Paul McCartney unleashes more animal magnetism
By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
Posted 4/11/2004 10:03 PM Updated 4/11/2004 10:11 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news ... tney_x.htm
Pop's renaissance man is back with a DVD, a children's book, a tour, an album and a possible movie. First up: Tuesday's DVD release of Paul McCartney: The Music and Animation Collection.
McCartney and director Geoff Dunbar won the British equivalent of the Oscar for 1984's Rupert and the Frog Song, based on a comic-strip bear. They earned another nomination in 2002 for the surreal Tuesday, inspired by David Wiesner's award-winning children's book.
In addition to writing, producing and voicing much of the collection, McCartney, 61, composed Tuesday's orchestral suite; Frog's 1984 British hit, We All Stand Together; and the title theme for the third short, Tropic Island Hum.
Now he has expanded Tropic's tale into High in the Clouds, a children's book fleshed out by writer Philip Ardagh. It's headed for the Bologna Children's Book Fair this week and expected on shelves in 2005. Next step: a feature version.
"Geoff and I have been working on this forever, and we finally have an extended story and the expertise to make a feature. It's an idea I've planted in (Miramax co-chairman) Harvey Weinstein's mind, and he's very interested."
The extracurricular pursuits are "freeing exercises" that haven't detracted from McCartney's musical priorities. A European tour starting May 25 in Spain will mark his maiden visit to Prague, his first performance in St. Petersburg and his debut at the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival. He's now in Los Angeles recording a rock album that he'll release next year to coincide with a U.S. tour.
The constantly active McCartney could have stopped after The Beatles and marinated in acclaim. Instead, he has pursued a solo career that drew some detractors to the table. Forays into painting, poetry and classical music generated boos as well as oohs.
"I'm sort of stupid, because I never see it coming," he says, professing a zeal unclouded by cynicism. "I'm simply very enthusiastic. A painting exhibition? Wow, I'll do that. Poetry readings? Yeah, I can do that. I never think there's someone lurking out in the crowd who's going to judge me."
These days, he's relishing family life with his wife, Heather Mills, and their daughter, Beatrice, who was born in October.
"She's absolutely gorgeous," he says. "Heather and I are having a wonderful time. I could go on for hours and drag the photographs out, but I'd never get back to the studio."
As for all the hubbub about the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' U.S. arrival, McCartney isn't reminiscing.
"I'm forward-focused," he says. "The Beatles notice their anniversaries the least. We were too busy being The Beatles.
"I haven't got time to notice all that stuff, but I love it when other people do. When I see something on the telly that talks about us 40 years ago, I'm amazed. I think, 40 years? It makes me stop and have a quick heart attack."