By Peter McCabe and Robert Schonfeld / September 5, 1971
Int.: So the dream is over, the Beatles have split up and you're now a separate entity from Paul McCartney. How does it feel?
John: Well, it's not over yet. With the court case, it could go on for years. And I guess every time I put a record out they'll compare it to Paul's.
Int.: Does that bother you?
John: Sure. What's the fucking point? You might as well compare me with Grand Funk Railroad or something.
Int.: You've been especially vocal lately about the way the Beatles' business was run in the past.
John: Well, look what happened. With Northern Songs, we ended up selling half our copyrights forever. We lost 'em all and Lew Grade's got 'em. It was bad management. We have no company. That's where Brian Epstein fucked up. Who got the beneift? Not us. I mean, since you ask, in retrospect he made mistakes. But to us he was the expert. I mean, originally he had a shop. Anybody who's got a shop must be all right.
Int.: People say it was Epstein who kept you together as the Beatles. What was the mood like among you all after the Beatles stopped touring and before Brian died?
John: Well, after we stopped touring, it always seemed embarrassing. Should we have dinner together? It always got so formal that none of us wanted to go through with it anymore.
Int.: How come it got so formal?
John: Because when you don't see someone for a few months, you feel stilted and you have to start again.
Int.: So things were breaking down before you met Yoko, and before Paul met Linda?
John: It had broken down before that. There was a Liverpool clique thing, and everybody who worked for us was from Liverpool. But that togetherness had gone a long time before Yoko. We were really all on our own, just living in separate vacuums.
Int.: So let's talk about the Beatles' breakup, and the falling out between you and Paul. A lot of people think it had to do with the women in your lives. Is that why the Beatles split up?
John: Not really. The split was over who would manage us, Allen Klein or the Eastmans, and nothing else really, although the split had been coming from Pepper onwards.
Int.: Why, specifically?
John: Well, Paul was always upset about the White Album. He never liked it because on that one I did my music, he did his, and George did his. And first, he didn't like George having so many tracks, and second, he wanted it to be more a group thing, which really means more Paul. So he never liked that album, and I always preferred it to all the other albums, including Pepper, because I thought the music was better. The Pepper myth is bigger, but the music on the White Album is far superior, I think.
Int.: That's your favorite, of all the Beatle albums?
John: Yeah, because I wrote a lot of good shit on that. I like all the stuff I did on that, and the other stuff as well. I like the whole album. I haven't heard it in a long time, but I know there's a lot of good songs on it. But if you're talking about the split, the split was over Allen and Eastman.
Int.: You didn't like Lee Eastman, Linda's father, nor John Eastman, Linda's brother, and the Eastmans didn't like you bringing in Allen Klein to manage you. . . .
John: The Eastmans hated Allen from way back. They're from the class of family . . . like all classes, I suppose, they vote like Daddy does. They're the kind of kids who just think what their fathers told them.
Int.: But for a while you got along with Linda.
John: We all got along well with Linda.
Int.: When did you first meet her?
John: The first time I saw her was after that press conference to announce Apple in America. We were just going back to the airport and she was in the car with us. I didn't think she was particularly attractive, I wondered what he was bothering having her in the car for. A bit too tweedy, you know. But she sat in the car and took photographs and that was it. And the next minute she's married him.
Yoko: She's not the kind of woman who would antagonize other women. She is a nice person who is uptight like her brother, John, but not that uptight. There was a nice quality about her. As a women she doesn't offend you because she doesn't come on like a coquettish bird, you know? So she was all right, and we were on very good terms until Allen came into the picture. And then she said: "Why the hell do you have to bring Allen into it?" She said very nasty things about Allen, and I defended Allen each time she said something about him. And since then she never speaks to me.
Int.: Yoko, you weren't with John the first time he met her?
Yoko: No. The first time I met her was when she came to the EMI studio. And you know, when Beatles are recording, there's very few people around, especially no women. If a young woman comes into the room, everybody just sort of looks at her. So I was there, and the first thing Linda made clear to me - almost unnecessarily - was the fact that she was interested in Paul, and not John, you know? So I thought that was nice. She was sort of presupposing that I would be nervous. Not that I showed I was nervous at all. She just said, "Oh, I'm with Paul." Something to that effect.
I think she was eager to be with me, and John, in the sense that Paul and John are close, we should be close too. And couple to couple we were going to be good friends. We went to their house. . . .
John: We stayed there. We lived there.
Yoko: Well, that was not when Linda was around.
John: Oh, that was before Linda, yes.
Yoko: And Linda cooked for us. We had nice dinners together, things like that. And she was pregnant, so it was hard for her to cook. She had a big tummy and all that. But she was doing it, and it was nice.
Int.: Did you think she was a good photographer, Yoko?
Yoko: I never judged her, or even observed her, from that point of view. I'd never really seen any of her photographs.
John: We had heard stories aobut her hanging around - what was it? - Ramparts and Life magazine. Always trying to get in, and nobody wanting her because they didn't think she was a particularly good photographer. . . .
Yoko: They were sufficient photographs. And really, it's unfair to ask me about them because I'm a perfectionist about artists, and there are very few artists that I respect anyway. It has to be someone really special for me to say that I admire his or her art.
Int.: So what was Paul's attitude to you as you got to know him, as things progressed?
Yoko: Paul began complaining that I was sitting too close to them when they were recording, and that I should be in the background.
John: Paul was always gently coming up to Yoko and saying: "Why don't you keep in the background a bit more?" I didn't know what was going on. It was going on behind my back.
Yoko: And I wasn't uttering a word. It wasn't a matter of my being aggressive. It was just the fact that I was sitting near to John. And we stood up to it. We just said, "No. It's simply that we just have to come together." They were trying to discourage me from attending meetings, et cetera. And I was always there. And Linda actually said that she admired that we were doing that.
John: Paul even said that to me.
Int.: So did all this contribute to the split, to Paul leaving the group?
John: Well, Paul rang me up. He didn't actually tell me he'd split, he said he was putting out an album [McCartney]. He said, "I'm now doing what you and Yoko were doing last year. I understand what you were doing." All that shit. So I said, "Good luck to yer."
Yoko: So there really was a lot of misunderstanding, you know.
Int.: And the family thing was a factor? Things you'd said about the Eastmans?
John: Yeah, it's like anybody. If there's anything to say about my family, I'll say it myself. But don't you.
Int.: And Linda didn't like this?
Yoko: I didn't know that. I thought she was one very unusually obedient daughter who was completely controlled by her father, you know?
Int.: Was it the suddenness of Linda's arrival on the scene that disrupted things?
John: Well, Paul had met her before [the Apple press conference], you see. I mean, there were quite a few women he'd obviously had that I never knew about. God knows when he was doing it, but he must have been doing it.
Int.: So, John. You and Paul were probably the greatest songwriting team in a generation. And you had this huge falling out. Were there always huge differences between you and Paul, or was there a time when you had a lot in common?
John: Well, we all want our mummies - I don't think there's any of us that don't - and he lost his mother, so did I. That doesn't make womanizers of us, but we all want our mummies because I don't think any of us got enough of them.
Anyway, that's neither here nor there - but Paul always wanted the home life, you see. He liked it with daddy and the brother . . . and obviously missed his mother. And his dad was the whole thing. Just simple things: he wouldn't go against his dad and wear drainpipe trousers. And his dad was always trying to get me out of the group behind me back, I found out later. He'd say to George: "Why don't you get rid of John, he's just a lot of trouble. Cut your hair nice and wear baggy trousers," like I was the bad influence because I was the eldest, so I had all the gear first usually.
So Paul was always like that. And I was always saying, "Face up to your dad, tell him to fuck off. He can't hit you. You can kill him [laughs], he's an old man." I used to say, "Don't take that shit off him." Because I was always brought up by a woman, so maybe it was different. But I wouldn't let the old man treat me like that. He treated Paul like a child all the time, cut his hair and telling him what to wear, at seventeen, eighteen.
But Paul would always give in to his dad. His dad told him to get a job, he fucking dropped the group and started working on the fucking lorries, saying, "I need a steady career." We couldn't believe it - my Aunt Mimi reminded me of this the other night - he rang up and said he'd got this job and couldn't come to the group. So I told him on the phone, "Either come or you're out." So he had to make a decision between me and his dad then, and in the end he chose me. But it was a long trip.
So it was always the family thing, you see. If Jane [Asher] was to have a career, then that's not going to be a cozy family, is it? All the other girls were just groupies mainly. And with Linda not only did he have a ready-made family, but she knows what he wants, obviously, and has given it to him. The complete family life. He's in Scotland. He told me he doesn't like English cities anymore. So that's how it is.
Int.: So you think with Linda he's found what he wanted?
John: I guess so. I guess so. I just don't understand . . . I never knew what he wanted in a woman because I never knew what I wanted. I knew I wanted something intelligent or something arty, whatever it was. But you don't really know what you want until you find it. So anyway, I was very surprised with Linda. I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd married Jane Asher, because it had been going on for a long time and they went through a whole ordinary love scene. But with Linda it was just like, boom! She was in and that was the end of it.
Int.: Did Paul put Jane off for many years, when she wanted to get married?
John: I have no idea. We never discussed our private lives like that. I never asked him. We'd got over "did you get a bit of tit?" and "what's happening?" All that scene. We didn't talk about it.
Int.: So Paul split, and your falling out was essentially with him?
Int.: So what made you decide not to participate in the Bangladesh concert with George and Ringo at Madison Square Garden? I mean, you were rather conspicuously absent.
John: Well, Allen [Klein] was putting it around that I ran off to England, so I wouldn't be there for the concert. But I told George about a week before it that I wouldn't be doing it. I just didn't feel like it. I just didn't want to be rehearsing and doing a big show-biz trip. We were in the Virgin Islands, and I certainly wasn't going to be rehearsing in New York, then going back to the Virgin Islands, then coming back up to New York and singing. And anyway, they couldn't have got any more people in, if I'd been there or not. I got enough money off records and I don't feel like doing two shows a night.
Int.: So what did you think of the concert?
John: I didn't see it. I mean, I haven't seen the movie. It seemed like a great success, you know. It seemed like a great success, you know. Newspaperwise it turned out great, and it seems like they got a lot of money. So it seemed all right, and from the reports of people there it seemed fine too. I didn't think much more about it really.
Int.: So when you say you don't feel like doing two shows a night, does this mean we've seen the end of live performances from John Lennon?
John: Oh, no. I want to do a big show. I feel like going out with Yoko. It's possible that a museum show of Yoko's, which is going on in Syracuse this October, will tour America, and it's possible that we'd be in the same town. The museum show is a really far-out scene, so if we do that, and if we are playing in the same place, we really could blow the town out.
See, George came up with a good idea after the concert, which I heard from Allen - I haven't talked to George about it - which was to take a big tour out, and do one show for free and one show for money, in each city. I thought that was good. Then I thought; "Well, fuck it. I don't want to earn any more money. I get enough off records. I don't want to do a big Apple/Beatle tour," because the thing I didn't like about the Bangladesh concert was that it was "the Beatles playing," and whatever it was they played, it wasn't the Beatles. So then I thought, "I'll go out on me own and take me own people with me."
Int.: So who would you take on tour with you ideally?
John: Well, I'd like to go on the road with Jim Keltner, Klaus Voormann, Yoko, and Eric Clapton, if I can get him out of his house. And maybe when we've got it together, we'd decide if we'd want any saxophones or any kind of jazz like that. Or we might just play village squares or a nightclub.
Int.: Do you have any regrets about not doing the Bangladesh concert?
John: Well, in a way I regretted it. It would have been great, you know. And at first I thought: "Oh, I wish I'd been there. You know, with Dylan and Leon [Russell]. . . . . they needed a rocker, and everybody was telling me, "You should have been there, John." I mean, Leon's a good rocker, but people were telling me, "You should have been there to weigh it up." But I'm glad I didn't do it in a way, because I didn't want to go on as the Beatles. And with George and Ringo there it would have been that connotation of Beatles - now let's hear Ringo sing "It Don't Come Easy." And that's why I left it all, so I wouldn't have to do all that. I don't want to play "My Sweet Lord." I'd as soon go out and do exactly what I want.
Yoko: Because we want to give them reality, you know. Not . . . "Oh, God."
John: And that is a conflict with George.
Int.: Since you mentioned that you'd go out ont he road with Jim Keltner, a drummer, is that any reflection on Ringo's drumming?
John: Oh, no. I love his drumming. I think Keltner is technically a bit better, but Ringo is still one of the best drummers in rock.
Int.: John, you've said a couple of times already that you "get enough off records," yet not too long ago you were saying that you weren't anything like as rich as people thought you were. Are you rich enough finally?
John: Well, I do have money for the first time ever, really. I do feel slightly secure about it, secure enough to say I'll go on the road for free. The reason I got rich is because I'm so insecure. I couldn't give it all away, even in my most holy, Christian, God-fearing, Hare Krishna period. I got into that struggle: I should give it all away, I don't need it. But I need it because I'm so insecure. Yoko doesn't need it. She always had it. I have to have it. I'm not secure enough to give it all up, because I need it to protect me from whatever I'm frightened of.
Yoko: He's very vulnerable.
John: But now I think that Allen Klein has made me secure enough, it's his fault that I'll go out for free.
Int.: Well, I thought I can't really go on the road and take a lot of money. (A) What am I going to do with it? And (B) how could I look somebody in the eye? Why should they pay? I've got everything I need. I've got all the fucking bread I need. If I go broke, well, I'd go on the road for money then. But now I just couldn't face saying, "Well, I cost a million when I sing. It costs that much for me to sing for you."
Yoko: It's criminal.
John: Which is bullshit, because I want to sing. So I'm going out on the road because I want to this time. I want to do something political, and radicalize people, and all that jazz, and this would be the best way. So now I feel like going out on the road. I feel like going out with Yoko, and taking a really far-out show on the road, a mobile, political, rock and roll show, a mobile, political Plastic Ono Bandshow. . . .
Yoko: With clowns as well.
John: . . . and have something going on in the foyer, and something going on in the audience, and not just everything on stage.
Int.: When you say political, what do you mean exactly?
John: Well, I mean political, because everything I do is political. I would take people with me who could speak to the kids, who could speak to them in the foyer, catch them on the way out. Panthers. Weathermen. They can hand all their gear out.
Int.: You want to create a riot in each town?
John: No, I don't want to create a riot or a fight in each town, but I just really want to paint it red.
Int.: So would these be big dates?
John: I don't know. I really haven't thought how to do it. You know what I was thinking - I know I've told you this before - when Paul's going out on the road, I'd like to be playing in the same town for free next door! And he's charging about a million to see him. That would be funny. And of course he's going to think that I'm going out on the road because he's said he's going out on the road, but it'd be a natural thing after Bangladesh.
Yoko: The point is, I really believe that whatever you have, if you don't do as much as you can or have, then you're guilty of not giving. Like, our position is, I come from the East, he comes from the West, a meeting of East and West, and all that. And to communicate with people is almost a responsibility. We actually are living proof of East and West getting along together. It's very important. We are responsible to give whatever we have, or whatever we know.
John: That's why I thought, I can't really go on the road and take a lot of money.
Yoko: No, we can't do that. If you have a lot to give, you have to give. Also, think of the laws of nature. In economic and political and all situations, high water falls low, you know. And if our cup is full, it's going to flow. It's natural for us to give because we have a lot. If we don't give, in a sense that's going against the laws of nature. And in order to go against the laws of nature, you have to use tremendous energy, unnecessary energy, in order to keep it like that, in order to keep that money. That would be very bad for us, and we're not going to do that. If we have more than we need moneywise, we'd rather let the money flow out naturally, you know.
Int.: That's a pretty generous sentiment.
Yoko: It's just wisdom, you know.
John: The wisdom of the East.
Yoko: And if people don't have that wisdom - well, what I mean is - if you're using all that unnecessary energy, it's going to get back at you one way or another. You're going to get cancer or something. And it just isn't worth it.
Int.: From what we've been reading, you are still asked regularly for a lot of money from various underground and leftist causes. Do you always give?
John: Well, I always take care of the underground, whatever I'm doing. And if they get in trouble, I lend them money or invest in them or whatever, because I think they're important. I get asked every two days for at least five thousand pounds, and I usually give it because it's usually somebody that I want to help. So I'm going to try to set up a foundation that can be small, a John and Yoko one, and we might take a dollar a head or anything that's donated at concerts. That would go to this. And then I can pay all these Oz undergrounds, and Clydeside workers, and Timothy Learys, that all want money out of me. And I might be able to fix it up taxwise.
George wants to do a foundation, too, but we'll keep it separate because he might want to give it to Hare Krishna, and I won't.
Int.: So you're going to tour for free, and you're going to give a lot of money away. How is your manager, Allen Klein, reacting to all this generosity?
John: I said to Allen, "You're going to get twenty percent of nothing." And I want him to run the tours because he knows how to do it. I said, "Look, I hope you won't mind, but you know George's idea about the concerts? Well, I've decided to do it all for nothing. And I'm sorry, but you're getting twenty percent of nothing." He said, "Oh, I don't mind." I don't know whether he did or not. Maybe he thinks he'll sell some comics on the side. He'll have thought of something.
Int.: Let's talk about Allen Klein because, as you said, the big factor in the Beatles' breakup was the question of who would manage you, Klein or the Eastmans. You, George, and Ringo wanted Klein, and Paul wanted his in-laws. What made you opt for Klein?
John: Well, Allen's human, whereas Eastman and all them other people are automatons. Sure you can hurt Eastman's feelings, or anybody's feelings, but you can tickle Allen, and I can't imagine tickling Eastman.
Yoko: No sense of humor, Eastman's lot.
John: And when Allen's not doing his bit, he's one of the lads, you know. I would go on holiday with Allen, because he's a lad, he pisses about. When him and his crew go on tour, they piss about like school kids, pretending to be deaf and dumb, whatever kind of crazy thing. He's always having fun, trying to go into hotels with the wrong clothes, wearing crazy clothes. Just games like that. So he's good fun to be around, you know.
Yoko: Actually, he's shy and quiet.
John: And so insecure. He was an orphan. How insecure can you get, with nothing to hang on to?
Yoko: Can you imagine? He has to be a genuis to make money. He was a penniless orphan.
John: And it's so easy to hurt him. It's just like Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol is a very sensitive guy, and if your tone of voice isn't right on the phone, he can get very upset and hurt, and think you're attacking him. Well, Allen's just as bas as Andy Warhol. If you don't say it right, he gets very upset, he thinks you don't like him anymore. And I say, "That was a joke. I didn't mean that."
Yoko: But aside from that, he's a shy guy, very quiet inside. He talks a lot, but inside he's very quiet.
John: And like I say, he likes haivng a laugh with the lads, that sort of thing, whereas you can't imagine them others doing anything but playing golf or crushing beetles.
And one of the early things that impressed me about Allen - and obviously it was a kind of flattery as well - he went through all the old songs we'd written, and he really knew which stuff I'd written. Not many people knew which was my song and which was Paul's, but he'd say, "Well, McCartney didn't write that line, did he?" And I'd say, "Right," you know, and that's what really got me interested [in him], because he knew what our contributions were to the group. Most people thought it was all Paul, or all George Martin. And he knew all my lyrics, and he understood them, not that there's much to understand, but he was into it, and he dug lyrics. So I thought, "Well, anybody who knows me this well, just by listenings to records, is pretty perceptive."
Yoko: Very perceptive.
John: Because I'm not the easiest guy to read, although I'm fairly naive and open in some ways, and I can be conned easily. But in other ways I'm quite complicated, and it's not easy to get through all the defenses and see what I'm like. Klein knew me quite well, without even meeting me. Also he knew to come to me and not to go to Paul, whereas somebody like Lew Grade or Eastman would have gone to Paul.
So he knew that to get in he'd have to come through me. Mind you, he'd been sounding out Mick Jagger and Keith, and all them, saying, "Who runs what?"
Int.: So it's been a few years now since Allen Klein took over managing you and George and Ringo. What's your opinion of him as a manager?
John: Well, I love him, you know. I mean, he really has made me secure enough. I do have money for the first time ever, really. Sometimes he makes me very angry, like when he's pissed off, or pretends he's busy. At any rate, apart from that, I like him, you know. He's a great guy, highly sensitive, highly intelligent. He's not avant-garde or anything like that, he doesn't know from Adam. And it irritates me sometimes when I try and sing him a song before recording, and he can't hear it until it's a finished record. Or if I show him some rushes from a film, and he can't see it until it's a finished film. But apart from that I like him. I don't think he's robbing me, you know. I think he deserves twenty percent because that's his price.
Yoko: He's very creative.
John: He's a creative artist in the way that he will put people together, like Phil Spector and me, which was initially his doing. He tried to create a Rolling Stones/Beatles empire, which might have been a good thing in the early days.
Yoko: Not now.
John: Yeah, but it might have been a good thing. And that's the kind of thing he likes doing, you know. I believe him when he says he looks after Sam Cooke's old father. [Klein managed Sam Cooke, who was shot to death in a motel room.] I think he's a sentimental Jewish mommy, you know. He's got his bad points. He'll be there, and then he's gone, things like that. But he's got a lot of responsibility, and a lot of shit in his head. And it's people like him, or even Brian Epstein, who wasn't quite as clever as Allen, who can't delegate in a way. I know because even if I have a very intelligent assistant, if I piss off, it never gets done.
Int.: Let's talk a bit about Paul's aversion to Klein. From what we've read it seemed as if this wasn't there in the beginning, even though Paul wanted the Eastmans to run things. But it came on later as things progressed. And yet despite this, we gather that Klein was still hoping that Paul would return to the group.
John: Oh, he'd love it if Paul would come back. I think he was hoping he would for years and years. He thought that if he did something, to show Paul that he could do it, Paul would come around. But no chance. I mean, I want him to come out of it, too, you know. He will one day. I give him five years, I've said that. In five years he'll wake up.
Int.: And yet Paul did pretty well from a number of deals Klein negotiated before Paul filed suit to dissolve the group partnership. And not the least of these was the renewed recording contract with EMI, which gave you all much higher royalties. What else was Klein doing to try and lure Paul back?
John: [laughs] One of his reasons for trying to get Paul back was that Paul would have forfeited his right to split by joining us again. We tried to con him into recording with us too. Allen came up with this plan. He said, "Just ring Paul and say, 'We're recording next Friday, are you coming?' " So it nearly happened. It got around that the Beatles were getting together again, because EMI heard that the Beatles had booked recording time again. But Paul would never, never do it, for anything, and now I would never do it. I'm not going to go on a concert tour with Paul, George, and Ringo, because I'm not going to resurrect that.
Int.: But Klein is still hoping?
John: He said to me, "Would you do it, if we got your immigration thing fixed? Or if we could get rid of the drug conviction?"
Yoko: And people don't understand, you know. There're so many groups that constantly announce they're going to split, they're going to split, and they can announce it every year, and it doesn't mean they're going to split. But people don't understand what an extraordinary position the Beatles are in, you know. In every way. They're in such an extraordinary position that they're more insecure than other people. And so Klein thinks he'll give Paul two years Lindawise, you know. And John said, "No, Paul treasures things like children, things like that. It will be longer." And of course, John was right.
Int.: We've heard that Klein has said that Linda and you, Yoko, were a large reason for the Beatles' breakup?
Yoko: Yeah, I don't like it when Allen insinuates that Linda and me, being women, didn't get along, and that this was the cause of the split. It just isn't true.
John: Allen tries hard to understand Yoko and her work, but it's a struggle for him. He doesn't understand it. And it's taken him a long time to come around and realize she just isn't another chick, you know.
Yoko: Can you imagine that? John had a fever once and was asleep upstairs, and Allen visited us and was talking to me. And he said, "Well, you know, if I get to manage John and all that, if it works out that way, then I don't mind if John has a little fun on the side with you." He took me as a groupie chick, you know.
John: Because all the women he'd ever met with the groups were chicks.
Yoko: And I'm a Japanese girl, you know. That bit. So I thought, "What the hell. He didn't discover me yet."
John: He realizes she's intelligent. I think he knows you're proud. Now he's realizing she's not a chick. And if anything, at least his equal.
Yoko: I was laughing. I wasn't insulted. I thought, "My God, I must look young." I was almost flattered.
Int.: Still, in regard to Klein, there had been a tremendous outpouring of negative publicity about him, especially in the English press. And this went on for some time, as he was going after the Beatles. Didn't that bother you, or at least give you cause for reservation?
John: Well, he's a businessman. I feel sorry for him in the way I have some sympathy for Yoko, because it's difficult with all the attacks in the press. And the English do hate Americans and Jews, especially ones who are going to come in and make money in their little Wall Street, you know. They already beat Allen out once when he was trying to buy a music-publishing company. They clubbed together and got rid of him. So okay, he's probably cut many peoples' throats. So have I. I made it too. I mean, I can't remember anybody I literally cut, but I've certainly trod on a few feet on the way up. And I'm sure he did. I don't think he deserves the shit he gets thrown at him, and if time proves me wrong in the end, so be it. I think he deserves what he earns, and I do have more money.
Int.: You were making comparisons earlier between Klein and Brian Epstein. I want to talk more about Epstein later, but could we go on with the comparison?
Yoko: Well, Klein has this reputation as a whacky businessman, but I tell you, he's too conservative in many ways. That may surprise people but it's true. Klein's attitude is, he goes for the top people, right? He doesn't go for anybody but the top . . . Rolling Stones, Beatles, et cetera. Which is all very good, but at the same time that means he doesn't take any risks.
John: He wouldn't have recognized us at the Cavern. And like the film El Topo . . . we talked him into buying it, but he took our word that it was a good film.
Yoko: He would have been the guy who turned down the Beatles. . . .
John: No, he wouldn't. He can spot a good song when he hears it.
Int.: Aren't you really saying that he can only see the dollar signs?
John: That's what it is.
Int.: Let's go back to that comparison with Epstein. You mentioned something about delegating.
John: Yeah. Well, Brian couldn't delegate, and neither can Allen. But what I was sawing was, I understand that because when I try and delegate it never gets done properly. Like with my albums and Yoko's, each time I have to go through the same process: check if it was sent to so-and-so. Did this happen? Get the printing size right. I want it clear and simple and all that. Like for an advert. I have to go through the same jazz all the time. It's never a lesson learned.
Int.: Let's get back to talking about the group, and the four different personalities involved. When we've asked about the split, people give many different reasons for it. Neil Aspinall, you old Liverpool friend and managing director of Apple, said you were like guys going through war on those tours, and when you came back, you found out you were very different people. I asked Lee Eastman for his view of the split, and what it was that prompted Paul to file suit to dissolve the Beatles' partnership, and he said it was because John asked for a divorce.
John: Because I asked for a divorce? That's a childish reason for going into court, isn't it? Have you talked to Lee Eastman for your book?
John: Did he get angry and yell at you?
Int.: He got pretty heated once on the phone.
John: Good; that's shows I'm not making it up. Because I'm the only one who's ever talked about it.
Int.: What was it like for you when the court case was on, with all the publicity?
John: Well, when it first started, I got on a boat and went to Japan for two weeks, and nobody could get in touch with me. They got me in Miami, then I got to Japan and I didn't tell anybody I'd arrived. We just pissed off up in the hills and nobody could find us. Then suddenly I get these calls from the lawyer, fucking idiot. I didn't like his voice, as soon as I heard him, you know. A sort of upper-class Irish-English voice. Fuck. And then he insisted I come home. I could have done it all on the fucking phone. And I came home and we were having meetings all the time with these counsels, every other day, and it went on for weeks and weeks. George and Ringo were getting restless and didn't want to do it anymore. And then George would say, "I've had enough. I don't want to do it. Fuck it all. I don't care if I'm poor." George goes through that every now and then. "I'll give it all away." Will he fuck? He's got it all charted up, like monopolo money.
Int.: Let's talk a bit about George. He's perhaps the most enigmatic Beatle. Are you saying George is more conventional than he makes himself out to be?
John: There's no telling George. He always has a point of view about that wide, you know. [John places his hands a few inches apart.] You can't tell him anything.
Yoko: George is sophisticated, fashionwise. . . .
John: He's very trendy, and he has the right clothes, and all of that. . . .
Yoko: But he's not sophisticated, intellectually.
John: No. He's very narrow-minded and he doesn't really have a broader view. Paul is far more aware than George. One time in the Apple office in Wigmore Street, I said something to George, and he said, "I'm as intelligent as you, you know." This must have been resentment, but he could have left anytime if I was giving him a hard time.