From Sir Paul's PopMatters interview with Christian John Wikane we learn that he is now a coffee drinker (with two sugars):
"Have I got my Starbucks? This is only cause I wanted a coffee and theres one across the road. This is not a commercial. Ive become more of a coffee person, though not because of Starbucks."
The interview took place in the recording studio of David Kahne (Memory Almost Full's producer) in the hip Meatpacking District of New York city not far from the Stella McCartney boutique. Sir Paul is pleased with the results of his leaving a major record label:
I think that they [the major record labels] admit themselves that theyre in a very awkward time. They had it all their own way for a number of years. Theyve got huge stables of acts and artists on their books so its very difficult to get singled out as an artist. You cant get arrested. Youve got a good album and no one will listen to it just because theyve got to listen to 300 other albums. I think thats the phenomenon that people are getting fed up with.
He is also enjoying performing in the intimacy of smaller venues, such as this week's secret concert at the Highline Ballroom because it reminds him of the early days of the Beatles:
"When we were starting out, all our gigs were like that. They were all little ballrooms or little clubs. Its almost like a family party as opposed to a big arena show. I just like the intimacy and the sweatiness and the one-on-one. In fact, I wish it were a bit sweatier!
Speaking of today's music, Sir Paul believes that musicians refer to the past for inspiration:
"I think everyone kind of does that. We used to do that. We would refer to Elvis, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly a few years before we made it. We referred to it and then moved on from it, so I think its a good jumping off platform. There are some people, maybe older fans, who will say to me, Your musics so much better than anything theyve got today. Its rubbish today. I think, No, no. Thats dangerous talk. I think its just too cheap a shot to say, Its better than all this hip-hop stuff. I have a very wide taste in music. I will go back before my fathers era to Fred Astaire and right up to hip-hop."
In fact, Memory Almost Full trails a hip-hop album on the Billboard charts this week. According to Sir Paul:
"Its really cool! Its nice to be in the Top 3. It never hurts. I think its kind of interesting to be up with contemporary acts like that. Its a good sign."
But what about the critics? They have not always been kind.
"After the Beatles and during the Wings period, I think there might have been a period there where I just wasnt as into what I was doing and so they might be right about certain periods there. On the other hand, they might be wrong. A lot of people surprise me because Im ready to buy that theory: Youre not great all the time. What will happen is someone will say, No, Paul that is my favorite songs of yours. I remember talking to Trevor Horn on this subject and I said, for instance, Ive written a song called Bip Bop. The lyrics are Bip-bop-bip-bop-bib-n-bam. He said, My fucking favorite of yours, man. I go, All right, well let me reexamine this again. He said, Its not about the lyric. Its the song, man. Its great. My son singled that one out as something he liked, but it was criticized as being banal.
"I write everything thinking its good. I think some of it is probably better than other bits. Im sure theres a pecking order of what Ive written, but I stand by it all and it interests me that some people stand by it more than I do and will single out a piece and say, I love the way thats kind of loose and sort of flaky. I like the way you did that. Im encouraged by that.
What about his classical work?"Its still the same sort of land to me. What [classical music] gives me is a new ball game in which I havent really explored ... but its still music, so I still am doing what I do but in another area. For instance, I dont have to sing the songs, normally. Ive had sopranos, soloists, choirs singing it. Its very interesting to grapple with another kind of music, although, like I said, I dont see any barriers. Its more long form, so its more like writing a novel ... the pop song is more like the short story form. What I have to think about when I write more the classical stuff is to not write a collection of short stories. I have to actually realize that I want through flow. I believe its called durchkomponiert in German: through-composed. Its a nice ideanot just rejecting a melody because youre onto the next track. You can bring a variation back.
Sir Paul also discussed his art work and how he was inspired by the renowned abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning:
"He was so offhand about the meaning of one of his paintings. I said to him, Bill, what is it? He said, I dont know. It looks like a couch, huh? and it just totally flipped me. It just relieved me of every block and every sort of worry I had about Oh, it must be Hugely Significant. It was like no, its paint.
Sir Paul discussed the significance of the "ghostly apparitions" in the "Dance Tonight" video, how they symbolize his public and private self:
"All those ghosts are kind of in me rather than floating around. People are seeing me as Paul McCartney but Im James Paul McCartney. Im this kid that was born in Liverpool. Inside me Im still that kid, but I have to be aware that Ive got this film, this apparition of fame. I have to take that onboard. Itd be kind of stupid for me to go, Please stop looking at me. Thats not gonna work.
He has also considered his own mortality:
"Im kind of fatalistic about it really. I know when John died, people sort of said, Are you really worried? I said, No. When your numbers up, its up. I concentrate on living day to day. I dont know what Id like my funeral to be outside of the track on the album [End of the End] and Im not even sure if I want that. Itd be kind of good for people to ... celebrate your life rather than sit around moaning. Its something I dont really think about too much. Im too busy living. I just enjoy what I do and get on with it.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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