Paul McCartney talks about his experience with Fela Kuti
In a recent interview with Marc Maron in which he covered a bunch of Beatles memories, he opens up about a lot of things.
Meanwhile, his 1973 album with Wings, Band on the Run, which was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria.
Paul mentions that he decided to record in Nigeria because at that time it was
“kind of fashionable for people not to record in their normal studios.”
So, he asked his label EMI what international locations they had studios in, and when he heard of the Lagos studio he was set on Nigeria.
So he calls up Fela and invites him to the studio to hear the songs he’s working on, to prove that his recordings are nothing like afrobeat or any other African music. That’s where the new bits of details of this story start.
In Paul McCartney’s own words:
“[Fela] came over with his 30 wives and a studio full of ganja. He was one wild cat, he used to have a bottle of whiskey in which was marinating a pound of pot… in the whiskey. We turned out to be real good friends, he got it, he said ‘no you’re not doing that’ [stealing African music].
Ginger Baker was there, he was his big friend. So, Fela invites us to his club which was outside Lagos, the Afrika Shrine. This was a few of us, little white people, me and a couple of friends. So we go out there and I say, ‘”let’s not smoke any pot.” Cause it’s pretty crazy, we’re out in the jungle and it’s pitch black.
So we’re sitting there with Fela [at The Shrine] and one of Fela’s guys comes up, he’s crouching and he’s got a packet of Rothmans cigarettes. They’re all joints. He goes, ‘”You want one of these?” I say, “no thanks,” so he carries around and gets to Ginger Baker who says “Yeah man! Sure!'”
Then Fela shouts, “Ginger Baker! The only man I know never refuse a smoke!”
So I go, “A-ha! Ok, I’ll have one of those.”
Man. I tripped out. It was so strong. It was stronger than anything I’ve ever had, I don’t know if there was something in it.
But in the end it was a good night.
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