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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Interview for paulmccartney.com

You Gave Me The Answer (2023)

Interview of Paul McCartney

Last updated on January 26, 2024



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PaulMcCartney.com: What do you consider your ‘role’ as a father and a husband?

Paul: I would say that being a father and being a husband are two completely different things. As far as being a dad is concerned, I’ve always just tried to give my kids a bit of guidance, if they seem to need it – but that was mainly when they were younger. Now that they are older, they’re guiding me! They don’t need so much guidance these days but if there’s ever a problem, I’m very happy to be the guy they come to. So, that’s largely the thing of being a dad. You’re just there to help, and I suppose have fun with – we do have a lot of fun. Now they’re older we can have a drink together, for instance! 

When it comes to being a husband… I see it as just trying to be good to my wife Nancy and trying to be considerate and romantic. I completely overdo Valentine’s Day! I mean, there’s not just one card, there are cards hidden around the room, and sometimes things even spill into the next day – it’s completely silly. If there’s an excuse to have some fun, I overdo it! At Christmas, I go crazy with the tree lights and fairy lights – totally overdo it.

I try to be helpful as a husband too. If there’s a problem, I like to be the guy that will lend some strength to it. I’m always very happy to be the person Nancy relies on, and to be her strength when she goes through tough times. I am very proud, in fact, to be ‘The Guy’ there. And I know she is grateful. So, that’s my role as a husband: it’s to be the strength and the romance at the same time. I don’t think I consciously chose to be that way. It’s just how I do things.

What did you feel was the highest professional risk you took during your long career? I can think of some candidates: leaving The Beatles, forming Wings, McCartney II, Give My Regards to Broad Street, The Fireman… maybe something else? 

I would say all those you mentioned were big risks, yeah – especially forming Wings. 

The main question I had was whether to keep going after The Beatles, because it was a hard act – some might say, an impossible act – to follow. The ingredients in the Beatles were so unique. You had John right there, who could have made any group brilliant. Then you had George’s talent, and Ringo’s, and then me. 

Once that band had finished, I didn’t know what to do with myself, and trying something new was really risky. Then, of course, having Linda in Wings, when she was not a ‘musician’, was a risk too. When the reviews started to come in a lot of them focused on her, asking, ‘What’s she doing in the band?’ And that was hurtful. But I rationalised it by thinking about when we started The Beatles and none of us knew our chords – over time we got better and picked things up. 

In the early days of Wings, we decided to go right back to square one, taking a van up the motorway and playing little spontaneous gigs at universities for students, rather than jumping straight in with big live shows. I’d doubled back to almost being nothing – just some guy in the band – and now I was earning my fame again. By the time the mid-70s came around when we were doing a big American tour, that was the vindication of it. We were so tight and had come up together, as it were. The risk paid off. 

Would you describe yourself as a risk-taker?

Not really, no. I’m quite careful normally. There’s a couple of times in life when you are forced into taking a risk. After The Beatles, this was my situation: ‘Do I keep going with music, or not?’ Well, I want to keep going. So, ‘How am I going to do it? Am I going to have a band, or am I just going to busk outside train stations? How’s it going to work?’

Inherently, I’m not a risk-taker. I weigh things up and try to be pretty careful. I was the polar opposite to John. If there was a cliff to be jumped off, John would jump! He would just dive into things, and I would sometimes have to rescue him and say, ‘Hey man, you shouldn’t be doing that!’ Or, he sometimes wouldn’t pay his taxes, for example, and so I said, ‘You’re going to have to, or you’re going to jail!’ But then it was very exciting to be around someone with such a different personality. That was part of the fun and attraction. 

Obviously, I’m not completely square. I do a lot of zany stuff! That’s in my character too, but I
don’t live my life as a risk-taker. I try and work it out to some extent. 

PaulMcCartney.com asks: What has been your highlight of 2023? 

The GOT BACK tour!

Ross asks: We saw your exhibition Eyes of the Storm open this year and loved the accompanying book. Do you still use a film camera, and if so which one? 

No, my iPhone has taken over.

David asks: What’s your favourite song to play live on the GOT BACK tour?

It varies. Probably ‘Hey Jude’, just to see all those thousands of people singing in harmony with each other.

Rosa asks: How did you feel when you heard John´s crystal clear voice on ‘Now and Then’ for the first time? 

Very emotional.

Bryna asks: What’s your favourite part of the ‘Now and Then’ music video? 

John goofing around!

Maxime asks: Would you ever release a soundcheck album featuring some of the covers you do before the live show? 

It’s a thought! We have the ‘jams’ – we always start the soundcheck with a made-up piece, and there’s a lot of them. So, we might go through those and do something someday.

Joann asks: After 60+ years of playing guitar, how do you take care of your fingertips? 

I don’t seem to have to. When you first get back into rehearsal, they’re a little bit un-used to it, but usually they harden up and… ‘get back’.

Jennifer asks: What is your favourite song or album that has been released this year? 

I don’t know, there’s so many! 

Dennis asks: What is your ‘guilty pleasure’? 

I have lots of guilty pleasures. Maybe TV shows more than music. I love Bargain Hunt.

Vonnie asks: Is there anyone else you would like to sing a duet with? 

Bob Dylan keeps coming up in my mind, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get round to it.

Elayne asks: How many pets do you have these days, and what are their names? 

We have two dogs, Rose and Jet. They’re both rescues. Rose is a dignified lady, and Jet is a crazy monster.

Renee asks: What have you enjoyed watching on TV this year? 

Well, I like David Attenborough’s shows, and in-depth historical documentary stuff. But I also like Strictly.

Trav asks: Paul, what is your favourite vegetarian meal you love to cook at home? 


Mika asks: If you have time machine and can go to the future, which year are you going to? 

Next year. I have no idea what’s going to be in the distant future, so I wouldn’t risk it! 

Dominic asks: Is there anything left in your music bucket list? 

I don’t think so. I’ve been very lucky.

Sigrid asks: What is something that always gives you a Christmas feeling? For me it’s mulled wine! 

As a kid it was always the smell of cigars. My dad didn’t smoke them except at Christmas, and my brother and I used to buy him a little pack each. Then one year our dad said, ‘Don’t buy me the pack, just get me one really good one!’

JoAnn asks: Do you have a Christmas light display at your home during the holidays? 

And how! Yes, I have a guy who loves to decorate it for me, and I love to view it.

Miranda asks: At Christmas, do you prefer giving gifts or receiving them? 


Brandon asks: What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve received? 

It’s hard to just choose one, but Nancy gave me a beautiful old Telecaster guitar from 1956 which is pretty darn special.

Alex asks: Which do you prefer, a white Christmas or winter sun? 

White Christmas.

Aoife asks: Do you have an advent calendar? 

Yeah, but I must admit I only open the first few. It’s like a diary, you do the first few pages then you forget.

Julie asks: Will we ever get to hear the songs that you wrote for a musical stage version of It’s A Wonderful Life

I hope so, yeah! Musicals are difficult things to put together, but I think it may be shaping up at last. So, hopefully you’ll get to hear the songs.

PaulMcCartney.com asks: What are you most excited for in 2024? 

My birthday.

Paul McCartney writing

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