Deep Purple’s Ian Paice on how he ended up on a Paul McCartney record

Ian Paice attends The Ivors 2019 AND Paul McCartney performs during Desert Trip
(Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

If Ian Paice were ever trying to impress the person sitting next to him at a dinner party, he wouldn’t be short of illustrious tales and celebrated collaborators to draw upon. The Deep Purple drummer has played with Whitesnake, Gary Moore, the Velvet Underground, Jeff Beck, George Harrison, William Shatner, and of course Deep Purple, which is why we just called him “the Deep Purple drummer”. 

You imagine near the top of this impressive roster of stars, though, is the time he got behind the kit for Paul McCartney, playing on the former Beatles’ 1999 record Run Devil Run. He explained to Rhythm Magazine how it came about: “Paul and David Gilmour were friends from the past,” he said. “George Harrison and I were great pals – he lived just a couple of miles down the road and our kids grew up together. I’d met Ringo but never McCartney. 

"So I got the call: would you like to do the date at Abbey Road? What do you say? I went in on the Monday morning knowing full well that if it was crap I wouldn’t be there on Tuesday. And the whole thing was done in five days, like The Beatles did their early stuff – 10am til 5.30pm, one’o’clock stop for lunch.”

Playing with McCartney was “glorious”, Paice said, adding that he thinks Macca is underrated as a bass player. “Everybody thinks of him as a singer/composer but boy, what a bass player! It’s not that he plays a lot, but what he does play is in exactly the right place. You listen to every Beatles record – he and Ringo, it feels great. That is not luck, that is God-given talent. He was so easy to play with.”

McCartney obviously enjoyed the experience, too – he invited Paice to be part of the band for his return to the Cavern Club later that year, the performance released as the concert film Live At The Cavern Club.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.