SKF NOTE: This excerpt of how Joe English landed his gig with Paul McCartney and Wings is from my 1983 interview transcript with Joe. The back story of that interview, that started in 1980 and was published 1986 in Modern Drummer, is here.
Scott K Fish: How did you get the gig with Wings?
Joe English: Well, I was with Jam Factory for about five years. We’d moved from Syracuse to Florida and then up to Georgia. Then the band broke up. I ended up on the Allman Brother’s’ farm. I want to get this straight. The press never gets this straight. I was hanging out with Jaimoe and had no band, playing little club dates in town, in Macon.
Then I got a phonecall from a guy named Tony Dorsey. He was friends with Jaimo and he was in Nashville working with Paul McCartney on a song called Sally G. He was working on some horn parts when he heard that McCartney might be firing his drummer and getting a new one. That drummer was Geoff Britton. A black belt karate expert. I didn’t really feel comfortable replacing him.
I couldn’t believe the phonecall at first. I was flat broke too. I was driving a 1964 Dodge Dart with bald tires and no back seat — and my drums in it. I could play good. But, I sure was broke. It was one of those things of, “Hey, man. I can play the best funk beat. Can you loan me a dime for a cup of coffee?”
After I got the phonecall Jaimoe loaned me the money for the plane ticket to Nashville. I took Jaimo aside and said, “Man, should I take this gig?”
You should have seen the expression on Jaimoe’s face. He looked at me and was real quiet. Then he looked at the floor and then back at me. He made that funny face and went, “Man, you’d better get on that plane.”
I said, “I don’t have any money.” He said, “Man, don’t worry about that.”
He got me the plane tickets, I went to Nashville, and the rest is history. I stayed with Wings for three years.
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