ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW:
On June 16th 1966, columnist Alan Smith spoke with Paul McCartney. The interview would be published in the June 24th edition of the New Musical Express, with the teaser on the front page in bold print: 'PAUL SPEAKS OUT!'
In this chat, Paul describes the accident in which he broke his front tooth and injured his lip. Paul also discusses the writing and recording of the Beatles upcoming album 'Revolver' as well as their latest single 'Paperback Writer' which was currently number one in the UK charts.
In describing the yet-unreleased Revolver album, Paul credits himself with making the strange tape loops that would be used on the recording 'Tomorrow Never Knows.' This is confirmed by Beatles studio engineer Geoff Emerick - who, in writings and interviews, agrees that these tape loops were made at home by Paul, who then excitedly brought them into the studio for everyone to hear during the very early stages of the album project.
- Jay Spangler, www.beatlesinterviews.org
I have interviewed Paul McCartney traveling in a car at speed. Battling up a crowded flight of stairs. In a smoky billiards room. On the telephone. At a recording session. Climbing up a ladder. Walking along Tottenham Court Road. In a taxi. Trapped in a room with fans breaking the door down. Even on a roof. Bizarre situations some of them may have been, but the one that beats them all took place at BBC-TV's 'Top Of The Pops' the other day. Paul, perched on the edge of a bath, answered my questions. I sat on a lavatory. An odd place for an interview, perhaps, but at that time the room in question happened to be just about the only quiet place in the entire TV Centre. Girls were here, there and everywhere - mooning up and down the corridors, standing in the entrance hall and being forced away from the Beatles' dressing room next door. Cups of tea were brought in and Paul rested his in the wash basin.
"Fans," he said simply, almost thinking aloud. "Funny really. Some of them have a go at me and John and George and Ringo. They say we don't make enough personal appearances. If only they'd realize... They think we've just been loafing about the past few months. Don't they realize we've been working on our next album since April? It's a long time."
"I suppose there's some that won't like it, but if we tried to please everyone we'd never get started. As it is, we try to be as varied as possible. On the next LP there's a track with Ringo doing a children's song, and another with electronic sounds."
He started to finger his lip, almost without thinking, and I asked him about the reports that he'd broken a tooth.
"You're right," he admitted candidly. "I did it not long ago when I came off a moped. Now I've had it capped... Look."
I looked but I couldn't see anything. A perfect mend. Only a small scar remains on his lip as a souvenir."
"It was quite a serious accident at the time. It probably sounds daft, having a serious accident on a motorized bicycle, but I came off it hard and I got knocked about a bit. My head and lip were cut and I broke the tooth."
I was only doing about 30 at the time, but it was dark and I hit a stone and went flyin' through the air. It was my fault... it was a nice night and I was looking at the moon."
He sipped his tea and reached for a cigarette.
"What about all this 'Didn't Paul McCartney look ill on TV,' then?" he went on, referring to Mama Cass' remarks in NME's 'America Calling' last week. "I havent been ill. Apart from the accident, I'm dead fit. I know what it was though. When we filmed those TV clips for 'Paperback Writer' I'd only just bashed my tooth, and we'd been working a bit hard on the LP and I hadn't had much sleep. We haven't had much time for anything but the LP. I mean, 14 songs - all got to be written and recorded till you're satisfied with them. It's hard work, man."
"This came about because I love the word 'paperback.'" He seemed to savour the word and rolled it around his tongue. "Anyway, when we did the song, we wrote the words down like we were writing a letter. We sort of started off 'Dear Sir or Madam,' then carried on from there."
"If you look at the words I think you'll see what I mean, the way they flow like a letter. But that's it really, there's no story behind it and it wasnt inspired by any real-life characters."
Paul and the rest of the Beatles shrugged off questions about them not making No. 1 first time with 'Paperback Writer' with a sort of 'That's show business' air. They regard it as just one of those things... and as they are up there at No. 1 THIS week, perhaps they are right.
Paul shows more interest when you ask him about his homes. There are three now: one in St. John's Wood, London; one in Liverpool; and the newest acquisition - a farm in Scotland.
"Aye the noo," he beamed, affecting a credible Scots accent. "It's just a wee small place, up there at the tip of Scotland, and aye plarrn tae make the occasional trip up therre for a wee spell of solitude."
Suddenly he dropped the accent and got back to normal. "It's not bad though - 200 acres and a farmhouse as well. I can't tell you how much it was, but it was well worth the money as far as I'm concerned.
"As far as the St. John's Wood house goes, I've furnished it in traditional style because I don't go for this modern stuff that always looks as if it needs something doing to it. I like it to be comfortable. And those mod leather chairs... ugh. They're too cold."
I asked him about the mystery instrument mentioned in my NME feature last week, bought for £110 by recording manager (producer) George Martin and used by him on one track of the forthcoming album. George had aimiably refused to name it until the Beatles had given the all-clear.
Paul laughed. "Why the mystery? It's only a clavicord and it makes a nice sound. There's no real weird stuff on this LP. Anyway, I've stopped regarding things as 'way-out' anymore. I've stopped thinking that anything is weird or different. There'll always be people about, like that Andy Warhol in the States - the bloke who makes great long films of people just sleeping. Nothin' weird anymore. We sit down and write, or go into the recording studios, and we just see what comes up."
He took another sip of tea.
"D'you know the longest session we ever did in the studios? It was for the 'Rubber Soul' album. It went on from five in the evening till half-past six the next day. It was tough but we had to do it. We do a lot of longer sessions now than we used to, because I suppose we're far more interested in our sound."
I asked him about the Beatles' film situation.
"Still the same," said Paul, flatly. "There's nothing yet but we don't mind waiting. One thing is definite - In the next film we want to do ALL the music ourselves. It hasn't been what we've wanted before, with us writing songs and others doing the score."
He fingered a red carnation in his lapel. All the Beatles had them; gifts of a girl at London Airport terminal, where they'd been for cholera injections in time for their Far East tour.
"I find life is an education. I go to plays and I am interested in the arts, but it's only because I keep my eyes open and I see what's going on around me. Anyone can learn if they look. I mean, nowadays I'm interested in the electronic music of people like Berlo and Stockhaussen, who's great. It opens your eyes and ears."
"On the LP, we've got this track (Tomorrow Never Knows) with electronic effects I worked out myself... with words from the Tibetan Book Of The Dead. We did it because, I for one, am sick of doing sounds that people can claim to have heard before. Anyway, we played it to the Stones and the Who, and they visably sat up and were interested."
"We also played it to Cilla (Black) ...who just laughed!"
He himself grinned at the memory.
Source: Transcribed by www.beatlesinterviews.org from original newspaper issue