Saturday, June 24, 2006

Interview: John Lennon, Melbourne - June 15, 1964

Lennon’s position regarding the word “genius” would shift slightly by 1970, proclaiming: “if there is such a thing…I am one.” This is another rare early solo interview featuring John, from the Beatles’ 1964 tour of Australia. The interview picks up with the interviewer in mid-sentence.

Q: …happened in Australia.

Lennon: Yes.

Q: Does it upset you or the boys, do you feel that you suffer because of this?

Lennon: Well, we don’t suffer. We’re bound to be a bit less healthy than people who breathe air. But, I mean, there’s so many good things, you know, to make up for it. You know, who’s moaning? Me.

Q: Now, when this tour’s over, then you’ll have a bit of a chance to get out and get some air, as you say, with your family.

Lennon: I'm not sure, you see, because it’s…when the tour finishes, we go back and do the premiere of the film. It’s one of those periods that Brian says “I’m not quite sure what we’ve got.” And it always sort of fills up gradually with TV and radio, so…

Q: Now you mentioned Brian, I was going to mention it. How did you get…how did you get associated with Brian Epstein, and how much do you feel you owe him?

Lennon: Well, we owe him one-and-six exactly. But, we owe a lot of our success to him. You know, a great deal.

Q: Yes.

Lennon: Because I think we might…we might have been able to make hit records, ‘cause we would have written the songs anyway. This one’s run out. And uh…but we wouldn’t have gone…we wouldn’t…he controlled us, you see. Anybody that tried to manage us earlier on couldn’t get through to us, you know. They’d last about a week. And they’d say, “We’re not having you.”

Q: So he’s more or less gotten you and taken full control of you.

Lennon: Yes, but he didn’t take over as some people do, right as if he just sort of walked in and said, “Right, cut your hair like that, put this suit on,” and that. You know, we were already there, but he just sort of…people sort of said we were dirty. Well we weren’t dirty, we were just in jeans, ‘cause we couldn't afford anything else, you know.

Q: A lot of people have said that Epstein has emerged as a genius of show business. Do you agree with this?

Lennon: Well, I’m a bit dodg-…you know, I don’t like using the word “genius.” There’s so many “geniuses” on LP covers and things like that. That…I think he’s done more than anybody expected him to do, which entitles people that don't know what’s happening to call him a genius. He’s very good. I wouldn’t say he’s a genius.

Q: I want to ask you one direct personal question. Is he a friend?

Lennon: Oh, definitely. You see, we couldn’t…we can’t get on with anybody for a long time unless they are a friend, ‘cause we’re so closely-knit. Knit knit.

Q: Well, I’ve noted this…noticed this with the others in your entourage.

Lennon: Mm.

Q: How many of them are really very close to you?

Lennon: Well, Neil [Aspinall], he’s our personal road manager; well, he was in from the start, he went to school with Paul and George. And the other fellow, Derek [Taylor], we’ve known for about a year. But he’s sort of one of those people that clicked soon as you meet him, you know. So that…and Malcolm [Evans], we’ve known from the Cavern. He used to…he’s the…carries the guitars around, you know, and all that! Well, he used to work at the Cavern, a big bouncer, throwing all the Teddy Boys out and that.

Q: Well, John, I’ve said it a hundred times already to you, but I hope you have happy memories of your Australian trip when you get home and can think about it.

Lennon: Thank you, Malcolm. We will do!

Q: Thank you for your time.

Lennon: Thank you.