Paul McCartney Discusses Damon Albarn’s Warning Not To Work With Kanye West

Paul McCartney just released the new solo album Egypt Station, and he’s been working hard to promote it. He is, for example, the subject of a new GQ profile from the writer Chris Heath. The story is long, and it’s absolutely full of ridiculous anecdotes. There is, for instance, a story of McCartney, John Lennon, and some friends sitting around and jerking off together. There is a story about Lennon trying to convince McCartney to get holes drilled in his skull. There is light, loving dispute about some stuff Quincy Jones said in one of his own recent batshit profiles. And there is Kanye West.

A few years ago, West brought McCartney in to help him write a few songs like “Only One,” “FourFiveSeconds,” and “All Day.” More recently, Damon Albarn has said that he warned McCartney not to work with West. Albarn says that he texted McCartney and told him “beware,” and he characterized the relationship between West and McCartney as “abusive.”

In the GQ profile, McCartney answers the question of whether he got that text from Albarn:

He might have. I don’t remember. But I wouldn’t listen to him. I don’t listen to people… I love the respect someone like Damon is attributing to me, but I’m not that fussed. If I want to go somewhere else from where I normally go or where I’m expected to go, I’ll go. And if I enjoy it, that’s enough for me. The great thing is, all sorts of hysterical things come out of it. I mean, there’s a lot of people think Kanye discovered me. And that’s not a joke.

McCartney also says that West offered to produce Egypt Station for him:

I thought, no, I kind of knew what direction I wanted to go in. And I knew that would be very different from where Kanye would go with it… I said, “That’s great, wow.” I’m just amazed that he said it. And then we never talked about it again. It was just a thought that was thrown away. I certainly thought about it and got very excited and thought, “That’s something, there’s no denying that… But is it something I want to do?” There’s the thing. And I thought, “Maybe not.”

Later on, McCartney talks about using Auto-Tune on a song that isn’t on his new album, and he says that John Lennon would’ve loved Auto-Tune:

Because I know people are going to go, “Oh no! Paul McCartney’s on bloody Auto-Tune! What have things come to?”… At the back of my mind, I’ve got Elvis Costello saying, “Fucking hell, Paul!”… You know what? If we’d had this in the Beatles, we’d have been — John, particularly — would be so all over it. All his freaking records would be…

And then he sings in his impression of an Auto-Tuned John Lennon. You can read the full profile here.