Paul McCartney: ‘Las Vegas is Where You Go to Die’

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Paul McCartney

It was good enough for the Who, Elton John, Santana and Rod Stewart, but not Paul McCartney: In an extensive, candid interview with British GQ magazine, the erstwhile Beatle says that he will never consider booking a residency in Las Vegas. “That’s something I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life,” he told the magazine when asked if such a gig might be a possibility. “Definitely nothing attracts me about the idea. Vegas is where you go to die, isn’t it? It’s the elephant’s graveyard.”

In the same conversation, with writer Dylan Jones in the publication’s August 2020 issue, McCartney added that he is also not interested in an extended Broadway solo run similar to the one that kept Bruce Springsteen busy for several months. “Not really,” McCartney tells the interviewer. “Some people would like me to do it, as they say I’ve got plenty of stories and plenty of songs, but one of the things that’s holding me back at the moment is that Bruce has just done it, you know? It feels a bit like, ‘Oh, suddenly I’ll do it now then!’ So I think that’s made me a little reluctant to follow in his footsteps or follow a trend. The idea is OK, but I think I’d just prefer to play with the band to a bigger audience, or even smaller—I don’t mind little clubs. I do a solo segment in the middle of my shows at the moment and to do a whole show like that, I’m not sure I fancy it. It might be a little bit like too much hard work.”

Paul McCartney at Pappy & Harriet’s, Pioneertown, CA on October 13, 2016 (Photo via his Facebook page)

Related: When McCartney played a 300-seat club

In the conversation, McCartney also discusses how he has been spending his time during this lockdown era (“starting songs, finishing songs”), the possible state of the music industry post-Covid (“Does this mean the end of live concerts? I don’t know.”) and reminisces about his hometown of Liverpool. He answers random questions about Buddy Holly, his fashion sense, his guitar collection, Black Lives Matter, vegetarianism and more.

In a particularly heartwarming section, McCartney is asked whether he ever reflects on his unique position in the world. “Do I ever!” he replies. “Like, always. Just give me a drink and sit me down and ask me questions. I tell you, I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, ‘My God, what about that?’ The Beatles. I mean, come on, there are so many things.”

His relationship with fame is not always a positive one, however. The 78-year-old musician reveals that he is not as comfortable with being hounded by fans as he was during the Beatle years. “In the 1960s, fame was a completely different ballgame,” he says. “It was new, it was innocent, it was exciting and any time anyone asked you for an autograph you said, ‘Yeah, let me do two!’ You just wanted to do that. Then there came a time when that started to wear off, so you go, ‘Yeah, OK, I’ll do the autograph.’ But then people are coming up to you when you’re having a private dinner or something and you go, ‘Could you wait until I’ve finished eating?’ It starts to pale and fame will start to become something that was not as attractive as it once was.”

Other topics addressed in the chat include the depression McCartney suffered following the breakup of the Beatles, his dreams about John Lennon, his work with contemporary artists such as Kanye West and his love of taking public transportation just to be able to mingle with regular people. Taking a bus once in New York, he said, “I noticed that everyone had noticed me, but they’re all being cool and they’re not saying anything. They’re all New Yorkers, looking straight ahead, even though I’m aware they’ve noticed I’ve got on the bus. Then this black woman pipes up from the back of the bus: ‘Are you Paul McCartney?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ And she said, ‘What are you doing on this bus?’ And I said, ‘Why don’t you stop shouting and come and sit next to me?’… We ended up having this lovely conversation. That’s why I like a proper conversation. Being ordinary. I love that. It means a lot to me—maybe too much to me. I wouldn’t have wanted to get on the bus and sort of announce myself. ‘Hi, it’s Paul McCartney! What do you think of me?’ I could no more do that than fly.”

Listen to a home recording of the title track from the recently reissued Flaming Pie album

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  1. Rob
    #1 Rob 7 August, 2020, 11:26

    Sir Paul.
    One of a kind!

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