away from that, and in fact, I wouldn’t like to get away from that. I don’t think I’d like to be the Beatles all over again, I don’t think there’s any point to that.
Question: But you probably wouldn’t have written these songs, or recorded several sides in Lagos, if you had still been part of the Beatles. These songs could only have happened on your own, couldn’t they?
Paul: Well I suppose so, but you never can tell. I take it myself much more simply, as I say. I just wake up each morning and think, ‘Ah, I’m alive. Great! What do we do today?’ If I got into all the implications and all the ifs and buts … when the Beatles were around, you never caught the Beatles analysing it half as much as the press or the fans did it.
Question: I guess we have to ask you what everyone wants to know – will the Beatles ever play together again?
Paul: The Beatles -1 wouldn’t think the Beatles would get together and play again. I think if they did, it might be a bit of a comedown on what it was. The Beatles, when they were together, always used to say, ‘When it reaches its end, we get out cleanly.’ Now we didn’t, as it happens, get out quite so cleanly as we wanted to, with all the business stuff. But at least there’s a kind of an end to it now, and I think you’ll find that’s the end of the Beatles.
Question: But you’ve been playing on each other’s albums …
Paul: Yeah, that’s right. I don’t see any reason why that kind of thing shouldn’t happen. I played a little bit on Ringo’s LP; so did John and George. Obviously, to the press and to fans, when it’s put the right way, it looks like the Beatles coming back together again. A lot of people get into all that. But we did what we did and that was it. I think it’s best now to forget that and look to the new thing, and see if there’s any possibility of enjoying that.
We’ve got a lot of fans from what we’ve been doing now, who’ve written afterwards and said, ‘When I came to see you, I thought it really would just be a kind of sentimental evening where I’d think, “Ah! I wish I’d been with the Beatles”.’ But they write and say, ‘It’s amazing, I’m really happy. When are Wings coming back to town, as we’re really interested?’
It’s not this great eternal rift where no-one can come together and work with each other again. It depends what the projects are. We’ll be working on each other’s albums, keeping the thing together on that kind of level, I think you’ll find.
Question: I want to ask about the way you’re raising your children. Are you permissive parents or strict parents?
Linda: Honest parents. I think if anything bothers us, we let them know.
Paul: If the kids do anything that really doesn’t fit in with what we’re doing, then to that extent we’d say ‘No,’ rather than some parents who’d say ‘Yes, OK.’ I don’t see really how you can do anything else. If someone’s going to smash a bottle or something, we say ‘No!’ If that’s being strict, we’re strict. But I think they seem to be pretty well-adjusted kids at the moment.
Question: Well, the new band seem to be pretty well-adjusted as well, Paul. May all your future albums be as great as this one, Band On The Run?
Paul: OK, thanks, same to you. I must say goodbye to all the listeners in America. Wanna say a big ‘hi’ to you. Hello, hope you’re enjoying yourself as you’re listening to this and look us up when we come to your town. Тага.