A tipple never hurts when it comes to calming the nerves, but for Paul McCartney, alcohol is a total no-go before a performance. Back in the day, the former Beatle and Wings frontman enjoyed a glass or two of wine or beer on the road, but now, Macca waits until the curtains are well and truly closed – and for a very good reason.
“I used to try [drinking alcohol before shows], particularly in the early days of Wings when we would tour,” the 75-year-old said. “But it didn’t work – I would just forget the lyrics I didn’t know anyway.”
Even when the rest of his current band are indulging in a few glassed of red before hitting the stage, McCartney isn’t tempted. “I don’t eat or drink before I go on because I sort of like to feel light,” he explained. “Then afterwards I can get heavy and have a drink. Before I go on I don’t do that.”
There are a couple of exceptions to his no-food-or-drink rule, however. “I do have little sort of snacky things in the dressing room that I might just grab, like chocolate covered raisins and equal amount of salted cashews.”
A staunch supporter of animal rights, he also requests that his room be free from any animal products, such as fur, leather and meat. Even artificial animal skins and prints aren’t allowed.
His relatively humble requests couldn’t be more different to the outlandish demands his fellow rock and pop stars have become known for, however. Here are some of the most extravagant.
1. James Brown used to request a platter of deli meats and cheeses, coffee, Gatorade, Champagne (Cristal or Dom Perignon – only the best!) and an electric golf cart.
2. Britney Spears demands McDonald’s cheeseburgers (sans the bun), 100 figs and prunes, fish and chips, and bizarrely, a framed photo of Princess Diana.
3. Beyonce’s dressing room must be kept at 25°C and be filled with rose-scented candles and chicken legs seasoned with lots of cayenne pepper.
4. Mariah Carey requests every wall of her room to be covered in drapes and must contain eight “tall, leafy” plants, vanilla candles and white roses.
5. Iggy Pop has a number of demands (mostly alcohol) but by far the strangest and most specific is “A copy of USA Today that’s got a story about morbidly obese people in it.”