- Published by:
- Interview by:
- Seth Doane
- Timeline More from year 2020
- Album This interview has been made to promote the McCartney III Official album.
More from year 2020
Songs mentioned in this interview
Officially appears on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono)
Officially appears on McCartney III
Officially appears on Help! (Mono)
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This was the only in-person interview in the US, to promote “McCartney III“. The interview contains some nice in-the-studio images of Paul interpreting songs from “McCartney III“
CBS: So what was a typical day in lockdown like?
Paul: Well, I was very lucky, really, because I got locked down with my daughter Mary, who’s a photographer and a very good cook. She was here and her family, so that meant that I was suddenly locked down with four of my grandkids. Now I don’t normally spend this much time with them, but here I was spending like four months living with them. And it was – it was good. And then one of the kids or Mary or someone said, what did you do in the studio? I’d say, “oh,” I pulled my phone out and Bluetooth, you know? And I said, well, we did this. So they got the kind of scoop. That was, that became an average day.
CBS: Most people in lockdown have been making sourdough bread. Paul McCartney, makes an album?
Paul: The other thing people have been doing is cleaning out their closets, so that’s a bit what that was. I just started, like, cleaning out my cupboards. Like, ‘Wait a minute, what was that song last year that I started but never got to finish? Let’s have a look at that. I should finish this.’
About writing a solo album:
Paul: It’s not like working with the band, because I know what I want to hear and I don’t even have to tell anyone. I just said, ‘Let’s do some drums.’ I’ll sit on the drums and I’ll think, ‘Okay, I wanted doo doo doo.. doo doo dah…’ So, it’s all in my head.
CBS: Do you miss the feedback, in a session working with a musician?
Paul: No. It’s just a different kind of thing. I sometimes will ask one of my engineers, ‘What do you think?’ Or the guys might have a suggestion. And I will say, ‘No’!
Paul: I don’t want to give it to anyone, I don’t want to get it. And when people sort of say, ‘I don’t want to wear masks, infringing on my civil liberties,’ I say, ‘Ah, no, that is stupid.’
CBS: Is this the real Sir Paul McCartney? Do you feel this is the authentic you that comes across in a way that a more highly-produced album wouldn’t?
Paul: Could be true, could be true, actually, yeah.
About writing songs:
Paul: I start on either a guitar or piano, and I’m just noodling about really. ‘Ah, there’s a melody here. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Oh yeah, that’s pretty good.’ That’s why I love it so much, because you start with nothing, and then, suddenly, after maybe a couple of hours, you got a finished song, and that’s like – wow! And that still amazes me.
CBS: In what way?
Paul: It always reminds me of, like, a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat… The song ‘Yesterday’ that I wrote, I dreamed that song, And I woke up and there was this tune in my head. Well, now, that’s magic. I didn’t believe it was mine for the first couple of weeks.
CBS: What do you mean?
Paul: I thought it was, like, an old song that I’ve heard somewhere, maybe from my Dad’s generation.
CBS: Just in your head?
Paul: Someone’s going to go, ‘Oh, no, that’s from “West Side Story”!’ I’d go Argh! But no one ever found what it was. And, in the end, they said, it’s yours!
About writing with John Lennon:
Paul: We never had a dry session. We’d come in, we’d sit down, about three or four hours later we had a song. Looking back on it, wow, how lucky was that? Or could it be skill? … It was always fun. We got so used to it, after the first 50 songs we’d written together, we kind of knew how it was going to go. So, if it was a song I’d brought in, I would just do the first couple of lines, and he would just follow it on. I started ‘It’s getting better all the time …’ and he went, ‘It couldn’t get much worse.’
CBS: Can you believe that what you did so many years ago still translates, still resonates, is still a gold-standard today?
Paul: It is pretty crazy. I remember when I was a kid and when The Beatles was just first starting, I remember my cousin saying to me, ‘Do you think any of your songs are ever going to be standards?’ And I remember saying, ‘Yeah,’ thinking …
CBS: You think you knew?
Paul: I didn’t know. I guessed. But I just had a feeling that some of the stuff that we were writing was pretty memorable.
CBS: What is it about the music that is so, that touches people so deeply?
Paul: I’m not sure I have an answer,. Something to do with the structure of the song. There’s no spare stuff that shouldn’t be in there. It’s the exact amount of stuff that should be on that record. But I am amazed at how it keeps going. I’m amazed, maybe I’m amazed.
CBS: I’ve heard that somewhere …
Paul: Oh, yeah, good idea for a song!
About John Lennon’s death
CBS: I wonder how, all these years – 40 years later – you’re processing it?
Paul: I’m not sure I am. It’s very difficult for me, and I occasionally will have thoughts and sort of say, ‘I don’t know, why don’t I just break down crying every day?’ Because it’s that bad.
CBS: Do you sometimes?
Paul: Not every day, you know? There will be times that I just have memories and just think, ‘Oh my God, it was just so senseless.’
CBS: Do you think he’d still be writing, producing like you are?
Paul: Yeah. He was showing no signs of slowing up. You know, he was still making great music. The question is, would we have ever got back together again?
CBS: What’s the answer?
Paul: I don’t know! We don’t know. We were friends. That was one of the great things about it. You know, I don’t know how I would’ve dealt with it. ‘Cause I don’t think I’ve dealt with it very well. You know, in a way, you know … I wouldn’t be surprised if a psychiatrist would sort-of find out that I was slightly in denial. Because it’s too much.
CBS: What happens if you’re in the car and a Beatles song comes on? What do you do? You turn it up? Turn it off?
Paul: Turn it up! Turn it up! Sing along with it. It always takes me back to the session, you know, it always reminds me, ‘Oh yeah, I remember John was there, Ringo was there, where we did this one. Yeah, yeah …’ It’s great, it takes you right back like a flashback.
CBS: I wonder how many hits are still sitting in your iPhone?
Paul: I don’t know, I don’t know. On one of the songs off the new album, called ‘Kiss of Venus,’ I wrote it one summer’s day, and I got the beginning of it – The Kiss of Venus, da, da, da, da – and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s OK, I’ll record it, I’ll finish it someday.’ But then I said to myself, ‘No, what have you got? You haven’t got anything on [right now]. Sit here and finish that bloody song!
Last updated on June 25, 2022
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