Episode 185: Wild About Wings

Episode 185: Wild About Wings
Pat welcomes rock journalist David Wild back into the Co-Host chair to discuss Paul McCartney's other band... Wings!
From January 29, 2015

With your host:

Pat Francis

00:00:00 Pat welcomes us to the show. Kyle saw Into the Woods last night and hated it. He would have preferred it without all the songs, which is weird because it's a musical. I guess Young Master Kyle just isn't a fan.
Before we bring in today's guest, Pat has two items of business on the docket. First, the Facebook artwork for this episode is done by new Rock Solid artist Phil Dufour. Second, Phil has a digital download code to give away to the starving masses. It's for Bruce Springsteen's box set The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984, which is Bruce's first seven studio albums. All you have to do is answer this question: What are the two non-LP B-Sides released from The River? THe first person to e-mail the correct answer to the brand new e-mail account Rocksolidpodcast@gmail.com will win. Oh wait… someone's already won. Nevermind. But hey, at least I plugged the e-mail.
Today's special guest is returning to the podcast after his first appearance on the episode Diamond's Diamonds. It's writer and critic David Wild!
David has been doing a lot of walking lately, averaging about 20,000 steps a day. He usually listens to podcasts to get him going. A nice thick podcast will get him around 10,000 steps.
00:05:00 David was recently at an event with Bill Clinton. David usually walks around the arenas of various music shindigs that he goes to, but the Secret Service put the kibosh on his excessive walking.
Today's topic: Wild about Wings! Where Pat and David discuss Paul McCartney and his band Wings. David traveled with Paul and Linda McCartney through Argentina, the capital of meat. But alas, no meat was available in craft services because of the duo's vegetarian status. David holds Linda in very high favor because she helped him get married to his wife. Pat gets sad seeing pictures of Paul and Linda together. David says they were a true love story. Rarely is there a good marriage in show business, but they had one. Linda was also a talented photographer. She took David's author photo without him even noticing.
00:10:00 David met Paul and Linda at an album release party for the album Press to Play while he was working for Rolling Stone. David had a lot of trouble talking to them because he was so nervous. People lose their minds when meeting a Beatle. David's successful lawyer brother teared up when he met Ringo Starr. His brother didn't even ask to meet Ringo, David just introduced them to each other. David never saw Wings in concert.
00:15:00 David got to be on tour with Paul for Linda's last tour. He spent a lot of time with Paul. David still doesn't know why Linda ever took a liking to him. She was warm, maternal, goofy, sexy, funny. Basically the complete opposite of Heather Mills (including in the leg department). Linda kept the warmth and kept things normal. After Linda died, it was not good for Paul. He didn't look happy. Then a few years later David was backstage at the Grammys. He was very busy, but Paul wanted to talk to him, so screw work obligations. David told Paul that his kids were great and Paul came to life. When David sees Paul with his wife, he thinks Linda would be happy that Paul is happy.
00:20:00 Before we get into the music, there are random musings: David would also like to do a post-Wings McCartney episode. Not a lot of guys have third chapters in their career. It's McCartney and Bob Dylan. Pat says he's never read anything bad about Linda's kids. David says all of the Beatles women are great. People have Beatles radar. David would have Beatles arguments with Paul and David would usually be right. In Argentina where The Ramones are big, David told Paul that The Ramones named themselves after Paul because he used to call himself Paul Ramon. Paul had no idea.
Alright, let's get into the music. It's not Paul McCartney solo, it's only Wings. Or is it Paul McCartney & Wings? It depends on the album. Wings is also just Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine as the core with a variety of other musicians coming in and out.
00:25:00 David starts us off with his favorite Wings song ever. Off the album Wings at the Speed of Sound, the song is called "Beware My Love". Wings has 12 top ten singles. David picked very little hit songs while Pat has mostly hits on his list. Paul is probably the most prolific Beatle in terms of solo output.
00:30:00 Pat says Denny Laine periodically plays Band on the Run front to back at a guitar shop called McCabe's in Santa Monica. Wait… what? While we all try to comprehend that factoid, Pat plays his first pick "Rock Show" off the album Venus and Mars. Around this time Paul was starting to be an arena act again, so he needed big rock songs to play for a rock show. That was one of them. And then Paul gets a horn section so the live shows sound like the albums. And then Paul and Linda got the same haircut.
The Wings over the World Tour when Paul started doing Beatles songs live. He only did a handful, but now he does a ton of them. David actually prefers less Beatles songs live and more Wings stuff. His Sgt. Pepper is Band on the Run. David plays a deep cut off the album called "No Words". Band on the Run is Paul's creative high point post-Beatles.
00:35:00 Pat's next pick is found on the compilation album Wings Greatest. It's the single "Junior's Farm". That's Jimmy McCulloch on guitar, who was also in Thunderclap Newman. David's friend Howie Epstein--yes, that Howie Epstein, of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers--did a cover of "Something in the Air" with the Heartbreakers. Howie was one of David's groomsmen at his wedding. He and David used total on the phone every night for hours about music. Rock in Peace Howie Epstein. He actually saved David and his wife when they were in Jamaica staying at Johnny Cash's house. Let that bit sink it. They were driving and got in a car accident in the middle of nowhere. One of the friendly Jamaican chaps whose car they hit pulled out a switchblade. Howie, who was a small man, threatened the guy off. David got taken to jail, but then he told them he was staying at Johnny Cash's house and they let him go. Wow, what a crazy, awesome story. Meanwhile Pat's stories usually just involve him and Murray eating lunch together. David would prefer to go to lunch with "Legs" (a.k.a. Christy Stratton) and April Richardson.
00:40:00 David's next pick is off the album Venus and Mars. It's a song called "Letting Go". David points out that in that song the pot was working for the McCartneys. Those marijuana cigarettes really did the trick. "Letting Go" was a Top 40 single… that went to number 39. Guaranteed some program director got some lovely nose candy to make sure that song got a few extra rotations. And that PD's name? Mike Siegel. Even back then he was snorting his dreams away, the fiend.
Pat's next pick is a US-only inclusion on Band on the Run called "Helen Wheels". Why keep the singles off the albums? Apparently it's a British thing.
00:45:00 This next song features Denny Laine on lead vocals. David thinks Denny is a sad sack rock guy. He got a hit with The Moody Blues, quit the band before they made it big, joined Wings, and then got kicked out of Wings. And now the poor bastard is playing guitar shops for sandwiches. Maybe that sandwich part isn't true. David plays "Time to Hide" off the album Wings at the Speed of Sound. Paul is a musical dynamo. He even knows how to make background vocals sound perfect. The Concord Music Group are the ones who do the McCartney remasters. They send the albums to Pat, but not to David!
00:50:00 People don't like major record labels anymore. Except for Concord Music Group! Keep sending Pat those albums, you beautiful bastards. Pat's next pick is a single called "Goodnight Tonight", found on the compilation album Wingspan: Hits and History. It's one of Wings' dancier numbers. David calls Paul the greatest composer of our times. Although, there may have been a period when the pot was working a bit too much. McCartney has recorded hundreds of songs, so there are going to be missteps.
00:55:00 One of those clunkers was the last Wings album called Back to the Egg. For the album, McCartney brought together a bunch of rock guys to do a rock orchestra. A bunch of no names like John Bonham, Kenney Jones, Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, and Ronnie Lane. The song is called "Rockestra Theme". Not a lot of people like Back to the Egg. It was around the whole Japan arrest incident, which got the tour blown. Bad memories, bad reviews. Plus the punk and new wave stuff was happening and the "older" guys like Paul were being dismissed as irrelevant. Meanwhile Paul is still playing stadiums and those guys calling him irrelevant are still in a shitty club playing in front of 12 people. By the way, a year after Back to the Egg, "Coming Up" from McCartney II reached number one.
01:00:00 Pat's got another single available on Wings Greatest. The song is "Hi, Hi, Hi". Mike Siegel enjoys that song, let me tell you.
David's next pick is the B-Side to the single "Mull of Kintyre" that is a bonus track on the album London Town. The song is a raunchy little tune called "Girls' School".
Pat has another song from Wings Greatest. It's one of, if not the best James Bond theme of all time, "Live and Let Die". David aptly points out that the lyric "The crazy world in which we live in" is a grammatical error. As an English major, I'm smiling.
01:05:00 David has got a big one coming up next. Off of Band on the Run, it's the hit "Jet". Fun fact: Sgt. Major is not an American rank. But what is Jet about, exactly? According to Inspector Kyle, Jet is the name of a pony that Paul owned.
Pat and David get into the Paul McCartney tribute album The Art of McCartney. It's not good. Paul's band plays on it, but the singers can't live up to Paul's voice. And the arrangements aren't that different. David actually has some friends who play on the album.
01:10:00 David actually met Peter Frampton at the Beatles 50th Anniversary Tribute Show last year and forgave him for the abysmal Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie. Covering The Beatles is no easy task. David is currently working on the Grammys. He cannot comment whether or not AC/DC is playing. But there are a few rehearsals that he wants to bring Pat along to.
/td> Pat's next pick is off the album Wings at the Speed of Sound. It's the often derided hit "Silly Love Songs". People shit all over it, but it's actually very meta
01:15:00 The next item on David's list is a song recorded before Wings, but it was re-recorded with Wings as part of the live album Wings over America. It's "Maybe I'm Amazed (Live)". Paul is a soulful bastard.
Pat's next pick is another one from Band on the Run. The song is the underrated favorite "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five". Paul was going to end the Grammys with this song a few years ago, but he changed his mind at the last minute.
01:20:00 David's next pick is the B-Side to Jet and it was sorta Paul Simon's Graceland before Graceland. Paul went to Nigeria to record music and two guys in the band quit the band because they refused to go. There's a little bit of Africa in this song. Off the album Band on the Run, it's a song called "Mamunia". Odd that Paul hasn't done the whole album tours. He could do it with Band on the Run.
Pat goes to jolly old London Town for his next pick. It's a song called "With a Little Luck". London Town is David's least listened to Wings album.
01:25:00 Pat wonders if John Lennon ever picked up a Wings album. They probably kept tabs on each other. David has a similar story that is a ROCK SOLID EXCLUSIVE! When McCartney was working with Elvis Costello, there was an awkwardness between them because of a supposed slight. Elvis was on the album Flowers in the Dirt, but didn't have a final copy of it yet. David did and he played it for Elvis. There was a song on it that people would think Elvis would hate, but he actually loved it. Elvis is actually quite the sweetheart.
David plays a song from an album that does not get a lot of play, Wild Life. The song is "Tomorrow".
01:30:00 McCartney is a very happy-go-lucky guy, which people are annoyed by. David reasons that Paul's mom died early on in his life and when he got through it he decided to be a very happy man. David calls him one of the greatest artists of all time who is actually a good dad. Lennon fucked that up the first try, but Paul didn't. Fame and fortune gives you time to be a good parent, yet a lot of people aren't.
Pat plays a rather obscure song in the Wings collection. Off the album Venus and Mars, it's a song called "Magneto and Titanium Man". It's weird that Paul would include Marvel characters, but he's actually a big fan of Marvel comics.
01:35:00 David got to meet Stan Lee and he's still full of life even in his 90s. Speaking of Stan Lee, David's dad Stanley got him his first Beatles album when he was a kid. There is some brief vinyl talk.
David's second to last pick is a bonus track off the album Red Rose Speedway that was recorded live in the Hague. It's called "The Mess".
01:40:00 Pat's last pick is the title track "Band on the Run" from the album Band on the Run. It's three great songs in one. Paul was mashing up songs before it was popular. Young Master Kyle is asked how many Wings songs he is familiar with. Kyle knows the hits. He's enjoying this episode, however. David says kids don't care about the Lennon/McCartney divide, they just hear the music.
David's last pick is one he chose for emotional reasons because Paul wrote it about Linda. It's very meaningful for David. Off the album Wings at the Speed of Sound, it's a song called "Warm and Beautiful". The song is a gem, yet is lost in a sea of great McCartney ballads.
01:45:00 Plugs 'R' Us. You can find David on Twitter @Wildaboutmusic. Or you catch him on Facebook at David Wild. Thanks so much to David for coming on. He'll certainly be listening to this episode while he's getting his steps in.
Pat takes us home with another song off of Band on the Run. It's called "Mrs. Vandebilt".
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:25:00 Beware My Love Wings at the Speed of Sound Wings David
00:30:00 Rock Show Venus and Mars Wings Pat
00:30:00 No Words Band on the Run Wings David
00:35:00 Junior's Farm Wings Greatest Wings Pat
00:40:00 Letting Go Venus and Mars Wings David
00:40:00 Helen Wheels Band on the Run Wings Pat
00:45:00 Time to Hide Wings at the Speed of Sound Wings David
00:50:00 Goodnight Tonight Wingspan: Hits and History Wings Pat
00:55:00 Rockestra Theme Back to the Egg Wings David
01:00:00 Hi, Hi, Hi Wings Greatest Wings Pat
01:00:00 Girls' School London Town Wings David
01:00:00 Live and Let Die Wings Greatest Wings Pat
01:05:00 Jet Band on the Run Wings David
01:10:00 Silly Love Songs Wings at the Speed of Sound Wings Pat
01:15:00 Maybe I'm Amazed (Live) Wings over America Wings David
01:15:00 Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five Band on the Run Wings Pat
01:20:00 Mamunia Band on the Run Wings David
01:20:00 With a Little Luck London Town Wings Pat
01:25:00 Tomorrow Wild Life Wings David
01:30:00 Magneto and Titanium Man Venus and Mars Wings Pat
01:35:00 The Mess Red Rose Speedway Wings David
01:40:00 Band on the Run Band on the Run Wings Pat
01:40:00 Warm and Beautiful Wings at the Speed of Sound Wings David
01:45:00 Mrs. Vandebilt Band on the Run Wings Pat