Lana K. Wilson-Combs

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. Former Beatle's singer and songwriter Paul McCartney still draws a crowd wherever he goes.

Most everyone at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards wanted a moment or two with the legendary rock star after seeing him perform "I Saw her Standing There" with Dave Grohl. Even Paris Hilton tracked McCartney down to ask him about them doing a duet together.

The 66-year-old McCartney was nominated this year for two Grammys: "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance" ("That Was Me") and "Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance" ("I Saw Her Standing There"). He was in fine form both on and off stage. caught up with the jovial McCartney backstage at the Grammys. He took time to talk about his long and winding musical road and why he still enjoys performing.

Q. Your guitarist Rusty Anderson said he'd like to see you finally win big at the Grammys and that he's kind of your good luck charm. Each year you get closer and closer. Do you feel a Grammy win is within reach?

A. I didn't think I'd win big this year at the Grammys. I'm taking the attitude that it doesn't matter. And it is difficult because you know the cameras are looking at you and when someone else wins you have to look like you're really happy for them. (Lots of laughter).

Q. Does it bother you after all these years that the Grammys hadn't adequately recognized The Beatles in their prime?

A. I feel terrible about it. I'm really annoyed. (Lots of laughter).

Q. "The Fireman: Electric Arguments CD was met with tons of critical acclaim. Was this album kind of cathartic for you and was there less pressure to make it without worrying about all the commercial aspects of it?

A. Yeah I do believe that using the whole alias thing contributed to making some uninhibited music and it turned out to be a liberating experience for me.

Q. Can you talk about your collaboration with Martin "Youth" Glover from Killing Joke on "Electric Arguments"?

A. I totally trust him. I just will do something and trust him to make some sense of it. Collaborations are a great thing. I don't always do it, but sometimes in my career I get lucky enough to find someone who is a great collaborator. The prime example is John (Lennon). Since then, I've worked with a lot of great people but you have to just trust who you're working with.

Q.What kind of music do you like and listen to these days?

A. I'm kind of catholic in my tastes. At the moment, somebody like Radiohead, I'd put them among the top bands. I'm also listening to blues or jazz if its on the radio. I've got a wide range of tastes. I like a lot of rap, I like the mashups that they do, I don't have just one thing, I like good music, it tends to be stuff form people who can play well live. I like what Robert and Alison have done together, I've chatted with him (Robert) and he seems very happy with the new direction he's taken.

Q. Any particular rap/hip-hop artists you enjoy listening to?

A. Kanye West is talented, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige.

Q. Speaking of a new direction, could you see yourself doing any collaborations with any of those rap artists?

A. It's quite possible. You never know.

Q. What's your take on today's music overall?

A. I think music will certainly continue to evolve. For me, I'm enjoying some evolution. The Fireman record is quite different for me. It picked up a lot of great reviews and I get a lot of kids in the street saying 'hey man, electric arguments rules.' I like the idea of evolving. I think music gets cooler and cooler. For me, we've come from the 45 vinyl to cassettes to CDs and now through downloads. To me it's a medium, it's a way that music gets to the people. The world chooses how it listens, how it buys our music or takes it in. For me, I'm happy whichever way they like to take it. For me there's still got to be songs. That's where I come in. There still have to be performances. I've seen music come a long way and it's as cool as it ever was.

Q. Do you enjoy performing on the Grammys?

A. Yes, it's the Grammys. It's L.A. This is still exciting for me.
I'm very enthusiastic about what I do and about life. I get to talk to the press and it's great.

Q. What's the latest with the plans to get The Beatles' back catalog on iTunes?

A. There's no update unfortunately. I'd love it to happen, but it's a bit of a deadlock in the business department between Apple Corps and the record label EMI.

Q. The Grammys honored Neil Diamond as its 2009 Person of the Year. Are you a fan of Mr. Diamond?

A. I love Neil. I must admit, in the early days I wasn't the biggest fan, but I now am. You've got to look at what he's written, (The Monkees 1967 hit, "I'm a Believer"), and the overall depth of Neil. You know I nearly got his autograph one time. (He laughs).

Q. You're performing for the first time at the Coachella Valley Music Festival (April 17) in Indio, California. How did that all come about and is there anything special you're going play?

A. Actually I was called and asked to perform. I'd heard it was a really cool festival and the dates worked so I could do it. Everyone tells me it's a beautiful location and it's a really good show, so that's enough for me. As for the set, I don't know, I'll just play whatever seems right on the day.