In that way I would be influenced, but it doesn’t sound like Dylan to me. Do you get embarrassed sometimes when you hear the album, when you think about how personal it is? You see, sometimes I can hear it and be embarrassed just by the performance of either the music or the statements, and sometimes I don’t. Like just before it’s coming out, I can’t bear to hear it in the house or play it anywhere, but a few months before that, I can play it all the time. Sometimes I used to listen to something, Buddy Holly or something, and one day the record will sound twice as fast as the next day. I used to have that: one day “Hound Dog” would sound very slow and one day it would sound very fast. Then I didn’t even put them onto 15 [ips — the speed at which professional taping is done], so the quality is a bit off on them. There is a tremendous body of philosophical literature about God as a measure of pain. I didn’t like to have to see 20 guys sitting there and try to tell them what to do. So, apart from the early days — when I didn’t have much to do with it — I did it myself. I’d sooner be in the audience, really, but I’m not capable of it. the press were there, because we had gone down with this strange Indian, and they said “Brian’s dead” and I was stunned, we went in to him. I don’t know really what George, Paul or Ringo think anymore. Paul had a tendency to come along and say well he’s written these ten songs, let’s record now. Yes, there was a big hullaballo about him trying to rape Mia Farrow or somebody and trying to get off with a few other women and things like that. ” I said, “I mean the group is over, I’m leaving.” Allen was there, and he will remember exactly and Yoko will, but this is exactly how I see it. Paul and Allen both said that they were glad that I wasn’t going to announce it, that I wasn’t going to make an event out of it. We were all hurt that he didn’t tell us that was what he was going to do. But there were many pressures at that time with the Northern Songs fight going on; it would have upset the whole thing, if I would have said that. He’s another one of those people, who think they made us. I’d like to hear Dick James’ music and I’d like to hear George Martin’s music, please, just play me some. We were a bit infuriated by the glibness and shiftiness of the dialogue and we were always trying to get it more realistic, but they wouldn’t have it. K., but the next one was just bullshit, because it really had nothing to do with the Beatles. Dick Lester was good, he had ideas ahead of their times, like using Batman comic strip lettering and balloons. “Rubber Soul” was the first attempt to do a serious, sophisticated complete work, in a certain sense. There is a better book on the Beatles by Michael Brown, “Love Me Do.” That was a true book. You can’t be anything else in such a pressurized situation and we took it out on people like Neil, Derek and Mal. Allen, he’s a very creative guy, you know, he creates situations which create positions for them to move in, they all do it, you know, and it’s a sight to see. That’s when I decided: I could no longer artistically get anything out of the Beatles and here was someone that could turn me on to a million things. He said “I advise you not to leave,” and we all thought he was trying to keep us for an orgy in his house, and we didn’t want to know, and we went to the Ad Lib and these discotheques and there were these incredible things going on. When we went to the club we thought it was on fire and then we thought it was a premiere, and it was just an ordinary light outside. ” We were cackling in the streets, and people were shouting “Let’s break a window,” you know, it was just insane. When we finally got on the lift [an elevator in England] we all thought there was a fire, but there was just a little red light. We were in the garden, it was only our second one and we still didn’t know anything about doing it in a nice place and cool it. A “Hard Day’s Night,” I was on pills, that’s drugs, that’s bigger drugs than pot. It was more of a visual thing and a therapy, looking at yourself a bit. I write the music in the circumstances in which I’m in, whether its on acid or in the water. The story wasn’t bad but it could have been better. They play a game, first they have a ritual, then they create. Everything seems as though it’s going to be trouble, like you can’t say anything about anybody, because you’re going to get sued, or something like that. I did a job on this banker that we were using, and on a few other people, and on the Beatles. I would have expanded the Beatles and broken them and gotten their pants off and stopped them from being God, but it didn’t work, and Yoko was naive, she came in and she would expect to perform with them, with any group, like you would with any group, she was jamming, but there would be a sort of coldness about it. Maybe after “Rubber Soul.” I can’t remember it exactly happening. They had all heard about it, and they didn’t know it was different from pot or pills and they gave us it. At some point, right between “Help” and “Hard Day’s Night,” you got into drugs and got into doing drug songs? But it didn’t write the music, neither did Janov or Maharishi in the same terms.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…
You were right to tell me to forget the advert, and that is why I don’t even want to talk about it too much, if people know what I’ve been through there, and if they want to find out, they can find out, otherwise it turns into that again. What do you think of the rock and roll scene today? I liked “Rolling Stone” and a few things he did then; I like a few things he did in the early days. You know Brian put us in suits and all that, and we made it very, very big. The music was dead before we even went on the theater tour of Britain. I’m a very shy person; if somebody attacks, I shrink. ” What was it in your music that turned everyone on at first? So “Please, Please Me” and “From Me To You” and all of those were our version of the chair.
I don’t know about anything else, really, and the few true songs I ever wrote were like “Help” and “Strawberry Fields.” I can’t think of them all offhand. We were just outside a lecture hall with Maharishi and I don’t know… “What, he’s dead,” and all were, I suppose, and the Marharishi, we went in to him. The feeling that anybody has when somebody close to them dies. I know them pretty well, but I don’t know anybody that well. And I said, “well, give us a few days, and I’ll knock a few off,” or something like that. We went to see him, after we stayed up all night discussing was it true or not true. You said then that you were waiting to tag it to some event, then you realized that it was the event. You also said then that you had another thing you were going to do. I don’t know whether Paul said “Don’t tell anybody,” but he was darned pleased that I wasn’t going to. I think he claims that he didn’t mean that to happen but that’s bullshit. How did you feel when you found out that Dick James had sold his shares in your own company, Northern Songs? My impression of the movie was that it was you and it wasn’t anyone else. Can you tell me whether that white album with the drawing by Voorman on it, was that before “Rubber Soul” or after? We were just getting better, technically and musically, that’s all. In the early days, we had to take what we were given, we didn’t know how you can get more bass. That’s why underneath their facade, they resent us, but they can never show it, and they won’t believe it when they read it. The press around too, because they want the free drinks and the free whores and the fun; everybody wants to keep on the bandwagon.
But the poetry on this album is superior to anything I’ve done because it’s not self-conscious, in that way. I think the backings on mine are as complicated as the backings on any record you’ve ever heard, if you’ve got an ear. Any musician will tell you, just play a note on a piano, it’s got harmonics in it. I don’t know when I realized that I was putting down all these things I didn’t believe in. Lennon: Yes, I was going to leave a gap, and just fill in your own words: whoever you don’t believe in. I’m not just talking about the Beatles, I’m talking about the generation thing. like in India I wrote the last batch of best songs, like “I’m So Tired” and “Yer Blues.” They’re pretty realistic, they were about me. I know we developed our own style but we still in a way parodied American music … The “One After 909,” on the “Let It Be” LP, I wrote when I was 17 or 18. You came to New York and had that press conference. I’m probably doing it now, I don’t know what I say. Clive Epstein, or some other such business freak, came up to us and said you’ve got to spend so much money, or the tax will take you. I was controlling the scene at the time, I mean, I was the one going in the office and shouting about. There was nothing about orgies and the shit that happened on tour. The Beatles tours were like the Fellini film “Satyricon.” We had that image. They didn’t call them groupies then, they called it something else and if we couldn’t get groupies, we would have whores and everything, whatever was going. Derek and Neil, that was their job, and Mal, but I’m not going into all that. I don’t really want to talk about it, because it will hurt Yoko. Suffice to say, that they were “Satyricon” on tour and that’s it, because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, or the other people’s girls either. Ono: I was surprised, I really didn’t know things like that. It was really a good time, that was the best period, fame-wise. It was like a men’s smoking club, just a very good scene. Well, he was different over the years as he disintegrated. I enjoy it, I’ll probably go and see his films and all, like everybody else, but really, I think it’s a joke. I was always very respectful about Mick and the Stones, but he said a lot of sort of tarty things about the Beatles, which I am hurt by, because you know, I can knock the Beatles, but don’t let Mick Jagger knock them. I don’t even remember ever hearing about that review. So this big guy comes in who seemed to be primaling all the time — he was always crying a lot, and talking — and then he tried it and it didn’t work.
They were the ones I really wrote from experience and not projecting myself into a situation and writing a nice story about it. ” “I don’t believe in magic,” that series of statements. I didn’t sit down to think, “I’m going to write about Mother” or I didn’t sit down to think “I’m going to write about this, that or the other.” They all came out, like all the best work that anybody ever does. The Beatles broke up after Brian died; we made the double album, the set. We had just gone down after seeing his lecture first night. I don’t know whether you’ve had it, but I’ve had a lot of people die around me and the other feeling is, “What the fuck? I thought, “We’ve fuckin’ had it.” What were the events that sort of immediately happened after Brian died? I remember being in Wales and then, I can’t remember though. Then George and I were sort of grumbling about the fuckin’ movie and we thought we better do it and we had the feeling that we owed it to the public to do these things. So we went to see Maharishi, the whole gang of us, the next day, charged down to his hut, his bungalow, his very rich-looking bungalow in the mountains, and as usual, when the dirty work came, I was the spokesman — whenever the dirty work came, I actually had to be leader, wherever the scene was, when it came to the nitty gritty, I had to do the speaking — and I said “We’re leaving.” “Why? So, like anybody when you say divorce, their face goes all sorts of colors. So he rang me up that day and said I’m doing what you and Yoko are doing, I’m putting out an album, and I’m leaving the group too, he said. I was feeling a little strange, because he was saying it this time, although it was a year later, and I said “good,” because he was the one that wanted the Beatles most, and then the midnight papers came out. It was of us in that situation together, in a hotel, having to perform before people. There is no great mysterious meaning behind all of this, it was just four boys working out what to call a new album. Fuckin’ big bastards, that’s what the Beatles were. All the handouts, the bribery, the police, all the fucking hype.
They were the ones I always considered my best songs. “What, he’s dead,” and all that, and he was sort of saying oh, forget it, be happy, like an idiot, like parents, smile, that’s what the Maharishi said. There is a sort of little hysterical, sort of hee, hee, I’m glad it’s not me or something in it, the funny feeling when somebody close to you dies. I didn’t really have any misconceptions about our ability to do anything other than play music and I was scared. I don’t know how the others took it, it’s no good asking me… “Magical Mystery Tour” was something he had worked out with Mal and he showed me what his idea was and this is how it went, it went around like this, the story and how he had it all… Paul said, “Well, here’s the segment, you write a little piece for that,” and I thought bloody hell, so I ran off and I wrote the dream sequence for the fat woman and all the thing with the spaghetti. I copped out and I wouldn’t write “Maharishi what have you done, you made a fool of everyone.” But, now it can be told, Fab Listeners. When George started thinking it might be true, I thought well, it must be true; because if George started thinking it might be true, there must be something in it. He said, “Oh, that means nothing really happened if you’re not going to say anything.” So that’s what happened. He called me in the afternoon of that day and said, “I’m doing what you and Yoko were doing last year.” I said good, you know, because that time last year they were all looking at Yoko and me as if we were strange trying to make our life together instead of being fab, fat myths. It was a good projection of one facade of us, which was on tour, once in London and once in Dublin. We were learning the technique on “Rubber Soul.” We were more precise about making the album, that’s all, and we took over the cover and everything. That was Paul’s title, it was like “Yer Blues,” I suppose, meaning English Soul, I suppose, just a pun. If somebody is going to manage me, I want to know them inside out. I hate the way Allen is attacked and Brian is made out to be an angel just because he’s dead. They took a lot of shit from us, because we were in such a shitty position. Those things are left out by Davies, about what bastards we were. We were the Caesars; who was going to knock us, when there were a million pounds to be made?