It’s the same joke, really, they are that insane about Allen, too. Part of the dream was that the Beatles were God or that the Beatles were the messengers of God, and of course yourself as God… There is a guy in England, William Mann, who was the first intellectual who reviewed the Beatles in the Times and got people talking about us in that intellectual way. Why should she take that kind of shit from those people? I’ll never forgive them, I don’t care what fuckin’ shit about Hare Krishna and God and Paul with his “Well, I’ve changed me mind.” I can’t forgive ’em for that, really. But the Beatles were artists, and all artists have fucking’ big egos, whether they like to admit it or not, and when a new artist came into the group, they were never allowed. See, when you start putting out messages, people start asking you “what’s the message? A dentist in London laid it on George, me and wives, without telling us, at a dinner party at his house. Bit by bit over a two-year period, I had destroyed me ego. Then Derek tripped me out at his house after he got back from L. He sort of said “You’re all right,” and pointed out which songs I had written.
Lennon: That’s not the thing, the point I’m talking about is creating a situation around Apple and the Beatles in which Allen could come in, that is what I’m talking about, and he wouldn’t have gotten in unless I’d done it, and he wouldn’t have gotten in unless you’d done it, you made the decision, too. What were their reactions when you first brought Yoko by? Lennon: We were in our own dream, but they’re the kind of idiots that really think that Yoko split the Beatles, or Allen. When did you first start getting the reactions from people who listened to the records, sort of the spiritual reaction? Ringo was all right, so was Maureen, but the other two really gave it to us. I know it was very strange, and avant garde music is a very tough thing to assimilate and all that, but I’ve heard the Beatles play avant garde music — when nobody was looking — for years. I was slowly putting myself together round about Maharishi time.
Paul had an impression, he has it now like a parent, that we should be thankful for what he did for keeping the Beatles going. And on the plane — Klein came with me — I told Allen, “It’s over.” When I got back, there were a few meetings, and Allen said well, cool it, cool it, there was a lot to do, businesswise you know, and it would not have been suitable at the time. ” And I said, “Only if you don’t talk,” because I just couldn’t think. We were going about ten miles an hour, but it seemed like a thousand and Patty was saying let’s jump out and play football. And then George’s house seemed to be just like a big submarine, I was driving it, they all went to bed, I was carrying on in it, it seemed to float above his wall which was 18 foot and I was driving it. That’s how I wrote “She Said, She Said” — “I know what’s it’s like to be dead.” It was a sad song, an acidy song I suppose. you see, a lot of early childhood was coming out, anyway. I said, “Well I can’t go on, you’ll have to do it and I’ll just stay and watch.” You know I got very nervous just watching them all. ” And they were saying, “Yeah.” They had all been very kind and they carried on making the record. We couldn’t eat our food, I just couldn’t manage it, just picking it up with our hands. We auditioned people to write for us and they came up with this guy.
Well, we’re halfway through it now, so let’s do it. I announced it to myself and the people around me on the way to Toronto a few days before. It’s happening,” and then we went to the Ad Lib and all of that, and then some singer came up to me and said, “Can I sit next to you? George somehow or another managed to drive us home in his mini. Neil, who never had acid either, had taken it and he would have to play road manager, and we said go get rid of Don Short, and he didn’t know what to do. He kept saying [in a whisper] “I know what it’s like to be dead,” and we said “What? We were saying “For Christ’s sake, shut up, we don’t care, we don’t want to know,” and he kept going on about it. Once I thought I was taking some uppers and I was not in the state of handling it, I can’t remember what album it was, but I took it and I just noticed… I thought I felt ill, and I thought I was going to crack. They all took me upstairs on the roof and George Martin was looking at me funny, and then it dawned on me I must have taken acid. the second time we took it, Paul felt very out of it, because we are all a bit slightly cruel, sort of “we’re taking it, and you’re not.” But we kept seeing him, you know. So, I think George was pretty heavy on it; we are probably the most cracked. Brian came up with Allan Owen, from Liverpool, who had written a play for TV called “No Trams to Lime St.” Lime Street is a famous street in Liverpool where the whores used to be in the old days, and Owen was famous for writing Liverpool dialogue.
You don’t want people to think that this is the single thing to do. But then of course, I’m not through with it; it’s a process that is going on. You see, I don’t really want to get this big Primal thing going because it is so embarrassing. She has a musical ear, and she can produce rock and roll. Phil, I believe, is a great artist and like all great artists he’s very neurotic. I read a review in Stone, the one about the film [Toronto Pop, by D. Pennebaker] I haven’t seen yet, and they were saying I was this and that. I think he’ll make a better one, when he’s frightened into it. The rest of it is just like Lennon-Mc Cartney or something. You don’t think then it’s a legitimate “New Morning”? We were feeling shit already, because we had to reduce an hour or two hours’ playing, which we were glad about in one way, to 20 minutes, and we would go on and repeat the same 20 minutes every night. That’s why we never improved as musicians; we killed ourselves then to make it. George and I are more inclined to say that; we always missed the club dates because that’s when we were playing music, and then later on we became technically, efficient recording artists — which was another thing — because we were competent people and whatever media you put us in we can produce something worthwhile. I’m OK, I’m not technically good, but I can make it fucking howl and move. Yoko is an intellectual, a supreme intellectual, so I really know what I’m talking about; they have to have sort of a math formula. We were building our own chairs, that’s all, and they were sort of local chairs. There had been “Hey, Baby” with a harmonica and there was a terrible thing called “I Remember You” in England. I read about Van Gogh, Beethoven, any of the fuckers.
The thing in a nutshell: primal therapy allowed us to feel feelings continually, and those feelings usually make you cry. Because before, I wasn’t feeling things, that’s all. It’s probably better because I have the whole time to myself, you know. This time it was my album and it used to get a bit embarrassing in front of George and Paul, because we know each other so well. She can produce me, which she did for some of the tracks. “Working Class Hero” sounds like an early Dylan song. You see, for quite a few of our albums, like the Beatles’ double albums, George Martin didn’t really produce it. If Paul wanted to use violins he would translate it for him. To go in the recording studio and then you run back and say did you get it? But we’ve done quite a few tracks together, Yoko and I, and she’d be encouraging me in the other room and all that, and — at one point in the middle we were just lagging — Phil moved in and brought in a new life. I read a little interview with you done when you went to the Rock and Roll Revival over a year ago in Toronto. I was throwing up nearly in the number, I could hardly sing any of them, I was full of shit. No, It might be a new morning for him because he stopped singing on the top of his voice. How did you choose the musicians you use on this record? You feel basically the same way about rock and roll at 30 as you did at 15. All of a sudden we started using it on “Love Me Do.” The first set of tricks was double tracking on the second album. If I had the capabilities of being something other than I am, I would. If they had psychiatrists, we wouldn’t have had Gauguin’s great pictures.
I was blocking the feelings, and when the feelings come through, you cry. Do you think the experience of therapy helped you become a better singer? We used to be a bit supercritical of each other, so we inhibited each other a lot. I’m not going to start saying that she did this and he did that. you don’t have to be born and bred in rock, she knows when a bass sound is right, and when a guy is playing out of rhythm and when the engineer — she had a bit of trouble — the engineer thinks well, who the hell is this? Anybody that sings with a guitar and sings about something heavy would tend to sound like this. I didn’t even realize that there were two in the song until somebody pointed it out. What is the difference between George Martin and Phil Spector? In the early days, I can remember what George Martin did. Like “In My Life” there is an Elizabethan Piano solo in it, so he would do things like that. We were getting heavy because we had done a few things and the thrill of recording had worn off a little. You said you were throwing up before you went on stage. Would you still be that nervous if you appeared in public? Personally, at home, I wouldn’t play that kind of music, I don’t want to hurt George’s feelings, I don’t know what to say about it. It’s all right, but it’s not him, it doesn’t mean a fucking thing. I’m a very nervous person, really, I’m not as big-headed as this tape sounds, this is me projecting through the fear, so I choose people that I know, rather than strangers. Because in spite of all the things, the Beatles could really play music together when they weren’t uptight, and if I get a thing going, Ringo knows where to go, just like that, and he does well. That’s the only thing I sometimes miss is just being able to sort of blink or make a certain noise and I know they’ll all know where we are going on an ad lib thing. Well, it will never be as new and it will never again do what it did to me then, but like “Tutti Fruitti” or “Long Tall Sally” is pretty avant garde. I would love to remix some of the early stuff, because it is better than it sounds. These bastards are just sucking us to death; that’s about all that we can do, is do it like circus animals.
And now I have Yoko there, and Phil there, alternatively and together, who sort of love me so that I can perform better, and I relaxed. It’s like that, but the looseness of the singing was developing on “Cold Turkey” from the experience of Yoko’s singing. I’m bound to be influenced by those, because that is the only kind of real folk music I really listen to. Did you put in “fucking” deliberately on “Working Class Hero? When I actually sang it, I missed a verse which I had to add in later. I was very near to it many times in the past, but, I would deliberately not put it in, which is the real hypocrisy, the real stupidity. In England it’s the day they blew up the Houses of Parliament so we celebrate by having bonfires every November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day. We would say “play like Bach” or something, so he would put 12 bars in there. Always that nervous, but what with one thing and another, it just had to come out some way. I’d sooner have “I Hear You Knocking” by Dave Edmonds, it’s the top of England now. Let’s re-approach that: always the Beatles were talked about — and the Beatles talked about themselves — as being four parts of the same person. A friend of Yoko’s in the village was talking about Dylan and “the One Note” as though he just discovered it. The Blues are beautiful because it’s simpler and because it’s real. What do you think of those concerts like the Hollywood Bowl? Some of them were good, but I didn’t like Hollywood Bowl. I resent being an artist, in that respect, I resent performing for fucking idiots who don’t know anything. I’m the one that’s feeling, because I’m the one that is expressing. They play the game the way we play music, and it’s something to see. I think Allen could tell you better because I don’t know. We were fed up with the same old shit, but it wasn’t wanted. He didn’t know what it was; it’s all the same thing with that sort of middle class London swinger, or whatever. That was it; I started fighting again, being a loudmouth again and saying, “I can do this, “fuck it, this is what I want, you know, I want it and don’t put me down.” I did this, so that’s where I am now. It was like this room full of old men smoking and fighting. People seem to think that businessmen like Allen, or Grade, or any of them, are a race apart. That’s what leaders do, and I sit and make situations which will be of benefit to me with other people, it’s as simple as that. He wrote about Aeolian Cadences and all sorts of musical terms, and he is a bullshitter. He wrote about Paul’s last album as if it were written by Beethoven or something. But it did us a lot of good in that way, because people in all the middle classes and intellectuals were all going “Oooh.” How would you characterize George’s, Paul’s and Ringo’s reaction to Yoko? You can quote Paul, it’s probably in the papers, he said it many times at first he hated Yoko and then he got to like her. They were writing about her looking miserable in the “Let It Be” film, but you sit through 60 sessions with the most bigheaded, up-tight people on earth and see what its fuckin’ like and be insulted — just because you love someone — and George, shit, insulted her right to her face in the Apple office at the beginning, just being ‘straight-forward,’ you know that game of ‘I’m going to be up front,’ because this is what we’ve heard and Dylan and a few people said she’d got a lousy name in New York, and you give off bad vibes. Sometimes George and I would have liked to have brought somebody in like Billy Preston, that was exceptional, we might have had him in the group. He was a friend of George’s and our dentist at the time, and he just put it in our coffee or something. I didn’t believe I could do anything and let people make me, and let them all just do what they wanted. “You wrote this,” and “You said this” and “You are intelligent, don’t be frightened.” The next week I went to Derek’s with Yoko and we tripped again, and she filled me completely to realize that I was me and that’s it’s all right.That’s what we were doing in Hamburg and smashing things up. In case he’s not sure of himself, he makes it double entendre. Paul was saying, “Don’t call it ‘Yer Blues,’ just say it straight.” But I was self-conscious and I went for “Yer Blues.” I think all that has passed now, because all the musicians… In October they returned to England, where they made their new albums. “Don’t Worry, Kyoko” was one of the fuckin’ best rock and roll records ever made. It was probably different, because those were actually bells slowed down that they used on the album. My own taste is different from that which I’ve played sometimes, which is called “cop out” to make money or whatever. I would like to ask a question about Paul and go through that. The camera work was set-up to show Paul and not anybody else. On top of that, the people that cut it, did it as if Paul is God and we are just lyin’ around there. And I knew there were some shots of Yoko and me that had been just chopped out of the film for no other reason than the people were oriented for Englebert Humperdinck. But they are not in the same class, music-wise or power-wise, never were. I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love, for any fuckin’ whore, or any friend, or any business, because in the end, you’re alone at night. But when I was hiding in Weybridge (1968) I used to think I wasn’t working there. There were very few people I could play those tapes to, and I played them to her, and then we made Two Virgins a few hours later. I just won’t get involved in too many things, that’s all. It’s silly to feel guilty that I’m not working, that I’m not doing this or that, it’s just stupid. We did put in like “tit, tit, tit” in “Girl,” and many things I don’t remember, like a beat missing or something like that could be interpreted like that. Is there a point at which you decided you and Yoko would give up your private life? We decided that if we were going to do anything, like get married or like this film we are going to make now, that we would dedicate it to peace and the concept of peace. Peace is still important and my life is dedicated to living — just surviving is what it’s about — really from day to day. But they were obviously all insane people, and then these other two came with him…. If we want to go bullshitting off into intellectualism with rock and roll then we are going to get bullshitting rock intellectualism. Let’s own up now and see who’s who, who is doing something about what, and who is making music and who is laying down bullshit. It gets through to you, it’s beat, go to the jungle and they have the rhythm.It wasn’t a thing that Pete Townshend worked out, it is something that you do when you play six or seven hours. Yes, there was a self-consciousness about singing blues. “Having a primal,” or “primaling,” is an extremely intense type of re-living/acting-out experience, around which many of Janov’s theories are based.] Nobody knows there is a point on the first song on Yoko’s track where the guitar comes in and even Yoko thought it was her voice, because we did all Yoko’s in one night, the whole session. Listen to it, and play “Tutti Fruitti.” Listen to “Don’t Worry, Kyoko” on the other side of “Cold Turkey.” I’m digressing from mine, but if somebody with a rock-oriented mind could possibly hear her stuff, you’ll see what she’s doing. It’s as important as anything we ever did, and it is as important as anything the Stones or Townshend ever did. You once said about “Cold Turkey”: “That’s not a song, that’s a diary.” So is this, you know. Janov showed me how to feel my own fear and pain, therefore I can handle it better than I could before, that’s all. It doesn’t just remain in me, it goes round and out. They just sounded like that and I thought oh, that’s how to start “Mother.” I knew “Mother” was going to be the first track so… “Look At Me” was written around the Beatles’ double album time, you know, I just never got it going, there are a few like that lying around. I haven’t gone off it, it is just that “Primal” is like another mirror, you know. I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it. You said you played slide guitar on “Get Back.” Yes, I played the solo on that. When we went and saw “Let It Be” in San Francisco, what was your feeling? I never said anything, I always admired them, because I like their funky music and I like their style. Neither of us want to be, and you can’t fill the bed with groupies. Like I said in the song, I’ve been through it all, and nothing works better than to have somebody you love hold you. I made 20 or 30 movies, just 8mm stuff but still movies, and many, many hours of tape of different sounds, just not rocking. How are you going to keep from going overboard on things again? I’m just going to do what I want for meself and for both of us. Some people have got nothing better to do than study Bibles and make myths about it and study rocks and make stories about how people used to live. During that period, because we are what we are, it evolved that somehow we ended up being responsible to produce peace. Actually, we went there to talk to Kyoko, and it was really a case of “brothers” and all that. If we want real rock and roll, it’s up to all of us to create it and stop being hyped by the revolutionary image and long hair. It goes throughout the world and it’s as simple as that, you get the rhythm going because everybody goes into it.I’ve got a whole studio at home now, and I think it will be better next time, because that is even less inhibiting than going to E. I never liked the fruity Judy Collins and Baez and all of that stuff. It just was an ad lib: it was about the third take, and I got to remembering, and it begins to sound like Frankie Laine, you know, when you sing, (sings) “Remember the Fifth of November.” I just broke up, and it went on for about another seven or eight minutes. That’s where you have to make your artistic judgment to say well, this is the take and this isn’t. He helped us develop a language, to talk to musicians. I don’t think I’ll do much appearing, it’s not worth the strain, I don’t want to perform too much for people. It’s strange that George comes out with his “Hare Krishna” and you come out with the opposite, especially after that. Well, I suppose he thinks I’ve lost the way or something like that. It’s not perverted or thought about: It’s not a concept, it is a chair; not a design for a chair but the first chair. Some of those big gigs were good, but not many of them. They live vicariously through me and other artists, and we are the ones…