Interview w/ Chris Salewicz (Excerpt, John Was Lucky He Got All His Hurt Out)
September, 1986 (MPL Communications, London): A candid and emotionally tangential Paul talks about receiving criticism and contending with John’s
Paul issues manifested and documented hurt over/after the breakup of the Beatles.
SALEWICZ: So how do you react to criticism? To – I mean, do you take it very personally?
PAUL: I don’t really know. Now I’m being very flash and very nonchalant and saying I don’t care, but I haven’t seen too many reviews. And when I see bad
reviews, it’ll hurt me. Um… But I am giving myself a bit easier time in life
these days. I’ve gone through so much criticism, and not just from
critics, from people like [John], that like a fool I kind of actually just stood there and said, “Yeah, well, you must be right, I’ve done this, that wasn’t too nice” and stuff. I’m beginning to see it a bit differently now. I’m beginning to see a lot of
what they say is their problem, not mine, a lot of the time.
And in John’s thing, you know, when as – you obviously know – he was going through a lot of pain when he said a lot of that stuff. And he felt that we were, um, being kind of vindictive towards him and Yoko. In actual fact I just answered a question on an American TV thing – I think we were quite good, looking back on it, and knowing people in life. Many people would’ve just downed tools with a situation like that and just have said: “Look man, she’s not sitting on our amps while we’re making a film.” I mean, that wouldn’t be unheard of. I mean, Sean Penn… do you know what I mean? Most people would just say, “We’re not having this person here. Don’t care how much you love her.”
But we were actually quite supportive. Not supportive enough, you know; it would have been nice to have been really supportive because then we could look back and say, “Weren’t we really terrific?” But looking back on it, I think we were okay. We were never really that mean to them. But I think a lot of the time John suspected meanness where it wasn’t really there.
SALEWICZ: Oh, he was presumably very paranoid.
think so. I mean, he warned me off Yoko once. You know, “Look, this is my chick!” ’Cause he knew my reputation. I mean, we knew each other rather well. And um, I felt… I just
said, “Yeah, no problem.” But I did sort of feel he ought to have known I
wouldn’t, but. You know, he was going through “I’m just a jealous guy”. He was a paranoid guy. And
he was into drugs. Heavy.
SALEWICZ: Yes, which makes you paranoid.
PAUL: He was into heroin, and – see, which I hadn’t realised [the extent of] till just now. It’s all [starting to click a bit] in my brain. I was just figuring, oh, there’s John, my buddy, and he’s turning on me, ’cause he perceives that I’m… “McCartney bandwagon,” he once said to me. “Oh, they’re all on the McCartney bandwagon.” And to me, I was just releasing a record, okay. So you can call it the McCartney bandwagon, but it’s no harm. It’s no more than anyone else does when they put out a record. And yet things like that were hurting him, and looking back on it now I just think that it’s a bit sad really.
SALEWICZ: I saw that thing in The Observer last week [about the manuscript of the Apple Beatles biography and the vitriolic comments John made in the margins].
PAUL: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that starts to show the sort of pain he was going through. I think… okay, I mean, you know. Hell, anybody – look, he was a great guy, great sense of humour, and I’d do it all again. I mean, I’d go through it all again, and have him slag me off all again, just because he was so great. Those were all the down moments, but there was much more pleasure than has really come out. Every article now, I’m always saying, “I’m so sorry, this and that, and John…” and so and so, but really, I’m quite happy. I mean, we had – I had a wonderful time with one of the world’s most talented people. Which is like a plus. We had all these crazinesses… But for instance, if someone took one of your wedding photos, if you were married – are you married? – someone took your wedding photo and put ‘funeral’ on it [as he did on that manuscript], you’d tend to feel a bit sorry for the guy. You’d think, wait a minute. I’ll tell you what, if I’d ever done that to his thing, he would’ve just hit the roof. But I kind of just sat through it all, and was mild-mannered Clark Kent.
SALEWICZ: This was hurting you, presumably, though. Not half.
SALEWICZ: But I mean, when did you actually get a perspective on it?
PAUL: I still haven’t. It’s still inside me. I was just talking to someone the other day, I said, John was lucky. He got all his hurt out. He got all his pain out. He got all his feelings out. I’m not really that kind of person. I’ve a different sort of a personality inside me that’s sort of – is still trying to work it out. And that’s why it’s kind of good to see that wedding-funeral bit, because I started to think, wait, this is someone going over the top. This isn’t just your average jibe. This is like, paranoid. This is paranoia manifesting itself. And so my feeling is just like it sort of was at the time, which is like, oh, you know. He’s my buddy. I don’t really want to do anything to hurt him, or his memory, or anything. I don’t want to hurt Yoko. But, at the same time, it doesn’t mean that I understand what went down.