Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


John Lennon Remembers - Jann Wenner Interview Part 2

What about the tours?
The Beatles' tours were like Fellini's Satyricon. If you could get on our tours, you were in. Wherever we went there was a whole scene going. When we hit town, we hit it, we were not pissing about. You know, there's photographs of me groveling about, crawling about in Amsterdam on my knees, coming out of whore-houses and things like that, and people saying, "Good morning, John," and all of that. And the police escorted me to the places because they never wanted a big scandal. I don't really want to talk about it because it will hurt Yoko, and it's not fair. Suffice it to say, just put it like they were Satyricon on tour and that's it, because I don't want to hurt the other people's girls, either, it's just not fair.
YOKO: How did you manage to keep that clean image? It's amazing.
Because everybody wants the image to carry on. The press around with you want you to carry on because they want the free drinks and the free whores and the fun. Everybody wants to keep on the bandwagon. It's Satyricon. We were the Caesars. Who was going to knock us when there's a million pounds to be made? All the handouts, the bribery, the police, all the fuckin' hype, you know. Everybody wanted in.
What accounted for your great popularity?
Because I fuckin' did it. I was like an artist who went off . . . Have you ever heard of, like, Dylan Thomas and all them who never fuckin' wrote but who just went up drinking - Brendan Behan and all of them - they died of drink, everybody who's done anything like that. I just got meself a party. I was an emperor. I had millions of chicks, drinks, drugs, power and everybody saying how great I was. It was like being in a fuckin' train. I couldn't get out. I couldn't create, either. It came out, but I was in the party, and you don't come out of a thing like that. It was fantastic! I came out of the sticks; I hadn't heard about anything - Van Gogh was the most far-out thing I had ever heard of. Even London was something we used to dream of, and London's nothing. I came out of the fuckin' sticks to take over the world, it seemed to me. I was enjoying it, but I was wrapped in it, too. I was hooked. It just built up, the bigger we got, the more unreality we had to face and the more we were expected to do. They were always threatening what they would tell the press about us, to make bad publicity if we didn't see their bloody daughter or the lord mayor's daughter - all the most obnoxious kids, because they had the most obnoxious parents. We had these people thrust on us. Like being insulted by these junked-up middle-class bitches and bastards who would be commenting on our working-classness and our manners. I would go insane, swearing at them, whatever; I'd always do something. I couldn't take it, it was awful. It was a fuckin' humiliation. One has to completely humiliate oneself to be what the Beatles were, and that's what I resent. It just happens bit by bit, until this complete craziness surrounds you and you're doing exactly what you don't want to do with people you can't stand - the people you hated when you were ten.
Would you take it all back?
If I could be a fuckin' fisherman, I would, you know. If I had the capabilities of being something other than I am, I would. It's no fun being an artist. You know what it's like, writing, it isn't fun, it's torture. I read about Van Gogh, Beethoven, any of them - and I read an article the other day - well, if they'd had psychiatrists we wouldn't have Gauguin's great pictures. And these fuckin' bastards there just sucking us to death, that's about all we can do, is do it like circus animals. I resent being an artist, in that respect, I resent performing for fucking idiots who don't know anything. They can't feel; I'm the one that's feeling, because I'm the one expressing. They live vicariously through me and other artists. I'd sooner be in the audience, really, but I'm not capable of it. One of my big things is that I wish I was a fisherman. I know it sounds silly, and I'd sooner be rich than poor and all the rest of that shit, but the pain . . . I wish I was . . . ignorance is bliss or something. If you don't know, man, there's no pain, probably there is, but that's how I express it.
What do you think the effect of the Beatles was on the history of Britain?
I don't know about the history. The people who are in control and in power and the class system and the whole bullshit bourgeois scene is exactly the same except that there is a lot of middle-class kids with long hair walking around London in trendy clothes and Kenneth Tynan's making a fortune out of the word fuck. The same bastards are in control, the same people are runnin' everything, it's exactly the same. They hyped the kids and the generation. We've grown up a little, all of us, and there has been a change and we are a bit freer and all that, but it's the same game, nothing's really changed. They're doing exactly the same things, selling arms to South Africa, killing blacks on the street, people are living in fucking poverty with rats crawling over them. It's the same. It just makes you puke. And I woke up to that, too. The dream is over. It's just the same only I'm thirty and a lot of people have got long hair, that's all. Nothing happening except that we grew up; we did our thing just like they were telling us. Most of the so-called Now Generation are getting jobs and all of that. We're a minority, you know, people like us always were, but maybe we are a slightly larger minority because of something or other.
Why do you think the impact of the Beatles was so much bigger in America than it was in England?
For the same reason that American stars are so much bigger in England, I suppose, the grass is greener. And we were really professional by the time we got here: we learned the whole game. When we arrived here we knew how to handle press. The British press are the toughest in the world; we could handle anything. We were all right. I know on the plane over I was thinking, oh, we won't make it, or I said it on a film or something, but that's that side of me. We knew we would wipe 'em out if we could just get a grip on you. And when we got here you were all walkin' around in fuckin' Bermuda shorts with Boston crew cuts and stuff on your teeth. The chicks looked like 1940s horses. There was no conception of dress or any of that jazz. We just thought what an ugly race, what an ugly race. It looked just disgusting and we thought how hip we were. But of course we weren't, it was just the five of us. Us and the Stones were really the hip ones, the rest of England were just the same as they ever were. You tend to get nationalistic, and we used to really laugh at America, except for its music. And it was the black music we dug and over here the blacks were laughin' at people like Chuck Berry and the blues singers. The blacks thought it wasn't sharp to dig the really funky black music, and the whites only listened to Jan and Dean and all that. We felt that we had . . . that the message was listen to this music. It was the same in Liverpool, we felt very exclusive and underground in Liverpool listening to all those old-time records. And nobody was listening to any of them except Eric Burdon in Newcastle and Mick Jagger in London. It was that lonely. It was fantastic. We came over here and it was the same: nobody was listening to rock & roll or to black music in America. We were coming to the land of its origin but nobody wanted to know about it.
You always said that the Beatles wanted to be bigger than Elvis.
Because Elvis was the biggest. We wanted to be the biggest. Doesn't everybody?
When did you realize that you were bigger than Elvis?
I don't know. See, it's different once it happens. It's like, when you actually get to number one, or whatever, it's different. It's the going for it that's fun.
How do you rate yourself as a guitarist?
I'm okay. I'm not very good technically, but I can make it fuckin' howl and move. I was rhythm guitarist. It's an important job. I can make a band drive.
How do you rate George?
He's pretty good. Ha, ha. I prefer myself. I have to be honest, you know. I'm really very embarrassed about my guitar playing in one way because it's very poor. I can never move, but I can make a guitar speak, you know. Yoko has made me get very cocky about my guitar. You see, one part of me says, "Yes, of course I can play because I can make a rock move." But the other part of me says, "Well, I wish I could just do it like B.B. King." If you put me with B.B., I would feel silly. I'm an artist and if you give me a tuba I'll bring something out of it. I don't know . . . ask Eric Clapton, he thinks I can play, ask him. You don't have to . . . you see a lot of you people . . . want technical things, then you think that's . . . it's like wanting technical films. Most of rock & roll, and guitarists, are in the stage of the Fifties where they wanted a technically perfect film, finished for them, and they would feel happy. I'm a cinema-verité guitarist. I'm a musician and you have to break down your barriers to be able to hear what I'm playing. There's a nice little bit I played, they had it on the back of Abbey Road. There is a little break where Paul plays, George plays and I play. And you listened to it. And there is one bit, one of those where it stops, one of those "Carry That Weight" where it suddenly goes boom, boom and the drums and then we all take it in turns to play. I'm the third one on it. I have a definite style of playing. I've always had. I was overshadowed. They call George the invisible singer, well, I'm the invisible guitarist.
What were the first devices and tricks that you used?
The first gimmick was the harmonica. There had been "Hey, Baby," and there was a terrible thing called "I Remember You" in England. We did those numbers, and so we started using it on "Love Me Do" just for arrangements, 'cause we used to work out arrangements. And then we stuck it on "Please Please Me," and then on "From Me to You," and then it went on and on. Then we dropped it - it got embarrassing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.