Macca’s brotherback on the road

Paul McCartney’s kid brother Mike McGear McCartney – late of the Scaffold – heads out on for his first tour in 42 years.

The man who brought us the legendary Lily The Pink all those years ago has been tempted out for his first-ever solo tour of the country, taking in Shoreham’s Ropetackle Arts Centre on April 11.

And as he says, it takes a lot to tempt him out.

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“Things just have to happen naturally,” says Mike. “I never step over my doorstep unless I want to, unless I am going to have fun, unless it is something constructive and positive. Otherwise why bother!

“I am very happy in my house with my wife and family overlooking the River Dee. I don’t need anything else. The only reason I ever step out the door is if I am going to have a good time!”

And for the tour, he’s convinced he’s going to have a ball – as indeed will his audiences. And all because, as he says, the tour happened so naturally, not for one moment something he had actually sought.

“I went to a little bookshop in New Brighton. That was the place where we would go for holidays as working-class kids. We would spend the day in New Brighton. There was a big fun fair and a tower. That’s all gone now. The Tower Ballroom got burnt down.

“But there was a tiny little bookshop, and the owner asked me to go along and do a little talk. He said he would just ask me questions, and I would answer them.

“I thought ‘That sounds easy!’ It’s just a very, very small room full of books. He has had Willie Russell there and Ken Dodd there, and he thought he would ask me.”

Mike’s friend Tim Quinn then phoned and said an American professor was bringing over a group of American students to see Liverpool, could they come to see Mike. It happened to be the very day that Mike was speaking at the bookshop.

“So I just said bring them along to the talk. It was totally packed, and when it started, I just said to Pete (who runs the bookshop) ‘Go on then, ask questions!’

“Pete just said ‘You don’t need any questions! You just talk, Mike!’ And so I had to do two hours completely off the top of my head. I rose to the challenge. I just thought ‘I will tell you my life!’

“The next day Tim phoned me and said ‘Mike, have you ever thought of doing a one-man show?’”

Shoreham will see the result as Mike McGear McCartney delivers Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’Roll (I Wish!), a look back over a remarkable life – one partly in answer to the question:

What do you do when your big brother (Sir Paul or ‘R Kid’ to Mike) has taken over the world with his band The Beatles? How do you follow that?

That was Mike McCartney’s problem back in the 60s.

The answer he came up with was to change his name to Mike McGear, form his own band Scaffold, and move into the satire and comedy field.

Hit records and TV series followed before Mike turned his back on showbiz to return to his first love photography, with his work acclaimed by exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institute in the US and Britain’s National Portrait Gallery.

For many, the Scaffold’s crowning moment will always be Lily The Pink – a song which Mike confesses was actually a filthy rugby song before they got hold of it and turned it into a cheery sing-along.