Acoustic guitarist, composer, and producer Laurence Juber, known by many of his fans simply as "LJ," was born and raised in London. By the time he was 13, he began to earn money by performing at local get-togethers. A couple of years later he took up the study of classical guitar and then went on to earn a music degree from the London University, Goldsmith College. He also performed as a soloist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Around the mid-'70s, Juber found work as a session player. He perfected his skills as a variable guitarist along the way and earned a respected name for himself in the profession.
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In , Paul McCartney was looking for a new Wings axeman to fill the spot vacated by Jimmy McCulloch, who had left the group to join a revamped lineup of the Small Faces. Laine's recommendation was British session guitarist Laurence Juber, whose versatile, elegant playing rounded out the Wings sound from '78 until the group's end in Juber, who has called Los Angeles his home for the past three decades, embarked on a successful second career as a studio musician and has released almost two dozen solo releases.
But in the recently released book, Guitar With Wings: A Photographic Memoir, he looks back on his days working with an ex-Beatles in one of the '70s biggest bands.
The page book co-authored by Marshall Terrill and featuring a foreword by Denny Laine contains over previously unpublished photos, and for Juber, the year-long process of assembling the material was often filled with surprises.
In the following interview, Juber talks about his time with Paul McCartney and Wings, and on the pages that follows, he discusses a selection of the photos from the book. Well, it was a family — you had a very happily married couple, Paul and Linda.
There were some issues… Denny was an integral member and was in Wings throughout. It was a really productive experience. Did Paul ever talk about some of the things that went wrong with The Beatles — stuff he wanted to avoid with Wings? The Beatles had a bit of one-upmanship in the studio — sometimes Paul even played guitar parts that some people initially attributed to George. Was there ever any of that in Wings? Any battles over who would play which parts?
With the song Getting Closer, Paul really wanted to play a rhythm guitar part on that, so he did. But there were plenty of times when it was wide open for me to make the contribution I wanted to make.
But it was a very reasonable and productive creative relationship. What are some moments that stand out to you as real highlights from your time in the band? It was a remarkable experience. When it came to time for the solo, there were about a dozen guitar players on stage, but I realized that nobody was going to step forward to play the lead.
Just then, a hint of brandy fumes went up my nose, and I realized that Pete Townshend was leering over my shoulder as I was playing. I had this epiphany on stage, a transcendent moment that was tempered by a slightly brandy-soaked Pete Townshend watching me.
Did she have a pretty thick skin, or did the criticism sting, do you think? She developed a fairly thick skin, as you say. Wings existed because Paul wanted to work with Linda, and Denny was a very useful foil and was somebody of a similar background, although he did have his own credentials. That was the summer of , so we would have been touring with a number record and could have ended the band with a bang. But the band did continue on till the spring of Those old analogue devices needed a fair amount of maintenance.
He and Denny are discussing a song arrangement. You can see that Paul is making a sort of air-guitar gesture.
The engineer, Phil McDonald, took the picture and gave it to me. It was used about a year later for the cover of an English guitar magazine. I love that picture — mother and child.
James was not even a year old at that point. He was around a great deal. She was doing double-duty, playing keyboards and being a full-time mom, too. She had a little bit of help, but not a lot.
You pressed the device and it bowed the string, so you got this very different sound, not of a plucked string but one that was bowed. Paul is actually sitting outside on a balcony that overlooks the English Channel, recording his vocal and playing the squeezebox live. I think he was just fooling around with it. Denny with an acoustic guitar is always the image I have of him, the folk-minstral kind of thing. We were in the castle — there were all kinds of instruments around.
Paul is playing his Ovation. He used it on Yesterday, I think. He had it tuned down a whole step because he would play with these G shapes, although he sung it in F. On the same page of the book is a picture of my mom meeting Paul for the first time. It was rather funny. MusicRadar The No. Was Wings a happy group?
Did it function well? Did you see it coming at all?
Let It Be by Laurence Juber
Laurence Ivor Juber born 12 November , is an English musician, fingerstyle guitarist and studio musician. He played guitar in the rock band Paul McCartney and Wings from to He began to earn money playing the guitar at 13, and began to study classical guitar at the age of Enraptured by the sounds on records of the mid- to late s, he set his sights on becoming a session guitarist in London's music studios. While playing with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he earned his music degree at London University's Goldsmith's College , where he expanded his horizons by playing the lute. Upon graduation, he immediately began work as a session guitarist, working on his first project with former Beatles producer George Martin on an album for Cleo Laine.
Laurence Juber talks Paul McCartney and new photo book Guitar With Wings