“Paul was like, ‘I just played f**king bass with the Stones – and I’m a f**king Beatle’”: Andrew Watt recalls raucous Rolling Stones recording session with Paul McCartney
“I swear to God, the roof left the f**king building.”
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What do you get when you put the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney in a studio together? A “fucking blast”, says producer Andrew Watt, as he recalls the former Beatle’s excitement while recording the Stones’ new album Hackney Diamonds.
Discussing the record’s making in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Watt reveals the reason the band decided to have McCartney feature on its fourth track, Bite My Head Off.
“It would be expected to have him play on a great big ballad like Depending on You, or one of the softer songs to get that ‘melodic Paul McCartney’ thing,” says the producer.
“But you’ve got to also understand, Paul McCartney loves to fucking rock. So I thought, “Why not pick the most punk-rock fucking song – the one where everyone’s on 10 the whole time – and let these guys have the time of their lives rocking out together?”
Watt also shares that the ’64 lefty Hofner he’d gifted Macca at the time was responsible for the Beatles’ fuzzy bass sound on the track: “My guitar tech, Mark, put in a Univox Super Fuzz circuit into the bass, so when he hit one of the Hofner switches it gives the loudest, most wicked fuzz bass you ever heard in your life,” he says, adding that McCartney was “crying laughing” by the end of it.
“We start going for takes, Paul stands up. All of a sudden, Ron stands up, Keith stands up, Mick drags a mic into the fucking center of the room, and I swear to God, the roof left the fucking building.”
“I can’t explain what that feels like, but it was the Stones and the Beatles,” Watt says. “It wasn’t heavy for them; it was a fucking blast. And the smile on Paul’s face kept getting bigger and bigger.”
He continues: “We did three or four takes of that. And Paul hit the switch during his bass solo, and Mick literally goes, ‘Come on, Paul, let’s hear something’ in his Liverpool accent. Like, you can’t make it up. Everyone was on fire. We did another tune because we were having so much fun.”
“When I was walking Paul out, he literally was like, “I just played fucking bass with the Stones — and I’m a fucking Beatle.” He literally said those words. These guys were literally like they were 18 again, and you can hear it in the recording. It’s ferocious.”