Interview for O Estado de S.Paulo • Friday, February 22, 2019

Paul McCartney: 'É tempo de falarmos a verdade'

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
O Estado de S.Paulo
Interview by:
Julio Maria
Read interview on O Estado de S.Paulo
Timeline More from year 2019

Songs mentioned in this interview

Back In Brazil

Officially appears on Egypt Station

Hey Jude

Officially appears on Hey Jude / Revolution

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(auto-translated from Portuguese)

The voice was hoarser than Helter Skelter , not the highs of Oh, Darling,  nor the teenage years of A Hard Days Night . The gentleness in the intonation sounded to Hey Jude , but some weariness referred to Let It Be days . A whole life in a sentence said at 1:35 pm last Wednesday as the most popular man on the planet picked up the aide’s phone at his office in Soho Square in London to talk to the journalist before his next coming to Brazil: “Hi, I’m Paul McCartney .”

The concerts in São Paulo will be on March 26 and 27, at Allianz Parque. A third will be in Curitiba, on March 30. Chile and Argentina are also in the script. Paul began touringThe Freshen Up Tour less than a year after finishing the previous One On One , a season almost stuck to Out There! Tour (2013 and 2014), which came in the wake of Up and Coming Tour (2012-2013), which had entered the next tram to On The Run Tour (2011-2012). 

The sequence seems tiresome for a man who, although theories support the opposite, is a human being. “What explains that, Paul? At 76, his friends are already at home playing with their grandchildren. It would not be for money, right? “According to The Sunday Times , Paul remains the richest artist in the UK with £ 780 million, something like $ 3.2 billion. “No, it’s not about the money,” he smiles. “You know, I like the great audiences, being with the fans around the world gives me energy, and I still have a good time with my grandchildren. It is possible to live both. If I were a painter, I would like to continue painting for life. You’re right, I do not have to do this all the time, but that’s all I’ve been doing since I was a kid. “

At the same time that the Brazilians are happy with its coming, a multitude of fans who can not afford the ticket regret. Ticket prices are very expensive in Brazil. Would not it be time to make a free presentation here?

You know that once, a few years ago, we did a concert and released your broadcast to TV in Brazil, if I’m not mistaken, for a station called Globo. And then even the people who lived in the small villages managed to get access to the show. Sometimes we do that sort of thing. I’ve sung this way in Rome for over a million people on the streets and in Mexico for 500,000. It would be great to achieve the same in Brazil.

The world seems divided today between left and right, as if no idea could fit into another definition. Rock and roll, curious, was already accused of the two: right, alienating the young, and left, making them rebellious. The Beatles were left or right?

It’s a difficult question, but I believe both. I do not think that in the Beatles we made a distinction between right and left, it was not in our interest to assume a party, an ideology. We were more concerned about being sensitive. If fighting for human rights is to be left, then say that we were left. If making songs that spoke of love and family was something of the right, you can say that we were right. 

Even today, John Lennon is considered by many the rebel of the band and you, the conservative. Is there any certainty in this perception?

I think, somehow, yes. But what happened was that people interpreted the story in many ways. Sometimes I became a conservative right-wing man, and in others I was the left, doing something revolutionary. And so it was with John. Few saw, but he could also be quite right wing. I have had some experiences that have shown that we should not judge someone based on just one period of their life. Both sides lived in the Beatles, which is why we can talk to everyone.

Your latest album, ‘Egypt Station’, brings a story that goes on in Brazil in the song Back in Brazil. One part sounds like social criticism when it says that the girl feels fear and that “hope begins to collapse and her dreams, to disappear”. Was it a metaphor?

This song tells a love story, as if it were a movie, and I did not think of anything else when I did it. But I like it when the song opens doors to other interpretations. If you want, you can take that to that understanding, I think it’s great. 

Are you going to play it in Brazil?

We’re rehearsing, I do not know if we’ll have time to learn it by then. Hope so.

Paul, what would your dream band be? It’s not worth putting anybody in the Beatles, okay? 

Oh, okay, let me see. On the drums: John Bonham ( Led Zeppelin drummer, killed in 1982 ). On the keyboards … Billy Preston ( musician who plays organ in ‘Let It Be’, dead in 2006 ). In the bass ( is silent ): John Entwistle ( bass of The Who, killed in 2002 ). On guitar, Jimi Hendrix ( killed in 1970 ). And on the vocals, Elvis Presley ( according to Paul, the immortal ).

Your voice sometimes seems tired at the shows and you seem to have difficulty getting to some notes. Is it getting difficult to make three-hour presentations?

At what point do you think my voice gets tired?

Ah, in the sharpest moments of songs like ‘The Long and Winding Road’, ‘Oh, Darling’ or at the end of ‘Hey Jude’, for example … 

Paul here makes a quick silence, then utters a scream with the sharpest note he seems capable of reaching, of hurting the reporter’s eardrums. Then he sings the beginning of ‘Oh, Darling’ with the same force. To, breathe and ask: What’s up?

Okay, I think you can put them in the repertoire. Paul, you have a song on the new album, ‘Despite Repeated Warnings’, which tells of a captain of a ship who, without worrying about the warnings of global warming, is going to end with his crew. The president of Brazil, at the moment, is a captain with inspirations in Donald Trump, the man to whom you dedicated his music.

I do not know enough about your new president to make comments, but generally looking at the world there is a misfortune in the air. Many people are scared, afraid, and a major concern in the Americas and Europe is related to the issue of immigrants and refugees. It’s very easy to say, “Hey, they’re going to steal our jobs.” But if you look at the United States, you will see that all of them are immigrants, every being in America today is an immigrant. I see nations being built with thoughts of anti-Semitism and anti-immigration policies. I can not talk about Brazil, but I can clearly see the rise of politicians who cause fear.

Roger Waters was booed on the stage when talking about his political convictions and a question appeared there. What is it? Being on the side of fans who pay to see you or next to what you believe to be the truth?

Always next to what I believe. The political situation in many countries is difficult, and here in the UK it is no different. We are undergoing major changes in America, Italy, France, Germany. It is time for us to speak the truth.

How do you deal with your own story? All the time biographies, documentaries, films come out. What do you do when you read or see something surreal about yourself?

I always read surreal and clueless things about myself. People listen to a version and repeat it without any evidence. The story is entirely based on this. I often prefer not to read, but when I read I write to the biographer and say, “Hey man, this is completely unreal.” I read some excerpts from a new book about myself and the story was completely wrong. My time is too precious for me to get bored with the things they write.

Was the end of the Beatles precocious or did they end the time they had to end? 

The Beatles were a great band, played for the planet and could very well be playing now. Unfortunately, there was an end. That was the best band in the world and I’m sure that if they were all alive, we would be on the road until today.

One day, Paul. If he had to choose only one to live again, what would he be?

Today. I am a happy man.

And in the end, what is it? The grandfather who loves the grandchildren on holidays or the artist who sings Hey Jude for 80 thousand people?

They are the same man. In the end, what is left is love.


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