We can look back on these ten days in many many ways but we can all mostly agree that this is the stupidest move McCartney has ever made, personally or professionally in his life. And yet, for most purposes, it didn’t hurt him very much at all in the end.
To have the Narita Airport customs agent “randomly” open his bag and find 6 ounces of weed for a band on a two week tour is at the least, obscene…
We all know Paul’s love for pot, compared to minimal interest in any of the hard drugs his peers mingled in. From “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “Mother Natures Son” to the busts he and Linda had encountered since the Beatles breakup. Weed, weed, weed.
Stories have since come out (which led to the end of his relationship with Denny Laine in a tell-all book) about smuggling weed in the babies diapers at border crossing on the old Wings bus and van tours of the early 70’s.
Weed was also sent to posts on stops on tours where it would be picked up and discarded till the next stop and the process would repeat. Paul, Linda and Denny Seiwell were busted when a package was intercepted in Sweden that the drummer went to “pick up.”
Why didn’t Paul just have one of his staff score for him once inside of Japan? Why so much weed? Paul said it was too good to give up. To want to be in such a stoned state on this tour tells a lot about Paul’s attitude toward it going in.
So, arrested on January 16th. The tour was cancelled on the 17th. Many fans have kept their tickets instead of getting refunds, but it was a gigantic financial hit for Paul, and a tremendous loss for Denny, Laurence and Steve, who stood to make the most money of their lives on this potential world tour.
Paul was kept in a cell with others, treated well, and was a model prisoner with fellow inmates (leading them in song etc..) in his time there. Linda would visit, but there was much doubt for his future.
The other band members left on January 25th, with each being given airline tickets that allowed them to travel anywhere. Holley and Juber did this and remained silent in their level of anger and regret. Denny though, was furious. He was due to make a shit load of money and really felt betrayed by Paul’s lack of judgement.He would record his first solo album that year and call it, JAPANESE TEARS.
Paul was eventually released after 10 days in prison, because of the P.R. issue the Japanese government would have had by locking him up long term. In the video I posted (see video on 1979 page), Paul defends the use of marijuana the entire flight home, behaving more like a child whose toys have been taken away and scolded for it, rather than a person who almost made a life and career altering decision.
The next proposed album was already mixed and preparations being made quietly on the side, with music videos being filmed (March 26th and 27th) and all the details being finished up, but he chose to sit on it for a few more months. News accounts of this went worldwide, ranging from serious to SNL’s “he did what?” type of coverage.
It probably didn’t hurt his street credibility among the stoner and hippie crowd.
From February thru April Paul wrote at home a tell-all book called “Japanese Jailbird,” and had a few copies printed for his immediate family, then the manuscript was locked in a vault till this day. Maybe when Paul is taken from the Earth we will get to read his words….
Without a guitar, or paper and pen in prison, the 10 days served didn’t produce anything that dealt with the situation, either pro or con, other than an “oriental” sounding instrumental on his next release called, “Frozen Jap.” In today’s world of PC correctness, when McCartney II archive was issued in all its glory a few years ago it was now listed as “Frozen Japanese.”Back to early 1980….
Just a month after returning home Paul was honored as Outstanding Music Personality of 1979 on February 26th. He made a joke about regrets he had not received it as planned for earlier in the year, but he had been “tied up.”
On February 27th Wings won a Grammy for the “Rockestra Theme” track on BACK TO THE EGG.
On May 9th Paul is awarded with The Ivor Novello Special Award for International Achievement. This was for his hand in the relief effort for the people of Kampuchea, and not for the insane quantity of weed he traveled with entering a country with no tolerance. Just wanted to clear that up….
On May 16th in the U.K and May 22nd in the U.S. the stores proudly displayed a brand new album by Paul….. his second solo album…. He called it McCartney II.
Next, the album is reviewed.
One final odd thing…a rumor has always existed that maybe Yoko was behind the bust, tipping off the airport security. The reason being that Paul and Linda called John and Yoko just before leaving and had “bragged” to them they were staying in the same ultra-suite that John and Yoko always did when they visited. Hmmm….No proof exists on this long standing rumor…..