“We did the University Tour, and Paul said, ‘We’re going to do a tour of Europe and we’re going to travel around in an old English double-decker bus.”
“I thought “Great. What a nice way to go around the South of France.” I had no idea that it would only go 35 miles an hour though.
The paint job and everything. People used to come by us on the motorways and everything and they would just freak out. It had our names on the back of the bus and everything. It was quite a trip. It really was. A lot of people just made a big fuss, over seeing that. And then we pulled into the Cap D’Antibes and the Eden Roc Hotel, probably one of the most expensive hotels in the world. I could just see that bus pulling in there next to all of the fancy cars in the parking lot. And here’s this hippie bus with a bunch of crazy guys jumping all around, taking weird pictures and stuff. It was a fun, fun tour.”
“We had wives and kids with us and stuff and an image of The Beatles. Nobody wanted to be a drunk or high either. We thought it was very important that we gave our best performances because we knew we were going to be judged based on the last time they saw the biggest band in the world.”
“No, there were several tables and there were a couple of bunk beds in the back. They were probably there for the kids. They weren’t for any of the band members. We just got on the bus and made it to our next destination. And I remember there were several times where, if we had to go like 150, 200 miles between cities at 35 miles an hour it would take quite a while and there were times where the promoter at the other end would send some BMW’s out on the motorway to pick us up and rush us to the venues so we’d get there in time to start the concert. I remember once in Germany there were five lime green BMWs showed up on the motorway. We got off the bus, we each got into one of these lime green BMWs and did like 150 miles an hour into the venue.”
“The paint job was just lovely. We still have all of the pictures. We’d always take some pictures here and there.”
“But those are such formative years. They were very profound in many ways, as far as my life went in terms of going from a top session guy to becoming a band guy and being part of a band called Wings. And that bus was a big part of it because the European tour was our breaking out. The other stuff before. That was nice, but this was saying, “okay, we’re ready now.” And we had put a lot of hard work into becoming a real band.”
“I’m proud to say that when The Beatles broke up I was the first drummer that he chose to work with him which was quite an honour. I knew that the music we would be recording was going to be timeless. It was an honour to be a part of that.”
“It sounds like you’re doing a beautiful thing here. I wish you well with it.”
– Denny Seiwell
ABOUT DENNY SEIWELL
Denny Seiwell (born July 10, 1943) is an American drummer and a founding member of Paul McCartney and Wings. He also drummed for Billy Joel and Liza Minnelli and played in the scores for the films Waterworld, Grease II, and Vertical Limit. His drumming was used in TV shows such as Happy Days and Knots Landing.
Seiwell was born and raised in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, the son of Donald Seiwell and Fay Carrigan. He is a graduate of Lehighton High School and was a member of the first Carbon County Band in 1961.
After graduating from high school, Seiwell enlisted in the United States Navy, in the rate of Musician, playing in the Navy Band.
He moved to New York City and caught the eye of McCartney, who recruited him to be in his band Wings and according to Seiwell, the band was like one big family living between London and the McCartneys’ farm in Scotland.
After leaving the band, Seiwell eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he has resided since 1975. Seiwell stated in 2019 that he and McCartney have kept in touch since 1993.
BBC Three Counties Radio Interview
Interview by Nick Coffer, during 1972 Wings Tour Bus Programme Special, 19 September 2020 (25:25 mark).
Low quality audio version for small file size
High Quality version – larger file size
Interview Transcript PDF
INTERVIEW: JAZZ WEEKLY WITH DENNY SEIWELL
1 April 2019
(Partial) Interview Transcript PDF
JAZZ WEEKLY WITH DENNY SEIWELL
“I wasn’t a fan until I heard (the “White Album”); then I went nuts and went back to review their prior recordings and became a fan”
“I was actually the first guy he called to make music with after formally leaving the Beatles”
“Paul was trying to show the world that this was not the Beatles; it was his band, and here it is in its rawest form. Either you like it or you don’t; I appreciate that”
“When we got into the studio, five of the eight songs on that album were first takes”
“We were a family, living together like an old hippie garage band. We had faith in each other. Paul was still the leader, but he wanted us to be a band, period”
Denny Seiwell of WINGS Interview on DC LIVE
Message from Paul McCartney
“I’m so happy that Denny is being honoured as a true legend. He was always a great pleasure to work with not only for his great skill on drums but also his fabulous sense of humour.”
Denny: “I’m proud to say that when The Beatles broke up I was the first drummer that he chose to work with him which was quite an honour. We did the Ram album and he asked me to put the group together. I knew that the music we would be recording was going to be timeless, would be here for a long period of time. It was an honour to be a part of that deal.”
14 January 2019
You play with one Beatle and it really screws up your jazz career!
Rock Cellar Magazine
12 February 2019
Interview Transcript PDF
Denny Seiwell Rock Cellar Interview
Denny Seiwell – Master Drummer https://dennyseiwell.com/