Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Moving On with John Lennon


Moving on with John Lennon

 by Beverly Mcgibb

Record World Magazine

November 1973

 John Lennon granted the following exclusive interview to Record World while in Los Angeles to work on his latest album, Mind Games.

 Record World: since each of your solo albums has a distinct kind of influence that brought it about or seemed to, such as the Primal Scream or the Political, what's influencing you now?

John Lennon: no, it's called the "dregs." No, it's really half-and-half bits from before. It's from after.

 RW: So, isn't there one basic concept for your new album?

 Lennon: no, unless it's the type of mind game. That's what it's all about, really.

 RW: can you talk about some of the things in the album?

Lennon: no, that's too heavy. I can't tell you what it's gonna be. They're just songs.

RW: are you still as involved with politics as you had been up to now?

Lennon: that depends on how involved you mean. You mean, do I sing about it?

RW: Sing about it, write about it.

Lennon: There's a couple of tracks that have to do with that. I don't know if they're left over or what I tend to if I start singing something or writing, I don't change it, I don't edit myself. So, in a couple of tracks, I'm still shouting about it, but mainly, it's all sorts of things. What would you call it? Montage? It's got all kinds of jazz on it.

RW: Do you perform with a group, as you did with Elephant's Memory.?

Lennon:  Now I use Jim Keltner, whom I've used before, on drums, Gordon Edwards on bass, David Spinozza on guitar, all New York people except Keltner and a pianist called Kent Asher. He's also a producer. He has just been producing Paul Williams and a guy called Sneaky Pete on steel.

RW: Now the reason I'm asking you about the political.

 Lennon: I don't have to sing about it. They're doing it to themselves. 

RW: what is your current status with the US government?

 Lennon: well, there's supposed to be some appeal going on this month, but they might forget about it. They've got so many problems. There's some appeal going on. It's like a law case. I really don't know what's happening. When the lawyer calls me, I remember it, and when he doesn't, I forget all about it.

 RW: Would that have any bearing on, or are you thinking about doing any live performances?

 Lennon: I often think about it. That's about as far as I get.

RW: do you think well of it?

Lennon:  depends on the day it is. You know, I was all for it. Then they start, started kind of throwing me out, and I sort of got fed up. It puts me off for a year. It's just that sort of getting the things together. It always turns out nobody knows how to do it, and I end up having to do everything. Can't stand it.

 RW: do you get involved with every aspect of your career as far as production?

Lennon:  yeah, but I don't want to get involved with putting on a show. I just want to sort of crawl on and do it and walk off. Maybe it's more with charity shows, I don't know. They say it's all fixed, and you go along, and nobody knows why they have got 5000 people on when there should only be five, and nobody knows that they've got to move each act's amplifiers. Now it's just, don't ask me about it.

RW: are you going to be appearing at the Roxy?

Lennon:  I appeared there just the other night on the table. I was there, but I appeared. 

RW:  are you permitted to appear there again? 

Lennon:  I think I'm still all right there. I haven't burned me boats yet. I also appeared in Las Vegas, but only on the floor. It's a wonderful town, and I won too. I have to apologize to Frankie Valli, I'm not going to say what I did, but it's all right, Frank, I was going to send you a note, but this will do.

RW:  How did you manage to keep all your sanity with all the activity over the years?

Lennon:  Oh, I didn't. I gave it up at birth.

RW:  totally retrievable. Is it better that way? 

Lennon:  it's either that or you're all insane, I'm not quite sure, or everybody else's. I don't know how any normal people have yet to meet one.

RW: what constitutes a normal human being?

Lennon, I don't know. They keep talking about it. 

RW, will you be doing any more albums with Yoko?

Lennon: yeah, whenever we feel like it. If I do one with her or with Tommy Smothers, or whoever I'm doing at the time, they say that's what he's doing. That's where he is now. But we just want to do it when we feel like it or when it suits us; there's no doubt we'll make some more together. She's a little more prolific than me. I can't keep up with her. She was in Kenny's Castaways last month, a big opening. I was so nervous I had to stay here. I get more nervous about that than I do about myself. 

RW: do you still get nervous about the stuff that you do?

Lennon, are you kidding? I'm going to the studio next week. I'm already paralyzed.

RW: who produced the new album?

Lennon: Phil Spector, and that makes me even more nervous. That's why I'm here.

RW: George Martin has done all the group albums.

Lennon: except the Let It Be album which Phil saved. 

RW: that answers the question of why Phil.

Lennon: well, he's still the best apart from myself.

RW: once you made a statement about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus, do you feel that music or musical personalities still have that kind of effect? 

Lennon, that wasn't a thought-out statement, and I was talking to a friend journalist.

RW: it made a lot of sense.

Lennon: well, it made a lot of everything. I don't think anything is more important than anything else. What's more important a tree, a cat or a human? It's all the same. You said.

RW:  do you feel that music has an influence in shaping events, or do you feel it mostly reflex?

Lennon: well, music is an uplifting spiritual ritual which enables us to carry on. That's what its origins were, and I think that's what it is. It's just a bit scattering. Now, somebody was saying the other day on the big shows now Rod Stewart is on, or The Stones, or whatever, the audience knows exactly what to do, and the performer knows exactly what to do, and they go in and they do a ritual, and they all get high, and then they leave. It's just like a spiritual gathering.

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