Paul McCartney Commenting on Wings

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by lawrev, Sep 28, 2021.

  1. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I was doing some internet research (always risky!) on the McCartney drug bust in Japan in January 1980 that killed the Wings Japan tour, and ultimately a U.S. tour in the summer / fall 1980. In reading the press reports and the Macca interviews throughout the years later, I was surprised to read that he did not consider the musicians to be that good, or Wings to be that good. I am sure he wasn't referring to his late wife, which garnered him a lot of criticism in the early to mid 1970s.

    Have others read the same things, or perhaps remember more at the time?

    It seems to me that there were a number of excellent musicians in the band, with Henry McCullough, Jimmy McCullough, Denny Siewell, and Laurence Juber (who still releases music today as a first - rate fingerstyle guitarist), for starters. I think Denny Laine was integral because he could play several instruments as the song required.
  2. bward

    bward Forum Resident

    Boston, MA USA
    I would have to see the exact quotes.

    But he seemed to be in a funk back then. So he may have been projecting frustrations he was feeling into others.
    It’s too bad. I would have loved to heard another Wings Lp with Laurence’s exquisite playing.
    I suspect he was tired. And the bust was a big shock. So, as any artist would, he looked for a new direction.
  3. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I found this rather quickly on the internet - the 1984 Playboy interview with Paul and Linda, at the time of Give My Regards to Broad Street. In that same interview she said that Paul showed her where Middle C was on a piano.:

    PLAYBOY: "Linda, what was the Wings period really like for Paul?"

    LINDA: "I think Paul felt very frustrated. He wanted it to work with Wings, but we just picked the wrong people. He needed the best to work with, but he had to carry almost all the weight."

    PLAYBOY: "Former members of Wings have written some pretty nasty stuff about both of you... in particular, that Paul was dictatorial to work with."

    LINDA: "It's part of the same problem. Paul is such a good musician, and none of the Wings were good enough to play with him... including me, for sure. They were good, not great. But on this film, 'Give My Regards to Broad Street,' he's had a chance to work with the best. As for all the other stuff that's been written about the two of us, so much of it is rubbish. Former Wings guitar player Denny Laine wrote two articles: One said I led Paul around totally, the other that Paul totally dominated me. I thought Denny came off badly. I could see some girlfriend or an ex-chauffeur writing such rubbish, but a musician?"
  4. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

    Paul was probably hurt that the final Wings album was received so poorly (even though it’s a actually a great album) and was just reacting negatively to his disappointment.
  5. Rojo

    Rojo Forum Resident

    In the interviews that I have read through the years, he has often been slightly dismissive of his Wings' collaborators.

    When he speaks of them individually, he has offered some praise (like his comments on the Henry Cullough solo in "My Love") but, at the same time, when speaking of them in general, the "good but not great" comment made by Linda is descriptive.

    I remember Paul saying he collaborated with Denny Laine for some songs and pointing out something like "he certainly wasn´t John Lennon", which is obviously true but perhaps not necessary to remind everybody of.
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  6. tspit74

    tspit74 Forum Resident

    Woodridge, IL, USA
    After Wings he used guys like Steve Gadd, Stanley Clarke, David Gilmore, Andy McKay, Ringo, etc. when he formed Wings, he intentionally didn't form a supergroup. He wanted a band that would grow together similar to the Beatles. He got his wish and then regretted it I suppose.
  7. BertDert

    BertDert Forum Resident

    Was watching the ICA rehearsal footage from the Wild Life deluxe set and was struck by the contrast between Paul and Linda vs Denny L and Henry. The McCartneys were giving it their all and the other 2 seemed to be almost embarrased of what they were playing, like kids in an elementary school orchestra. Denny S seemed to be in the zone.
  8. Wings is an illusion.
    It was always The Paul McCartney Group.
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  9. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    Agreed 1001%.
  10. BertDert

    BertDert Forum Resident

    I think this is obvious. The interesting thing is, if he was truly unsatisfied with the musicians, he could have certainly worked with anyone he wanted. Yet he chose to let the music suffer (his own estimation) in order to maintain that illusion of a band.
  11. moople72

    moople72 Forum Resident

    She doesn't come off well here. Notably, Give My Regards is one of his worst, if not the worst. Can't blame the musicians!
  12. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    You’d be surprised how NOT obvious it is to a great many McCartney fan….which I certainly am…but I never considered Wings a true, bonafide “band” in the conventional sense. They were no more than a more structured version of Plastic Ono Band…a vehicle used for the purpose of putting out the “primary’s” music. In fact I’m more prone to say that John had a bigger aesthetic connection with the various POB people than Paul ever did with the guys in Wings.
  13. Rojo

    Rojo Forum Resident

    I think Paul McCartney truly longed to be in a band after the Beatles' breakup and it probably took him some years to realize that this was no longer possible.

    He wanted to be just one of the guys in the band but, at the same time, he wanted things done his way. He could get that with the Beatles, to some extent, because they started the group when they were young and completely unknown and always remained peers, to some extent.

    Obviously, he could not replicate this kind of dynamics with Denny Laine or Jimmy McCulloch.
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  14. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    Great observation.
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  15. Derek Slazenger

    Derek Slazenger Specs, rugs & rock n roll

    Hmmmmmmm.......I'm not sure how I would have felt being Jimmy (had he still been around) or Laurence and being described as "good, not great" by Linda, bless her!
  16. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    I think McCartney has demonstrated through his career that he'll reflect what he perceives to be the general consensus about anything. People think Wild Life is rubbish? So does he. People think Band on the Run is his best album? So does he, etc etc.

    I'm pretty sure that his views on Wings have mirrored the general perception of the band. So, in the 1980s they were widely seen as rubbish, but towards the end of the 1990s it became clear (to him) that, actually, Wings had created its own fanbase, independent of the Beatles'. And that, actually, quite a lot of people quite liked Wings. And, suddenly, so did McCartney.
  17. JDeanB

    JDeanB Forum Resident

    Charlotte, NC USA
    I found Linda's comments to be disappointing, though I do believe at some point she added that she thought the 1976 band was great. Her comments seemed to be lashing out, in particular at Denny, for those negative statements he was making at the time. I don't think Paul wanted someone to be his equal in the band. In the Little Wing book, it's stated that Paul was concerned after the departure of Jimmy and Joe that the band would not be as good.
    It's too bad Paul really was tired of the whole band concept by the time Lawrence and Steve Holley joined. Had Paul brought the material, these guys could have really excelled. Lawrence has stated that the songs Paul was writing were not 'band' songs. Paul had four kids by then, from toddlers to teenagers. Keeping a band going, doing an album a year and touring as well as having a large family was a lot on his shoulders. I have met and talked to Lawrence several times; any comments about Paul or Linda were complimentary and with affection.
  18. So he liked himself. What else is new?
  19. Luke The Drifter

    Luke The Drifter Forum Resident

    United States
    Good comments, and I think that is what he claimed and maybe even believed. However, in hindsight it is pretty obvious he (perhaps subconsciously) hired a bunch of lesser musicians, and he ran the show. You can't be The Beatles Part II, unless you assemble the kind of talent they had, which was impossible anyway of course. He should have just went solo (which he really was), and called them his backing band (which they really were).
  20. TommyTremor

    TommyTremor Walkin' the boogie

    Rochester, NY
    I'm sorry, but if you're working with Paul f***ing McCartney, you'd better be ready to take direction. The fantastic band he's been touring with the past 30 years seems to be handling it fine.
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  21. Lexhibit

    Lexhibit Forum Resident

    Sorry Paul but all the Wings album projects was your best "solo" work hands down. Our ears and the tapes don't lie.
  22. Hooperfan

    Hooperfan Your friendly neighborhood candy store owner

    New York
    True, which makes albums like Wings At The Speed Of Sound so strange
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  23. intv7

    intv7 Senior Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    In all fairness, this is Linda, not Paul -- in the wake of some nasty stuff being said about them in the wake of Wings folding. I doubt that Paul really thought that Denny was the wrong guy. He worked with him for over a decade, and there's this little song they co-wrote that became the biggest selling UK single of all time. But that's what happens when relationships go bad. "The only thing you done was Yesterday". Okay, John. :rolleyes:
  24. Ah, yes...Wings ' Mardi Gras' album.
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  25. intv7

    intv7 Senior Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    I think the problem with Wings was that Paul wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He talks about wanting to be part of a "band" -- but he wanted to be the leader, he wanted to give direction, be the boss. Seems like he wanted to take all the credit when the reviews were great, but be able to pass around the blame when they weren't.

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