By John Lennon / April 16, 1970
When Yoko and I were first contacted about the peace festival by Ritchie Yorke and John Brower - as usual with anything to do with peace - we said yes and hoped it would work itself out after. We did make it clear that we didn't want - and didn't have the ability - to handle any organization - but we did want complete control - if our names were to be used to hustle the thing together.
In the early stages we weren't sure whether the show would be free or not. There was a lot of talk about the "Stones' disaster" and we were swayed into thinking maybe if it's free, people would have less respect or some such bullshit. However, Brower and Yorke persuaded us to come to Canada and "announce the peace festival," which we did in our usual way.
When the press started asking about is it free or not, I said things like, "Maybe it would be better to pay the artists, but nothing had been finalized and we were going to have further discussions with Brower," etc.
When they asked me if the Beatles were coming, I answered that of course I would ask them - in fact, I would ask "everyone who was anyone," which I intended to - but only when I had a complete rundown on the show: How much? Where? How? Why? In fact, I wasn't going to ask anyone I knew, even vaguely, to commit themselves until we knew what was happening.
We never found out! They talked about foundations and what they could do with all the "millions" we were told would be earned. All the time in Canada and after we were getting pressure to corner Dylan/Beatles/Presley, but we still didn't have any idea how Brower intended to arrange things.
Later, when we were in retreat in Denmark, we began thinking, "Why shouldn't it all be free? Surely they can hustle some big firms or something to put up money." And, anyway, it looked like the national and local government were interested. Wouldn't it be a great plug for "Young Canada" - and the tourist trade?
In Denmark, we'd had no phone for a few weeks, being in a far-out farm house. When we finally got one, all hell let loose (also, we had been fasting - meditating, energy exchange, telepathy - for days). We got the horrors when our personal assistant, A. Fawcett, rang, saying, "Disaster, disaster. Klein is frightening Brower off! - and the Canadian government doesn't like it and Brower won't touch the festival if Klein is involved!" And a lot more Aquarian paranoia.
We fell for it. I rang Allen and insulted him no end with the biggest, loudest verbal ammunition I could muster, screaming about what he had done to Brower at their meeting at Allen's office. Allen was hurt - but I even suspected that. (You can't imagine the shit about him we've had laid on us for the past few years, plus we were so sensitive and "clear" at just having had no contact outside the small group of us.)
Anyway, I shellacked him and told him we had tape recordings of his meeting with Brower (Brower told us he had tapes of conversations with Allen, etc., which proved this and that - this is before I rang Allen). And they had lots of "dirt" on Klein, connecting him with the Mafia and God knows what else. So I said, "Stop just telling me about it (having heard it all before). Show me some proof."
The situation seemed so desperate that we allowed Brower/Yorke to come to Denmark with their "proof." They arrived with a cassette player which had on it a fairly straight conversation between Brower and Klein about the festival. Yoko, me, Tony and Melinda all thought that the way Brower was phrasing his questions to Allen was more peculiar than Allen's answers, which were noncommittal. In fact, all Klein said was, "Come and see me and we'll talk in the office, not on the phone."
The so-called "dossier of dirt" on Klein - some supposedly from Canadian-government sources, including something about him ringing the Danish king and queen - turned out to be a typewritten page of shit from people who obviously disliked Klein for many different and personal reasons - but all of it was opinion.
We both felt so ashamed of what effect this hearsay crap - all of this information had been gathered by them ringing people and saying, "What do you think of Allen Klein?" - had on Brower/Yorke and Fawcett. (I forgot to mention the look on Brower's face when we told him we definitely wanted to do the festival free! He asked for "time to think," etc., said he'd committed acts previous to contacting us - surprise! surprise!)
Then we asked Klein to come over so we could put them all together in one room and sort it all out. The meeting was tense at first but then relaxed a little. We talked and pointed out what their or anyone's paranoia had done or could do to them and sent them back to their hotel in Aalborg in what we thought was a better state of mind.
It didn't work. They spent the night prowling the corridors - Brower with a knife! Waiting for the Mafia to get them!
(A friend of ours who was also staying at the hotel, Dr. Don Hamrick - or Zee, to his Martian friends - sent them a love note which they interpreted as the Mafia death sentence! So you can imagine where their heads were at.)
We had decided to do the show free before they arrived - and were even more convinced after seeing them. We blamed the "bad vibes" on the fact that so much money was being talked about that people had lost their heads. It was resolved that Brower would go home to Canada and produce a proper plan of campaign: How we could do it free or why not.
We did mention one or two things had been said and done without our knowledge, e.g., Jerry Wexler, of Atlantic, was on the Peace Committee. And why hadn't we been informed - and why was he on it, in fact? This was put down to us having no phone for three weeks - which seemed reasonable. Another was an ad in Billboard, which was asking radio stations to join the Peace Campaign. We didn't like the style of the ad, so we drew out what we wanted. It never did happen the way Yoko and I wanted it. We were told it was "too late." Too late for what?
After they had all gone home, we decided we needed someone in Canada with Brower to keep his "vibes" steady. We still hoped that the larger concept of the peace festival and its karmic effects on the world had lifted him out of the bread hang-up scene and he would turn on to being a peace promoter.
Tony said he had a friend who had been at Harbinger with Zee and many others and who could probably go to Toronto and help. I don't know what happened, but two guys turned up at our Denmark farm - one said he'd had the peace-festival idea a long time ago and had all the plans and logos. So we listened, made music together and they went back to the hotel in Aalborg. We decided not to use them as they looked like they would confuse the issue even more. (The spokesman was a magician who was going to turn anyone who messed up the festival into a frog or something.)
They went back to Canada - with no instructions from us and moved in on Brower's scene to "straighten him out." The results we've been reading about in Rolling Stone, i.e., going to California and blabbing off about who was to be invited and who was not, etc.
(All this without any words to John and Yoko who had "complete control." That reminds me. On the tape between Klein and Brower, Brower kept saying he would give us "artistic control." Klein answered no to that. We all know that "artistic control" means very little and in fact we haven't even had that! They also had taped phone calls from Yoko which we inadvertently heard at the beginning of the cassette - just testing, I suppose!)
Since then, various whispers have reached us about the "impossibility of doing it free - the government won't let us, etc." Brower and Klein met again in New York, Klein telling him that John and Yoko wouldn't do it any other way but free. Meanwhile, Ritchie Yorke was doing some nice things 'round the world with Ronnie Hawkins (who, by the way, ended up paying for all the phone bills that had accumulated during our stay in Toronto, which was arranged by Brower. We'll look into it Ronnie, don't worry!).
Ritchie got to London sometime in late February and told us about his trip: How he had been hearing strange things about the festival, and Brower in particular. We said, "Yes we heard it, too, what shall we do?" We discussed many times after Denmark. The pressure and the tale-telling was bringing me down but Yoko kept waking me up again, reminding me of our original intentions. Ritchie then went to Toronto to find out what was happening.
The latest news we got was that Brower was again in New York and so was Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg - who sent us a telegram saying his name was at stake (don't worry, Rabbi. God will save you!). I'm not sure whether Klein saw Brower or not but one or two things came out from New York - Village Voice, New York Times, Rolling Stone - which, I suppose, were meant to make our position clear. But obviously they didn't because here we are - as a result of Jann Wenner's telegram! We've had only one call from John Brower over the past one-and-half months (we've been editing the Montreal bed-in film) and it came, surprisingly enough, after the articles mentioned above. Brower spoke to Yoko (I wonder if he taped it?). He said he was sending his plans to us. One and a half weeks has gone and still nothing. I rang Allen and he said he was still waiting for the plans, too!
In spite of everything - and you haven't heard half - Yoko and I would still like to be part of a peace festival in Canada or anywhere else. Our latest idea was to have everyone at the festival singing only Hare Krishna - including all those famous stars I'm supposed to be getting in touch with whom I'm sure will run a mile if I call them them now, after all the shit of the last few months - anyway there wouldn't be any money involved in that! No chance! People would have to come for the right reasons whatever they are.
One thing in the Rolling Stone article which struck us: Someone said, "Do we need a festival?" Yoko and I still think we need it - not just to show that we can gather peacefully and groove to rock bands, but to change the balance of energy power. On earth and, therefore, in the universe.
Have we all forgotten what vibes are? Can you imagine what we could do together in the one spot - thinking, singing and praying for peace - one million souls apart from any TV link-ups, etc. to the rest of the planet. If we came together for one reason, we could make it together!
We need help! It is out of our control. Brower does not represent us any more than you do. All we have is our name. (Klein will help any way we want, but he won't let us be hyped.) We are sorry for the confusion, it's bigger than both of us. We are doing our best for all our sakes - we still believe. Pray for us.
Love and Peace
John and Yoko