Monday, October 23, 2023

Interview with George Harrison

 Interview with George Harrison

Beetle Magazine (1974)

The following is a transcript of George Harrison’s L.A. press conference given shortly before he embarked on his North American tour.  Out of those of you who saw him perform, some may have been elated, some disappointed and others merely interested in what an ex-Beatle looked like.  One thing we all know now is that Geoge sure ain’t the fab four in another incarnation.  He doesn’t want to be.  So what does he want?  Find out in retrospect.  Maybe it’ll shed a little light on what you saw, or didn’t see.


Q:  Why did you decide to return to America?

George:  I’ve been back here many times.  This is the first time I ‘ve been back to work, but it’s the first time I’ve had a H-1 visa since ’71.

Q:  What was the reason for not having the H-1?

George:  I had the same problem as John Lennon.  I was busted for marijuana way back in ’67 [sic]by Sergeant Pilcher who was in jail for six years for planting dope on people.

Q:  Would you ever consider touring Mexico?

George:  I wouldn’t mind.  I just believe there’s a bunch of loonies.  I mean I would go anywhere.  This is really a test, I either finish this tour ecstatically happy and I want to go on tour everywhere or I’ll end up just going back to my cave again for another five years.


Q:  Looking back, what do you consider so far the crowning glory of your career as a musician?

George:  As a musician, I don’t think I’ve got that yet, as an individual, just being able to sit here today, and be relatively sane.  That’s probably the biggest accomplishment to date.

Q:  What is the possibility that you and the rest of The Beatles will join together and become The Beatles again?

George:  It’s a very slim possibility at the moment, everybody’s enjoying being individuals.  We were boxed up together for ten years, and personally, I’m enjoying playing with this band.

Q:  You said in your bio in ’64 that meeting The Beatles was one of the biggest breaks in your musical life, in ’74 you said leaving The Beatles.

George:  I mean the biggest break in ’63 was meeting The Beatles, the biggest break since then, I mean in retrospect, was getting out of them.

Q:  George, could you tell us your feelings and expectations for the upcoming tour?

George:  I think if I had more time I’d be panic-stricken, but I don’t really have time to get worried about it.

Q:  Is there any reason why Keltner, Clapton and Voormann didn’t accompany you?

George:  Oh well, I mean Eric’s out on his own.  Klaus has been living in America so I haven’t seen him all year, and during that time I met Andy Numark and Willy Weeks.  It’s just a time for a change.

Q:  Why would they perform on an album and not a concert?

George:  They performed on the tracks on the album because they were there at the time, I didn’t meet Willy Weeks and Andy Numark, they’re bass and drums, until about July this year.

Q:  Are you getting divorced?

George:  No, I mean that’s as silly as marriage.

Q:  Allen Klein is suing The Beatles.  How is that affecting you?  Do you have to sell more albums now?

George:  No. No.  To tell you the truth there’s a whole lot of money which is in receivership since Paul McCartney sued us and actually it’s fortunate that he did sue us, because the money’s in receivership so at least nobody can spend it.  There’s a lot of millions of dollars form The Beatles partnership and we either give it to the lawyers or we give it to the revenue.

Q:  how do you see the role of the entertainer as concerned with causes and charities?

George:  Well, I don’t think that has any relation to cause and charities.  I don’t think that’s just particularly an entertainer’s job.  I think it’s up to each individual to do what he can.  I do what I can and I can do it through music, but I don’t think it’s particularly just isolated to musicians.

Q:  What are you hopes for Dark Horse records?

George:  I want it to be reasonably small.  To tell you the truth, I’ve been here just over a week and if I signed all the people who gave me tapes I’d be bigger than RCA, but fortunately I don’t’ have time to listen to them.

Q:  I’m writing for Womens Pages and you are married.  May I ask you?  Does your wife cook for you?

George:  First of all, I don’t have a wife anymore, so, but even when I did, she used to cook sometimes and I learned how to cook myself.  I cooked vegetarian Indian food.  Although I like other food as well, I’m a vegetarian.  I don’t eat fish.  I don’t’ eat chicken and I don’t’ eat meat.  That’s why I’m so pale and thin.

Q:  Are sales down for the concerts and all that?

George:  Oh no.

Q:  What’s your relationship with John and Paul?

George:  It’s very good actually.

Q:  Do you see them often?

George:  I haven’t seen John ‘cause he’s been in the States, although I’ve spoken to him quite a lot on the telephone and he sounds to me like he’s in great shape.  It’s as if we’ve gone right round the cycle and we’re back at the beginning again.  I just met Paul recently and he’s…    everybody’s really very very friendly.  But it doesn’t really mean we’re going to form a band.

Q:  Will the publicity from your tour lead to the re-release of Raga?

George:  I’m not too sure if it ever even got released, you know, complete…it may do, it depends on people’s interest.  The problem is with people who distribute movies.  It’s very difficult to get a look in there…the film industry, this is my personal opinion, needs a kick in the behind because it’s got too much control by people who own the theatres, who own the distribution networks, it’s like if you don’t work on Maggie’s farm you don’t get your movie on, y’know?

Q:  Can you still meditate?

George:  It’s too difficult a question to answer really because…I must say there’s a state of consciousness which is the goal of everybody…I haven’t sat down and done meditation like that for some time but at the same time I constantly think of the Lord in one fashion on another and so that’s really my thing is just to remember and to try to see him within all of you and that feeling itself is a meditation.

Q:  Can you foresee a time when you’ll give up musical objectives?

George:  I can see a time when I’d give up this sort of madness, but music, I mean everything is based upon music, I’ll never stop me music.

Q:  There’s a paradox there between lifestyles.

George:  It is difficult, yeah, but the point is it’s also like good practice in a way.  As they say ‘to be in the world, but not of the world.’  You can go through the Himalayas and miss it completely and you can be stuck in the middle of New York and be very spiritual.  I mean I noticed in certain places, like New York, it brings out a certain thing in myself.  If I go someplace like Switzerland, I find a lot of uptight people there because they’re living amongst so much beauty that there’s no urgency in trying to find the beauty within themselves.  If you’re stuck in New York you have to somehow look within yourself otherwise you go crackers.  So, in a way, it’s good to be able to go in and out of both situations.  Most people think when the world gets itself together, we’ll all be okay.  I don’t’ see that situation arriving. I think, one by one, we all free ourselves from the chains that we ourselves have chained ourselves to.  But I don’t think that suddenly some magic happens and the whole of us is all liberated in one throw.

Q:  What direction is your music going now?

George:  Haven’t got a clue. I mean it’s getting a bit funkier, especially with Willy Weeks and all them.

Q:  Do you pay attention to what the critics say?

George:  Oh, I canceled all my newspapers five years ago, to tell you the truth, so I don’t really know what people say.  If I do see a review of an album I’ll read it although it doesn’t really  make too much difference what they say because I am what I am whether they like it or not, y’know.

Q:  Are you ever amazed by how much The Beatles still mean to people today?

George:  Not really.  I mean I realize The Beatles did fill a space in the sixties and all the people The Beatles meant something to are all grown up now.  It’s like anything you grow up with, you get attached to it.  I mean, that’s one of the problems in our lives, become attached to things.  I can understand The Beatles, in many ways, did nice things and it’s just appreciated that people still like them.  The problem comes when they want to live in the past and they want to hold onto something.  People are afraid of change.

Q:  Would you ever want to live permanently in India?

George:  Yes.

Q:  When?

George:  When I get through with all this madness.  There’s a word that’s called karma and it means that whatever we are now we cause by our previous actions.  Whatever is going to be in the future is what we cause by our actions now.  I’d like to be able to cause my actions to lead me to end up sometime in India.

Q:  Who are some of the contemporary artists that you admire most?

George:  There’s so many…Smokey Robinson.  I am madly in love with Smokey Robinson.  To try to pick one or two. I mean Smokey Robinson is my favorite.  I like Dicky Betts.  There’s a lot of guitar players, Ry Cooder I think is sensational.

Q:  What about the big groups like the Rolling Stones?

George:  The Stones, yeah, they’re fine…y’know…they’re nice.  I like the Stones.   I think variety’s the spice of life.

Q:  Are you involved in any series negotiations to get the Beatles back together for one night?

George:  No. been reading Rolling Stone.  I thought the 50 million for one shot…after reading that I was a bit disappointed at Bill Graham saying he could make us 4 million especially as Crosby, Still, Nash and Young made 8.  I mean sure we could make more than that.  The point is, it’s all a fantasy the idea of putting The Beatles together again.  If we ever do that, I’ll tell you, the reason will be that everybody’s broke.  And even then, to play with The Beatles, I’d rather have Willy Weeks on bass than Paul McCartney.  That’s the truth, with all respect to Paul, the Beatles was like being in a box, it’s taken years after being out of The Beatles to get to play with other musicians ‘cause we were so isolated together.  It became very difficult playing the same old tunes day in, day out.  Since I made All Thing Must Pass, it was so nice for me to be able to play with other musicians, I don’t think The Beatles are that good.  I mean, they’re fine…fine.  Ringo’s got the best backbeat I’ve ever heard and he’ll play a great backbeat 24 hours a day.  He hated drum solos.  Paul is a fine bass player, he’s a little overpowering at times, and John has gone through his scene, but it feels to me like he’s come around, and we’re all at the point.  I mean, to tell you the truth, I’d join a band with John Lennon anyday, but I couldn’t join a band with Paul McCartney, but that’s nothing personal.  It’s just from a musical point of view.

Q:  What do you think of Lennon’s solo material?

George:  His new record I think’s lovely.

Q:  How is it you don’t want to do personal interviews?

George:  There’s nothing to say, really I’m a musician, I’m not a talker.  I mean, if you just get my album, it’s like Peyton Place, it’ll tell you exactly what I’ve been doing.

Q:  Did you do a musical rebuttal to Layla on that album?

George:  What do you mean musical rebuttal?  I mean that sounds nasty, don’t it?  I like to sort that one out.  I love Eric Clapton. He’s been a close friend for years.  I’m very happy, y’know, about it.  I’m very friendly with them.  Sure.

Q:  Why are you happy about it?

George:  Because he’s great.  I’d rather she was with him than some dope.

Q:  Is it conceivable you could get together the Beatles to generate some money for charity?

George:  Well, if you’re a promoter I’d say no.  I wouldn’t rule anything out in life.  People think we plan, ooo, we don’t plan anything, it’s all at the mercy of the Lord and I’m sorry to keep talking about Lord to y’all, but he’s there, I have experienced something in my life and I know he’s there.

Q:  What’s your attitude about drugs now?

George:  Drugs!  What drugs? Aspirins or what are you talking about?  I mean I think it’s awful when it ruins people. It’d be the same as it was ten years ago.  What do you define as a drug and what isn’t?  Like whiskey?  I don’t want to advocate it all because it’s so difficult to get into America, y’know?

Q:  You said you had an experience which made you believe in the Lord.  Was this a specific experience?

George:  Just certain things happened in my life which left me thinking “What it all about Alfie?”  and I just remembered Jesus said somewhere ‘knock and the door will be opened’ and I said (knock, knock) hellooo.  It’s very difficult.  From the Hindu point of view each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest the divinity.  I mean yoga.  The word ‘yoga’ means union and the union is supposedly between the mind, the body and the spirit and yoga isn’t lying on nails or just standing on your head.  I mean there’s all various forms of yoga and they’re all branches on one big tree and the Lord or God has got a million names, whatever you want to call Him, it doesn’t matter as long as you call him.  Jesus is on the mainline, tell him what you want.  Nobody tries anything.  Going back to self-realization, one guru said he found no separation between man and God saving man’s spiritual unadventurous, and that’s the catch, everybody’s so unadventurous.  We’re all condition, our consciousness has been so polluted with material energy that it’s hard to try and pull it all away in order to really get at our true nature.  It’s like everyone of us has within us a drop of that ocean and we have the same qualities as God, just like a drop of the ocean has the same qualities as the whole ocean.  Everybody’s looking for something, we are it.  We don’t’ have to look anywhere, it’s right there within ourselves.










  1. Logic fulled by cocaine.

  2. thought it was a great interview - sounds just like George

  3. Great interview. I always feel that George gave the most honest interviews and often had a very interesting perspective.

  4. I found it disappointing the way George spoke negatively of Paul not only in this interview but in many others in the 70s and 80s. Paul never trashed his band mates or their songs in the press.

    1. Thats silly. Paul gleefully trashed John with Too Many People. That song has been referred to A MILLION TIMES MORE than any negative comment George made in an interview. To suggest that Paul has never been critical of the other 3 (or Yoko) is flat out wrong.

    2. 8:42 AM IS CORRECT

    3. I was talking about George. Being critical is a good deal different from being brutally cruel. Perhaps you have forgotten Lennon Remembers and the songs from Plastic Ono Band where John sings don't believe in Beatles, only believe in me and Yoko. The song where John effectively replaced his song writing partner of several years with Yoko Ono and called Paul's songs granny shit. So don't moan about Too Many People. Please name one song that John and George wrote that Paul publicly derided.

    4. Yoko has also been pretty nasty towards Paul over the years. You also forgot about the triumphant How Do You Sleep, egged on by Yoko Ono and Allen Klein, and is ten times worse than Too Many People.

    5. And George played the guitar on this song.

    6. "Paul never trashed his band mates or their songs in the press". So what's your point, that Paul was a better person than the others? Ridiculous. Its as ridiculous as suggesting that Paul is a lesser human being because he was the only one in the band to sue the 3 guys that he had known since he was a teenager, taking them all to court.

    7. So what is your own point exactly? In this case, Paul was the better person in not rising to the bait. Is that so upsetting for you? That doesn't make Paul a better person in any other regard. What a silly reply. As for the court case, it's more than obvious where your own biases lie.

  5. George kept carrying a grudge after the band's breakup. He badmouthed Paul and didn't talk to John in the last years of his life. He had also taken them to court, and slept with Maureen. Hare Hare Krishna!! 🙏

    1. Paul keep carrying a grudge for years after the band's breakup

    2. Provide some evidence that he did.

    3. Provide evidence. Paul did not hold a grudge. He had every right to stand up for himself. Everyone knows that John was lionized after his murder. Attitudes towards Paul have been hateful and toxic since the internet was invented.

    4. George did badmouth Paul but he tried to do it it a non-personal way (he was mainly talking about him as a musician) and George recognised it was bad (quoting "scan not a friend with a microscopic glass" from Sir Frank Crisp). Re Maureen - he was all too human and fallible, and if Ringo (and Maureen) forgave him I'm sure we should too. And what a great addition it made to the Beatles gossip. George was all too human but with a spiritual dimension - and that what made him so great and unique.

    5. Regarding "...didn't talk to John in the last years of his life", my guess is that he did try to keep up with John to begin with (as in the 'Imagine' film) but found it difficult to talk to him with Yoko there. And John couldn't speak freely with Yoko there. I think there is some comment from George to the effect that on the rare occasions he contacted John in the '70s, he felt John wanted to say something but couldn't. And then John made the situation difficult with his comments about being overlooked in 'I, Me, Mine'. I don't think George held a grudge about John at all - but thought of him realistically as a flawed human being, as we all are, who was 'great when he was great' (as he said about Elvis).

    6. lol he's still saying that it was john who broke up the beatles not him - let it go

    7. Comments here are trying to justify George. Snide remarks such as 'Paul ruined my guitar playing' and his reaction to hearing Ram: 'Paul's writing songs for 14 year-olds now' were not 'nonpersonal' and nor did he ever distance himself from them. Comments from the others were just as insufferable. Whatever ill-will they felt towards each other in the aftermath of the break-up, Paul included, I'm still waiting for examples of Paul trashing his bandmates and their music PUBLICLY IN THE PRESS, IN INTERVIEWS, AND IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS. Don't bring petty song wars into it. George continued his womanizing throughout his marriage to Olivia. George maybe human but no, not everyone behaves like that. Be a fan but don't put them on pedestals.

    8. 10/28 at 11am. Put any of them under a microscope and youll find all kinds of things to get upset about. Including Paul (and ANY human being, for that matter). But wow, what a classless post. Sleeping with Maureen eh? You managed to go full throttle Albert Goldman by summoning up dirt on George to flail away on your flimsy-at-best point? As others have said, give it up.

    9. George's prvate life left much to be desired. He loved wild parties and sleeping with his friends' women. He didn't like fame but he sure loved the perks.! .He was jealous of Paul and loved making fun of him in his interviews. More over, he didn't have a good relationship with John, could be because of Yoko. Paul was more tolerant towards her. During the Anthology series, one could feel the tension between George and Paul. The latter knew his younger brother, and never retaliated against him, plus he knew the media would have a field day. At least, the two men reconciled during the last days of George's life. I like to imagine John and George playing and singing together up in heaven, and having lots of fun. 😇🎶

    10. 5.08 George badmouthing Paul as a musician and not in a 'non-personal' way is a poor excuse. Being a musician and songwriter IS personal for Paul - it's been his identity his whole life. Music is what he lives for. You can't separate it.

    11. When George slept with Maureen, John called it incest and he was right. Pattie had caught them in bed, and George started laughing and told her that Mo was tired. Really!! He wanted also to sleep with Cynthia and Jane, with the excuse that this will keep them together. Really!! John and Paul were totally against and rightly so, George's reasoning. Hare Hare Krishna. 🙏

    12. 10/31 at 736am -- you initially stated that your only complaint against George was that he "spoke negatively" about Paul. Since then, youve been pulling up the same tired character assasinations. OK we got it, you dont like George. Man, you say George held grudges?! Coming from you, thats the pot calling the kettle black. Just go away.

    13. COMPLETELY AGREE WITH 10/31/23 AT10:27 AM

  6. When it comes to squabbling, Ringo has been relatively civil and classy since the breakup. The other 3 not so much.

  7. maybe we should remember that they were all human and not perfect

  8. this anti George sentiment is disgusting - please reread 10/30 at 6:13 am who posted as an adult

  9. Really? I'm sure you've all enjoyed the stories about Paul cheating on Jane and his ill-fated marriage to Heather Mills; John leaving Cynthia and Julian for Yoko, John taking up with May Pang and John's difficulties with violence. Just common knowledge and nothing to do with Albert Goldman. There's nothing adult about hypocrisy. If you can't live with their less than perfect behavior then don't be a fan.

  10. thought this site was supposed to be for fun

  11. sara - please end the postings now

    1. I have -- I didn't published the last 5 things. It is sad that I can't even share a simple George Harrison press conference interview on this site anymore.

  12. Note to those who are reading this: I have not read any of these posts. I skim them, but I don't READ them. I don't have time. If someone wants to take over to help me monitor comments, I would love that. But I don't have time to be a moderator. I just noticed that this post was getting a lot of action and I skimmed what was said and decided to stop allowing the posts to go through. I do not know who you all are. Do I know you? No clue -- you all are anonymous. What are you all arguing about anyhow?