Paul McCartney’s Son’s “Awkward” Interview

    June 25, 2013
    Mike Tuttle
    Comments are off for this post.

James McCartney, son of Sir Paul McCartney, is launching a new album and a U.S. tour. Following in his father’s footsteps, one might say. At age 35, he has Paul’s younger looks, and certainly could pick up the telephone and get an interview anywhere he wanted.

Trouble is, Junior doesn’t interview very well.

The younger McCartney appeared on BBC Breakfast Tuesday to promote his new album, titled “Me”. Hosts Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid gave him plenty of opportunity to promote himself, his music and to wrap himself in the mantle of his famous dad. But, although James answered questions, he never grabbed the baton and ran with it. Even when asked about a track that his father played on with him, he stuck to “just the facts” answers.

The hosts seemed to scramble to come up with questions to ask, since McCartney was not offering any information or stories voluntarily. There were a lot of “ums” and “yeahs”, especially from the interviewers.

After the interview, there was quite a reaction from pundits via Twitter, taking the man to task for being a bit of a stick in the mud. They chided him for “monosyllabic” answers. But a review of the interview shows that James McCartney answered everything asked of him, including making expanded statements. He just didn’t take off unbidden. Whereas his father would have taken two questions and turned them into a charismatic story-telling experience, the son seems to want to let his music speak for itself. He even talks about playing smaller gigs in the U.S. – listening rooms, as he calls them.

Perhaps James McCartney isn’t boring. Maybe he’s just introverted – which is not the same as “shy”. If that is the case, he joins many other performers who have no difficulty being on stage in front of others, but prefer and gain energy from being alone or in small groups when it comes time to interact personally. Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp, and many other celebrities have fit this description.

In any case, James McCartney is quite content to let his music do the talking.

  • bob gundersen

    Painful to listen to. Not his father’s son.

    • joanne

      Are you a musician? Did you hear the chord changes? Are you aware how different, and hauntingly beautiful they are? The song is lyrically and musically beautiful and sad! The son of Paul McCartney, is just chock full of musicianship. He may shy, but he is standing in the biggest shadow of the music business! God Bless you James and best of luck on your musical life and adventures!

    • Joel

      not his father’s son? that’s insulting to him and his father.
      you don’t like it, fine. But don’t make insipid comments like that.

  • http://webProNews patricia

    We are talking about a young that is following some very big shoes but he is doing it his way and that good. No young man would like to hear it’s because of who your dad is maybe why you made it. I read an interview he gave and I don’t think he did so bad he spoke from the heart and told the truth. His music will be his own and all we can do is wish him the best his music isn’t his father’s and shouldn’t be he may look like his father but he is himself so everyone need to give him room to find his way.

  • Johnny

    Not trying to be rude, but maybe he should try a different line of work as a career.

  • Douglas

    If James McCartney possibly “gains energy from small groups” or when “interacting personally” – then it is the job of the interviewer to create such a rapport that it allows the artist to open up. Just asking questions may not do the job, especially if the artist has several interviews. Watch the talk shows on TV and see how few of them really get their guests to open up. Usually the guest shows up with a prepared “funny story”, to ease the interview.

  • Julie

    McCartney’s son has his own uniqueness. I would like to hear more ballads this one is beautiful.

  • Clydemonster

    His piano playing is MUCH better than his vocals! Still…not bad.

  • http://yahoo tonyfriedrick

    I would havta agree with clydemonster piano sound great voice needs work !

  • samrothstein

    maybe it’s not the interviewee it’s the interviewers.

    the blame game never ceases.

    • ScottieJ

      hehehe. I agree Sam. It has escalated from the world of politics to every other form of life. Ya gotta be able to blame it on someone else. Heaven knows it’s not the Interviewers who made a boring interview. His music is well written and performed. He has more then 1 facet to his music, unlike dad. For a first step into the music world I believe he has taken a great leap. Great work James. The sky is the limit for ya. Go for it and enjoy the ride young man.

      • Joel

        while I agree, that James is good, I would have to disagree with your implication that Paul’s music only has ONE fact. That is just wrong.

        • Joel


  • jb

    He’s certainly not wallowing in simple chord progressions & vocal common tones. I think he sounds fine, & I think there’s plenty of room in the world of music where James will find his fit. Good luck kid !!

  • sirglantz

    I seem James McCartney month or so a go in what he called “Listening rooms”, and he’s the exactly the same as that interview, Painful to watch, but great on music. Some people can’t be like their dad’s in all sense of the word. His music does speak for itself, and it said a lot.

  • Ed Nebel

    Saw James a month ago in Pittsburgh…small club…music was very good, just not the story teller his Father is. Seemed uncomfortable talking to the audience. That’s fine, I enjoyed the show, would see him again.

  • Larry Williamson

    Come on folks. Give him a break.

    When you’re the son of the world’s most successful songwriter of the greatest group in music history, the pressure has to be tremendous. I feel rather sorry for him because no matter what he does in life, he’ll ALWAYS be viewed as “Paul McCartney’s son.” In fact, when this news story becomes a top trend on the Internet this morning, the heading wasn’t “James McCartney.” It was “Paul McCartney,” even though the story wasn’t about dad. Lighten up on James.

  • carole

    Serously, he has his Dad’s eyes but DOES NOT look like him. Not nearly as handsome anyway.

  • shewhizz

    Beautiful melody…he is very promising. He deserves his own chance.

  • Hope

    I met James about 10 years ago and we had a lovely conversation for quite a long time. I think if the interviewers had listened to his music and talked to him about it, they would have been able to break through the awkwardness. I’m sure he knows that everyone just wants to hear about dad and his mates
    but that’s not him. I would have cringed to hear him try to be like his dad. There’s only one Paul. He’s James. What I saw was a genuine person trying to promote his music knowing everyone was waiting for his headline soundbite. Bottom line, I’d love to go hear his music in a small club. It would be an enjoyable evening.

  • http://yahoo james trandel

    I suppose everyone forgot that when Jim Morrison started out with The Doors, he was so shy he couldn’t face the audience while preforming? Some things take time for some where others are most at ease. Jeez!

    • http://fredrendon.com Fred Rendon Jr

      one of the Bee Gees used to have to throw up he was so nervous.

  • les Clark

    Not exactly the frog chourus

  • Laura

    He resembles his dad. Lovely song and good voice.

  • DagoT

    They chided him for “monosyllabic” answers.

    That didn’t seem to hinder Brian Urlacher’s career/personae/legacy.

  • Jonathan

    Honestly his singing was hard to listen to. I guess daddy made a few calls for him to record an album.

  • stoirin

    I just listened to the full interview. He wasn’t “awkward” at all. He seemed a little nervous, listening carefully to the questions and answering them. He didn’t go into all kinds of detail and stories. They were kind of jerks because they kept wanting to talk about Paul and Ronnie Wood and other icons of rock… I’ve heard his music — I think it’s okay (having said that, his dad hasn’t created much of interest for 30 years…) It must be hard to have a dad who was the “dreamboat” of the western world for some 20 years…when he’d pudgy, has no jawline and looks 15 years older than he is. It has to be hard. why is everyone so quick to crucify and criticize everyone these days?

    • Jim Nightshade

      uhmmmmm I disagree….have you actually listened to Pauls Music the last 30 years? Hes gotten more positive reviews and accolades for his music the last ten years or so than earlier in his career…try listening to Flaming Pie, or Drivin Rain or Chaos and Creation in the backyard….download a couple singles like his collaboration with Nirvana last year…Most recently Out of Sight featuring McCartney and Youth by the Bloody Beetroots…or I want to come home from the Movie Everybodys Fine a couple of years ago…the Nirvana collaboration is called cut me some slack by sound city-real to Reel….the I want to come home song is another ballad and the other two examples are Paul Rockin a bit harder than usual…Macca is more popular than ever and still sells out stadiums…Paul at his worst is still better than 99 per cent of the junk on the radio…ihmo….

  • Rose

    I think James has a lot of his father in him. The stance at the piano, his head, cheek, and eye structure, and even some mannerisms. I detected a bit in the voice as well. No, he can never replace his father, but it is nice to see the legacy live on, and the reminders of days gone by. Loved this song too. Brought me to an emotional place. I teared up. I think he will be a big hit outside of “listening rooms”.

  • Jay

    If you came of age during the 60’s there was a whole brave new world to talk about. Why should James be witty and glib like his father?
    It’s been done. So what should “Dealing With Your Beatles Lineage For Dummies” tell its readers? Find art-forms that take us past the rules. The rules for the Beatles included things lie
    ‘scream like Little Richard’ for part of the creative solution. OK, so let’s dispense with “pop music” altogether. Just grab on to music and give existence to the unheard… Just like the Beatles, really.
    Give existence to the unheard.

  • Kman

    He looks a bit like dad, a bit like mom, and a bit like a sea turtle. Sounds more like a sea turtle who plays a nice piano.

  • Nicole Poole

    Easily enough to understand, unlike Bob Marley’s son or Natalie Cole who gained fames through their father’s success, these Beatles offsprings, Julian Lennon and Zak Starr included, are trying hard to establish themselves and earn their rights to success with their own efforts. I heard James McCartney EP collection and was really surprised that it was quite good, but again, it was poorly promoted.