In a new interview with Rolling Stone (via Gigwise), Paul McCartney has stated that a new-found confidence in playing lead guitar means that he is unlikely to be retiring any time soon:
"I was saying to someone the other day that one of the very first gigs we did. I don't even think we were the Beatles, it was the Quarrymen - one of the very first times I ever played with John [Lennon], we did a very early gig at a thing called a co-op hall, and I had a lead solo in one of the songs and I totally froze," he recalled.
"My mum had come, and I really played the crappiest solo ever. I said, 'That's it. I'm never going to play lead guitar again'. It was just too nerve-wracking onstage. So for years, I just became rhythm guitar and bass player and played a bit of piano, do a bit of this, that and the other.
"But nowadays, I play lead guitar, and that's the thing that draws me forward. I enjoy it. So, yeah, that means the answer to 'Are you going to retire?' is 'When I feel like it'. But that's not today."
McCartney also stated that he's still more than happy to play his big '60s and '70s hits for audiences, rather than basing his sets around newer material:
"Last night at the show, I said, 'I know what you think of new numbers,'" he joked. "Because when we do the old numbers - something like 'And I Love Her' - I see all the phones come out.
"You see all the little lights, ding-ding-ding-ding-ding, like Disneyland. And why did you just get your phone out? 'Because it's my old favourite.' That's reality. And like me and the Bill Haley concert, I don't want to cheat those people. So we mix it up occasionally, but mainly we hope we're pleasing the various facets in the audience.
"People say, 'But why do you care, man?' Someone like Bob Dylan doesn't necessarily care - he'll just do what he wants, and that's cool.
"I say, 'Yeah, but I have these memories that haunt me of these concerts that I went to and these records that I bought'. I don't want those people in my audience thinking, 'Hey, we came for big hits, and you played a bunch of sh-t.'"