The AJC spoke to Paul McCartney this weekend for a story that appears in Living & Arts next Sunday to preview his “Green Concert” benefiting the Piedmont Park Conservancy on Aug. 15.
The playlist is sure to contain lots of nostalgic favorites, but his upcoming show inspired me to break out one of McCartney’s newer, more experimental CDs. If you haven’t heard The Fireman, the pseudonym for McCartney’s electronica work with Youth, a London DJ and producer, you don’t know what you’re missing. The first two releases were wholly instrumental and McCartney was uncredited. In 2008’s terrific “Electric Arguments,” vocals were introduced and the secret was out. If there’s any doubt that a 67-year-old musician can still innovate, this is proof.
About The Fireman, McCartney told the AJC:
“It was going in and just completely making it up as we went along, just playing any instrument I wanted, putting in anything I wanted, and we would just make something of it. [Youth] would say: “What if you go in the studio and pretend to be a DJ on American radio?” So I’d just go in and say (imitating an American accent): “All right, everybody now, come on, time to wake up, get it goin’, come on, it’s a beautiful day out the-ah.” And he would just choose, you know, “Beautiful day out the-ah,” “Beautiful day out the-ah,” loop it up, “Beautiful day…” And for me it was very, very easy and very free-ing. We did crazy stuff. We’d just use bits of pieces of things. We’d get people, just someone who came to the studio to fix the plumbing, we’d give them little questionnaires. There was one question where we asked: “Have you ever seen a UFO?” And we got this girl who said, “Yes, I have.” And we said: “Oh, tell us about it.” And so on one of the Fireman records this girl says (imitating her voice): “I was sitting out there, and I saw a great big light…” So we used all of that. It was a kind of improvisational, experimental.