Paul McCartney Interview
May 13, 2002 - Atlanta, Georgia
By Dave Marino

Special thanks to Dave Marino for granting us permission to transcribe and print his interview!

Dave Marino, former morning DJ of Z93 Classic Rock was granted the only interview by Paul McCartney during his stopover in Atlanta. He interviewed Paul on Sunday before his opening night performance. Paul talks about the events of September 11th and how it inspired his song "Freedom" and the Concert for NYC which he set up. And of course Paul discusses Dave Marino's title of the "5th Beatle"!

Right: Macca in Atlanta 5-12-02, photo by Louie Favorite Click here to read the AJC's review of Macca's Sunday night show

Dave's intro to the interview:
We're gonna jump now into an interview that was the only interview in town, little Chris scored this one for us. He blew off CNN to talk to us Sunday and did not talk to anybody else in town. Here's Paul, he walks into the room and we're sitting down and saying 'hi' and everything and little Chris was a little bit nervous and asked Paul what he could do to make him a little bit more nervous...

Dave Marino: What can you do to get Chris a little bit more nervous?

Paul McCartney: Bit more nervous? I don't know, I can just sort of say 'whoa, why you so nervous Chris?' [everybody laughs] It's really uptight and it's really uncool, man.

Dave Marino: He is very uncool and see, you knew this as soon as you walked in here.

Paul McCartney: No, he's really very nice and we're just kidding folks.

Dave Marino: You say that in every interview I say something And then you go, 'no no, were just kidding it's all in good fun'. Why is that?

Paul McCartney: [deadpans] Because you get sued otherwise...

Dave Marino: OK, so you're just kidding. I want to thank you first of all because what happened after September 11th, I thought you did one of the most generous things that I've ever seen anybody do...and I'm not it true that you were on the tarmac in New York City?

Paul McCartney: Yeah, we were you know, we were scheduled to go back to England. Heather had been in New York the day before to receive an award for her charity work from Redbook Magazine. That had gone great, and she and ten other women had got these awards and we were just due to leave on the 11th. And we were at the airport, JFK at quarter to nine, and the pilot just said, 'sorry, there's been a terrible accident in New York and those of you on the right hand side of the airplane will be able to see'. And we saw one of the trade towers smoking live kinda thing. And You know, immediately like everyone else, I think we just thought, 'whoa, you knows its just one of those things where somebody's died at the controls of a plane, as happened you know a year or so before the guy had a heart attack in his plane and just kept on flying across the states, and thought it was like that. I thought, 'oh god, it's just crashed in'. But then pretty soon afterwards Heather said, "is the other one on fire?". I said, "No, it wouldn't be because they look close together from here, but they're far apart." So this shock wave went around and the people on the plane knew and the captain got on and said, "Well, they've closed the airport" and we'd all started to know what happened, you know. Shock ran through the country...the world really. And, so we just you know felt like allot of other people kind of hopeless and helpless. What can you do? So, as we'd be gonna go back to Europe to put together some concerts, we just said, "you know what? Were gonna stay here, put it together here, cause this is where people need the help". And we were very proud to do it, it's something I'm really glad we did. Cause it really did help New Yorker's spirits and I think the rest of the country. And it helped us, know, we had somewhere to put our feelings. And some way to show our solidarity for the American people over this atrocity. You know, this attack on freedom.

Dave Marino: We'll, you've been so good to America. And I believe America's been so good to you over the years, too. Then you write "Freedom". Obviously, that's what spawns it, but what was going thru your head when you were sitting down with it?

Paul McCartney: We'll, you know, cause I knew we now had the idea of the concert coming up, so I thought, 'well, what am I going to do on the concert, well I thought ok, I'd heard that some of the radio stations that day had been playing "Let It Be" as a kind of spirit raiser. And I thought, 'ok, well I'll do that and I know another couple of other songs I can do. And I thought, 'I really would love to have something special. Even though it's very difficult to launce a new song in a concert like that. I thought, if I can write something really simple about people, even people who aren't very musical can just hear that chorus and go, [loudly] "freeeedom". Put their hands up and shout you know. I said if I can do that. So that's what got me the idea for it and I sat down and wrote something. Actually Heather helped me out, kind of arranging it and putting it, you know verses. She said, "I think that would be good". And I said, "you know what, you're right". So, its kind co-effort. She was helping on...organize the uh tickets for the firemen. She found out that even though we'd been told that all the firefighters were gonna get tickets for the concert. A couple of days before she found out that they hadn't had them, which was typical of those big organizations things. So she said, " well, I tell you what" and she started like campaigning and got onto the big wigs. well, immediately they send her over 200 tickets, "oops you know, keep quiet." She and I went down to ladder nine. Went down and saw the guys, just went it there and say, "Hey guys, you got tickets?" They say "no". One of the guys said, "tickets for the Yankees?" [everybody laughs] and we said "no no no" It was really good, it was very sort of umm...worth it, and the guys were so pleased. Heather just went around saying, "you working tomorrow night?" The guys said "no". "Would you like some tickets?" "Yep!". And so, she was very helpful putting the whole thing together.

Dave Marino: We played...I had a thing, I don't know what struck me, but I played "Live and Let Die" that next day and took on...not that it should have taken on that meaning, that's not why you wrote the song, but when I heard it again I said I want everyone to just listen to this in another way. I don't know if you'd condone that but boy it sure made us feel like that...

Paul McCartney: Well you know...I know what you mean exactly because when we were putting the show together without really thinking we put that after "Freedom". So you get the vibe of "Freedom", you know like "hey don't mess with us" and then you get like "Live and Let Die" [sings 3 notes]. I'm not a violent person but I really think you know that that was a terrible act of war, and in the worst possible way, cause you didn't even see your enemy. In the old kind of wars at least there is a guy there, he's shooting at you, you can shoot at him, you know? I'm a pacifist, but when you've gotta defend your country, you've gotta defend you're country, that's your wife and your kids, you know that's gotta happen when someone attacks you like that. It's the hidden enemy and its much more difficult. So, I certainly do agree that you've gotta answer that kind of atrocity, it just can't go unanswered. It got in a bit of trouble in England, they said, "well Paul you're a come you're saying different now?" I said, I'll tell you why, I am a pacifist, but if someone smacks me in the face, I might just be likely to smack him back. Its the way it has to be you know, its a very reasonable thing I think, you've gotta defend. I don't advocate going out and just taking over the world. I think if someone comes like Hitler...attack Britain, what should we have done? Just sort of lay down and say, "Ok, come on in?" What should you guys...ok you've taken out the twin towers, the pentagon part of, and you'd start to spread anthrax? OK, we'll let you off this time? No way, impossible situation.

Dave Marino: You know you've got the "Driving Rain" CD that come out. What a wonderful CD, cause you know allot of people, over the years people say 'oh that's a good McCartney album or that's not a so good McCartney album.' Nobody ever says 'that's a bad McCartney album'. But they'll say, 'that's good, that's great, that's not so good', you know and you get through that. THIS IS GREAT!

Paul McCartney: Well thank you. I mean I really like it, it's nice now being on tour. When we released it originally we weren't on tour. We didn't have videos, we didn't have all the stuff that helps people know its out. So, its actually getting allot more attention now, than when it did when it was released. It got allot of great reviews, so it’s very gratifying. You know, now were doing , I think we do about 4 of the numbers in the show from the album. And, I always love that thing, you come out on tour and your first week people don't quite know what it is that you're doing and after awhile they've seen the video on MTV or they've heard it on they start to like those songs as much as the hits.

Dave Marino: Well, they become "'the hits" at that point, I just saw "Lonely Road" for the first time last week, your video, and the first thing that stuck out in my mind was well, it was excellently shot, but there are some pretty girls in there...

Paul McCartney: You just like the women [everyone laughs] ...I know that, you just like the women. We made that for people like you [more laughs].

Dave Marino: I suck into the easy part, I'm the easy guy right?

Paul McCartney: Well, you and allot of other guys...

Dave Marino: How hip can you look in this thing, they've got you dressed all hip, you might as well be back in the '60s, you look good!

Paul McCartney: You know, hey, well the director just came up the idea you know, actually a few of us came up with the idea. Actually, it originally all started with our publicity guy, Geoff, who said you know, 'why dont you make the kind of video like that'.

Dave Marino: Kind of Madonna- like video, is really what it's like, isn't it? I don't wanna compare it to anything, but its kinda shot in a weird way...

Paul McCartney: Well, you know the nice thing about it is, if you're gonna do videos, you've gotta do something that's gonna be shown. There's no point doing some really sort of interesting artsy thing and MTV sort of says, 'well, you know, its not us'. You wanna get it shown world-wide really. In every gym, you know?

Dave Marino: Don't you think they could just sit around watching you write for like about 10 hours and people would watch that. I mean the “Ozzbourne’s” would have nothing if they did the "McCartney's" right?

Paul McCartney: [Paul laughs] Well, you know, the thing is, you think, they'd show it, but the truth of the matter is...things like MTVparticularly...they have a kind of style, and if your video doesn't fit in that style it becomes more difficult for them to play it. They kinda say, "hmmm, it just doesn’t fit with us". Like radio formatting and stuff. So, it was something we thought about this time. And we knew we were coming out on tour, we were going on the road. The lonely road...we knew we were having the red car in all the photos. So we tied it all in. It just made it more sort of in your face.

Dave Marino: Do you love going on the road or do you hate it? Or do you love it for a little while and say, 'I wish this was over'?

Paul McCartney: I love it...yeah, I must say, I think I wouldn't love it if we were out like endlessly, you know just all year. But the cool thing is, we’re out for kinda quite a limited period. In fact now were gettin a bit desperate, cause like the gigs are running out. And all the people on the tour are "I know, there's not enough left in front". But, its been such a great tour of America that you know now we'll have a little bit of summer. But, to answer your question, I really have loved it and I think everyone on the tour...such a great atmosphere. That people walking down the corridors, you'll find, people getting on great with each other and really enjoying it. And the band is so cool, you know its really a good band. For me it’s just a pleasure to get up and play with them. Sound checks are a pleasure. I mean just warming up before the thing, we goof around, we have allot of fun on this tour. Lot of nice little things happen...Heather's sister for instance, we have a thing with balloons before the show and we normally get people to volunteer for that. They don't have to be really great dancers, allot of the other people in the pre-shows have to be good dancers. But so, her sister, was doing this and this great fun, camaraderie comes out, you know. They like all get nervous, all the amateurs...our accountant, Heather's sister and the other accounting ladies, you know. They're all like "ohhhh", but they're very professional, you know they wanna be rehearsed. They go through this whole, they're more nervous than we were. They saying, "I don't know how you go on and do a whole concert", they have 3-minutes to walk through the concert with some balloons and they were terrified out of their wits. And in fact, I'm actually gonna put him on the spot, this is Geoff, our publicist, cause I don't think that he's got the nerve to do it...I this is a challenge, this is a challenge...

Dave Marino: Make him do it tonight, make him do it here in Atlanta. Will you do it Geoff?

Paul McCartney: He'll have to build up to it, I think. Alright, he's gonna do it in Florida.

Dave Marino: That's a far cry from Wings, just hitting the road in the vans isn't it?

Paul McCartney: Yeah, you know when we started off with Wings, it was all post-Beatles. And we either were going to do the whole thing really big, and just sort of say 'ok, we're Wings' and I'd just get musicians who were kind of really famous, and just go out and just stay at up at that sort of big Beatle level...OR we decided...what we decided to do was kinda just be a young band again, just be like a band that had to work it all out, had to get to know each other, had to learn how to play together instead of just a supergroup. So that was what we did, we just ah...put together a kind of goofy little group and then worked at it. And...those first gets were pretty goofy.

Dave Marino: We have a controversy going on down here, because I do a thing called "Breakfast Beatles", you know about that?

Paul McCartney: Yeah, yeah of course I do...yeah...

Dave Marino: So, we do that every morning at 7:30, and I say, you know Paul," I'm Dave Marino, the 5th Beatle" and eveyrbody goes "yeah, whatever". They say, "how do you know that" and I say, "because Paul called and told me I was the 5th Beatle". So, just for everybody here in Atlanta...I mean, you can say whatever you want...I'll see how you answer...

Paul McCartney: [pauses] Yeah...well...its a lie. [everybody laughs] And I'm sorry to...I'm sorry to put you down man, but YOU, me and all the people listening KNOW that's a lie. But listen, just for now why don't we change this and you can just edit the tape, [mocks] "that's true Dave, that sure is true." [everybody laughs]

Dave Marino: Thank you Paul for clearing that up for us. Ladies and gentlemen…Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney: Hey Atlanta, good to be here.