James McCartney - Photo Courtesy of Grandstand Media

Q&A: Paul McCartney’s Son, James

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Unlike his notoriously chatty dad Paul, of Beatles fame, James McCartney is a man of few words. But really, can you blame him? If every other question that comes out of an interviewer’s mouth is about growing up with his legendary father — it’s gotta get old. Especially since James is an established musician in his own right.

He’s currently touring in support of his latest record, The Blackberry Train, on which he worked with legendary producer Steve Albini (of Nirvana and Pixies fame). Leading up to tonight’s show at Neck of the Woods, we were fortunate enough to receive a few replies via Email to some questions we sent over to him. And although the responses were brief, they provide a small glimpse into the mind of a rising artist that’s breaking new ground with his unique approach to combining different musical genres, much in the same way his pops did almost 50 years ago.

1. How has the tour been going so far?

I love playing the gigs and music.

2. You’ll be playing the Neck of the Woods in San Francisco on Cinco de Mayo. Do English folks celebrate that holiday and will you be doing anything special for the show?

Not sure. Not overall. Some do. Don’t think so. Maybe.

3. Have you played San Francisco before? If you so, what do you like to do when you’re here?

Learn more about I.T.

4. You released an LP entitled “The Blackberry Train” last year, what were some memorable moments in the studio when you recorded it?

A Huichol guitar resonating drone, when the sudden ending of ‘Ballerina’ kicks in, that happened as a lucky mistake/accident.

5. I really dig the songs on there, the music has a cool edgy harder vibe to it. Where do you think that comes from?

Me, Stephen, Jeff and Jay. And Steve Albini.

James McCartney - Photo Courtesy of Grandstand Media
James McCartney – Photo Courtesy of Grandstand Media

6. Musicians hate labels, but if you had to describe your music what would you call it?

I don’t know.

7. What do you want to accomplish with your music in the long term?

To write the best songs I can, which I would want to listen to and love.

8. Considering who your father is, it’s interesting to hear that your music career started later in your life. What was behind that?

The stigma and cliche of starting out in your late teens, early twenties, defying time, non-compliance, being different, my mum dying, being the same, contradictions, the obvious, sorting myself out first before starting a music career, hitting thirty.

9. You’ve obviously acquired the musical gene from your father. Your mother was a very talented photographer as well. Do you enjoy it too? What else do you like to do when not playing music?

I do. All art and I.T.

10. What’s your earliest memory of your father?

Playing the blues together.

11. In April 2012, you told a BBC interviewer that you were mulling the idea of forming a “next generation” version of the Beatles with Sean Lennon, Zak, and Dhani Harrison. Is that still in the works?


12. Do you still practice transcendental meditation? What do you feel it brings to your life?

Yes. Peace, problem-solving, rest, mysticism.

James McCartney is playing at Neck of the Woods tonight, Friday, May 5, 2017 with Anna Rose, Gutter Swan
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm
$15.00 – $20.00

James McCartney – Photo Courtesy of Grandstand Media

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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