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Paul McCartney looks back on 15 years with touring band
Paul McCartney's current touring band is celebrating 15 years on the road with the former-Beatle. Fans are quick to point out that that's three-years longer than his partnership with John Lennon, and about five times as long as the most durable lineup of Wings. "Macca's" current band consists of 28-year-veteran, keyboardist Paul “Wix” Wickens, along with guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, and drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr.
McCartney was asked about the longevity of the band by Rolling Stone and admitted, "I know. It's crazy. We don't analyze it too much, but yeah. Suddenly, that time period came up. We just know how to play together, we enjoy playing together, and the audiences seem to like it. So there doesn't seem to be any reason to not do it. That's the thing. What was it Willie Nelson said about retiring, 'You should retire from what?' Ringo (Starr) said, 'It's what we do.' This band is just really easy to get on with. They play great. We're all trying. And we just want to make it sound great. I think that keeps the band together. We don't have arguments -- that helps. I mean, we have our moments when, 'Oh, I wish I hadn't done that,' or 'Please don't do that tomorrow,' or whatever. But mainly, it's good."
- McCartney revealed some of his re-show rituals: "I have a routine when I'm getting ready. If I'm in Japan or Europe somewhere, I get called an hour before the show, and I will probably have had a good 20-to-30–minute session with a translator, trying to learn some local phrases so I can be a bit more one-on-one. But then an hour gets called, and I have things I do. I just do warm-up stuff. I do certain little things that's (sic) become a ritual. It was just stuff to do to try and prepare for a show, but it becomes a bit of a ritual. And then when I'm done, I go check out the band, go see the guys. And we have a little pre-show ritual we do there. . . We run through a couple of things. We check our harmonies. We sing together. And then right before we go on the show, we have a huddle and just get vibed up for the show. And then that's it: We're done. We're on, and that's it."
- Paul McCartney shed light on how the current band fell into place during his spring 2001 recording sessions in L.A.: "I was going to do the Driving Rain album, I was talking to the producer, I said, 'I better get some people -- or you better get some people.' (Laughs) Y'know, we're gonna work with musicians. So I said, 'Y'know what, you know guys out in L.A.' I said, 'Why don't you make a couple of suggestions' -- so he did, and they sounded great. Abe (Laboriel Jr.) on drums and Rusty (Anderson) on guitar. So, anyway, I worked with those two guys during the Driving Rain album, and loved working with them."
- Brian Ray, McCartney's touring guitarist since 2002 is still amazed by his boss' onstage stamina: ["We get a break, and he doesn't. He stands up there in front of the crowd for another, I don't know, 20 minutes more than we do, doing his solo bit in the middle. We get a break, and I am flattened by the end of the night!"
Photo by Gustavo Caballero | Getty Images