“IT’S ALL ABOUT SONGWRITING FOR ME,” SAYS James McCartney, sitting in the video studio at the Guitar Player office before filming a solo-acoustic performance of his single “Strong As You” from his new album, Me [ECR Music Group]. “I like to take inspiration from everything, but I try not to think too much. Dad taught me just to feel it—to have fun while you’re playing and bring those feelings out to an audience. I’m trying to write better songs all the time.”
Dad, of course, is Paul McCartney, and one can’t imagine having a more supportive, experienced, successful, and intimidating ear to bounce songs off of. But while James is intently forging his own style and career, he isn’t reluctant to credit his father’s imprint on his music.
“In just about everything creative, Dad is always going to creep to the top,” he says. “But, regarding the guitar, I’ve also been influenced by Kurt Cobain— I was very much into his riffs—Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, blues, and old roots stuff. When I play solos, I like reverb, I like fuzz, and I like it loud. When I was into grunge and death metal, I’d have these huge chains of pedals patched together, because I was always trying to bring new elements into the mix. Now, like songwriting, playing solos is all about feeling for me. I just let it rip. It’s cool to hit bum notes sometimes, because they can inspire something very interesting.”