5 Things We Learned From Paul McCartney's Candid 'GQ' Interview

Paul McCartney GQ
Collier Schorr/GQ

Paul McCartney in the Oct. 2018 issue of GQ.

Paul McCartney sat down with GQ for an interview published Tuesday (Sept. 11) to share previously untold stories with the magazine.

From tales of The Beatles' debauchery to coming-of-age stories from his early childhood, McCartney bared all and left us knowing more than ever about the singer with each anecdote. Among the many new things that we learned, here are five takeaways from his interview with GQ:

1. He Never Thought He'd Become a Singer-Songwriter

In his earlier years, McCartney faced a fair amount of pressure from his father, who wanted to make sure he buckled down and got a good job. McCartney was advised to go into teaching, but the idea did not appeal to him. Instead, McCartney often fantasized about being a long-distance truck driver fueled by Catholic faith and the open road. "Just driving forever, going on these long journeys, full of faith in God and the world," he told the magazine as he reminisced on the idea. "To me, that would be quite good."

2. He Envisioned His DNA Before DNA Was Discovered

During the interview, McCartney briefly digressed and talked about tripping on acid in London during the '60s. Of the many images that he saw during the trip, he believed that he saw what looked like DNA's double helix. "I remember at the height of it seeing this thing that was like a spiral going up in, in my brain, and it was beautiful colors, like multicolored gems going up this spiral. And then, shortly thereafter, [scientists] discovered the DNA helix. I certainly have a feeling, not only my own birth, I've seen my own DNA," he said. When the interviewer asked if he discovered DNA before scientists did and just chose not to tell anyone about it, McCartney replied, "God, I'm so glad someone's picked up on that!"

Collier Schorr/GQ
Paul McCartney on the cover of the Oct. 2018 issue of GQ.

3. John Lennon Tried to Talk Him Into Trepanning

McCartney launched into a tale of how Lennon tried convincing him to do trepanning, the process of drilling through the skull to one's brain. Naturally, McCartney was skeptical about it and urged Lennon to test the process out first. "John was a kooky cat. We'd all read about it -- you know, this is the '60s. The 'ancient art of trepanning,' which lent a little bit of validity to it, because ancient must be good. And all you'd have to do is just bore a little hole in your skull and it lets the pressure off -- well, that sounds very sensible. 'But look, John, you try it and let me know how it goes,'" he said.

4. He Didn't Know What 'Wilding' Meant When He Recorded 'Four Five Seconds'

In more recent years, McCartney has worked with Kanye West on multiple songs, even going as far as calling him "an interesting guy." When the final product surfaced for "Four Five Seconds," McCartney wasn't sure if he was on the track, as his vocals and guitar work were pitched higher than initially recorded. Though he was pleased with how the track came out, he had to ask for a proper definition of "wilding." "My stepson knew," said McCartney. "He's up with the hip-hop talk: 'Wilding? Oh yeah, that's like getting crazy and stuff.'"

Collier Schorr/GQ
Paul McCartney in the Oct. 2018 issue of GQ.

5. He Once Masturbated With John Lennon

Perhaps the most shocking anecdote was when McCartney casually mentioned a group masturbation session that involved him and three of Lennon's friends at Lennon's house. "Instead of just getting roaring drunk and partying -- I don't even know if we were staying over or anything -- we were all just in these chairs, and the lights were out, and somebody started masturbating, so we all did."

Going into further detail, McCartney said that the five boys encouraged each other to shout various names of celebrities during the session. "We were just, 'Brigitte Bardot!' 'Whoo!' and then everyone would thrash a bit more," he said. "I think it was John sort of said, 'Winston Churchill!'" McCartney concluded the raunchy tale, writing it off as nothing more than "good harmless fun."