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We will be remembered as the best band of all time.Paul McCartney
The most influential living figure of popular music returns to Chile on Wednesday the 20th and speaks with Cult of his best memories at The Beatles, why they never wanted to meet, his vision of the current hectic world and what will happen to his Legacy when it is gone: “We will be remembered as the best band of all time”. […]
– What do you feel when you sing songs that you could never perform live with John, George and Ringo?
-It’s great, for the simple reason that that’s why we did it, because I realized that we had never played live before. We just wrote them, we recorded them, but we could never show them on a stage. I think it’s good to do it. It’s a bit scary, because some are a bit difficult. “Mr. Kite “, for example, is very difficult to sing and play the bass at the same time. So for a while I thought: ‘No, I’m not going to do it, who needs to get into so much trouble?’ But then I said to myself: ‘You know what? It is a challenge’. So I tried to learn them and I managed to do it. I find it exciting to do it now, just because I never played with the Beatles. It is fun.
– When you look at your story in the group, was your big pain maybe not having done more shows to play these songs?
-No, not really, because we play so many songs together. It was great and equally with my band now we only played some of those songs. There’s another million that I never played with the Beatles. But I just think of all the good times we played together, in so many songs that we did over the years. I remember those moments. I do not worry about the topics that we do not touch.
– At the end of January, 50 years of the legendary concert on the roof of the Apple building were celebrated. Did they think at that moment that they would never be together on stage again?
-No not really. We did not realize it was the last time. We also do not think that it would become such an iconic show. Precisely because we also thought of hundreds of crazy ideas to play: we wanted to be in the ocean, in the middle of nowhere, or we also thought of an amphitheater in Morocco. We had thousands of ideas, but nobody liked them. They all seemed very difficult. So at the end we said: ‘We’re going to ride on a roof to play’. And the simplest idea became the most iconic. It’s what many have copied since then. I have very good memories of that show, because they are finally memories of the Beatles. Every time we were together, something special was generated, and it was not a long time, but it was quite intense. We were in Hamburg, Liverpool, England, Europe, United States. So being on the roof was great, because when I look at the recording it is very difficult for us to break as a band. We still played amazing. We responded to the other’s instruments. It was a very special moment and that’s why it looks so good.
– In the 70s they kept watching. You visited John several times in his apartment in New York and he played with Ringo on his 1973 self-titled album. Was there any concrete opportunity for you to come back as a group?
-Do not. We received many offers, but once we parted, we said: ‘It’s better that we do not try to do this again. It’s better if we leave it like that. ‘ So we agreed to follow that philosophy, that’s what we did.
– If John and George were still here, do you think the Beatles would have joined in adulthood?
-You know, the only time we met was for “Free as a bird”, when we took the demos of John’s cassettes and did a song together (N. de la R .: a song recorded in the 90s by the three of us Beatles survivors with old Lennon tapes). It was great. That was the kind of ‘meeting’ in the study that we had come together from the beginning: to do that kind of thing. And then we also recorded “Real Love”. But that was the closest we got to being back. There were people who offered us a million dollars and more for playing once, but we never wanted to do it. We composed so many songs, from A to Z, and I was good at that. We had a good time, we had a great story and we did not want to ruin it.
– Sometimes, do you dream about your friends who have already passed away?
-What do you mean? When I’m sleeping?
– Sure. Do you sometimes appear in your dreams?
-Yes, definitely. I have dreamed that we are all together again. Yes. It’s interesting, it’s like in the old days. You know, sometimes dreams can do magical things.
-In his last projects, it seems that he always remembers those years previous to fame, when for the only time he was a person who led a normal life and not that of an icon. In his album Chaos and creation in the backyard , of 2005, on the cover appears an image of you as a teenager. And in New , 2013, there is a song from the beginning of his friendship with John.
-Yes, you know. I think it’s great to remember. I think it’s a good thing for everyone. Most people like to remember their childhoods, times when they were completely innocent. And in addition, everyone who writes on occasions does so about times that are no longer there. It is a very rich area to write: your memory. It is good to remember. When I write about those moments, many scenes come to me from when I was young, walking down the street with our guitars on our backs. That was right before we were famous. I also like what happened next, but remembering those times is fun. Remember your family when you were a child and all the things your parents did for you. Your uncles and aunts, your cousins. I, at least, was lucky to have a good family.
– Would you say that your friendship with John is something that happens only once in your life?
– But I imagine it was difficult for you to find a friend like John again.
-Yes. But there were also two other members of the Beatles: George and Ringo. We were all incredibly lucky. It was a magical combination, you know? I had John and George and Ringo, but John had Paul and George and Ringo, and Ringo had George, Paul and John. We had each other and that was, in short, a special combination.
– Reflect habitually about one of the great themes of the human being: what is there after death? Do you think about what will happen to your legacy when you are not there?
-I do not think much about that, I must tell you. I focus more on life. I mean, I know that (death) happens. It happens to everyone, that’s for sure, but it does not really bother me. When it’s time to leave, I’ll leave.
– Many people associate it with sweet and friendly melodies, but forget that you wrote “Helter skelter” where the roots of heavy metal are, and that it was the first Beatle to approach the avant-garde and experimental sounds in the 60s. What is an unfair vision?
-Yes I know. I know what you mean and it’s fine. The thing is, I’m happy that they link me to the melodies. I love that, but many people know that, as you say, I have both sides. Two, at least. I also have that very rock and roll side with which I did things like “Helter skelter” or others like “Why do not we do it in the road?” So, you know, I do not care if people can think that about me . I think the ones that know less about me, the more they think. The same goes for John. They think that John was tough and somewhat cruel, but it could be quite romantic. And he composed many romantic songs. We were all quite complete people.
– Mention two songs from the white album , 1968. In November an anniversary edition appeared with shots never published and with a version of the theme “Good night” where the four sing very united. That stage has always been indicated as the beginning of the turbulence in the Beatles. Was it really that difficult or is it just part of the legend?
– We were so professional and we were so focused on recording good albums that, oftentimes, we could naturally fight. Like any family. Even so we loved each other and we got along very well. Sometimes there could be arguments, but surely you and your family have also had them. It’s normal and it happened because we always wanted to record great albums.
– In his recent album, he works with some of the most sought-after producers of pop today. Is it a way to keep looking for new routes for your music?
-You know, I enjoy doing new things and doing cool things. So, when I get the opportunity to work with someone I admire and with whom I have not worked before, or to make a song in a different way, this keeps me cool. I do. It keeps my energy flowing and I just enjoy it. It is not a necessity at all.
– In Egypt station there are songs that deal with climate change and peace on the planet. Do you have any opinion of the hectic of today’s world, with Trump in the US? or the Brexit in England?
-Yes. (Much of what happens today) is stupid. I think it happens as with fashion: things go in cycles. You have good times, peaceful times and, eventually, it seems that you have to go through more murky times. I think it all comes back like a pendulum clock: you know, those old clocks with pendulums that oscillate. It oscillates in one way and we have Trump, but eventually it will eventually go to the other side. So I’m waiting for it to swing to the other side. Anything is better than Trump.
– When 200 years pass, how do you think the Beatles will be remembered? How Mozart or the Beethoven of the twentieth century?
-We will be remembered as the best band of all time.
After establishing his place in the last section of human history, Paul says goodbye as another mortal. As any of us would: “Hey boy, you say hello to your family from me, okay?”