Paul McCartney is one of the most famous rock stars on the planet. He has seen and done everything in his 60 year career. But he admits that he gets nervous about certain things. Our idols can sometimes seem like impenetrable gods, but they are just as human as the rest of us. They are afraid of silly things like us and they get nervous.
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Feather penguin podcast, Paul reveals that there are some people who annoy him. One of those people is Bob Dylan, oddly enough. “Bob Dylan would actually make me a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to say… is this going to be okay? Will it be cool?’ Paul said.
“But I saw him. We did a Coachella, but it was like Old-Chella, because it’s like the Stones, we, Neil Young… It was old acts,” Paul explained. “But I got there from Bob. Had to talk, and he was really nice, so I don’t know why I would get nervous, but you do with some people. However, being nervous about meeting Dylan stems from great insecurity. “It’s a really funny thing when you think about it. What do you have to do to be safe in yourself?”
“I mean, I would have thought I’ve done enough now to think, ‘No, I’m cool,’ you know, I don’t need anyone to panic. But it’s a human situation, I guess. There’s just something – you know, where you sometimes think, ‘Is this good enough? Am I good enough?’”
Composer Richard Rodney Bennett once told Paul that his biggest fear was “to find out”. Meaning finding out that he fears he’s not good enough. Paul thought it was a pity because he was such a great composer, but he got what Bennett meant. Paul also needed reassurance during his long career. He says that it is not so easy to look at all his successes and tell himself that he has done well.
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Paul is relaxed when he meets people but he is too nervous to interview a celebrity like him.
Paul doesn’t insist that people call him “sir” (the Queen knighted him in 1997) because he likes to make people feel comfortable when meeting or interviewing them. He would like to make it as “informal” as possible. However, with him, wanting to comfort people does not stem from being famous. This comes from being a native of Liverpool.
“It’s a very Liverpool thing. My family is growing up – it’s just an instinct from that part of the world, I guess,” Paul explained on the Penguin podcast. “So for me, I got used to it anyway, and then now it’s all the more necessary because if I’m famous and people in their shoes are screaming.”
Paul understands what people feel when they meet him. He will probably be as nervous as he is interviewing some famous person. “I can imagine it,” he said. “If I had to interview someone famous tomorrow, I’d be thinking about it all night and all morning, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do?’ I imagine that’s what they’re doing, and usually all you can see is a slight fear in the eyes or twitching or something.
That’s why he likes to comfort people because he’s “just some guy”. Like Bob Dylan “Just Some Man.” We can’t believe Paul gets nervous about whether he’s good enough, but that’s the human condition as he says it.