Interview for YouTube Originals • Thursday, December 17, 2020

Paul McCARTNEY sits down with Chris Rock on RELEASED

Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
YouTube Originals
Interview by:
Chris Rock
Read interview on YouTube Originals
Timeline More from year 2020

Album This interview has been made to promote the McCartney III Official album.

Master release

Songs mentioned in this interview

Hey Jude

Officially appears on Hey Jude / Revolution

Seize The Day

Officially appears on McCartney III

Women And Wives

Officially appears on McCartney III


Officially appears on Help! (Mono)

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Catch an all-new RELEASED featuring music legend Paul McCARTNEY. Don’t miss Paul McCARTNEY talk about his upcoming album, McCartney III. From his home studio, the legendary musician will chat with Chris Rock about his songwriting process, play a sample of his favorite song on the new album, and give us a look at his new music video. RELEASED, every week only on YouTube. Set a reminder using the bell.

Chris: I’m gonna guess that every time you put out an album, all the songs aren’t on it. I’m gonna guess you over-record for every album. So if there’s 12 records on the album, you recorded 20.

Paul: You know, normally that’s true. But, tell you the truth, with this thing, ’cause I started this in March at the beginning of lockdown, and I had a little bit of film music I was gonna do, so I came in the studio to do that. But then I started saying, “Well, let me finish up that other track. And I’ll do this one and I’ll do this.” I was just messing around. So I wasn’t really making an album in my mind. So in the end, I had about 12 tracks.

Chris: ‘Cause you realize, okay, we’re all gonna die at some point, right? And when we all die, everything we made is gonna come out. No matter what. No matter how careful you chose things, no matter how the order was made, everything’s gonna come out. I wanna know what song or songs do you hope that never come out?

Paul: We got stuff that wasn’t released because it wasn’t good enough.

Chris: That’s what I’m talking about

Paul: But the trouble is, like you say, everything comes out now. So what happens is you’ll have an album and they say, “Have you got any tracks that are kind of lurking around?” And you say, “There is this old thing. It’s terrible.” But it becomes a bonus extra. Everything you ever did becomes a bonus extra. “The Beatles Anthology,” where we looked at everything we’d every done, and me and George at the time, we said we should call the next album “Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel.” Because, you know, that’s what’s happening. It’s like every little ( bleep ) you took is recorded and is going to be out there – Very embarrassing.

Chris: Did you do, like, a metal record with Rick Rubin? Or did you rap with Pharrell? Did you try everything at some point?

Paul: Yeah, I think about it. But then I say to myself, “Paul, you shouldn’t do that.” I mean, on this album, I was writing a song, and it suddenly got very Beatle-y. And so I’m questioning myself. I’m saying, “Should I, like, not go down this route? It’s gonna be too like a Beatles song.” Have a little mini argument with yourself. You say, “Look, just write it.” There’s one of the songs on the new album that’s called “Seize the Day.” And it’s Beatle-y, but the Beatles don’t exist anymore, Chris- They broke up. See, I was talking to someone about it the other day. And I said, “I’ve gotta admit it’s what I do. It’s the way I write songs.” If I like something that’s going a bit Beatle-y, I’m just gonna let it be.

Chris: That would be a great title for your next album. – “Beatle-y.” That would sell a lot of records… I’ve hung out with you a couple of times, and I’ve hung out with a lot of musicians of your age and ilk, and I will say this, you have the best hearing of all of them. You hang around with any musician over 60, and they can’t hear ( bleep ).

Paul: I know. It’s true, man. But, you know, you think of the volume we used to listen to. Nobody knew. We used to sit, like, in the speakers. And when we were playing back “Hey Jude,” we had four giant Tannoy speakers, like, six-foot tall, and they were right in front of us, and we turned it up full. And I don’t think it was very good for our hearing. But it was fun.

Chris: What’s your favorite song on this album?

Paul: Favorite song on this album, possibly a little song called “Women and Wives”, which…

Chris: Yeah, I like that one. I heard that one.

Paul: I’ll play you that song… (playing “Women And Wives” on piano) That’s called “Women and Wives.”

Chris: You never go bad with women and wives, my friend.

Paul: Wives? Well, I’m not sure about that.

Chris: Artistically, women and wives always give you material.

Paul: That’s true. That is true. And you definitely do. You start talking about your divorce and you – there you go. You’ve got a couple of hours on that.

Chris: Oh, yeah. I could – please, I could go on. Do you ever listen to your old music and you hear a song and you go, “Oh, I was really happy when I made that one.” “Ooh! I was miserable when I made that song.” ?

Paul: Yeah, some songs I remember being very happy and writing. And then some songs, I know I was writing out a problem. Some of the early Beatles things were just happy songs, like “And I Love Her” was kind of a happy song, and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Lady Madonna,” you know, certain things like that, they were not born out of sadness. But some were. And some – one of them, I mean, the song “Yesterday”… I always had in the back of my mind something I’d heard people say. Someone said, “People like sad songs.” And it had struck me. I thought, “It’s kind of strange, but, yeah, people like sad songs.” So when I was writing the words to “Yesterday,” I thought, “Right. This could be one of those sad songs that people like.”

Chris: This is not even a music question. It’s just like, “Oh, I’m talking to an older guy that might know stuff.” You know, my dad died 30 years ago, so I have to take advantage whenever I’m, like, talking to somebody like you.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah, please do.

Chris: You’re Paul McCartney. Percentage, what is… This is a weird question. Just a famous guys question. What’s the percentage of people that have paid you back money you’ve loaned them?

Paul: Ooh, now you’re getting down there, Chris.

Chris: It is over 3%?

Paul: I think, who’ve paid me back, you’re looking at 30%.

Chris: 30%? That’s a lot.

Paul: It’s pretty good, it’s pretty good.

Chris: That’s a lot.

Paul: Chris, it doesn’t sound like you are doing so well on that score.

Chris: I’m probably at 4%. Probably at 4%. It’s okay. I’m okay. It’s not like I need any of it back.

Paul: It’s okay. You got to spread it around, brother.

Chris: You are one of the greatest authors of love. I’m just interested, your take on love, your take on marriage. Okay, here’s a question. ‘Cause my shrink told me I have to downplay me. When you first meet a woman, do you have to downplay your Beatle-ness? Or did you – like, you know, you’re essentially like a royal person. Do you have to, like, “Okay, we’re gonna eat at McDonald’s the first two dates ’cause I don’t wanna blow your mind.” ?

Paul: No, I prefer to go the “blow your mind” route. Come on, man. You know, why not?

Chris: I took a woman to a movie the other night, and I rented out a theater to see “Tenet.” It was just us. And my shrink was like, “You can’t do that anymore. You’ve got to play it down at least for a year.”

Paul: Just show your range, Chris. Show your range. You’re right. Show your range. You’ve got the big stuff, you’ve got the little stuff.

Chris: When you were in the Beatles, what was old to you? How old was old? Were you looking at 40, like, “Oh, my God” ?

Paul: When we started, when we were kind of teen age, John used to go to an art school, and me and George went to this grammar school next door. So we would go in to see John at lunch time, and there was a guy out of his class who was 24, and we were so sorry for that guy. You know? And it was like, “It must be terrible being that age.” 24 was not a good look.

Chris: Was there a moment in your life where you were like, “Oh, I might be 100.” Like, “I may live to be 100.” And what I’m trying to say is: did you find a second wind or are you still on your first wind?

Paul: Yeah, I’m still on the first wind working up to the second wind, and I am gonna live to 100. This is the aim, ’cause if you do, you get a telegram of the Queen. Now unfortunately, they don’t have telegrams these days, so I suppose it’d be an email. And if I’m 100, that puts the Queen up into the 120s or something. So, who knows? But that’s my plan, you know? You gotta have a plan, right?

Chris: That’s my plan, too. 100.

Paul: Yeah. Why not? And, you know, I always said I’d be coming on stage in a wheelchair going… (singing shakily) ♪ Yesterday ♪ ♪ All my troubles seemed so far away ♪ You know?

Chris: Oh, man! I wanna hear that record. I wanna hear, you know, like, that Johnny Cash record. I wanna hear that Paul McCartney record. I wanna hear you and Rick – with just a guitar. Yeah, I’m dying to hear that one. This one’s great, but you gotta give me that one too. You gotta give me that one.

Paul: Well, I do that one– when I’m approximately 99, I’ll be making that. So, stick around. Stick around, Chris.

Last updated on December 19, 2020


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