Paul McCartney maintains that pot and booze don't really play that big a part in his life these days. "Macca" who's now 76 -- and has notoriously been busted for pot five times between 1972 and 1984 -- told Mojo he's mellowed: "I did used to get a little bit more crazy than I do now -- I've got eight grandchildren. I haven't got the time. Grandad can't just be sitting in his armchair with a great big doobie on and a bottle of tequila. . . Also, I’ve got a lot of friends who are sober, 'cos they have to be. Like Ringo (Starr), Joe Walsh. Because they just took it too far. When we were growing up, everyone would be going to the pub and drinking but mostly it all seemed quite jolly. But when I talk to Ringo about it, he says: 'No, if you give me vodka, I would have to finish the bottle.' (We) used to (do) crazy things, but you don’t now 'cos you’re happy. And Ringo is. He’s very content with his life."

McCartney spoke about how the Beatles' breakup at the end of the '60s pushed him perilously close to alcoholism: "I was bummed out and in the middle of this horrendous s*** where someone was going to take every penny we'd ever made. That wasn't easy, and led to a very difficult time in my life. I definitely self-medicated there, and drank more than I ever had and probably more than I ever have since. But you go through it. I overdid it, basically. I'd drink whisky, of which there was a large supply in Scotland. What happened was the Beatles, towards the end, was very constricting. . . So I think I was just trying to escape in my own mind. I had the freedom to have just have a drink whenever I fancied it."

Paul McCartney explained that splitting with John Lennon and the Beatles was absolutely devastating to him: "The Beatles' breakup was quite shocking to me, really. It really throws ya, y'know? I mean, as anyone who's had that type of thing happen knows, y'know, it just suddenly makes you think: 'Am I any use to anyone? 'Cause I was very useful yesterday, playing bass and singing -- but that's all broken up now.'"

Paul McCartney's new album, Egypt Station, is set for release on September 7th.

AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON COPING WITH THE BEATLES' BREAKUP