An Up and Coming Artist‚
Last week I was lucky enough invited along by some journalist pals to this years BRIT Awards at Londons Earls Court. The star studded bash is always a good laugh and, for many of the industry a chance to really let their hair down. As I arrived, a group of photographers gathering by the entrance excitedly ran over. 'Is your man coming?', asked one feverishly. 'Not this year guys', I told them. 'Shame', another remarked, 'its what this event needs'. Discussion then ensued about Pauls 2008 performance and it being the only time that audience figures didn't drop during the finale of the show, when Paul closed the show in epic style with his band after receiving the Outstanding Contribution Award.
This first encounter of the evening proved to be the blueprint for most of my conversations in the following hours. Including one with X Factor judge Louis Walsh who gushingly told us that Paul was the best thing theyve ever had on the show and its going to be impossible to top in the future. Well, we are hardly going to argue with that!
When I reached my table and the wine got flowing the journalists were discussing what's going to be big in 2010. The usual names cropped up. Ellie Goulding, Marina and The Diamonds, The Drums, Detroit Social Club, Delphic and so on (D obviously an important letter if you want chart success this year!). I was asked what would I be working on this year and who did I think would be an up and coming artist? 'Easy', I said. '2010 is all about one up and coming artist. We are looking after an amazing singer songwriter that will tear it up this year'. The guys at the table looked at me curiously. 'Well, tell us, who is it'? As if by magic, right at that point, the ceremony went to a commercial break and inside the hall the large screens revealed footage from 2008s Awards of a very famous face, armed with his band, almost setting the stage alight during that electric set that had everyone up on their feet. 'Of course', exclaimed one of our party, 'he means Paul McCartney'. 'Yep', I said, 'Paul McCartney is THE up and coming artist'. The table erupted with cheers.
The joke, and a great one it is too, wasn't mine.
Last week Paul and the team met up at the Bat Cave (as named by Lauren Laverne when she came to interview Paul at his office last year) for the first tour production meeting of the year.
After much banter, led by our very own Bat Man I must add, it was down to some exciting work. Plans and ideas were flowing for the way the show should look, set list ideas (Paul has been working on some surprises) and lots of other detail such as rehearsal scheduling and tour programme ideas. When Paul and his promoter Barrie laid out the proposed forthcoming dates Paul explained they had been chatting and liked the idea of calling the tour the Up And Coming Tour, just like the journalists at the BRITs the joke wasnt wasted on us!
As you will have read exclusively on PM.com the first couple of shows have been announced. The first show will see Paul return to Phoenix for the first time since 05 and the second show brings Paul back to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time since 1993. When discussing the Hollywood Bowl show and what we could come up with to wow the audience, Paul joked that we could fill the pond with 5000 little yellow rubber ducks that could explode in Live And Let Die! In the end it was decided against so as not to offend rubber duck lovers.
Congratulations to fellow news breaker, Perez Hilton. On his website on Saturday (20th Feb) Perez ran the first of many speculative stories, Paul McCartney To Perform At The Hollywood Bowl. He urged his readers to keep their eyes and ears open as the tickets are going to sell out first. Of course we exclusively ran the official news earlier this week (Monday 22nd February) confirming that the show is taking place.
Outside of the music world Paul was keeping us busy too. I was at home one evening and my mobile rang. Can you confirm or deny that Paul McCartney is right now, at this moment, in the Houses Of Parliament?, demanded a member of Her Majestys press. Well, I said, I cant do either. Ill have to check it out for you. I hung up the phone. A quick call to Pauls right hand man, John, revealed that he had seen the light on as he drove past and decided to stop off. Inside MPs were debating planned reforms to the voting system, seemingly unaware that musics number one hit machine had taken a seat above the chamber. Within minutes more calls, text and emails coming in, all wanting to know Pauls interest in voting reform. When I chatted with Paul the next day he told me it was something he used to often do regularly and that a lot of people didnt realise that there were viewing gallerys there open to the public. A source at the Houses Of Parliament told us that following Pauls visit a lot of the visitors they have had since have been wearing Paul McCartney t-shirts.
Finally, and on a much more serious note, news broke last week that EMI were planning on selling off Abbey Road studios to help pay their debts. We were hearing all kinds of rumours of the amount of money they were asking for being simply too high for anyone other than a property developer. The thought of Abbey Road falling into the wrong hands and not continuing as a working studio just doesnt compute. As the press reported during the week its vital that Abbey Road stays open as a functional studio. Social network groups (Click Here) have been attracting hundreds of thousands of supporters across the world, campaigning to keep it going. Its relevance and importance in the recording world is unrivalled. Its THE most historic studios in the world, with bands such as The Beatles, Radiohead, Manic Street Preachers, Pink Floyd, Oasis and many more all recording there. It pulls in millions of visitors each year and still attracts the biggest bands in the world to record there.
Paul spoke to BBC Newsnight, telling them, There are a few people who have been associated with the studio for a long time who were talking about mounting some bid to save it and I sympathise with them. I hope they can do something, itd be great. Obviously Ive got so many memories there with The Beatles. It still is a great studio so it would be lovely for someone to get a thing together to save it.
The Beatles are just like Shakespeare‚ so lets save Abbey Road for the nation, wrote DJ Chris Evans in The Sun. Lord Lloyd Webber declared his interest in buying the studios in order to keep them going as a working studio.
On Sunday, after mounting pressure, EMI released a statement confirming that they are holding discussions for the revitalisation with appropriate third parties and that they have developed plans to revitalise the studio and these plans would involve a substantial injection of new capital. They confirmed they had received an offer for the studio last year but believe it should remain in EMIs ownership.
For Whom The Bell Tells will be keeping a very close eye on developments and urge all our readers to join any campaign to keep the studio working.
Thats us done for this week‚ almost. As Im finishing off the column, (I Want To) Come Home has just come on Radio 2 (where it is currently play-listed by the station), which reminds me to remind you that the digital release is out now.
In the meantime, keep tuned to PaulMcCartney.com in the coming days. Lots more exciting announcements and news expected very soon. Well continue to give you the insiders view.
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