McCartney Times

Drummer Denny Seiwell on Friendship and Paul McCartney and Wings

Drummer Denny Seiwell on Friendship and Paul McCartney and Wings

Drummer Denny Seiwell on Friendship and Paul McCartney and Wings
February 13
09:52 2019

Drummer Denny Seiwell discusses his time with Paul McCartney and Wings, his friendship with McCartney over the years and much more … 

When The Beatles imploded, Paul McCartney, by all accounts, was shattered. Without a band, or the friends that had traveled that remarkable road together with him, he retreated with his new wife Linda to his Scottish farm, with its barebones living quarters, and, depressed, he drank himself into a stupor.

“I think I was just trying to escape in my own mind,” McCartney said in 2012. “I had the freedom to have just have a drink whenever I fancied it. I over did it, basically, I got to a point where Linda had to say ‘look, you should cool it’.”

He released the homespun McCartney, recorded largely at his London home (though the best bits, like the instant classic “Maybe I’m Amazed,” were recorded at Abbey Road Studios), but, although it’s now considered a classic, it was met with derision by both the public at large and his bandmates.

Still, it got him working.

By the autumn of 1970, McCartney was finding his legs as a solo artist. He decamped to New York City, where he lived a modest and largely anonymous existence, and began work on what would become his first true artistic statement outside The Beatles, RAM.

Although McCartney had planned to use at least three drummers on the album, he clicked with session drummer Denny Seiwell, and, after the sessions were complete, asked Seiwell to join him back in England to help form a new band, Wings (or Paul McCartney and Wings, as it’s sometimes stylized).

The albums Seiwell made with McCartney as a member — along with former Moody Blues singer and guitarist Denny Laine, and Joe Cocker alum Henry McCullough (who passed away in 2016) — were recently released as part of McCartney’s long-running, Grammy-winning Archive Series. 1971’s half-baked but charming Wild Life, and 1973s Red Rose Speedway, which included the chart-topper “My Love” and that was originally intended to be a double album, have been expanded to include alternate mixes, outtakes and loads of videos from the era. (The real draw is the box set Wings 1971-1973, which includes both box sets, as well as a stunning live album from Wings’ 1972 European tour. It’s sold-out at press time, but rumors abound that a second run of the limited edition set will be released soon.)

Seiwell sat down with Rock Cellar to discuss connecting with McCartney during the Ram sessions, the new box sets, the impact his days with McCartney has had on nearly everything he’s done since, and what the former Beatle taught him, about not only music, but life in general.

Rock Cellar: On your new album, you’ve reworked some of Paul’s songs, and, with your trio, you’ve put your own spin on them. Laurence Juber has done a similar thing, where he’s paying homage to the work he did in Wings, like you, but also has found his own voice for the songs. It’s bold, but you have a pretty good relationship with Paul, don’t you?

Denny Seiwell: Oh, excellent, yeah. We talk all the time. I’m probably the only guy from the pack that knows Paul’s phone number, and texts with him, and all of that. Yeah. I can reach him any time I need to.

Rock Cellar: I’ve got to ask, as a fan as well as a journalist: what do you guys talk about?

Denny Seiwell: Most of the time we talk about the old days, how much fun it was. How much different it was than today. But it was truly … we were a happy bunch of young maniacs just running around without a gig, without a hotel, without anything, just going out and having fun, being in a new band.

Rock Cellar: Has the idea of performing together ever come up?

Denny Seiwell: Years ago, right after Linda passed away, actually, I was working with an organization in L.A. called R.A.D.D. — Recording Artists, Actors, and Athletes Against Drunk Driving, and they asked me if I would ask Paul about doing something that would benefit Linda’s food company and what have you. And he said, “Well, if they want to fly you over, come on. Let’s hang out a little bit.”

So we flew over, and Paul sent a car. We went down to the studio and we spent the day with him down at the Hog Hill. And we talked about it. And he was kind of keen on the idea, and he said, “Go ahead and start talking to some of the guys. Let’s see what we can put together. Just see who’s interested and what we might be able to do.”

So I started working on it, and then I heard back from him. He said, “You know, doing a Wings reunion without Linda would be like doing a Beatles reunion without John.” So that was the end of that idea.

Source: Drummer Denny Seiwell on Friendship and Paul McCartney and Wings

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Only registered users can comment.