Interview for • 2019

You Gave Me The Answer (2019)

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney

Songs mentioned in this interview

All Shook Up

Officially appears on Run Devil Run

Heartbreak Hotel

Unreleased song

What'd I Say

Unreleased song

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Is it true there is a recording out there somewhere of a jam session that you [and The Beatles] had with Elvis Presley and you covered Cilla Black’s version of ‘You’re My World’? What was it like to meet Elvis?

Paul: “There is no recording of a jam session with Elvis – that I know of! And, ‘You’re My World’? No. I think it’s highly unlikely. I’d be interested to hear it if anyone has it? I haven’t got it and I don’t remember that. But you know I suppose there’s some slim possibility it’s true. But as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t! It was phenomenal to meet Elvis because we’d grown up in Liverpool and it was hearing his record ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ that I think tipped the balance for the four of us in The Beatles. We wanted to do something like that. So we’d grown up with this sort of wonder for this amazing guy who just looked great and sang great – and we were major fans! So when we became The Beatles we asked to meet him. Eventually we did meet him and it was lovely and we were just like big fans! We were just in awe, because this man that we’d idolised for so long… it was just very special. It was magic!”

Do you have a song that you put on if you’re ever having a hard time or a bad day, and it instantly makes you feel better?

Paul:There’s a track on Egypt Station that came out of a hard time I think would fit the bill now! Alternatively, it would be old music like ‘All Shook Up’ or ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ by Elvis Presley. Or ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles.

The track from Egypt Station: it’s funny what inspires you to write songs. For instance, John started writing ‘Help!’during a crisis at that time in his life, which is often a good motivator ‘cause there’s a therapy aspect to writing songs sometimes – but not all songs! It’s almost as if you’re telling your guitar your troubles and a lot of composure can be found through that. So you sort of say what you might say to a therapist, but you put it into a song and you might feel better afterwards. You don’t have to be going through terrible times, just something that’s frustrating. So there’s a couple of songs like that on Egypt Station funnily enough! We’ve heard that you can do headstands. Are there any skills that you’re proud of that fans might not be aware of?And, is the headstand thing true?

Paul: Oh yeah, I’ll show you! Come on, I’ve already done it today at the gym… [Paul does the headstand] YEAH! Come on! I’ve often thought about videoing it and singing a song upside down! That is seriously impressive! 

Paul: It’s just an old trick I learnt… Thank you so much for showing us your headstand, some of us are keen yogis and haven’t mastered it yet.

Paul: I can show you how to do it. You need to bring your hands together and interlock the fingers. And your elbows and hands should form a triangle. Put your head in there and then you just walk up slowly untill you get to a pivot point. From there, you crouch and straighten your body out, remembering where your head and triangle is. So, that’s a yes to the headstand then!

Paul: That’s a yes to the headstand! To any other things? The one that came to mind was horse riding. A lot of people might not know that I enjoy horse riding a lot and I have my own Appaloosa horse… Do you get to ride much?

Paul: Yeah, that is still very much something I love to do because it is the complete opposite of touring. It proabably tends to be me out in the woods, on my own, on a western saddle, on an Appaloosa! You ride western?

Paul: Yeah, there you go – there’s another skill!

Back in the 70s there was a rumour you were working on an album called ‘Cold Cuts’ made up of unreleased outtakes. If this is true will you release ‘Cold Cuts’ in the near future? 

Paul: The original idea was based around a title I came up with and quite liked which was Hot Hitz and Cold Cuts. I thought it would be great, you just put all your top hits on it and then some “cold cuts”. But actually when I mentioned it to my record label at the time, they didn’t like the idea of the cold cuts, they wanted everything to be hits, hits, hits! So they didn’t particularly go for that idea. But what has happened over the years is many of those cold cuts – which are B-sides and unknown tracks – have been released in our remastered Archive Collection series… It sounds a little bit like our website feature Sticking Out Of My Back Pocket where we refer to those tracks as ‘deep cuts’. 

Paul: Maybe one day it would make an album. The funny thing is, I was friends with an American artist that I admire a lot called Saul Steinberg. I asked him if he would do a cover for it and he did. It’s a nice thing! So, I’ve got the cover and maybe one of these days it will get released. The thing is, how much can you release without it looking stupid, you know? New album, Archive Collection reissues, and then The Beatles stuff! So, it’s hard to slot in another thing, but maybe one of these days. It would be an interesting little thing!

You Gave Me The Answer – TV Special

Longer nights and colder days become the perfect excuse to stay in and curl up in front of the telly. Whilst we continuously scroll through the catalogue of our favourite streaming service and remind our TV that “Yes, we are still watching”, we started to wonder does Paul ever have time in his busy schedule to sit down and marathon his favourite series? And does he have any recommendations of things to watch?

Paul: I’ll tell you what. I never really have that much time, because I do stuff. You know, I’m either touring, rehearsing and, at the moment, writing a musical. So, that is my excuse for the fact there are millions of series that I haven’t caught up on. Nancy has seen them all, she’s so ahead of it. It’s ridiculous, I’ve only just finished ‘The Sopranos’, which I feel like everyone saw 10 years ago. Now, I’m watching ‘Boardwalk Empire’. Martin Scorsese directed the first episode, so it’s very good. But again, it’s something people watched years ago, but it’s very good so that’s my current thing. I’ve been watching Veep as well, which I loved. We love that show! It won an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Comedy’ a few years ago…?

Paul: Yeah, it’s very good! And speaking of comedy, while we have you; who or what makes you laugh the most?

Paul: I think Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ is a very funny series. Have you ever seen it? [Guiltily] We haven’t!

Paul: It’s really good. He goes round in a car with a comedian and they just talk. But they’re very funny. He’s very funny, very perceptive. Is it a bit like the Carpool Karaoke format?

Paul: Yeah, yeah – it’s that same kind of thing …and I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg?! It’s just very good, he is very funny. So that’s my current laugh, at the moment!

You Gave Me The Answer – Alex asks

Alex asks: “At what point in the song writing process do you come up with the titles?”

We caught up with Paul recently to find out.

Paul: “Probably at the end of the song! You just sort of look at it and think, ‘Oh, that’s probably the title’. So then you just call it that. There’s normally something you’ve made into a chorus that you’ve repeated a couple of times so it seems obvious that that is the title. Sometimes there are a few choices: you can either go with that obvious one, or you can go with the first line sometimes. But I normally go with the one that seems most obvious because I’ll remember it easiest, and hopefully other people will too!”

You Gave Me The Answer – Gym Playlist

We were genuinely intrigued to learn – what does Paul listen to in the gym?!

Paul: Oh wow! That’s a cool question actually, ‘cause I happened to have a great old jukebox that Capitol records gave to each of The Beatles years ago, and it happens to be in the gym area. So, I listen to all these old records, Rock n’ Roll music by Chuck Berry, ‘Something Else’ by Eddie Cochran, ‘Tutti Frutti’ by Little Richard – it’s endless! I really love it! Does it keep playing, or do you have to get off each time to change the record?

Paul: There’s a credit switch inside, but I used to put a coin in it, all the time! So you put the coin in and it falls through and it would start playing –  until I discovered the credit switch inside! So now they’re all free to play.So yeah, I’ve been really enjoying that a lot recently! You know, just getting stuck in because it’s great little selection of old rock n’ roll.

Last updated on April 10, 2021


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