Kanye West Reminds Paul McCartney of Andy Warhol, and Other Gems From the ‘Rolling Stone’ Interview

How is the hip-hop master like the Pop master?

Paul McCartney and Kanye West during Paris Fashion Week, March 2015. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.
Paul McCartney and Kanye West during Paris Fashion Week, March 2015. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has opened up to Rolling Stone about his collaborations with Kanye West, on the evolution of his relationship with Yoko Ono, and even on that one time when studying a Pablo Picasso painting led to a song.

Here are the highlights:

On Kanye West’s Factory
I’d heard things like, “He’s got a room full of guys working on riffs, and he walks around going, ‘I like that one.’ It reminded me of Andy Warhol, these artists who use students to paint their backgrounds and things. It’s a well-used technique.

On Whether Kanye is a Genius
I don’t throw that word around [laughs]. I think he’s a great artist. Take My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I played it when I was cooking, and it was like, “This is good. There’s some really innovative stuff.”

Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago, © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago, © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On Finding Inspiration for the Lick in “All Day” in a Picasso Painting
Linda and I were having our first baby together, Mary. She was recuperating—I’m sitting around eating chips with my guitar in the clinic, goofing around with it. And there was a picture on the wall that I’d been looking at for days—Picasso, The Old Guitarist. The guy held the guitar like this [strikes the pose from the painting], and a light bulb went off in my head: “What chord is that?” It looked like it was two strings. “You know what would be cool? To write a song with only two fingers.”

On Getting Over Your Perfectionism
I used to be terrified of making a mistake. I’ve learned that it’s OK. The audience actually likes it.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono pose on the steps of the Apple building in London, holding one of the posters that they distributed to the world's major cities as part of a peace campaign protesting against the Vietnam War, December 1969. Courtesy of Frank Barratt/Keystone/Getty Images.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono pose on the steps of the Apple building in London, holding one of the posters that they distributed to the world’s major cities as part of a peace campaign protesting against the Vietnam War, December 1969. Courtesy of Frank Barratt/Keystone/Getty Images.

On Learning to Love Yoko Ono
My big awakening was, if John loves this woman, that’s gotta be right. I realized any resistance was something I had to overcome. It was a little hard at first. Gradually, we did. Now it’s like we’re mates. I like Yoko. [Laughs] She’s so Yoko.


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