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The Gospel According to Paul

Baby boomers and Paul McCartney go way back. The billionaire Beatle has convinced the Now Generation to buy Fab Four Beatles albums by the trillions, grow their bangs long, drop acid, smoke pot, buy Beatles CDs by the trillions to replace their Beatles albums, and apply for Visa cards.

But what kind of an effect has the ex-Wing had on the postboomer generation, the one that grew up on "Silly Love Songs," the kids who'll carry rock 'n' roll into the Nineties?

To answer this cosmic query, Sun Tracks posed a battery of inquiring-minds-want-to-know questions to a pithy panel of local musical muckamucks. These are the kind of people who might not have the Sgt. Pepper CD, but who just might still own the scratchy 33 1/3 version of Band on the Run. They might not have played it since the Seventies ended, but they haven't thrown it away, either.

Surprisingly, none of the celebrities had definite plans to attend McCartney's show at Sun Devil Stadium today (Wednesday). But all had good excuses for staying away.

THE PANEL:

Fearn Smith, singer, Brick Chair
Wayne Lien, guitarist, Housequake
Brian Scott Griffith, bassist, Dead Hot Workshop
Kevin Daly, singer-guitarist, Hellfire
Don Pendleton, guitarist, Jodie Foster's Army
Tami Allen, singer-guitarist, Spiney Norman
Greg Hall, drummer, Sacred Reich
Galen Herod, solo rock 'n' roll musician
Todd Joseph, guitarist, the Voice
Troy Gregory, bassist, Flotsam and Jetsam

What kind of influence has Paul McCartney's post-Beatles work had on you?

Smith: He didn't kill himself, and he didn't get murdered, and he's stuck it out. As far as applying it to my own music, that's allowed me to stick it out through my own hard times. I thought about killing myself a couple of times when the local scene wouldn't accept Brick Chair, but I said, "If Paul McCartney can stick it out, so can I."

Lien: Absolutely none.
Daly: None, I hope.
Pendleton: Michael Jackson outbid Paul McCartney for all the Beatles tunes. If anything affected my life, it's that someone could outbid me for my own songs, and I wouldn't own 'em. I think it's terrible.

Hall: I don't know what the message in "Band on the Run" was.
Gregory: My brother and I used to sing "Uncle Albert" and plug our noses. And "Live and Let Die," we'd jump around and shoot each other."

Is Paul McCartney dead?

Smith: No, he's not dead. Where would I be if he was? If I find out he is, I'm gonna be in serious trouble.

Lien: That's a tough one. I'd like to think so.
Allen: Yeah, definitely Paul's dead, but the new one is sort of like a cartoon mask. It's, like, not really Paul. Him and Linda look like masks. They do.

Herod: It doesn't sound like he's dead. It sounds like he's eating jellybeans when he sings. It's just the way he chews words, like he has food in his mouth.

Gregory: He died just before he was 28. I got proof--the cover of Yesterday and Today. I got a bunch of other things, like voodoo sticks and shoe polish.

In the song "Hey Jude," Paul McCartney wrote the famous line, "Hey Jude, you dude." Does Paul McCartney get enough credit for popularizing the word "dude" in the English language?

Lien: Not nearly as much as he deserves.
Daly: No. In fact, he should receive royalties just from around my household alone. I've got a couple of preteens, and they'd be in hock.

Pendleton: No credit at all. He looks like he'd never say it. In fact, it looks like someone would walk up to him and say it and he'd be offended.

Allen: Hell, no. I think that everybody should give him credit for that. Definitely. I think there would be a lot of little surfers and skaters who would be amazed that that's where it came from--unless you consider "dude ranch" more important than Paul.

Hall: I think he should get much credit for starting the "dude" trend. He doesn't get much credit, does he?

Joseph: I myself use the word quite frequently, and he didn't have any influence on me. So probably not.

Gregory: You mean is he the one to blame?

Did Paul McCartney's pot-bust in the early Eighties radically affect your lifestyle?

Smith: No, but Nancy Reagan's "Just say no to drugs" [campaign] really did. And now I'm totally clean. It was probably planted on him by John Lennon.

Lien: I couldn't believe it. I was totally astounded that Paul McCartney would ever do drugs.

Griffith: No. I thought it was cool.
Daly: Yeah. I quit drugs as a result of that.
Pendleton: He just was so tall compared to the Japanese policemen. I figured if I went there, I'd stand out.

Hall: No, it did not.
Gregory: No influence either which way. If he was smuggling black-market babies, that would've affected me.

What do you think of Paul and Linda McCartney's marriage?

Smith: It's all hype.
Griffith: I think it's a match made in heaven, to tell you the truth.
Daly: Nothing, if I can help it. I'm married.

Herod: Well, it's kind of a lot like John's marriage. Someone recently said, "With all the women they could've had, they ended up with those two hags." It's gotta be love with those two.

Gregory: I don't know. I haven't visited them lately. It depends who makes the lasagna. That's pretty much the marriage chore.

Have you ever given your wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend credit for writing one of your songs, even if he or she didn't contribute a word?

Smith: No, actually. But I've had boyfriends use my songs before. I got as much credit as could be given, although I've seen my songs being performed live before without even being dedicated to me. That hurt my feelings.

Griffith: They've been the inspiration for many, but they haven't gotten any credit, nor money.

Daly: All of 'em, starting now.

Are you, like Paul McCartney, a vegetarian?

Griffith: No way. Uh-uh.
Daly: I eat only corn-fed pork, like Paul McCartney.
Pendleton: No. I'm against killing plants.

Hall: Well, no, but I don't eat much red meat. I do eat poultry and other kinds of fowl.

Herod: No. I didn't know he was. It looks to me like he's got burger jowls.

Joseph: No. I'm eating a burrito right now, but it's a vegetarian burrito. But I eat meat all the time.

Gregory: I'm a vegetarian most of the time, except when I want to eat meat.

Would you play the part of John Lennon in a Beatles reunion?

Lien: Boy, that's a tough one. No, I wouldn't do it. I'd play Paul McCartney, though.

Griffith: Fuck yeah.
Daly: Only if they gave me a bulletproof vest.
Pendleton: Sure. I got round glasses.

Herod: That'd be the fun part to play, but I don't feel I could pull it off. I'd start laughing. I wouldn't be good enough. That guy had more talent. You can't pretend to have talent.

Joseph: Maybe George. My favorite was always George. I wouldn't play the part of John, even though I do wear glasses sometimes.

Gregory: I'd play his split personality, probably, if I could. Maybe the part where he had problems with clothes hangers or something like that. Maybe before he was a hippie, too.

Will you be attending the Paul McCartney show?

Smith: No. I can't afford it.
Lien: No. If I wanted to see him, I'd buy the video.
Griffith: My dad's got, like, five tickets through his work. He said if he doesn't sell them for $190 apiece, or whatever outrageous sum they're asking for, then he'll give them to me for free and I'll go.

Daly: In absentia.
Pendleton: No. I'll probably be in Los Angeles.
Allen: No. I'm playing at the Sun Club, so hopefully everybody who doesn't go there is gonna come to see us, or at least come afterwards.

Hall: No, because I don't hold a Visa card. I am one with American Express, and they don't take that. I won't be seeing Paul this year, but my mother's going.

Herod: No, 'cause I figure it'll be a big Las Vegas-style hoopla show with all kinds of extra instruments and back-up singers. He'll do "Yesterday" and expect everybody to light a lighter. People who never listen to the Beatles get McCartney tickets. Bill Heywood goes on KTAR, "Boy, that'll be great. I can't wait for Paul McCartney. That'll be a great show."

Joseph: No. I think I'd rather see the Temptations.
Gregory: No. I think I'm washing my hair that night.

"I figure he'll do `Yesterday' and expect everybody to light a lighter.


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