Ballad of J & Y
By Stuart Webin
Rolling Stone May 10, 1973
John and Yoko flew here (New York) from California on April 2nd for a 10am news conference at a midtown municipal building. Seated next to Leon Wildes, their immigration attorney, the Lennons announce officially their appeal of the decision by Immigration Judge Ira Fieldsteel, which put the former Beatle under a 60-day voluntary departure order in lieu of deportation, while his wife was allowed to stay in the US under application for residency. They also announced the birth of a “conceptual country” called Nutopia, and in response to a question from the floor, John confirmed a London dispatch which announced the termination of the managerial contract between Allen Klein’s ABKCO Industries Inc. and Apple Corps Ltd., its subsidiaries and Messrs. George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr. The 30-minute press conference ended with J&Y waving facial tissue at the TV cameras, the flag of surrender and the symbol of Nutopia.
At noon they were back at their basement loft in the West Village, planning to return to California before nightfall. They were near exhaustion having avoided sleep for about 40 hours but they said they were willing to give a 1-hour interview to comment on rumors. Behind their yawns, the Lennons’ spirits were exceptionally high. They were optimistic that John would be able to stay in the US beyond 60 days on appeal. Lennon began the talk by explaining his objections to the Immigration decision:
John: “The first mistake the judge makes is that he says cannabis resin is a narcotic, which it is not. Second, he inferred that perhaps Kyoko didn’t want to talk to Yoko and that she’s only called once in 1971 and at that time complained about detectives being on her tail. What he forgot to mention was that the judge in Texas court had ordered Tony Cox to let Kyoko talk to Yoko, and he did after a lot of hassles, and through her he requested that we call off the detectives. But it was actually the request of Tony and his wife Melinda. We pulled them off, but with the police watching, Tony and Melinda escaped and are still in contempt of court in Texas. We’re hoping that with the advent of Allen DeKlein, which we know was one of the major factors in Tony’s fear, we hope that Tony and Melinda will understand that that part of us has gone into the blue beyond. This should make them feel more secure about letting us talk to Kyoko, because I know that was always hovering their minds.
(Allen Klein commented later: “Yoko has said that Cox was paranoid about me. That’s all right. I didn’t trust him either.)
RS: Was the Kyoko matter a major factor in the split with Klein?
John: The reason for the split were manifold and manifest, and I won’t comment on how long we had been thinking about it. But everything was taken into consideration, so the answer to your question is yes.
RS: Leon Wildes stated that evidence from the trial of the Scotland Yard 5, which is now going on in England, would have bearing on our case. What is that evidence?
John: The most important evidence is the fact that we were planted by Sgt. Pilcher. He planted me and he also planed George. That’s how he made his reputation and got his promotions. But since then Pilcher and his boss Chief Inspector Kelaher have been indicted for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. So immigration people here should be able to see that that could be resolved at any time. And it’s not just the fact of a pardon, it’s whether or not I was ever guilty. The law at the time of my trial said that if you owned a house, where stuff was found, even if you weren’t living there, you were guilty of possession. Everybody was up for grabs. It could have been the Queen, who owns half the property in London. I can’t understand why they’re acting this way toward us. Aren’t we the classic American success story? The judge has this patronizing attitude toward us, like when he talked about the Committee for John and Yoko as some kind of drug culture or artists’ community that is behind us. They never were supposed to be anything but a group of people, most of them friends of Yoko’s from a past incarnation who said they wanted to help filter information for us. But the judge says (gruff godly voice) “Perhaps if we go for a national referendum…” Well, we’ll play it that way if they want—make it an international referendum.
RS: Do you think being an Ex-Beatle has helped or hindered you in the case?
John: Well, the only way I can think that’s helped is that if we hold a press conference, people show up. Otherwise you’d have to think of something like go naked riding an elephant with a wig and a red nose, and when people show up, say, “Hey, they are trying to throw me out.”
RS: What can people do to help you? Write to congress?
John: Well, they intimating that we’re going around promoting our case, which is not what we are doing. If the press is there, we’ll answer questions. Since you asked casually, I’ll say yeah, people can write to Congress or write to Immigration or write to each other.
RS: Will Paul be taking a more active interest in Apple now?
John: Well, he’s had a very active interest all the time, which was trying to get away from it. We’ll decide among the four of us how to deal with it. Which is something we should have done a long time ago, but obviously que sera sera, and now is the hour. The thing about “They’re all getting together again” came out of the fact that we all had to get together to discuss this thing including Paul’s situation sooner or later. It just so happened that George had to be in LA to work with Ravi, and Ringo was there recording his album, so we all timed it to be there to discuss our futures. It always seems to be in the publics' or the press’ imagination that the Beatles are getting together again, which is not in the cards, and that the Beatles getting together somehow means---because they still have this hangover that Yoko and Linda Eastman had some kind of fight, which never ever occurred—Yoko and I splitting up, and therefore retroactively somehow, Paul and Linda splitting up. Now that’s just insane. We broke up because we were disintegrating, and the final real break was the Klein/Eastman situation. Our love life had nothing to do with it, because when you’re in love, and this goes for Paul and Linda, too, nothing else is really important. I’m just sick about that bit that Beatles means John and Yoko splitting up. Paul and I had words, and we all had words between us, but you know it was male pricks fighting, and the women were far wiser as usual.
RS: How will Apple change with Klein leaving?
John: Most of the Apple personnel were really ABKCO people, and they’ll probably stay with ABKCO. We don’t have any personal resentment for Klein, and we’ll always have a soft spot for him. It’s not personalities; it’s business.
RS: What are your plans?
John: I don’t make no plans. That’s why I’m still alive. The only performances I can see ahead will be in court.