Our very own Terri Hemmert, also known as Chicago’s Biggest Beatles Fan, interviewed Sir Paul McCartney this morning to hear all about his new album, New. Much to Terri’s delight, Paul acknowledged meeting her previously saying “We’ve spoken before haven’t we? We’ve been knocking around for years!”
Lucky for us, Terri kept her cool and went on to ask Paul about New, to which Paul divulged, “It’s a new single and it’s going to be the title of the new album too, and everything’s new baby. I love what I do, I love music and it’s always great to get a chance to get in to the studio, especially when you’ve got a bunch of new songs… I was very lucky because I work with some cool producers and I had a lot of fun doing it.”
Paul went on to explain the story behind having multiple producers on the album.
“…it was like a sort of play and make some music with a couple of producers who I love their work, and I’ll just see which one I get along with personally best and maybe I’ll settle on that guy. But actually I got along with them all, and we really just made something slightly different with each producer so I thought, this is crazy, I can’t chose, I’m having so much fun with each one, so I ended up using 4 producers in the end.”
The title track of the album, “New,” was produced by industry veteran and a friend of Paul’s, Mark Ronson.
“Mark I knew a little bit personally and he had deejayed at me and Nancy’s wedding, so I kind of knew him, you know we were dancing ‘til 3 in the morning to his music. So I knew I liked his music taste and he’s a good guy, and then the chance to work with him came along so we grabbed it. We did ‘New’ and a couple of other tracks.”
The other producers on the album include: Paul Epworth (Adele), Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, Kings of Leon), who is also the son of Glyn Johns (Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, among others), and Giles Martin, the son of “the 5th Beatle,” George Martin.
“That was really one of the things… Me and Ringo and George actually had talked originally to George Martin and Giles Martin, who was going to help him on the L.O.V.E. project, and we said don’t worry about being too sacred with things. This is our chance, a good excuse really because for Cirque du Soleil they’re going to be flying through the air to our music, so to add something new to it. This is our chance for you to sort of mash it up and go crazy and I think in the end Giles did a lot of the work, and obviously checked it through with his dad and all, but he was the guy in the studio all the time, and we thought he did a really good job. So I had an opportunity to work with him on a couple of other cases, the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, he covered the sound there. And I did some music for a video game, the people that did Halo the video game, are making a new game called Destiny and they wanted some help on the music so I was very happy to do that, and I pulled Giles in on that.”
Terri: “All these great songs on your new album, are you going to be performing these live?”
“The next thing we do, is I get with the band and we learn the whole album so I’m really looking forward to that. And then we’re going to see what we’ll do with it. I’ve never done that; played a whole album [straight through live]. A lot of people say that to me: ‘Why don’t you just play one of your albums straight through?’ But I’ve got too much other stuff that I’d like to play. I’m really excited to see how they’ll sound live.”
Paul also chatted about his recent string of appearances on the music festival circuit:
“It was really good at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands as well to have that younger crowd and say hey guys we’re a band, we’re just going to play for you and if you like it, great. And we had a ball at both those places. The first festival I did years ago was Glastonbury in England, and I’d heard about it, obviously I was kind of there when it started in the 60’s so I knew about it, and as time went on I thought this is kind of a young person’s festival and maybe I shouldn’t play it. But then I met a friend who’d been there and he said it was brilliant. He said, ‘Late at night, I’d be wondering around all the tents and the campfires, and there’s all these people sitting around the campfire playing Beatles songs.’ So I thought, well I can do that! So I got back in to it.”
Paul went on to explain his delight at playing for younger audiences and reaching multiple generations:
“… I never expected that [to be appreciated by younger audiences]. I automatically expected it to be like it always was: people in my audience, kind of my age. But what you find now is people my age are bringing their kids, and then those people are bringing their kids, and we’ve got a few generations going now. And it’s brilliant. I really do love that because I’m a family guy and I love the age groups and freshness that kids bring to stuff. I love their attitude and if I can please them with something I do, then it really is gratifying.
He even gave us an example:
“I’m on holiday here in the East Coast and yesterday I was in the street doing a bit of shopping, and these young girls come up to me and they say, ‘Oh, we’re your biggest fans,’ and I’m standing there incredulously. I love it when you can appeal to not just one generation.”
Now for those who don’t know, Terri might just be Paul McCartney’s biggest fan. When you interview your idol, you can’t help but gush a little bit:
“When we were introduced to you back in 1964 in the states, you really taught us how to live. And now at this point in our lives you’re showing us how to keep fresh, and stay new, and live life to the max. You’re a good role model, Mr. McCartney!”
Paul’s response: “Imagine that! We just started the band just to play and earn a bit of money, and maybe get a car if we were lucky. But the fact that it’s had this other effect, I get so many people coming up to me in the streets saying ‘Hey man, your music’s really changed my life,” and what’s also great is I get a lot of cool musicians saying that, like Tom Petty, or Dave Grohl, so it’s great. It’s really stuff that I didn’t expect. But for me the main thing is that I love music so much, and I love making it and writing it and working with guys and gals on it, and I’d do it for nothing. I’d do it if I didn’t get paid. People always say ‘Why don’t you retire or something?’ And I say look if I retired, I’d still be doing exactly what I do! I would write songs. I wouldn’t just stop tomorrow so I might as well not retire. As Willie Nelson said famously to one of my friends recently, when he was asked the same question, “retire from what?”