I had a friend in college—let’s call him Michael—who was one of the most interesting people I had ever met up to that point in my life. He was the first person I’d met who had…almost an “aura” about him, for lack of a better word, along with several unique qualities that just made him fascinating to be around. He wasn’t what you would call a “goth” per se, but his appearance was striking. His hair would change often, both in color and style, he was typically clad in black, wore eyeliner, a variety of rings and bracelets, and even had black painted fingernails. I met Michael through a mutual friend in the theater department and what I found most interesting was that he didn’t seem to be playing a part or persona, this was just who he was at the time. One of the biggest influences Michael had on me was his taste in music. Michael played guitar in a band and introduced me to entire genres of music that I had never heard of before from bands like Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and Peter Murphy. Another friend at the time—a modern dancer named “Memo”—was actually friends with Peter and years later invited me to see him, along with Nine Inch Nails at a little club in Atlanta—but I’ll save that story for another time.
One thing my dad and I had in common was our love of westerns. When I was little, many weekend afternoons were spent on the sofa watching the likes of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and Clint Eastwood. Photographer Mark Parascandola visits some of the ghost towns that Hollywood built, and then abandoned, that dot the landscape of southwestern Spain.
GQ magazine recently sat down with Paul McCartney and asked him to break down some of some of his most iconic songs, both from The Beatles and from Wings. It’s interesting to hear how the songs came about and which ones still carry weight.