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Paul McCartney Hears Elvis Costello Screaming at Him in His Head

Over a half a century after becoming one of popular music’s biggest superstars, Paul McCartney interviews tend to feel more than a bit repetitive. They usually feature the same types of anecdotes–ones about him coming up with Beatles megahits with John Lennon in each others’ living rooms, learning Chuck Berry riffs off of 45s, still being a normal Liverpudlian chap at heart, that sort of thing. A new GQ cover story on McCartney, which may or may not be roughly the length of Moby Dick, attempts to cut out on the tired talking points and force McCartney to spill some hot new dirt. Its title: “The Untold Stories of Paul McCartney.”

The most notable item that has already been picked up on is an anecdote about McCartney, John Lennon, and a few non-Beatles buddies masturbating in darkness and envisioning Bridgette Bardot. After a suggestive name was yelled out, “everyone would thrash a bit more,” McCartney described, appallingly.

With that tidbit out of the way (and skipping over some other ramblings about “orgies” and what was “called ‘kinky’ in those days”), we can turn to appreciating some of the other weird details of this collection of unusual collection of remembrances and Jack-Handey-esque deep thoughts from the former Beatle. McCartney claims Kanye West offered to produce his new album Egypt Station and says the rapper periodically texts and calls him. In an interview published by Vulture in February, Quincy Jones is quoted as saying that The Beatles were “no-playing motherfuckers” and, specifically, that “Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard.” McCartney told GQ that Jones had called him to apologize, claiming that he never made the offending comments.

McCartney recalled an entire, almost-definitely-not-entirely-true exchange with Jones: “I said, ‘If you had said that, you know what I would have said? Fuck you, Quincy Jones!'” McCartney said. “And [Jones] laughed. I said, ‘You know I would say to that: Fuck you, Quincy Jones, you fucking crazy motherfucker!’…And he was like, ‘Oh, Paul, you know I love you so much.’ ‘Yeah, I know you do, Quince.'” One of the McCartney stories that may remain untold is whether or not he actually calls Quincy Jones “Quince.”

McCartney also claimed the exchange occurred while he was “cooking” with “a little bit of wine going,” and we’ll certainly need some extra journalistic legwork to establish whether or not Paul McCartney has ever cooked for himself in the last 55 years.

Perhaps the most haunting detail in this GQ colossus is the revelation that there is another Ryan-Tedder-produced Paul McCartney song in existence, one which sounds like it has the potential to be worse than Egypt Station’s assaultive, middle-school-lascivious, Tedder-prodduced single “Fuh You,” which is an easy candidate for the worst song McCartney has ever committed to tape. According to Macca, the second Tedder-helmed work, entitled “Get Enough,” features liberal use of Auto-Tune. The track has not seen public release, and McCartney claims that an imagined voice of his own conscience threatened to talk him down from releasing it.

“I know people are going to go, ‘Oh no! Paul McCartney’s on bloody Auto-Tune! What have things come to?'” McCartney explained. “At the back of my mind I’ve got Elvis Costello saying, ‘Fucking hell, Paul!'”

Not to be deterred, McCartney pushed back against this Obi-Wan Kenobi-like Big Fedora-Wearing Rock’n’Roll Man apparition yelling in his skull, which I imagine resembled the “huge endless” scream Norwegian artist Edvard Munch heard “cours[ing] through nature” before creating his iconic turn-of-the-century painting The Scream. McCartney imagined what his former bandmate would do in his shoes. “You know what? If we’d had this in the Beatles, we’d have been—John, particularly—would be so all over [auto-tune],” McCartney exclaimed. “All his freaking records would be…” By way of summary, McCartney explained: “I don’t listen to people.”

Paul McCartney also likes to drive and ride the subway, and claims to have enjoyed Oceans 8. Read the full, dense collection of  McCartney’s “untold stories” over at GQ.