Paul McCartney Has Some Weird Rules For His Staff
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Paul McCartney’s employees, whether part of his concert crew, backing band, or involved in makeup and wardrobe, consistently praise their experience working with him.
For a band bassist like Brian Ray, who has collaborated with McCartney for years, the foreigner Beatle is a great leader and boss who strives for excellence without being tyrannical. McCartney’s commitment to giving his best at every performance sets a high standard for his team.
McCartney’s leadership approach is straightforward: he hires the best, treats them well, and expects optimal performance in return. Ray appreciates this method, highlighting the simplicity of McCartney’s formula for success.
The emphasis is on hiring talented individuals, treating them with respect, and fostering an environment where excellence is the norm. Even with his remarkable leadership style, McCartney, like any leader, has a set of unusual guidelines that guide his interactions with his staff.
Prepare for Variety in Paul McCartney’s Band
In renowned business consultant Stan Slap’s exploration of fostering exceptional commitment in the workplace, he turned to Brian Ray. The result is the book Under the Hood.
According to bassist Brian Ray, joining Paul McCartney’s band is about more than technical prowess—it’s about adaptability. McCartney values spontaneity, requiring musicians to improvise, connect instantly, and handle on-the-fly changes during live performances. The band prioritizes a genuine, live musical experience, emphasizing immediate responsiveness and dynamic interactions.
“Anything can happen. Paul likes to rock. We are not playing to Pro Tools, pre-taped material, or time references. We’re not tethered to anything but each other up there. … We are sharing a live, musical experience like real musicians have always done, and it requires you to have visual and audio connection with each other. It is an immediate, vital music experience for Paul’s band.”
Playing with McCartney goes beyond delivering amazing performances; according to Ray, it has elevated his musical skills and contributed to personal growth, making him not only a better musician but also a better human being.
Lots of Waiting in the Studio, but Readiness Is Key
During Kylie Olsson’s interview with musician Ray about his extensive career, the focus turned to his experience working with McCartney in the studio, a collaboration spanning two decades. Ray emphasized the unique relationship, stating that while McCartney is his boss, their connection goes beyond the professional realm, highlighting the significant trust developed over the years.
In the studio, McCartney’s approach is meticulous. Ray revealed that the setup involves an astonishing array of instruments, not necessarily for planned sessions but to accommodate McCartney’s spontaneous creativity.
The studio is stocked with various pianos, keyboards, synths, and guitars, reflecting the extensive musical possibilities McCartney might explore during a session. The readiness of instruments, meticulously set up and mic’d, is crucial, as McCartney seamlessly transitions between different instruments based on his creative impulses.
This spontaneity demands everyone in the studio to be on high alert, ready to adapt to McCartney’s creative flow. Watching McCartney at work is akin to witnessing a genius in action, and Ray emphasized the necessity for everyone involved to be consistently on their toes in the dynamic studio environment.
Prepare to Embrace a Vegetarian Lifestyle
Renowned for both his musical achievements and commitment to vegetarianism, McCartney’s dietary preferences extend to the crew working on his shows. In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, McCartney not only shared his favorite vegetarian recipes but also revealed that he wrote to the Dalai Lama advocating for a vegetarian lifestyle.
Consequently, one of McCartney’s steadfast rules is that crew meals during show setups must be entirely meat-free. During his Up and Coming Tour in 2010, Macca insisted that everyone involved, including the crew, adhere to a vegetarian diet.
The commitment to this dietary choice was underscored during a Canadian show at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, where a vegetarian menu was a non-negotiable condition. By 2017, McCartney’s Australian shows took it a step further, enforcing a strict vegan diet for crew members for three weeks on-site.
Reports from crew members emphasized McCartney’s unwavering stance, stating that he would not go on stage unless the vegetarian or vegan menu was strictly followed. However, this dietary requirement has not always been met with enthusiasm, as crew members in 2004 expressed discontent, complaining to local newspapers about working long hours on a strictly vegetarian diet.
No Leather Allowed, Even Beyond Clothing
McCartney’s commitment to a cruelty-free lifestyle extends beyond diet to a strict policy against leather. Workers setting up for his European concerts in 2004 were explicitly instructed not to wear any leather items, including shoes and belts.
This anti-animal product stance also applied to backstage furniture and vehicles, according to a 2017 report by Perth Now, a policy that had been in place for years.
The details of McCartney’s concert rider, obtained by The Smoking Gun, confirmed the prohibition of leather not only in clothing but also in the requisitioned limousine, which was expressly forbidden from having leather seats. The importance of using non-animal-sourced materials for furnishing backstage areas and dressing rooms was also emphasized.
Interestingly, McCartney’s guidelines go beyond leather, as faux animal skin, fur, or prints are also prohibited. The mandate is clear: all furniture in designated areas must be entirely animal-free, regardless of whether the materials are genuine or synthetic.
Social Media Rules for Team Managing McCartney’s Accounts
While Paul McCartney’s social media pages showcase typical content for someone of his stature, a closer look reveals intentional guidelines for his social media team.
According to McCartney’s interview with GQ, the posts avoid super personal content, with occasional exceptions like birthday or anniversary snapshots. McCartney entrusts his team to handle most of the content, reserving his own involvement for significant moments, as he prefers dedicating time to songwriting.
Maintaining a balance between public and private life is crucial for McCartney. He emphasizes the importance of not divulging too much personal information on his social media. Unlike some celebrities, he refrains from promoting trendy eateries, sharing poolside photos, or disclosing his beloved vegetarian recipes.
McCartney questions the value of revealing such details, expressing the belief that privacy is essential for a well-rounded life. Reflecting on the past, he suggests that fame during The Beatles’ heyday was more manageable, allowing them to have both public recognition and personal lives behind closed doors.
Precise Organization for McCartney’s Wardrobe Team
Emmy-winning seamstress Gina Vincenza Van Epps shared insights from her experience working with McCartney in 2013, revealing the meticulous organization required by his wardrobe department.
While performing routine tasks such as garment checks and steaming, she discovered the staff’s commitment to immaculate labeling. Every clothing item had to be labeled not only with details of when and where it was worn but also with information on coordinating shirts and accessories.
According to Van Epps’s Psycho Seamstress blog, hang tags documented significant events like White House performances, Saturday Night Live appearances, charity events, and concert dates from 2010 onwards. The reason for such precision was the potential donation of McCartney’s clothes to museums or auctions.
Institutions required detailed provenance, recognizing the substantial value of McCartney’s attire. A suit worn by McCartney in 1964, for example, sold for $53,775 at Christie’s in 2004, six times its estimated value.
Exceptional Cleanliness Standards Backstage for McCartney
Van Epps also provided insights into her experiences preparing backstage spaces for McCartney’s Orlando concert in 2013. Her responsibilities included meticulously setting up McCartney’s personal items and ensuring the immaculate condition of the spaces he would use.
The cleanliness expectations went beyond the standard, requiring tasks such as placing McCartney’s bathroom mats, eliminating fingerprints and footprints on surfaces, and ensuring no leftover garbage, even in trash cans.
The iconic musician’s exacting standards extended to daily tasks, such as regular flower replacements and thorough re-cleaning to remove any fingerprints or footprints. Van Epps emphasized the security aspect of her role, which included escorting cleaning staff to maintain standards and prevent unauthorized photos or disruptions to private rooms.
Each day McCartney was present, everything underwent a fresh cleaning, with specific issues, like creased blankets, expected to be promptly addressed. The level of precision demanded backstage highlights McCartney’s commitment to an environment that consistently exceeds typical cleanliness standards.
Fresh Ideas Drive McCartney’s Continued Success
Paul McCartney’s enduring success is not just a product of his musical talent but also of his forward-thinking approach to his career.
Following the breakup of The Beatles, McCartney formed his own company, MPL, with employees who have played a crucial role in his ongoing achievements. McCartney attributes his success to this dedicated team, emphasizing the importance of keeping things exciting.
McCartney’s rule for his team is deceptively simple yet challenging: “Let’s try and keep it exciting”. This philosophy extends beyond musical collaborations, as evidenced by his diverse ventures highlighted by Forbes, which dubbed him “The Master of Content Marketing”.
McCartney embraces unconventional platforms, such as Carpool Karaoke and spontaneous elevator encounters with Jimmy Fallon, to stay relevant. Actively engaging with younger audiences through appearances, collaborations, and interviews, Macca prioritizes freshness and relevance, requiring his team to consistently think outside the box when brainstorming new ideas.
Calm and Quiet Approach to Crowd Control
McCartney, drawing from his experience during the chaotic days of Beatlemania, has developed a unique perspective on crowd control. Reflecting on the past, he shared with the BBC that instructing security to forcefully move crowds could sometimes backfire, leading to increased aggression.
As a result, McCartney learned the value of adopting a calm and quiet approach to navigating through fervent crowds, minimizing the potential for chaotic situations.
McCartney emphasized the importance of maintaining composure and avoiding hostility, especially in situations where fans are eagerly seeking a glimpse of him. He and his security team have established a rhythm of moving through crowds slowly and purposefully, without creating unnecessary fuss.
McCartney acknowledges the desire to greet fans but emphasizes the need to keep moving, ensuring a safe passage through the crowd without escalating chaos or posing any danger.