HITS Daily Double
"I’m really loving playing with the band. Even soundchecks are a bit of a buzz, just hearing the noise we make."


Jody Denberg Hooks Up With Paul McCartney
Deep in the Heart of Texas

KGSR Austin PD Jody Denberg is an old pal of ours, a huge Paul McCartney fan who had interviewed the man for HITS at the time of Run Devil Run. Inspired by HITS’ own glowing assessment of Macca’s current tour by mesmerized Messrs. Scoppa and Trakin, Denberg, one of the country’s leading APM programmers, posed some questions for the eternally winsome Paul during a recent stopover in Dallas for the first of two nights at Reunion Arena.

If I’m not mistaken, in ’76, when you did the Wings Over America tour, didn’t you start in Texas and keep a house here for a while?
That’s because Showco were here, so we rehearsed here. We started the whole thing off here, tried out all the systems, you know. So, yeah, we were in Dallas, yeah. It was very hot. But we bought a horse. We used to rehearse in Fort Worth and travel back and forth from Dallas. And on the way one day, Linda spotted this Appaloosa. We ended up buying it and bringing him back to England. And he’s like the father of many of our horses. She loved those horses.

You have so many songs to choose from for your set list. I was wondering how you put it together.
I just see how much I can remember, you know, instantly. I just get out a bit of paper and a pencil and just think, "Now, if I was going to this show, what would I like to hear." You know, just put myself in a seat kind of thing out there. "Oh, I’d probably like ‘Maybe I’m Amazed.’" I just write a list out in no particular order. And you figure, well, for the end of the show, you might just do "Let It Be." And you know, you just find the ones you think you’ll probably do.
And then there’s a second wave, where I just start putting down what seems like some slightly madder ideas. And I decided, because I’ve been doing some poetry readings, to do a song that I’ve been doing in the readings, just as a lyric, "Here Today," which I wrote for John. I ended up, you know, with a big list of ideas—too many, in fact. We couldn’t have done them all. But I sent that list to the band, who were mainly in America, with one of the guys in London. And I just sort of said, "This is the ballpark; this is what I’m thinking about. What do you think?" And they all got back and said, "Yeah, great." And Rusty [Anderson], the guitar player said, "Hey, have you considered doing ‘Getting Better?,’" because he liked that song. And I said, "No, I hadn’t, actually. So add that to the list." I took a couple of suggestions. And that’s it. We went into rehearsal, and just kind of honed it down.

Did you think about doing anything from Flaming Pie or Run Devil Run?
I was actually going to open with "Honey Hush." [Sings] "Come into this house. Stop all…" It’s a good welcoming song. But the idea changed, and that sort of fell by the wayside. From Flaming Pie, I was going to do "Calico Skies." But, you know, in rehearsals these things just change, and certain numbers just oust others.

Do you think you’ll ever get around to making your own anthology of solo material?
The bootleggers have all that stuff now—I just have to arrest one of them and put it out! It’s one of those things I’ll get around to. This tour is taking up a lot of time now. People are starting to wonder whether we’re going to do a live album from this tour; there seems to be a lot of demand for that. And I love the band—I love what we’re doing. We’re having some good shows. So they’re thinking of doing a DVD or something and a live album. So that’s interesting. That will probably come up before an anthology. But one of these days, I’ll get around to all that.

I was reading in a book that it was 40 years ago today, the Beatles signed their first recording contract.
It couldn’t have been me, man. I was in kindergarten, I think, at that time.

Do you keep up with all these Beatles anniversaries and historic occasions?
No, but it’s nice when people tell you. It’s hard enough keeping up with my family’s birthdays. That’s the nice thing about the Beatles. There’s always someone who will tell you, "Did you know it’s the 200th date since…," and you go, "Wow, is it?"

You’ve been talking about plans for Let It Be. Do you envision a DVD with extra material and then a new version of the album without the Phil Spector production?
What happened was, I met [Let It Be director] Michael Lindsay-Hogg on an airplane somewhere. And we got talking and he said that every time he goes into this certain shop, all the guys behind the counter say to him, "When are you going to have a DVD of Let It Be?" So I said, "Well, I think it’s a great idea." And there’s obviously a bit of demand there. So I talked to our guys at Apple, like Neil [Aspinall], who thought it was a good idea. And I said, "If we do that, we can then issue the original version of all the songs," which is just us guys playing, before Phil got to it. Now, I don’t blame Phil, but I think it was really Allen Klein at the time who made a musical judgment. He said, "I don’t think it’s good enough." And it’s like, I just disagreed with him. I said, "I think it is." But he wanted to gussy it all up. So they called in Phil and they called it, what, Reproduced for Disc or something. And I just thought, you know, it’s still a good record. But it had a lot of stuff on it that I wouldn’t have put on there if I’d have been involved. But then I was kind of backed out of the whole situation—it got too ugly. I like the idea of doing the film. And its soundtrack is virtually that bare album, because that’s the music we were creating during the making of that film. That will happen.

I saw the show at the Staples Center and then Sunday in Anaheim. It was a very emotional concert, both happy and sad. I was just curious. Do you believe in an afterlife, where you would be reunited with the loved ones that have left?
I hope so. I don’t have like a very firm belief, like I know it’s going to happen. But I certainly hope so. Some people see life and beyond as kind of a big struggle and stuff. I’m kind of lucky enough to think of it as a bit of miracle—sort of a wonderful thing. That sometimes gets really difficult, you know, and you have to cope. But it doesn’t turn me off of it. I’m very optimistic. It would be great.

Your birthday is June 18. The big 6-0. Any special plans to celebrate?
For me, it’s just another birthday, which I always celebrate in good manner. I actually don’t have any special plans. It’s not going to be like a great big one with everybody coming in from all ends of the earth. Fifty was the same for me. And 40. Those big turnover ones don’t seem to bother me too much, as long as I’m having a good time. And I certainly am this year. Touch wood, you know. You never know. But I’m, like you say, feeling happy. I’ve had a lot of troubles in the last few years. And even though the troubles don’t just go away, you still can get to a better place occasionally. I think I’m in that better place now. And the tour’s going so great; the audiences are just beautiful and bananas. And I love them. They seem to love us. And I’m really loving playing with the band. Even soundchecks are a bit of a buzz, just hearing the noise we make. And we like each other, which is a plus.