Lucky Luxy & Lovely Linda
This is an interview of Tony Prince with Linda McCartney recorded in March 1976 in the Elmtree Studios where Wings were rehearsing for their tour.
TP: Welcome to Radio Luxemburg Linda for the first time in your own right, minus Paul, with your own show!
Linda: ‘plause ‘plause!
TP: Now I’d like to talk first, for the benefit of the listeners, about your new LP, which we hope to feature along with this interview tonight. Can you tell us something about it?
Linda: It’s a great album. It’s called “Speed of Sound.” And it’s very much a group album, this one, and I think everybody will like it, so play a lot of it.
TP: A few questions I want to ask you about touring. The problems of a mum and a wife on a tour, a world tour of the length that you’re going into. Now, what are the basic problems you have to cope with?
Linda: The real problems for me are seeing enough of the children because I don’t want other people to influence them. I want them to have as normal a life as possible. So it’s really: you get home and you’re a bit tired and getting up early to be with the kids and keeping them under our ‘wings’ as they say.
TP: But they’re going with you on the tour?
Linda: Yeah, we start in Copenhagen and then we go to America, I think in April. So they’ll come all the way with us.
TP: It’s an incredible long tour, isn’t it?
Linda: Yeah, it’s over two months.
TP: How many bags do you have? How many suitcases do you have to take on such an event?
Linda: Well, lots. I look, I think, too much to Australia; so we’re trying to keep it pretty basic this time and not get overcomplicated with so much you cannot even think straight, you know? We’ve gotta take a lot for five people. That’s for sure.
TP: What about the children’s education? How’s that coming along? Are you quite pleased with the way things are going?
Linda: I’m quite pleased. I’m not THAT involved with education. I don’t believe THAT strongly in it. I mean, Heather will have to have a tutor with her this time. But I think pretty much, if you get experience in life and if you understand people more, than what you learn in school. I wasn’t very good at school, in school (see that?), and my parents wanted me to be good in school and with our kids kit’s sort of they don’t have the pressure of parents being worried about that so much.
TP: So you do say that travelling around the world is as good as school anyway, because they meet so many different people?
Linda: Well, that’s what we’ve discussed with the schooler. Heather is very worldly, just having gone with us everywhere we’ve gone.
TP: They’re beautiful children, extremely beautiful.
Linda: I’m not prejudiced, but I agree with you.
TP: Well I remember my wife, when we came to see you at Wembley stadium, the Beach Boys concert, and you had the children with you then, didn’t you. My wife afterwards said “I couldn’t keep my eyes off those children. They were so gorgeous.”
Linda: Yes, they’re really nice and that’s it. They’re very normal ordinary kids. They’re not at all affected, posh or anything.
TP: Do you always keep your cameras around, always keep it loaded, ready to shoot wherever something comes up?
Linda: Yeah. I’ve got it down to one camera now.
TP: Oh really? Your favorite?
Linda: Yeah. Just one that I can hang around a bit and still take good pictures, you know.
TP: A lot of people think that your Dad’s Kodak and all that, but it’s not…
Linda: He’s not, no, that was a press rumor. I’ve got nothing to do with Eastman-Kodak, except I use their film.
TP: You couldn’t have free film if he would have been your Dad.
Linda: Oh, definitely and a few cameras as well.
TP: And your Dad in fact is a….
Linda: A lawyer in America.
TP: In New York?
Linda: Yeah. New York City.
TP: That must be quite a job.
Linda: For him, not for me. He’s quite a good lawyer. He’s very much for the artists, which is nice. Nice change.
TP: When Paul was leaving The Beatles, he was talking of your father being involved. What, from the management point of view or would that have been….
Linda: No, not management at all. Actually it wasn’t really too much to do with the Beatles. I know Paul wanted him to handle his business affairs, not manage The Beatles or anything, but sort of straighten them out and help them out. But when the others didn’t want my Dad to do that, Paul still wanted him to do just him.
TP: And does he today still, in fact gets involved.
Linda: Yeah, well, he’s involved to the point where he takes care of us, you know. Make sure we’re pretty straight
TP: About the diaries. First of all a couple of years ago you had a nice diary out, which was sent as Christmas presents to people in the industry. And then this year the diary came out in colour. And in fact it went on the market for people. I saw an ad in the Daily Mirror for it and people could buy it. And now your own book’s coming out. How did the diary go? Are you quite pleased with it?
Linda: Yeah. It was a real last minute thing, ‘cause like when I did the Nashville Diary, which was photographs I’d taken in Nashville of the group, I gave it away as a present and I started getting letters saying why can’t we buy it. So this year I did one of Polaroid pictures I had taken and about a week before Christmas we said ‘let’s sell it.” You know, a bit of mail order. Did very well actually, I must say, for a last minute thing. I’d like to see it’d be more available. We’ll see. Each year it gets better.
TP: And the book’s coming out…..
Linda: In September or October.
TP: What will it be called?
Linda: It’ll be called ‘Linda’s pictures.’
TP?: Your photographic career, I could call it that couldn’t I? It goes back before you met Paul doesn’t it? That was in fact your first job, wasn’t it?
Linda: Yeah, it was. It was way before I met Paul. I was working for a magazine in New York, which I really didn’t like very much, didn’t have a very good job there and I’d taken up photography in Arizona where I lived for a few years. And through the magazine I got to photograph the Rolling Stones. For some reason they said I would be the only photographer in this boat they’d rented. Being a girl, I’d say. So when I got off this boat, they’d rented a yacht for a press party, a lot of journalists and me, the photographer. So actually, all the journalists needed pictures, so they asked me if they could use mine. And I decided then and there to be a photographer.
TP: That was the start of your career. And you’d not done a job before?
Linda: No, just on the magazine. I hadn’t done a photography job at all.
TP: What about the first time you met Paul. Do you remember that distinctly?
Linda: I do indeed. We were at the Bag O’Nail. I went with Chas Chandler and a few of the Animals, just a group of people. We went down to see Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Fantastic they were. Speedy they were. Just great. Paul was at a table almost next to us. You know it’s the old story. A little flash from him, a little flash from me. Love at first sight. It was something at first sight. I don’t’ know if it was love.
TP: Did you go out with each other right away? Did he come and sit with you?
Linda: Well yeah that night we went over to a few more clubs and stuff. There’s a lot of time in-between. We saw each other again in New York and well but at least a few year went by before we got really serious, or a year or so.
TP: You’ve actually got a track on the LP I hear.
Linda: This is what we find, yeah.
TP: What about this track. You did not write it did you?
Linda: No, Paul wrote it. He wrote it in Adelaide, Australia, after one of our shows. And it’s called ‘Cook of the House.’
TP: Why is it called ‘Cook of the House?’
Linda: Eh, it’s about food and cooking and the pleasure one gets and how I enjoy cooking.
TP: In the early days, I guess you came under a lot of criticism, as did everybody in that early, awful, formal break-up period of The Beatles and all that. How did you handle that mentally yourself? I mean, did Paul say, oh forget it, they’re only, you know, oh, let it go. What was your attitude to all the critics?
Linda: Well, I had to worry more about learning to play piano and keyboards, so most of my time went really to that. I wasn’t too worried about what critics said, because in a way they were right. They caught me at a learning stage and I can see it was such a contrast to what people expected. I can only see why they put me down.
TP: I only hope that now they will come to the party and you know, you have really come on incredible as a musician. Did you feel you have, I was just watching you, you know….
Linda: Well, I got so much pleasure out of it. I think that at first when you don’t know anything you cannot really get pleasure out of it, but now that I really do know chords and I have a feel for music, I really love it. I can only see me growing.
TP: You must be the ultimate in what we say, if you’re getting on with your husband, getting involved in his affairs. I mean you actually came into t he picture and Paul said, all right you’re gonna be a member of my band and you had to do it.
Linda: That’s true. I think, also that can be a disadvantage. If you’re around your husband for work and pleasure. Sometimes, you’ve been working all day and if you hadn’t been working with your husband he’d come home and you’d be all fresh and he’d be all tired and you could build up his moral. But sometimes we come home, we’re both exhausted. But it’s better than not.
TP: Right. I mean seven years of marriage; what about barmies? I guess you must have barmies like everybody else?
Linda: Oh yeah. We’re very, very normal. I mean we try not to, but you cannot help it. But, the older I get, the less I wanna get involved with bickering with people, but sometimes you just cannot help it.
TP: Right, it clears the air anyway. What about the last tour, when you went to Scandinavia, in the bus and everything? How did you enjoy that? Did it not work out?
Linda: Well, I was a bit nervous then, definitely, ‘cause that was really the beginning of learning to play piano. I don’t think I was that good, don’t think the band was that good. The best bit was the bus, getting the sun on top of the bus. But it has changed so much, now that we have Joe as a drummer and Jimmy in the group and everything. It’s just great now. It really is good.
TP: Well, not just you have become a better musician. I think even Jimmy or Denny have taken vibes.
Linda: Definitely. Jimmy has come on a treat, you know.
TP: I get the impression Paul vibes on Joe the drummer as well.
Linda: Yeah. He’s a great drummer.
TP: He’s been looking for that drummer for years.
Linda: We’ve had a lot of drummer troubles. When we had our last drummer Jimmy wasn’t that struck and Denny said “well, let’s try, let’s keep trying.” But then when we met Joe, well that was it.
TP: How do you see the future, Linda? Do you just see it continuing as it is now, being a family woman, doing the photography and tour after tour, album after album?
Linda: Oh no, I don’t think it’ll stay that regimented; tour, album, tour. No. I’d like to see us get into a few films, a bit of television. Just so many things we can do. But definitely grow. I don’t want to get just a boring life. I think we should……well……I mean, if anybody wrote a great script for us, we’d take it on your know, the whole band.
TP: You mean acting parts and all that?
TP: Just to increase life’s interest, hey?
Linda: Yeah and also because we like a great movie and we like good telly. And there’s not that much good on now at the moment anyway. But it’s still very hard, ‘cause at the moment Paul still has to write everything for us and it would be nice to get other artistic hands in there, you know. Great script-writers definitely would help.
TP: In this day and age all superstars leaving Great Britain because of tax-reasons; going to live in the States. Why haven’t you and Paul?
Linda: Well, we were just talk about this on the way out. ‘Cause I mean, I think the government of England is very silly because it’s making pop stars leave and therefore losing all industry. The studios will be idle here. Soon be idle here. Because, you know, everybody is recording in Germany or America. WE haven’t left because I don’t believe money should rule your life. I like England and Scotland. I like to live here, but I think it’s outrageous, you know. We were saying one day we should talk to Harold Wilson and tell him how he is driving away a great income for Great Britain, you know?
TP: I think that he is aware. There are rumours that they’re trying to make a deal for pop stars. Well, I hope it comes off.
Linda: Well, also people in music stimulate a lot of work and do have a lot of money flow through and if all of them go to America, England is really gonna lose that. At the moment most of them have left already.
TP: What is it about Britain you like in comparison to what you don’t like in America?
Linda: I don’t know. I’ve not always wanted to live here, but for a long time I have like it. I think it’s the sort of country-side. I like the people. They’re very sort of ordinary people, rather than laid-back people. I’m normally a laid-back person myself.
TP: What about when you got a night off, yourself and Paul. I don’t suppose it happens very often, does it?
Linda: Yeah, we get quite a few nights off. I mean, we take ‘em. Well, if you wanna know the truth, we do what most people do. Watch telly, have a good meal, put your feet up, relax.
TP: What about up in Scotland? Do you go down the village pub or anything like that?
Linda: Not really. We’re pretty far from the pub. We’re back in the hills. No, we listen to music, watch telly, paint a bit, draw a bit. Just talk. Go out for a walk. It’s beautiful over there.
TP: Do you have discussions of The Beatles?
Linda: Oh yeah. In fact we talked to John last night. You know, there’s always rumours about whether they will get together. The funny this is, the press has it, it’s on, it’s on definitely lad. Well to tell you the truth, nobody has talked to anybody about it. We talked to John; Paul talked to John. IT wasn’t even mentioned. Just saying: how are you doing, just great, yeah really, and the baby, you know, all that.
TP: It’s quite amicable, then?
Linda: Oh yeah, it’s really amicable. But as for a concert in the future…..
TP: you know what a gossipy business this is. The rumours fly…about the Beatles. Now the current rumor is that John and Paul are mates but George and Ringo aren’t seeing eye to eye.
Linda: I thought that was about a year ago, that rumor.
TP: Was it? Oh, now, I just got it.
Linda: Well, I don’t know. The way I feel is everyone is sort of friendly. I think the press makes too much of it, to tell you the truth. Because the truth is, it’s pretty much the way it was. It’s all friendly and nice.
TP: What about Yoko? How did you get on with her?
Linda: Oh, I get on with her great! Much to people’s surprise. I think she was really a nice, good person. She’s amazing when you see her now with her baby. She’s not at all pushy or anything. She is just very much like a woman, you know? And they’re very happy. John has settled down a lot and well, so ordinary that it’s funny that it should still go on.
TP: And when they left for a year? When Yoko came to New York and John stayed in L.A. I thought it was all over didn’t you?
Linda: Well, we’d seen a lot of both of them in that period and you could tell it wasn’t all over. You could tell John loved her and she loved him and they just had a few problems. But Paul and John had a few good talks and it and it just worked out. They got back together again.
TP: Anyway, Linda, I think Paul needs you for this continuing rehearsal. I wanna just once more congratulations with your seven years of marriage with Paul and the music industry and I’m really delighted, as are all the fans of Paul and the Wings, you know, that you’ve come on so well musically. Good luck with the book.
Linda: Thank you and I hope you’ll play a lot of the new album.
TP: We will indeed. Thank you, Linda.
Linda: O.K. Tony and keep going Luxy.