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 1: 'John Lennon Remembers' - January/February 1971

An in-depth portrait of John Lennon, told through the audio of Jann Wenner's seminal 1970 New York interview for Rolling Stone magazine. The most famous interview Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner ever did was an extensive interrogation, on tape, of Lennon shortly after the Beatles had broken up. Lennon and Ono had already given the magazine a blessing of sorts by posing nude for its first anniversary issue in late 1968. Their's was a relationship of trust. An edited version of Wenner's interview went to press in 1971, and the two issues in which it appeared both sold out overnight. The Lennon interview remains one of the most important ever done with a popular musician. Lennon himself regarded it as definitive. It documented the Beatles' career and split with painstakingly emotional (at times excruciating) detail, and served as a major, and controversial, point of exorcism for Lennon in his coming to terms with the '60s, the legacy of the Beatles and particularly his ruptured relationship with Paul McCartney. He holds forth throughout on the subjects of art and politics, his own musical genius, his love for Yoko, drugs, primal therapy and mysticism. It was the last interview he ever spoke with such candour. He's on terrific form - acidly sharp, furious and funny, philosophical, exuding confidence, at times disarmingly vunerable. The audio archive for the programme centres exclusively on Wenner's own tapes. It also contains new interviews with both Yoko, who sat beside John throughout, and Jann, who look back on the interview and Lennon's state of mind at the time.

Part 1

By Jann S. Wenner/January 7 & February 4, 1971

When did you realize that what you were doing transcended . . .
People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. I always wondered, why has nobody discovered me? In school, didn't they see that I was cleverer than anybody in the school? That the teachers were stupid too? That all they had was information I didn't need? I got fuckin' lost being in high school. I used to say to me auntie, "You throw my fuckin' poetry out and you'll regret it when I'm famous." And she threw the bastard stuff out.
Do you think you're a genius?
Yes, if there is such a thing, I am one.
When did you first realize that?
When I was about twelve. I used to think I must be a genius but nobody's noticed. I used to think, either I'm a genius or I'm mad - which is it? I used to think, well, I can't be mad, because nobody's put me away; therefore, I'm a genius. I mean, genius is a form of madness, and we're all that way. But I used to be a bit coy about it, you know, like me guitar playing. I didn't become something when the Beatles made it or when you heard about me; I've been like this all me life. But it was obvious to me. Why didn't they put me in art school? Why didn't they train me? Why did they keep forcing me to be a fuckin' cowboy like the rest of them. I was different. I was always different. Why didn't anybody notice me? A couple of teachers would encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint - to express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a fuckin' dentist or teacher. And then the fuckin' fans tried to beat me into being a fuckin' Beatle or an Engelbert Humperdinck, and the critics tried to beat me into being Paul McCartney.
The Beatles were always talked about - and the Beatles talked about themselves - as being part of the same person.
Well . . .yes.
What's happened to those four parts?
They remembered they were four individuals. You see, we believed the Beatles myth, too. We were four guys. I met Paul and said, "You want to join me band?" Then George joined and then Ringo joined. We were a band that made it very, very big, that's all.
Because we were performers, and what we generated was fantastic. When we played straight rock there was nobody to touch us in Britain. . . . I had a group, I was the singer and the leader; then I met Paul, and I had to make a decision - he had to make a decision, too - whether to have him in the group: Was it better to have a guy who was better than the people I had, or not? To make the group stronger, or to let me be stronger? The decision was to let Paul in to make the group stronger. Then Paul introduced me to George, and Paul and I had to make a decision, or I had to make the decision, whether to let George in. I listened to George play and I said, "Play 'Raunchy,' " or whatever the old story is, and I let him in. I said, "Okay, you come in." Then the rest of the group was gradually thrown out. It just happened. Instead of going for the individual thing, we went for the strongest format, for equals. George is ten years younger than me, or some shit like that. I couldn't be bothered with him when he first came around. He used to follow me around like a bloody kid, hanging around all the time; I couldn't be bothered. He was a kid who played guitar, and he was a friend of Paul's, which made it all easier. It took me years to come around to him, to start considering him as an equal or anything. We had different drummers all the time, because people who owned drum kits were few and far between; it was an expensive item. They were usually idiots. Then we got Pete Best because we needed a drummer to go to Hamburg the next day. We had passed the audition on our own, using a stray drummer.
What did being from Liverpool have to do with your art?
It's the second biggest port in England. The north is where the money was made in the 1800s; that was where all the brass and the heavy people were, and that's where the despised people were. We were the ones who were looked down upon as animals by the southerners, the Londoners. In the States, the Northerners think that down South, people are pigs, and the people in New York think West Coast is hick. So we were hicksville. Liverpool is a very poor city, and tough. But people have a sense of humor because they are in so much pain. So they are always cracking jokes, and they are very witty. It's an Irish place, too; it is where the Irish came when they ran out of potatoes, and it's where black people were left or worked as slaves or whatever. It is cosmopolitan, and it's where sailors would come home with blues records from America. Liverpool has the biggest country & western following in England besides London - always besides London because there is more of it there. I heard country & western music in Liverpool before I heard rock & roll. The people take their country & western very seriously. I remember the first guitar I ever saw. It belonged to a guy in a cowboy suit and a cowboy hat and a big dobro. They were real cowboys and they took it seriously. There were cowboys long before there was rock & roll.
What was it like in the early days in London?
When we came down, we were treated like real provincials by the Londoners. We were, anyway.
What was it like, say, running around discotheques with the Stones?
Oh, that was a great period. We were like kings of the jungle then, and were very close to the Stones. I spent a lot of time with Brian [Jones] and Mick [Jagger], and I admired them. I dug them the first time I saw them in whatever that place is they came from - the Crawdaddy in Richmond. We were all just at the prime, and we all used to just go around London in our cars and meet each other and talk about music with the Animals and Eric [Burdon] and all that. It was a really good time. That was the best period, famewise; we didn't get mobbed so much. I don't know; it was like a men's smoking club, just a very good scene. We created something, Mick and us, we didn't know what we were doing, but we were all talking, blabbing over coffee, like they must have done in Paris, talking about paintings . . . me, Burdon and Brian Jones would be up night and day talking about music, playing records and blabbing and arguing and getting drunk. It's beautiful history, and it happened in all these different places. I just miss New York. In New York they have their own cool clique. Yoko came out of that. This is the first time I'm really seeing it, because I was always too nervous, I was always the famous Beatle. Dylan showed it to me once on sort of a guided tour around the Village, but I never got any feel of it. I just knew Dylan was New York, and I always sort of wished I'd been there for the experience that Bob got from living around here.
What is the nature of your relationship with Bob?
It's sort of an acquaintance, because we were so nervous whenever we used to meet. It was always under the most nerve-wracking circumstances, and I know I was always uptight and I know Bobby was. We were together and we spent some time, but I would always be too aggressive or vice versa and we didn't really speak. But we spent a lot of time together. He came to me house, which was Kenwood, can you imagine it, and I didn't know where to put him in this sort of bourgeois home life I was living; I didn't know what to do and things like that. I used to go to his hotel rather, and I loved him, you know, because he wrote some beautiful stuff. I used to love that, his so-called protest things. I listen to his words. He used to come with his acetate and say "Listen to this John, and did you hear the words?" I said that doesn't matter, the sound is what counts - the overall thing. I had too many father figures and I liked words, too, so I liked a lot of the stuff he did. You don't have to hear Bob Dylan's saying, you just have to hear the way he says it.
Do you see him as a great?
No, I see him as another poet, or as competition. You read my books that were written before I heard of Dylan or read Dylan or anybody, it's the same. I didn't come after Elvis and Dylan, I've been around always. But if I see or meet a great artist, I love 'em. I go fanatical about them for a short period, and then I get over it. If they wear green socks I'm liable to wear green socks for a period too.
When was the last time you saw Bob?
He came over to our house with George after the Isle of Wight and when I had written "Cold Turkey." I was trying to get him to record. We had just put him on piano for "Cold Turkey" to make a rough tape but his wife was pregnant or something and they left. He's calmed down a lot now. I just remember before that we were both in shades and on fucking junk, and all these freaks around us and Ginsberg and all those people. I was anxious as shit.
You were in that movie with him that hasn't been released?
I've never seen it but I'd love to see it. I was always so paranoid and Bob said "I want you to be in this film." I thought why? What? He's going to put me down; I went all through this terrible thing. In the film, I'm just blabbing off and commenting all the time, like you do when you're very high or stoned. I had been up all night. We were being smart alecks, it's terrible. But it was his scene, that was the problem for me. It was his movie. I was on his territory, that's why I was so nervous. I was on his session.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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