When it comes to living, breathing and rocking music icons, Paul McCartney is near – if not at the top of – that list. The music he made with The Beatles is still as influential as ever; his Wings tunes can still make you groove; and his quality solo work has kept McCartney in creative step at a time when he could understandably slack off a bit.
At the age of 75, McCartney has just kicked off a new American tour. He’ll play 10 shows in July, take a breath, and then get back on the stage for another 11 gigs from September to October.
During a new interview with Rolling Stone, McCartney was asked about how he is still able to put on concerts in which he performs upwards of 40 songs in a roughly three-hour span.
“Once you get in front of an audience … it’s a charge,” explained McCartney. “It charges your battery. It just turns you up to 11. So it’s great.”
“It’s different every night, and we play a bit different every night,” he continued. “And we’re always just trying to get it right and have a good time. We talk about it afterwards: ‘We nearly got it right. There were just a couple of things that we’ll get next time.’ And then people will be seeing the shows like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Nobody else spots mistakes we spot. And that keeps you trying and enthusiastic, and it keeps the energy flowing.”
Of course, being an admittedly competitive person helps McCartney with that drive to succeed.
“I think everyone, when they do a job, tries to be the best they can. So yeah, I guess I’m competitive. Not in a crazy way.” admitted the Beatle. “If someone does better than us, I don’t go home and cry. But it’s just a natural thing. In the Beatles, we always tried to be the best band in Liverpool. Then we tried to be the best band in England. Then we tried to be the best in the world. It’s just an instinct. But I think what you have to think of, really, is what if you didn’t think like that? Then you’re going to get sloppy.”
What has helped McCartney avoid being a “sloppy” performer is the way in which he manages his health. In order to rock out in front of thousands of people on a consistent basis, McCartney recognizes the importance of keeping his body a well-oiled machine.
“Probably the most important thing to do on the road is exercise and eat right,” offered McCartney. “There are people who exercise 10 times the amount I do, but I just do enough. I just do what feels good, and it keeps me in some kind of shape.
“When I was a kid, I used to hate P.E., physical exercise,” he added. “I used think, ‘Oh, it’s so boring.’ And in the Beatles, you wouldn’t have caught us doing that. We were young; we didn’t have to think about that. It just wasn’t in the repertoire. But nowadays it is, and a lot of people who didn’t ever go to the gym now go and enjoy it. And there is a good feeling when you feel like you can accomplish stuff without falling over.”
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