By Jon Wiederhorn
While his dad can charm the world with a smile, James McCartney could probably benefit from some media training. During an interview to promote his new album, Me, the 35-year-old son of Sir Paul McCartney left the TV audience of "BBC Breakfast" cringing.
Not only did McCartney lack the gift of gab, he didn't seem to have much to talk about. And he looked absolutely bored as he answered questions about his music. When asked how long he spent writing Me and what the creative process was like, McCartney replied, "Yeah, maybe a couple years going into different studios spending time writing the lyrics and writing the music, just enjoying the moment."
Things went downhill from there. Co-host Bill Turnbull joked, "There's someone on the credit list credited with providing vocals, guitar and drums called Paul McCartney. Who’s he?" and the younger McCartney replied, “Oh, he’s my father," and didn't even crack a smile.
A few uninspired answers to questions about Sir Paul’s involvement on the album later, Turnbull asked, "Is he a friendly critic? Does he come up with suggestions and ideas?" And James responded, "Yeah, yeah, a friendly critic. Constructive criticism, definitely, yeah."
Co-host Susanna Reid tried to change to tone of the interview by asking James about the gigs he has played in the U.S. over the past two and a half months. She asked whether James considers it important to play "small, intimate gigs," and he responded, "Um, yeah. Yeah. It is important. Um, it’s realistic. You know, it’s good to play listening rooms and it just creates a bit of a fan base."
Maybe the most interesting element of the uncomfortable interview came when James revealed that he was influenced not only by the Rolling Stones, but also Radiohead and Nirvana.
To be fair, the questions Turnbull and Reid asked weren't exactly insightful, but if McCartney wants to generate excitement for Me, which came out May 21, perhaps he should drink more coffee.
In contrast with the interview, the album has been well-received. The Boston Globe wrote, "The younger McCartney's promising pop-rock tunes make clear he's learned a few lessons about melody, phrasing, and charm." And the New York Times wrote that Me features "strong melodic chops and the melodic confidence of a man who has observed without assumption."
Me is McCartney’s first full-length, and the follow-up to the EPs Available Light and Close at Hand, which were released in 2011 as The Complete EP Collection. James is the only son of Paul and Linda McCartney; he has appeared on his dad’s 1997 album Flaming Pie and his mother’s posthumous 1998 release Wide Prairie.