Fans Q&A with Paul
Thursday 12th August 2010 Montreal, Canada
The PM.com news team managed to catch up with Paul backstage in
Montreal just hours before he was due to take to the stage for his
first show in that part of the world in 21 years. Shortly after 6pm
Paul had finished his soundcheck and invited us into his dressing room
for the ˜fanish inquisition'.
The corridor outside Paul's dressing room was manic with activity
and preparation, as you'd expect. When we got into Paul's dressing
room we immediately entered a cool and calm environment. Paul kindly
offered us some refreshments but we wanted to get straight down to
business. We had your questions and we wanted answers.
Since inviting your questions we have been snowed under! To date
we've had in excess of 20,000. As you can imagine filtering through
the questions was not an easy task. If Paul were to answer everything
he'd never have time to do anything else! We randomly selected a batch
to put to the big man.
Here we go¦
First up from Steven Hirschberger: What are you usually up to in
the last few hours before you start the show?
Answering extremely stupid questions like this, Steven! (laughs)
No, no no, I'm not at all, that's just a joke. We start with the
soundcheck which is an hour or so and then come back to the dressing
room and do various things like maybe an interview, or answering
questions like these, or reviewing artwork. Then meeting and greeting
and then people get ready.
From Adam Walsh: Why did you decide to alter the set list to
include more Wings classics this time round?
I always like to try and get songs that represent my whole career,
rather than just my Beatles career, so Wings is an obvious inclusion
there. Also, I'm finding that a lot more people are hip to Wings now a
days so we add Wings, Fireman and oddities just really to keep it kind
of interesting and not just a Beatles sing-along. For instance
˜Ram On', which really came about because I had my ukulele for
the beginning of the tribute to George, 'Something', and started
messing around on ˜Ram On' and saw a sign in the audience so
thought, 'Yeah, why not.' So that's started creeping its way in.
From Kevin Lillard: You've been with this fantastic band for so
long, do you feel in some way like you have evolved into an actual
band as opposed to them being your back-up musicians?
Yeah, I really do. For a while I had just thought of them as me and
my back-up but I just one day suddenly realised that we had been
playing together so long as a band that we were now a band who'd put
in all the work and now we operating like a band, feeding off each
other, we read each other. If anyone slows down or speeds up then we
all go with it, which is a cool thing about a band. I finally realised
that we are each other's band.
From Emily Mitchell: How do you feel when you get on stage and see
all those people who are screaming, shouting and celebrating for you?
Everyone likes to be appreciated so it is quite a thrill for us all
in the band to see the audience going so bonkers - them appreciating
us being there and playing for them. It feels great.
From Liz ˜The Kizar': With so many outstanding significant
unparalleled accomplishments that you have uniquely achieved, what
would you consider the core of your legacy?
It's sort of difficult because I never analyse what I do, so I
suppose you'd have to put songwriting in there somewhere as being the
core of my legacy. And then I suppose playing live - singing and
playing live, and then making records. So I suppose you would
summarise that by saying songwriting, playing live and making records.
From Kelly: What and when was your favorite place to perform, from
any stage of your career and any type of venue?
That's an impossible one to give one answer to because what happens
is that you get different favourites. This year it has to be the White
House, which is lofty and wonderful- you know, playing to the
President of America and his family. Many many years ago it could just
have been playing down The Cavern on a sweaty night. Both are equally
as exciting but in completely different ways. Then playing a huge gig
like we did in Brazil at the Maracana Stadium to 184,000 people, or
playing in Rome to 500,000 people or Kiev to 300,000 - those are all
really exciting, but the others are just exciting, they are just
exciting in different ways. It's very hard to just choose one.
From Jane Waugh: What's it like for you knowing that there are
people of all ages crying copious tears of joy when they are at your
concerts? Has it ever brought you to tears?
It's very emotional actually, yeah. The good thing is that I can't
see them most of the time because of the way the lighting is and you
have the spotlight in your eyes. The last time I remember it bringing
me to tears was when we were playing Amoebe records store in Los
Angeles and I was singing 'Here Today' for John, which is always an
emotional song because it brings back memories of me and John when we
were kids. I was holding it together until I looked into the audience
and because it was a record store I could see everyone clearly. I just
saw this girl who had totally lost it and was weeping and it got me. I
tried to look away and forget it but it was impossible - I just went
with her. So that's the last time I can remember. It does happen
occasionally with such an emotional song. And these gigs are emotional
because I am a family guy so it's great to see these people enjoying
themselves together, people of all ages. When you see them getting
emotional it can affect you. But as I say, a lot of the time I can't
see it, which is probably OK, or I'd probably just be weeping through
the whole concert - how many tissues can I use?! Thousands!
From Nick Walker, Weather Channel presenter: I use my voice in my
job so I know how important it is to keep it in shape. I saw your show
and was knocked out by your vocal stamina. Do you have any tips on how
to keep the pipes from giving out after 3 hours of singing?
I am very lucky - touch wood! - because I don't really think about
it that much. I have this sort of belief that it is going to be
alright and I think that's the main tip. But I do a couple of things -
I inhale Olbas Oil - I put a few drops in hot water and inhale the
steam, or sometimes gargle with a bit of salt water. I don't know if
it really does anything but the ritual does. It helps mentally - I
think it is mainly psychological.
From Mauricio Floresmeyer: How was your experience in Mexico? Was
there one song that you enjoyed the most?
I have been really enjoying 'Ob Bla Di Oh Bla Da' recently, because
that's kind of new to us, even though it is an old song. I think we
are kind of surprised at how well it is going down. I thought for
years that it might be a good song to include but I didn't realise it
would go down this well.
PM.com - What about the moment with the lighters in 'Let em In'?
In Mexico the special moment there was during 'Let Them In' when I
realised there were 50,000 people clicking their lighters in unison.
It just looked so amazing - it was like they were providing their own
light show. And normally we never get to see the light show, so that
was great! I liked it so much that I stopped and did a little 'click'
moment with them and that's always very special. As I said to them, it
is only in Mexico City that we have ever seen them.
From Evans The Sweep: I saw your show in Cardiff and it was
amazing. My girlfriend noticed that you didn't take a drink for the
whole gig - is this true? And if so, how do you manage to go a whole
show without rehydrating?
That's great actually because that's what all girls say! And I love
them because they are girls! But that is what all girls say, 'Ooooo
you didn't even have a drink of water!' I'll tell you what, I was
thinking about it and thinking why and if you think about the Beatles,
with all that screaming going on, us then going, 'Hang on a minute,
I'm just gonna have a drink of water.' Or can you imagine Elvis
Presley (...sings a bit of Elvis....), 'Hang on - must have a little
rehydrate'. So the truth is that when we started out nobody did that -
you just got on with your stuff and went off and had a drink then if
you wanted and were thirsty, so I'm in that habit.
PM.com - Bands have it too easy these days...
I don't know....I just wouldn't want to drink water when I'm on.
There is water there if I need it but I think it is the tradition that
I am from. It you think about it the only drinking that really went on
at that time was Frank Sinatra drinking his Scotch and having a ciggie
whilst singing, 'One for my baby and one for the road' with his little
pork pie hat on. We used to think he was funny drinking on stage. Mind
you, it was scotch which we found amusing. We always thought that if
we did that then we would fall over! It's just that we never did that
and so that's my tradition. It's interesting - girls are always
surprised by that.
From M. Alexander: What books are you reading on this tour?
Barack Obama's 'Audacity Of Hope' and that's it at the moment.
From Mariya Taberko: I have always wondered how you feel when you
go up to perform. Do you ever get nervous or is this easy for you
considering the length of your career on stage?
I find it gets easier except for certain gigs which are the ones
that are completely different from what you usually do. For instance
we will do something like the White House which is so different that
you do get a little tinge of nerves. But we were very lucky with this
White House show because somehow or another we didn't actually get
nervous. I was much more nervous in the early days and I think that is
because of two things - one is that I have been doing it so long that
I am used to coping with the nerves, but I think the most important
thing is that when my promotor Barry puts tickets on sale he will ring
me and say, 'Oh they sold out in five minutes!' and when I hear that
news I think, 'OK - they really want to see me' and that really helps
with the nerves. I think what nerves are, are just thinking, 'They're
not going to like me, I'm not going to be any good, all these people
are going to hate me, they'd really prefer other bands but their
boyfriends just dragged them to see me!' But I don't think that any
more because it is obvious these days that the audiences we are
getting want to be there, so it helps to give you confidence.
From Sayne: What is your all- time favorite bass line? It could be
one of yours or something else that you really admire?
I kind of like Day Tripper and I like it because it is a bit of a
challenge to sing the song over it...and it's not a bad bass line either!
From Matt Gill: Have you ever considered doing a full album tour
such as the things Roger Waters has been doing recently?
I have considered it but I just can't get into the idea. It feels a
little bit limited to me - just drawing from one album...I don't
know.... it just feels a bit boring. I just think what if you want to
sling another song in? Because if it is an album tour then you sort of
can't stick Oh Bli Di Oh Bli Da into the middle of Band On The Run!
You could do it but it wouldn't quite work. As an idea it is kind of
intriguing but it hasn't landed with me yet. I have been asked to do
it a couple of times, mind you.
From Kelley Bennett: And finally, what do you do straight after the show?
Wouldn't you like to know (laughs)... we get on the bus. We always
do a runner and because I don't really eat or drink before a show we
eat something and have a drink and normally talk about the show.
PM.com - Is it easy to wind down after a show?
Well that's really what it is about. It's OK. The nice thing about
the band is that we are immediately together after the show on the bus
so we have a drink and toast each other and that does help you unwind.
Then I'll have a cheese and pickle sandwich to go with it - living
high on the hog really! Then we just have a chat and a laugh about
things we have seen in the audience or mistakes we have made and that
just helps you come back to the real world.
Is it weird to go from all those people to just being with the band
on the bus?
No, not really - it's what you are used to. You go from that big
moment, then you're coming off stage, getting your dressing gown on,
high-fiveing a few people and it gets to be a little routine. You get
on the bus and then it is like....slump! Because then you can actually
let it go and you don't have to put on any show for anyone so that is
really good. And then, as I say, you can have a little drink - I don't
drink any alcohol the whole day so that's nice when I can have a
little touch of a party. We can help bring each other back down,
gassing and laughing, talking about what we saw in the audience and a
debriefing....although it is really just a party!
And with that our time is up. Paul needs to get ready for his
performance just hours away.
Thank you so much for all the questions. Sorry we couldnt put them
all to Paul. We should get the chance of another session around the
Band on the Run release so start thinking about your questions now!