Paul McCartney talks retirement and The Beatles in 'Rolling Stone'
Paul McCartney probably isn’t the first person you picture when you think Ibiza, the Spanish island known for its hard-partying ways. But when he had the chance to go on vacation thanks to doctor’s orders to rest, he and his wife headed straight there. “We didn’t exactly go clubbing, but there’s plenty of it about,” he told Rolling Stone in a new interview.
The Ibiza vacation didn’t last too long—McCartney’s currently on tour and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon. “The answer to ‘Are you going to retire?’ is ‘When I feel like it,'” McCartney said. “But that’s not today.”
On his Ibiza getaway: “So we went away to Ibiza. Obviously, there’s a lot of dance music there. We didn’t exactly go clubbing, but there’s plenty of it about. It’s in the air in that place. The house we rented didn’t have a good sound system, so I said, ‘Excuse me, we’re in Ibiza. I’ve really got to be able to hire a sound system.’ So I found the right guys, and they showed up and got me a really great little system. We were saying, ‘We could rent this house out one evening for 600 people, and we could have a rave.’ [Laughs] We didn’t do it, but I was playing that music that I’d done in the studio, and it sounded pretty good.”
On his performance philosophy: “So I have this thing, which is that these people have paid money. They’re not necessarily all going be that flush, so let’s give them a good night out. Let’s have a party. Let’s make it a fiesta kind of thing, so everyone goes home and thinks, ‘Yeah, I didn’t mind spending that money.’ That’s the philosophy behind a lot of what I do.”
On the Beatles’ success: “Phil [Spector] used to say to us, ‘You guys, you put too much value on. You put an A side, and you put a good song on the B side!’ There had been a song called ‘Sally Go Round the Roses,’ an early thing, and on the other side they’d put ‘Sing Along With Sally Go Round the Roses’ – just the backing track. And we’d say, ‘Aw, Phil, you can’t do that, man. They paid good money for this. We would feel cheated by that.’ And he said, ‘Nah, you can do that. It’s cool.’ That became actually the big Beatle policy. It was always to put a really serious B side on there – so you got ‘Strawberry Fields‘ with ‘Penny Lane,’ and people now talk about that. That was a factor of the Beatles’ success, I think.”
On still playing the hits: “People say, ‘But why do you care, man?’ Someone like Bob Dylan doesn’t necessarily care – he’ll just do what he wants, and that’s cool. I say, ‘Yeah, but I have these memories that haunt me of these concerts that I went to and these records that I bought.’ I don’t want those people in my audience thinking, ‘Hey, we came for big hits, and you played a bunch of s–t.'”
On retirement: “I was saying to someone the other day that one of the very first gigs we did – I don’t even think we were the Beatles, it was the Quarrymen – one the very first times I ever played with John, we did a very early gig at a thing called a Co-Op Hall, and I had a lead solo in one of the songs and I totally froze when my moment came. I really played the crappiest solo ever. I said, ‘That’s it. I’m never going to play lead guitar again.’ It was just too nerve-wracking onstage. So for years, I just became rhythm guitar and bass player and played a bit of piano, do a bit of this, that and the other. But nowadays, I play lead guitar, and that’s the thing that draws me forward. I enjoy it. So, yeah, that means the answer to ‘Are you going to retire?’ is ‘When I feel like it.’ But that’s not today.”
Read the full interview over at RollingStone.com.