Monday, June 12, 2006

Interview: George Harrison, KPPC-FM - November 4, 1968

Q: Well, I would just like to know . . . your new album will be a double pocket LP, is that right?

George Harrison: Right, four sides, 95 minutes, 31 tracks.

Q: Right. How many of them did you write this time, George?

GH: Four.

Q: Four this time? All right, good.

GH: I've been slacking.

Q: And Ringo?

GH: Ringo wrote one. A sort of country and western number. But Ringo sings another one as well, one song John wrote called "Good Night."

Q: I see. Is this on a Sgt. Pepper-type trip you are returning to, or are you just going to be. . .

GH: No, it's not really like Pepper with that concept, you know, of a show, it's nothing really like that. It's more just like a regular album, but it's a different thing altogether. I'll play it to you after this.

Q: Okay.

GH: You'll get the idea.

Q: I'm looking forward to hearing it. When will it be released for American. . .?

GH: First of December.

Q: First of December, I see. With the Apple people.

GH: Pardon?

Q: With your company, the Apple.

GH: Yeah. Apple, apple, apple.

Q: Are you having fun with that? It's working out good?

GH: Yes, it's working fine, yeah. Quite a lot of work involved, but it's good, you know. The thing that comes out of it is good. It's worthwhile.

Q: Are you signing more artists and everything?

GH: There's quite a few people, yeah. We've got a singer whose album should be out in the States in a couple of weeks' time, James Taylor. He's a guy who writes all his own material. So, a couple of groups, you know, a few singles, there's plenty of things coming out.

Q: I understand the uppermost thing in like the company, I was reading is like the sound is primary, you're really producing good sound first, you know, in production and everything. That's something that. . .

GH: It should be. Really, we shouldn't put out records - cream and sugar - we shouldn't put out records that have, you know, that we don't like.

Q: Really.

GH: That's really what it . . . all it amounts to. You know, there's plenty of good music and we'll just try and keep a high standard so that, you know, everything's nice. It doesn't have to be a hit, I don't suppose, but as long as it's good.

Q: I saw your film about five times in colour. We had it over here a couple of months ago.

GH: Which one, the Submarine?

Q: The Magical Mystery Tour.

GH: Oh, Mystery Tour.

Q: In colour.

GH: Did you like it?

Q: Yes, very much. I was very moved. In fact, a couple of the scenes were very moving, as a matter of fact.

GH: Yeah, it's quite old now for us, it's like a year old.

Q: Well, they haven't released it, they were talking about putting it on American TV and like we got an advance film of it and showed it at one of the local places.

GH: Really, just a few critics in England screwed that up, just by giving bad reviews, they spoiled most of America from seeing it. I believe it's going out in the colleges, so it's going on tour.

Q: It would be appreciated there. It's a matter of . . . what's a very . . . it's a fast thing, it's involved. I watched it five times, everyone watched it like five more, without realising what's happening.

GH: The critics didn't really like it because it was like a home movie, a big home movie, which it was, you know. But, I mean, they didn't try and see anything else in it.

Q: There's a lot more there. I was sort of like tripping on some of the parodies in there, touches of other filmmakers too.

GH: Yeah.

Q: You know, the Grand Prix-type thing, with the . . . and then the scene, well, my favourite scene on the beach with the older couple. It was a beautiful scene.

GH: Yeah, but you know the BBC wanted to cut that out, they thought it was obscene!

Q: Oh, that's obscene?

GH: Yeah.

Q: Old people can't be in love or have. . .

GH: No, no, they're not allowed to.

Q: What is the . . . I haven't seen the. . .

GH: Next week sometime. Yeah, that's great, you know, I enjoyed that much more than I thought I would. And there's lots of nice things in it, like the Sea of Holes, there's a lot of Bosch-type things, if you're familiar with Bosch.

Q: Just a little.

GH: Like just strange creatures where the submarine goes through all different . . . the Sea of Holes is good, it's like the relativity, the time and space thing. And they go through another place where there's a lot of very strange Bosch-type creatures dancing around, like a vacuum cleaner thing, it's very good.

Q: What about the lever-puller, Ringo?

GH: Which?

Q: When he pulls the lever, he goes, "I just love to pull levers."

GH: And he pulls the lever.

Q: Yeah.

GH: And then what happens?

Q: Something opens up on the picture. I haven't seen it, I was just told about it.

GH: Oh, I can't remember. You really need to see it a couple of times, there's a lot going on in it.

Q: Just like the Magical Mystery, I watched it like five times in a row. They ran it twelve times that day, and we just stayed down and watched it.

Q: When you were first getting started with the Maharishi, a lot went down, like we saw you know, on television different things said about how you'd become disenchanted and things like that. While you were into the Maharishi thing, I personally was into a Zen thing. Every morning at four o'clock I'd go down and meet with this Zen master in Gardena out here. And he kept putting down the Maharishi too, because he said the Maharishi was too non-committal and he, like, one time on television he said to avoid war, you build bigger bombs and he kind of disillusioned. . .

GH: You see, the problem is, well, it's not really a problem, only if you make it a problem, but the thing is that everything in the world is right and wrong, and yes and no, and up and down, and like good and bad. And good is only held in its position by bad, you know, you can only measure one by the other. But in actual fact, they're both the same thing. So really, the Maharishi was great, you know, and there was a lot of things that he was . . . and even down to the idea of doing Johnny Carson's show. I mean, from one side of it you can accept everything, and from another side, you can't accept anything. It really depends, and at first, you know, we wanted . . . I mean really, I still now I'd like the whole world to wake up and just to know who they are and what they're supposed to be doing. And then it would be a great place. I thought, that's why we really went along a lot with the things like with TV shows and you know, I didn't mind too much the idea of somebody like Maharishi going on TV. Even though it's so out of context, a person like that, it is so out of context. Yet, at the same time, you know. . .

Q: How do you spread the word to the people?

GH: Especially now, like where this is the jet age, so we play jet age-type music. And I think other people should, like in a way, Maharishi was the jet age yogi. And that can't be bad entirely, and it can't be good entirely. You know, this is the terrible thing, the truth is something that isn't good or bad, you know. It's beyond all that. And once you try and say what it is, then you bring yourself into that relativity of good and bad, you know, so it's really best just to find it yourself.

Q: Well, this thing about good and bad is like I know Lennon got busted just recently, kids all over the United States are getting busted for you know, they're making criminals out of marijuana smokers all of the country. Kids are getting records and everything. You know, where is the good and where is the bad now, who do they look to?

GH: Yeah, I noticed on a police car in Los Angeles, it says, written on the door, "to serve and to protect." And that really sort of buzzed me, I was starting to wonder like, who are they serving and who are they protecting? I mean, that's where it's really at. Because maybe they do serve and protect, but you know, themselves? Or you know, like, who?

Q: In the old days, you know, when I was a kid anyway, the policeman was something to . . . he was the man on the corner. And you'd go up to him and you'd rap with the guy and he was there to help you. But now, and not all of them, you know, certainly, but the principals they live by and the rules that they have to enforce now are so archaic that they're made out to be and in most cases they probably are because they're so dedicated. . .

GH: But that's the trick, you see, because they say, well it's not me, it's somebody up there telling me what to do. And you can never find who, like who is the guy up at the top. Because they shift the load, you know. Take a load off, Annie.

Q: What's the overall scene in England right now, so far as people our age is concerned, I was in England in '64 and '65, in fact, I saw you at a theatre with I think Roy Orbison, that's where it was at then in '64.

GH: It's not bad, you know, like compared to America, it's really the same. It's the same all over the world. It's that thing, you know, outside agitators.

Q: Dissonant elements. . .

GH: The thing is that we have it, but it's again, like everything is just that bit smaller than America, you know, less money, less industry, less everything. So there's less revolutionaries, -ists.

Q: You can see the changes happening in this country, though.

GH: Oh, you can see them happening there, but it's still, it's like relative in size to America, you know, so the changes are smaller, because there's less people trying to change it. But there's less people who don't want it to change as well, which is good. Knowing in England, because it's generally smaller, you know. The thing is, there was to have been a big demonstration, I think just last week sometime. And it was going to be like the biggest demonstration of all time, because all the demonstrators, they're just getting together now, and they have roughly the same sort of thing as that in Chicago, you know. They have police coming around with their horses and sticks and all that. But they're getting more determined as they are in America.

Q: To return to a sort of a music scene, do you think, you know, music to me has always been sort of a mirror, you know, of the culture, of the society, and they have a big insurgence now of blues and everything. And I noticed, your music has mirror a difference perspective still, you know, you haven't gone into that as John Mayall and other people. What do you think the music in more or less in what direction will we be mirroring in the next few years?

GH: Well, this new album of ours is really generally, with the exception of soft, sweet songs, generally have got a bit heavier. Much heavier. The thing is, I mean, we never got into like that purist thing, like John Mayall, and I mean that's one thing I don't entirely agree with. Well, not for us, anyway. You know, I think I like so much different music, I wouldn't like to just get hung up doing one thing like the blues, and then that's it for the rest of your life, playing twelve-bar. But this new album has got much heavier and there is a blues track on it, actually.

Q: Oh really?

GH: Called "Yer Blues." And which is quite bluesy, I don't know how the purist blues people are going to take it, but you know, it's still as valid as any other blues.

Q: Yeah, what is blues?

GH: Yeah.

Q: Really.

GH: "I'm so lonely, I want to die. So lonely I want to die. If I ain't death already, woo! You know the reason why." Something like that, really.

Q: Yeah. I noticed, you know. . .

GH: T-bone Lennon and B.B. Harrison.

Q: . . . that I heard an interview with Donovan and he was speaking of returning to you know, the old minstrel. . .

GH: To go back to the R&B like he used to do.

Q: Right, just himself and perhaps another person.

GH: Don's thing is really, I think, I never enjoyed Donovan's records as much as enjoy him just singing with a guitar. You know, he was with us in India where he wrote "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and lots of the things off his new Hurdy Gurdy album.

Q: Probably "Tangier" too.

GH: And it's so nice, you know, he does them so great. And then he goes in the recording studio and something happens, you know, for my personal taste, I'd rather have him completely as he is with his guitar, or to go into the studio and do it really, you know, amazing. But it always falls like half and half when he records. Great fellow though, good old Don. "We love you Donovan, oh yes we do."

Q: We could return to another . . . what are your feelings here right now in the USA, you feel the thing of they're having elections now. . .

GH: I think it's, it's funny you should say that, the elections. I feel that, you know, from time to time I feel that there's no difference between past, present and future, it's all the same. And particularly today, when there's three bad guys to pick from, so it's going to be the most popular of these three guys is going to suddenly be the president. And we all know he's not the one, he's not going to do it, whoever it is isn't going to be the one. And so, we've already past that, I mean, if you put yourself now, suddenly imagine in two years time, when whoever, which one of these three is going to be out there doing it. Then you know, there's no difference, it's all like a waste of time. It's very sad really, but when you know that the future isn't going to be a lot of change. . .

Q: Well, a lot of people are hoping that Wallace gets in so it'll come down faster. So it'll all change faster, you know.

GH: I think Paulsen, Pat Paulsen, he's my man.

Q: Really?

GH: Yes, or you should have Tommy Smothers, get him in there.

Q: Well, do you think there's a possibility, you know, in this country, or either in England of a man becoming the leader or president or whatever, whose interest is in the common man?

GH: I don't know, I can't see it, you see. Anybody who's generally interested in the country and the people. . .

Q: Gets killed.

Q: Really?

GH: Yeah, either gets killed, or doesn't make it for long enough. Whereas the other people who become presidents don't, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the country or the people, you know. It's completely their own scene, their ego, the thing of "I'm the prez, watch out" so as then, they can die as the famous president who did this and who did that. And you know, it's on such a crummy level that it's not worth talking about. It's a joke, it's a joke, you know, all that . . . presidents and prime ministers, they're all the same.

Q: Heads of the protectorates of the status quo.

GH: Forgive them for they know not what they do.

Q: When I was fourteen years old, I knew I wanted to ball the Queen, but I don't know, that might have. . .

Q: I went to see the Queen, she wasn't there.

GH: The Queen, yeah. The Queen's all right though, actually. The Queen's, you know, it's not, it's different like the prez over here, the prez seems to be the heavy guy. Whereas the Queen just like goes around waving all the time. And you know, it's really her karma, her you know, the fickle finger of fate pointed at her and she happened to, you know, she didn't split and she had to go around waving. But she is, she's a nice lady and that makes it even worse somehow.

Q: How's Prince Charles?

GH: Well, Prince Charles, I don't know, and Prince Anne, [laughs] Prince Anne, they seem to be getting more hip. I mean, she's now got her miniskirt two inches above the ankle, so she's really coming on. Actually, they're good though. The Royal Family are quite hip, you know. Margaret and Tony Anson Jones and Princess Alexander, you know, they all, they're the same, they have their big thing of like, "We got the new Apple records now, and have you heard this one?" You know, they're not as stodgy as it's made out. The fault lies in the houses of Parliament and Guy Fawkes was a good guy. Do you know about him?

Q: No.

GH: There was this guy called Guy Fawkes, who, I'm not sure about the dates here, but some years ago, probably a couple of hundred years ago, he sailed up the River Thames to blow up the houses of Parliament, but they caught him, and he never made it. So every fifth of November, in England, it's a big scene where they have big fires burning in people's gardens and streets and they throw dummies of Guy on the fire. And other people drive around London with stickers on their car saying "Come back Guy Fawkes, we need you."

Q: How's everybody's health? John and Paul, how are their health?

GH: How are they? Their health? Quite good, actually, considering what we've been through. The last summer has been very busy for us, you know, with trying to set up this Apple thing and trying to get ourselves together. Because we had to really find out everything about our own personal affairs and the group and business affairs since Brian died. It was really hard, because there was nobody else who could do it, except us. So, we had to do it, and at the same time we had to try and make this album. So, just at the moment, everybody, we just finished the album, and everybody's just going away for a break, having a holiday. So I think we've made it. And we come back refreshed to Christmas with the family.

Q: Do you have problems combining the business trip and the music trip? They are different, aren't they?

GH: Not really, no, because music is my business. So, it's quite easy.

Q: George, are you going to release a Christmas record this year?

GH: You mean one of those fan club records?

Q: Right.

GH: Yeah, yeah, we'll do that. But it's still only available to people in the "Official Beatles Fan Club."

Q: Because we've got two, '64 and '66, and we'd like to get the other ones.

GH: Well, really that's something that we were doing especially for the fans.

Q: How many fans are there over there in England?

GH: There's quite a lot, but you see, the thing is, they pay their money and they get their pictures and information and that, but the main thing they really get, by being a fan, is this Christmas record we do. And it's pointless if we put it out so everybody can buy it, because then, you know, they don't get anything special. But we'll be doing that again, yeah, we'll do it probably first week in December.

Q: Is there any such thing as an underground, unquote, radio in England.

GH: No, there's nothing. The underground radio, or that you could compare to underground was on the sea, which were the pirate ships. And there were about three or four pirates stations and the government formed, had some new laws made you see, because I mean, you're not allowed to have radio in England, you know. They're allowed to have radio, but we're not. So, we go on now wailing on with the BBC, which is a joke, and there's no pirate stations left at all, except there's this good guy who started the first pirate ship and who has a little plan, so maybe if that works out we'll have another pirate radio and TV station. He's planning to pirate TV, colour TV, and the whole bit.

Q: That'll be out of sight.

GH: Yeah, if it works. But then, you know, they'll make another law and somebody will make some other plan and then they make another law and it just goes on and on.

Q: We've been kind of lucky so far, we've been on the air for a year, and very very few problems so far with the FCC.

GH: Who's the FCC?

Q: The Federal Communications Commission. "Them," as you say.

GH: Them. Yeah, are you in the union? Have you paid your dues?

Q: No, we're paying our dues now in a different way.

Q: I think we better just wrap it.

Q: Yeah, I think we'll just close it out now, it's really been a pleasure talking to you George.

GH: Thank you. Pleasure being here. Wonderful K-P-P-P-P-C.

Q: In Pasadena.

GH: In Pasadena, yes. "Where my home, Pasadena." Is the grass really greener in Pasadena? So, I'll say my name, to make it official. I'd like to say, this is George Harrison of the Beatles, on wonderful K-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-C, where the grass is greener in Pasadena. Thank you.

Q: Thank you very much George.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most of the Questions for George Harrison in this interview transcript are by legendary KPPC-FM deejay Don Hall. The interview was taped at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, California. The November 4, 1968 date quoted here may be the date it was aired on KPPC-FM 106.7 Pasadena, California [106.7 in Los Angeles is now KROQ-FM]