The Tokio experience; Wings fold
Well, to this day I have no idea what made me do it. I don't know if it was just arrogance or what. Maybe I thought that they wouldn't open my suitcase... I can't put myself back into that mindset now.
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I could almost persuade myself I was framed. I don't think I was, but when you see the news footage - the guy opens the suitcase and there, right on top... It's like a pop-up book - here, check this!
It was the maddest thing in my life - to go into Japan, which has a seven-year hard labor penalty for pot, and be so free and easy. I put a bloody great bag of the stuff right on the top in my suitcase. Why didn't I even hide it in a pullover? I look at the footage now and I just think, That couldn't have been me.'
Another strange thing is, we hadn't really rehearsed enough. For the previous Wings tours we rehearsed a lot. It was almost as if I wanted to get busted - although I really didn't.
And suddenly I found myself in a Tokyo detention centre, not really knowing what had happened and in the midst of a very Japanese experience. ‘Oh my God, what have I got myself into?' I was feeling really guilty about Linda and the children and the other guys. Like, Tm supposed to be a responsible father, what have I done?'
There are times in your life when you just think to yourself, 'You're an idiot; This was one of them.
For the first three days I had headaches and nightmare, but after that I was actually getting quite a good night's sleep, learning a little Japanese and becoming friendly with the other guys, having a laugh.
It was like I was in film. I was in handcuffs. procedure was the word - we went through the whole procedure. There was no VIP treatment here, I was just busted. I didn't know Japanese ways at all and didn't know abot life in a cell.
I was in a little cell, on my own. Every morning a broom would be pushed inside: I soon got an idea - you had to brush the place out, tidy up your blankets and the little mattress they gave you, sit on it crossed-legged and call out 'Hai' or something. Then they would come along and let you out, and you could get washed. It took me a few days to get used it, but then I tried to be the first one ready. I was like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape - except I didn't have the baseball to bounce.
I hadn't been separated fron Linda since we'd got married. I realised that I had to keep my mind together, so I maditated a lot.
I wasn't allowed to see Linda for a few days but then a visit was arranged. It was just like the prison movies: I was behind a grille and we couldn't touch each other. It was all very alien. I just wanted news - 'Am I going to get out of here?' Linda said she didn't want to go home to England and leave me in Japan, that she could stick it out, a fact for which I was very greatful. I had visions of the children growing up in a little bungalow outside Tokio, all speaking Japanese.
One day one of the guys said, ‘We know you are Western, and you would not want to take communal bath. We arrange a little room, bath and towel, you have private bath’ But - in for a penny, in for a pound - I said I'd join them. I didn't want to be ‘the strange Westerner' off in some room on my own. The shower was very cold, but I was still 'Steve McQueen': us British, we can take it. From that I jumped into the hot tub with them all.
I was in there for nine days. When I came out, Linda said, 'You've become institutionalised’.
For two weeks after I got back I wrote it all down, the whole prison experience, kind of ‘what I did on my holiday'. It's called Japanese Jailbird but I've never published it.
Sometimes I think I've had a sailor's life... touring the world, having mad experiences and bringing back souvenirs.
I could wish that Wings had found a very stable group of great players and stayed together until we decided we'd had enough, but it didn't work out that way. Life's not like that. You can dream, but things rarely work out exactly as planned. And in the end I think we just got fed up with having so many changes of personnel. That, and the fact that we had proved what we had set out to prove - which is that there was life after the Beatles.
I have no regrets about Wings. They were all good line-ups in their own way and we made good music with each of them. I look back now on the success and the tours and the chart positions, and - especially considering we were following the Beatles, which was virtually impossible - we did amazingly well.
One of the jokes I’d been waiting to use for the minute Wings split was to say ‘Wings fold'! But, as it turned out, Wings didn’t actually fold, they just sort of dissolved, like sugar in tea.