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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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'?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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...
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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?
Paul: "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!