By Norman Knight
I read the news today, oh, boy. It was an infotainment piece about Sir Paul McCartney, so I just had to look.
It was no big deal, just another biographical tidbit about one of the Beatles. But after all these decades of Beatlefandom, I understand that I am committed to following the stories of the Fab Four for life.
Bill, my good friend, fellow musician and one-third member of our occasional music group The Fab Three, forwarded me a link to a story about McCartney’s July 26 concert at Tinsley Park in suburban Chicago. According to the article posted on something called celebretainment. com, the 75-year old rock star “demanded” that only vegan food should be sold at the concert venue.
This was not a real surprise to any of the Fab Three considering that McCartney is a well-known vegetarian and has promoted animal rights since he and his first wife, Linda, went veggie back in 1975.
My first thought was: what if other rockers started making such demands? I pictured Motor City Madman guitarist Ted Nugent, a vocal hunting advocate, insisting that only bow-hunted, field-dressed venison be sold at his concerts. I also wondered if the guys at the entrance who check people’s bags for illegal substances might bust someone who was trying to sneak a quarter-pounder into Paul’s concert. I’m thinking an illicit Big Mac would not sit well with Sir Mac.
I think the consensus among the Fab Three was: It’s his party, so he calls the shots. Let it be, you might say.
The article mentioned Emily who posted a screenshot her parents had sent her of the compassionate menu at the event. (I couldn’t help but notice that it was her parents who actually went to the concert. They are probably decades-long Beatle fans, too.)
The menu offered buffalo cauliflower and fries ($12), vegan chili fries ($8) and vegan nacho grande ($10.50). You could also buy a bottle of red wine for $37. The vino, of course, was also free of animal products. Had the Fab Three attended the concert I’m not sure the other two thirds would have been totally satisfied with the fare, but this third thinks it sounds pretty tasty.
Sir Paul has been a vegetarian/vegan for a long time, and this is not the first time he has included riders to his contracts specifying certain conditions concerning animal rights that must be met at his gigs. On a 2002 tour he insisted that none of the furniture in his dressing room be made of animals or animal skins nor should artificial versions of animals or prints be used.
At a 2013 show in Canada he included a demand that no meat be eaten backstage. Again, if you are a musician in Paul McCartney’s band, you understand that no meat is part of the deal. I do feel a little bad for the rest of the crew. However, my guess is that most people did not refuse a chance to work at a Paul McCartney concert because the seat cushions didn’t have fake leopard skin covers.
Paul McCartney was part of a culture-changing phenomena. When the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, he suddenly became world famous. He went on to become an historical musical talent.
Since that time our culture has become ever more enthralled with the idea of celebrity. Today, accomplishing something seems to be secondary to the goal of being famous. Often accomplishments are not even necessary. I’m glad I’m a long-time fan of someone who actually did something.
Sometimes celebrities are a bit quirky. I don’t begrudge Sir Paul the opportunity to indulge his passions for certain causes even if I don’t totally agree with some of them. So if he asks me to play in his band, I’ll do it. I’m not crazy about animal skin prints anyway.
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to email@example.com.