Tuesday, 19th December 2017

The frontman of one of the North East’s most successful bands has told of playing with the Rolling Stones – and how he’d love to perform with Sir Paul McCartney - during a visit to South Tyneside College.

Maximo Park singer Paul Smith revealed how he met Sir Mick Jagger backstage when they supported the legendary rockers on tour early in their career – and shocked him with his all-white outfit.

During a Music and Media Media Masterclass for students, he also said he’d most like to play with former Beatle Sir Paul and Canadian star Neil Young – but was just as at home performing in more intimate venues.

Paul, whose band released their sixth and latest album in April, said: “I was wearing all white that night and Mick Jagger came out was surprised at my stage wear, and he was dressed in a bright purple suit.

“It was just two frontmen looking at each other and commenting on what they were wearing, but he’s Mick Jagger and I’m not.

“We’ve played with the Stones and we’ve played with The Who, so really it’s Paul McCartney is the last one, or Neil Young, somebody like that, that would be amazing, those are the big hitters.

“But I’d just be happy to play with people I liked who nobody had ever heard of.”

The Teesside-born musician, who lives in Newcastle, is the latest well-known arts figure to take part in a masterclass in our Studio 5 live performance venue.

Others passing on their expertise include comedian Jason Cook, The Futureheads singer and guitarist Barry Hyde, and local Mercury Prize nominated band Field Music.

Paul, 38, also told how he feared Brexit would impact badly on bands seeking to tour Europe – one of Maximo Park’s biggest markets – adding to costs and difficulties.

The vote Remainer said: “It’s very difficult to know about anything to do with leaving the EU and that’s one of the reasons why I wouldn’t leave the EU.

“It’s going to condemn us to at least twenty years of uncertainty before things level out either for the better or for the worse.

“On a touring musicians level right now it’s bad, it’s bad. We’re going to have to pay some sort of tariff to go and perform in the EU and one of our biggest markets is Germany.

“The barriers that we’ve put up I don’t think are very helpful to spreading the word about any kind of art or ideas.

“It will be interesting to see what happens I foresee difficulties, but I might be wrong. You’ve got to put your faith in the side that came up trumps.”

Paul also spoke about how cinema had influenced his life – he is patron of the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle – and urged students to broaden their horizons.

Of his love of the venue and of film, he said: “The Tyneside’s always been a kind of haven for me, as somebody who wants to learn more about the rest of the world or just to listen to stories.

“What are we doing as musicians other than telling a story or trying to get something across, trying to connect with people in whatever way, and so the cinema is very important to me.

“The cinema is one of the strands you can draw from and be inspired from. Time in the cinema is not wasted. It’s like a little bit of magic for me.”

And he added: “Having an open mind and exposing yourself to as many things as possible allows you to find what you like and don’t like.”

His Music and Media Masterclass can be viewed by visiting www.facebook/southtynesidecollege

More information about media courses at South Tyneside College is available by visiting www.stc.ac.uk or calling 091 427 3500.
Information open nights are held from 5pm to 7pm on the first Tuesday of every month.