Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Derek and Dave's interview with George Harrison

Continuing one with Beat magazine's Beatle interviews in the Bahamas by Derek Taylor and Dave Hull.   This time the duo ask George Harrison some gripping questions of 1965.

Hull and Taylor Interview Harrison
Beat Magazine
April 7, 1965

Derek:  With the gentle swish of the Caribbean behind me, this is Derek Taylor sitting thankfully in the sun on the beach of Nassau with George Harrison, who is wearing a straw hat and blue jeans, and looks extremely well.  His long, dark hair is curly.  He’s of course, of the two single Beatles and I think the first to buy a house.  He bought a house in Surrey which he takes considerable interest in.  Anyway, George, let’s say first it’s nice to see you after about three months away.

George:  Nice to see you again, Derek.

Derek:  How do you like it here?

George:  I like it fine except that we’re up at 7:00 in the morning every day on the set filming.  It’s good really because if you’re off work there’s nothing much to do.  It gets boring just sitting in the sun, and we’d all prefer to be up and working.

Derek: I asked you because it may seem like a paradise to people who can’t get into the sun to think of spending two or three weeks in the Bahamas.  But of course you are working very hard all day.

George:  Yeah, that’s right.  Well, we get up at 7:00 and we usually start about 8:00 or 8:30, right through and then have lunch for about a half hour, and then we work right through until the sun goes and there’s no more light, which is usually about 5:30.

Derek:  The pattern of your life now seems to be with not so much touring.  Now that you can record 11 numbers in five days you can have an awful lot of leisure.  Do you have too much leisure, do you find?

George:  No.  We haven’t had a great deal, really.  This year, maybe, because after the film I’m not too sure what we’re doing.  I think we may have a week or so and then we go to Europe for about a week.

Derek:  Are you touring Europe?

George:  I think we’re doing six concerts—two in France and two in Italy and two in Spain.

Derek:  You’re been in France.  You haven’t been to the other places before?

George:  We’ve been to Spain.  Paul, Ringo and I went.

Derek:  you didn’t play there, though.

George:  No.

Derek:  When that tour is over you presumably will then have a lot of time before visiting America.
George:  That’s August, I think.  In the meantime we’ll have a new record out, doing TV and things in England.  And then with a bit of luck the film will probably be out around about that time.  So then we’ll have the film songs out to plus and we’ll have a premiere.  And then I think it’ll be the American trip.  Or maybe the premiere will be after the American trip, which is in August. 

Derek:  so in fact the pace in life seems to be almost as hot as it was.  It appears deceptive.

George:  We can’t tell, really, because we haven’t really been told exactly what’s happening.  We just vaguely know that it’s America, and then for all we know we may start on our third film after the America trip, in which case, you know, we’ll be…

Derek:  I notice that…you seem to be doing two films in one year.

George:  We’re trying to.  I hope so because we enjoy it so much more than anything else. 

Derek:  You prefer films?

George:  Yeah, it’s great and when the film’s finished you get more satisfaction from it.  You feel as though you’ve done something worthwhile more so than a tour.

Derek:  Brian Epstein did say once – I don’t want to commit you to anything that you don’t’ want to talk about – but he did say once that is might be you’d go more and more into filming, and into isolated shows.  Is this going to be sooner than we expected?

George:  I don’t know.  This depends on when we expected it.

Derek:  He means in terms, I think, of next year.

George:  We’d like to do more films and naturally a little less touring because….

Derek:  Touring’s tiring.

George:  Yes it is.  People don’t’ realize that each day you jump out of bed onto an airplane and fly two thousand miles to do a show.  You know that’s not much fun, really.

Derek:  The American trip destroyed almost everybody.  Everybody was a bit off their heads when it was over.

George:  Yeah.

Derek:  Now going back to leisure, how do you spend your free time when you’re home?  Like spend a Sunday off?

George:  On Sunday I  have a lie-in, I suppose, and then…

Derek:  You’re a great sleeper…a sleep worshiper, really.

George:   Yeah, but I do like it if I can.  It’s just trying to get up.  Since I’ve gotten my house I used to just lie around in the backyard last summer when it was quite hot.  But now, as it is sort of freezing cold in England, on a Sunday I just get up and have a late breakfast about 12 o’clock.

Derek:  Have you got help in the house?

George:  I’ve got a woman who comes in each day.  She cooks dinner for me and keeps the place tidy.

Derek:  What’s her name?

George:  Margaret.  Mrs. Walker.  I read the Sunday papers and go out for a drive and sometimes go out for lunch with some people

Derek:  Do you eat more out than you do in?

George:  Uh, I think so because I usually just eat in on the weekends.   I usually, on a Sunday, have friends over and just stay in and have dinner and watch TV.

Derek:  You’ve got a pretty good garden.  You don’t do it yourself, do you?
George:  No.

Derek:  Do you like gardening?

George:  Well, I like a sort of nice garden, but it’s too much trouble, really.  But the good thing about my garden is that most of it is just lawn.  It’s just lots of big lawn with trees and things.

Derek:  It’s a new house though?

George:  It’s a bungalow, actually, just a big long bungalow.

Derek:  Bungalow is what we call a one-level house, I think.

George:  Anyway, originally the fellow who built it is the fellow I bought it from was an Australian.  He built it like an Australian ranch bungalow.  It’s about ten years old.  Two years ago he had a new part built on the end so it’s ten and two years. 

Derek:  do you take an interest in the house in improving it or is it simply a place to live?

George:  I like it.

Derek:  Are you a house-proud man?  Do you talk about your house to other people?

George:  Well, to friends and things I suppose.  I like the idea of it looking great in the way I like it.

Derek:  Are your tastes in interior decorating simple?

George:  Really being the first house ever of mine I’ve just tried to get it so that it pleases me.  At first I got some fellow to get some furniture and he bought a lot of rubbish.  Since then I decided I didn’t really like it.  He just bought odd stuff just so I could move in straight away.  Since then I’ve changed it around a lot.  Things I’d like to do if ever I buy another house is stay in this one until I get the new one furnished just how I like it and then move.  I’m not a great believers in interior design and all that because it ends up you’re living in the designer’s house and I’d much rather do it myself.

Derek:  Yes, I quite agree.  You were going to have a pool put in, I think, the last time I saw you.  Is that still happening?

Derek:  They started about two weeks before we left England and actually the morning we left the airport there was a massive great hole dug out and mud all over the place, and one of these big diggers in the backyard.   The workmen have got sheds built up.  Every time I go out there I just hear music in the little shed and they’re all playing cards and singing.  They never seem to do any work.  I’m hoping by the time I get back most of the mess will be gone.

Derek:  Have you spent a lot of money on the house since you got it?

George:  Uh…not really, no.

Derek:  What’s it called, by the way, has it a name or a number or what?
George:  It has a name but somebody pinched it.

Derek:  The fans know where it is, do they?

George:  Well, some of them do.  Actually there’ s a girls’ school right next to it but the head mistress was good and she told the kids to give me a bit of privacy.

Derek:  Pursuing the point of leisure but now forgetting about the house, it has for a long time been quite easy for you in certain places to move around London as a normal human being in your own car.  Can you explain how you’ve been able to do this because I’ve never never know how you managed it.  How you park and how you get the car to the theatre?

George:  The thing is, if we’re doing a show then that’s the only time there is going to be thousands of people, really.   If we’re not doing a show and just going out for the night somewhere, there’s not liable to be millions of people waiting for you to arrive at the restaurant because they don’t know where you’re going.

Derek:  But you still have the autograph books.

George:  Oh yeah.

Derek:   How do you avoid that?  Do you go to selected places?

George:  Now, you know, through experience, you just do it by…if you go to a place and quite a good time and you’re treated all right, then naturally you go back again.  And usually the managers of the places like you to go there so it’s in their own interest, really, to make sure you’re having quite a good time.  But generally in London it’s quite good.

Derek:  You’re very fond of London, I think?

George:  Yeah, I think it’s fabulous.

Derek:  Do you go home very often?

George:  to Liverpool?  I went there about three weeks ago.  I was up there for a week.  My brother got married.

Derek:  I saw the picture in the paper.

George:  Yes.  Really there are so many people and friends to see in the short time I was there. 

Derek:  you’re like most people you left the place you were born and you’ve grown very fond of London.  It happens in most countries of the world.  You probably grow away from places and grow up a bit.  Never been any suggestion of your living outside England?

George:   No.

Derek:  This is a good place to live here, of course.

George:  Thing is, with a place like, say this beach we’re sitting on now.  I think it’s marvelous and I’d love a house…but probably after two or three weeks of this I’d get fed up.  I wouldn’t mind living in a place like this…nice beach, nice sea, and sort of hot climate.  But it’s so boring after two weeks.   But still I wouldn’t mind a place like that say…every time I got fed up with the cold in England you could just fly out here.  But still I prefer to live in a place like London anytime.

Derek:  Well, there’s an awful lot happening in London and in Los Angeles, where your voice will be heard pretty soon – as soon as Dave Hull and I get back there.  Los Angeles has a climate similar to this only cooler in the winter and always much drier.  Well, George, Iw on’t keep you any more because I know you have to get on the set.  It’s been nice to see you and I’ll see you later on today.  I’ll turn you over to Dave Hull now. 

George:  Okay, see you, Derek. Bye Bye

Dave:  How’re you, George?

George:  Hello, Dave, how’re you?

Dave:  Good.  You look comfortable, you’ve got  on a pair of faded blue Levi’s and an old straw hat…

George:  They’re not Levi’s

Dave:  Well they’re jeans.  In America we call them Levi’s.  That what we call anything that’s blue and faded.  You got a straw hat on.  Where’d you find that straw hat?

George:  Just bought it here.

Dave:  I see you stole my dark glasses.

George:  They’re yours, are they?

Dave:  Yeah.

George:  No they’re not.  I bought them.

Dave:  No you didn’t, you just stole them from me.  I just set them on the sand.

George:  No you didn’t.  They are mine.

Dave:  No they’re not.

George:  They’re not.  I’ve had these on for days.

Dave:  Listen…

George:  Don’t believe this man…they’re mine.

Dave:  Listen, this idol out there in the water that we’re watching, is going to be a one-shot take, and it comes up and it’s got ten arms.  What has this got to do with the movie?

George:  This is Kali and…it’s the sacrificial god or something.   It’s a bit involved.  I’ll wait until they finish making the film and then I’ll go and see it and then I’ll know what’s happening.

Dave:  how come it has to be a one-shot take?

George:  This thing is 20 feet high and it’s taken them two hours to submerge it under the water.  They can do it again but they’ll have to wait another two hours before they can get the thing down on the bottom again.  It’s a lot of work, so if they can do it in one take, it saves a lot of time and trouble.

Dave:  How do you feel about this movie compared to “A Hard Day’s Night.”  Is the script different?  Is there a lot of spontaneity?

George:  The only thing, really that’s the same as “A Hard Day’s Night” is the fact that we’re still playing ourselves.   But I mean, this one has got a story line to it whereas “Hard Day’s Night” didn’t, really.  It was more or less like a documentary.

Dave:  you mean this one’s got a plot?

George:  Yeah, this one’s got a plot.

Dave:  Are you ad-libbing a lot of lines?  A lot of scenes that were in “A Hard Day’s Night” were spontaneous and when you had to go back and cut the scene came out completely different form the way it was before.  Is this happening now or not?

George:  Yeah, there’s a lot of things that if we think of on the actual day of shooting – if the director can think of something or we can – that will make it a little bit better, then we’ll change it a little bit.  But, you know, so far we seem to be sticking to the script. 

Dave:  I didn’t ask John or Paul or anyone about the songs in the movie, but can you give me an idea?  You have seven new ones, is that correct?

George:  Well, we recorded 11 the last week before we left England.

Dave:  But you’re only using seven, are you?

George:  We’ll only use about seven in the film, but even if we use only about five in the film, we’ll still have about 10 or 12 tracks on the LP.

Dave:  Can you tell me what the titles are?  I bet you can’t, can you?

George:  I can’t, no.

Dave:  Can you give us a hint, then, what they’re like?

George:  It’s so hard, really, because when you record eleven all in one week, you just work on one until you’ve finished it then completely disregard that and go on to something else.  By the time the week’s over, you’ve forgotten, really what you’ve done.  You know vaguely, but not until we start doing the songs do we remember them one at a time.  It’s a mixture.

Dave:  I want to ask you a questions about your mother and father, if I may for a moment.  They had planned on coming to America and to Hollywood.  Do you know if your mother and father have continued with their plans?

George:  I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  I think they’d like to go for a holiday.  They’ve mentioned to me that they may go.  I don’t think they’ve made any sort of definite plans.

Dave:  You probably haven’t seen them for some time anyway.

George:  I saw them three weeks ago when I went to Liverpool for my brother’s wedding.

Dave:  Oh, that’s right.  Your brother, Peter, is it not?

George:  That’s right.

Dave:  you were best man?

George:  That’s right.

Dave:  When did that all take place?

George:  It was January.

Dave:  Well, you’ve been a best man now.  What about your plans?  Do you have any plans for the future as far as Pattie Boyd or anything like that, can you say?

George:  Well, you know, I wouldn’t make sort of long arrangements long before hand.  At the moment I have nothing in mind at all.

Dave:  Have you talked to Pattie recently?

George:  Not since  I was in England.

Dave:   you haven’t called her then?

George:  No, not yet.

Dave:  We’ll be seeing you tonight.  I see you’ve got your feet buried in the sand.  It’ll cool you off a bit.

George:  Okay, see you then, Dave.

Dave:  Thank you very much. 


  1. seemed a bit wearing for George by the time Dave started - it must have been so boring for the lads to continually be asked the same questions and the intrusion of their women

  2. Sara, geez, thanks for typing these all out!!!

    I actually have the audio for all the Derek interviews (you probably do too!)