LIFE ON THE BACK BEAT
An Afterword by Steve Holly
Although Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place to Go" was the record that really whetted my juvenile appetite for rock 'n' roll, the Beatles were the first group that convinced me there was nothing in my life I wanted more than to play the drums well enough to one day enter that exuberant world myself.
Imagine, then, how I felt when, only ten years later, I somehow found myself waiting nervously for an audition with Wings in the basement of MPL's swank London offices. I first met Paul and Linda briefly at a party at Denny Laine's home in Laleham (close to my hometown) and also appeared with them, on a dare, in the promotional video for "With a Little Luck." Still, I had never really seriously considered the possibility of becoming a full-time member of the group. Those kinds of extraordinary things just don't happen. Or do they?
When the audition finally began (some two hours later than originally scheduled), I remember playing to a potpourri of swirling reggae, rockabilly, blues, as well as a smattering of classic rock, but, strange to me at the time, no Wings or Beatles tunes. Paul and Linda, however, seemed pleased, and thus began my almost three-year involvement with the group.
Working with Paul and the band, as well as many other people, in those first, incredibly heady days, was an education one could never have paid for. Or as a friend of mine once put it, "Earn while you learn!" Inevitably, of course, there was much to be learned. Paul's disdain for any absolute principles of right and wrong in music, coupled with his eagerness to experiment with so many different and difficult sounds, illustrated to all of us the man's great genius on an almost-daily basis. For pop music very often walks a treacherously thin line between the lowest common denominator and pure, unbridled brilliance, only very occasionally intermingling both. McCartney, at his best, easily defies all such labels, delivering some of the most memorable music of all time. And yet, on occasion, he chooses to walk so perilously close to the edge as to almost invite the critical disclaim that has at times dogged him throughout his now long and varied solo career. Perhaps this illustrates just a bit of the magic of Lennon and McCartney's ability to so tastefully ferret out only each other's best and deepest work.
For my part, I enjoyed three exceptional years with Wings, not discounting my final year as a time filled with much doubt and a goodly measure of deep frustration all around. If only we could have gotten round to recording at least one more album together. What would have transpired? Would the group have somehow survived? I also never realized just how immensely intertwined one's professional and private lives can become until my involvement with a group of Wings' magnitude.
Wings' legacy remains, and nothing can ever dim my great memories of Paul, the times, and the band. I will continue to savor the best forever.
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July 26, 1990