Paul McCartney Smoked the Strongest Weed of His Life With Fela Kuti

He told the story in an interview for Marc Maron's WTF podcast.

Paul McCartney recently sat for an extended interview with Marc Maron in which he covered a bunch of Beatles memories, as well as many from his releases with Wings and solo career.

One anecdote that stands out is about his 1973 album with Wings, Band on the Run, which was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria.

Paul mentions that he decided to record in Nigeria because at that time it was "kind of fashionable for people not to record in their normal studios." So, he asked his label EMI what international locations they had studios in, and when he heard of the Lagos studio he was set on Nigeria.

When Paul arrives in Nigeria, the first thing he sees in the papers were headlines of Fela Kuti accusing him of "coming to steal the black man's music," a story he's told many times before.

So he calls up Fela and invites him to the studio to hear the songs he's working on, to prove that his recordings are nothing like afrobeat or any other African music. That's where the new bits of details of this story start.


In Paul McCartney's own words:

"[Fela] came over with his 30 wives and a studio full of ganja. He was one wild cat, he used to have a bottle of whiskey in which was marinating a pound of pot... in the whiskey. We turned out to be real good friends, he got it, he said 'no you're not doing that' [stealing African music].

Ginger Baker was there, he was his big friend. So, Fela invites us to his club which was outside Lagos, the Afrika Shrine. This was a few of us, little white people, me and a couple of friends. So we go out there and I say, '"let's not smoke any pot." Cause it's pretty crazy, we're out in the jungle and it's pitch black.

So we're sitting there with Fela [at The Shrine] and one of Fela's guys comes up, he's crouching and he's got a packet of Rothmans cigarettes. They're all joints. He goes, '"You want one of these?" I say, "no thanks," so he carries around and gets to Ginger Baker who says "Yeah man! Sure!'"

Then Fela shouts, "Ginger Baker! The only man I know never refuse a smoke!"

So I go, "A-ha! Ok, I'll have one of those."

Man. I tripped out. It was so strong. It was stronger than anything I've ever had, I don't know if there was something in it.

But in the end it was a good night.

You can listen to the full Paul McCartney interview with Marc Maron for WTF here, it starts at around the 50-minute mark.

Paul's previously talked about his favorite Fela songs and memories on video which you can revisit below.

(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

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Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

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